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Black Adam, a necrotic infection covering his skin, leans on a walking stick as he addresses Malik. “I am dying. And you, Malki-Adam, are my descendant. Thus the power of Black Adam I bequeath to you.” in Black Adam #1 (2022). Image: Priest, Rafa Sandoval/DC Comics

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Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

How does Black Adam, the Warner Bros. movie starring Dwayne Johnson, plan to bring the character’s modern aspect to a movie mostly about his origin story? The answer is unclear. But as for DC’s Black Adam miniseries, timed to coincide with the movie, writer Priest and artist Rafa Sandoval show they’re doing whatever the heck they want to right in the first issue. It’s a stance Adam himself would be proud of.

Trailers for Black Adam seem to focus on Adam’s release from his ancient prison and initial ... well, let’s say “adventures” in the modern world, clashing with the Justice Society of America. But to anyone who’s been reading comics for the last couple decades, Black Adam isn’t a rogue antihero — he’s the supreme god-king of a made-up Middle Eastern country who occasionally deigns to testily collaborate with the Justice League. A kind of true-neutral Doctor Doom, paternalistically defending his people’s borders as he is worshipped as a deity.

That version of the character, the one playing with ideas of total power and lethal justice, is the one Priest and Sandoval introduce in Black Adam #1. And they also introduce Washington D.C. medical resident Malik White, Adam’s descendant, who seems about to inherit his power.

What else is happening in the pages of our favorite comics? We’ll tell you. Welcome to Monday Funnies, Polygon’s weekly list of the books that our comics editor enjoyed this past week. It’s part society pages of superhero lives, part reading recommendations, part “look at this cool art.” There may be some spoilers. There may not be enough context. But there will be great comics. (And if you missed the last edition, read this.)

Black Adam #1

US Senators grill Teth-Adam/Black Adam, who relaxes in a chair in his mortal form, wearing a suit. “Lord Adam,” he explains how the senators should refer to him, “Lord Theo Ramses Djoser Teth-Adam. But ‘Lord Theo’ will do.” in Black Adam #1 (2022). Image: Priest, Rafa Sandoval/DC Comics

Priest, a creator who’s been bouncing in and out of and around superhero comics since the ’70s, is a writer with a, shall we say, distinct style. Sometimes, it works for me, sometimes it doesn’t. But he always has something to say, and he doesn’t seem to ever hold back from saying it, which can make his books fascinating reads regardless.

X-Men Red #3

Magneto offers the challenge of a fight to the death to a grey-skinned, red-eyed mutant in a giant arena. In the stands, Sunspot says slyly to the colorfully dressed mutant next to him “I bet you Tarn wins.” in X-Men Red #3 (2022). Image: Al Ewing, Stefano Caselli/Marvel Comics

I joked that the last five pages of X-Men Red #3 might be better than sex, and well, that’s hyperbole, but then again ... Writer Al Ewing and artist Stefano Caselli pull one of those tricks where it looks like they’re just playing in the sandbox, until the moment you realize they’ve had a stick and a ball and a tee here the entire time, which is the exact moment of the crack of the bat.

Newburn #8

“Do you see that?!” bellows Newburn, a suited private eye with grey temples, pointing at a terrified couple as they embrace, “That fear?! They know me! You don’t!!” in Newburn #8 (2022). Image: Chip Zdarsky, Jacom Phillips/Image Comics

Writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Jacob Phillips’ Newburn wraps up its first arc with a promise of more, and I’m happy to know it found enough of an audience to continue. The eight issues hooked me with the elevator pitch of “the mafia’s private detective,” and held my interest even as the story sort of meandered casually through a series of almost anthologized disconnected stories. Of course, it turned out that all that meandering was going somewhere, and that somewhere was all the great crime story standbys of crooked cops, thorny deals, dark favors, and doing whatever you have to do to protect your own.

Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #1

Steve Rogers/Captain America sits in a life drawing class, as the young students around him politely give him advice on how to use a drawing tablet, warning him not to push the pen through it with his super-strength in Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #1 (2022). Image: Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly/Marvel Comics

Frankly, I don’t know why every Captain America comic doesn’t have at least a little bit of him chilling with normal people. This is delightful.

The Lonesome Hunters #1

A shocked teen girl looks on as an old man holds a cigar box in one hand and a huge black sword in the other in a dingy hallway. “And that’s how Howard and I first met,” says a narration box in The Lonesome Hunters #1 (2022). Image: Tyler Crook/Dark Horse Comics

I knew nothing about The Lonesome Hunters going in. Turns out, it’s “young hero refuses call to adventure, grows old, has to fight demons as a lonely old man,” plus a young partner. Creator Tyler Crook’s colors really sell the dirty urban fantasy vibe, and I look forward to more.

Do a Powerbomb #1

A young girl cries as her wrestler mother is taken out of the ring on a stretcher and in a neck brace. On the other side of a television screen, a man in shutter shades watches it unfold, grinning maniacally in Do a Powerbomb #1 (2022). Image: Daniel Warren Johnson/Image Comics

With Beta Ray Bill and Jurassic League, writer-artist Daniel Warren Johnson has bought a lot of currency with me, so of course I was ready for his Do a Powerbomb, a comic born from his experience of falling head first into the fandom of professional wrestling. From the real world of kayfabe and performative wrestling, the daughter of a champion who was fatally injured in the ring is roped into an actual supernatural wrestling tournament inside a castle run by a necromancer who’s promised to bring back her dead mom. Yes, please.

Iron Man #20

“Oh, you wanna joust, Mister Grape Ape?” Iron Man yells, pulling a flagpole from the ground, “Then let’s joust!” “JOUST WE SHALL,” roars a gorilla on a moped, brandishing a sword in Iron Man #20 (2022). Image: Christopher Cantwell, Angel Unzueta/Marvel Comics

No commentary here. I just thought you’d like to see this.


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