From Pacifist To Insurgent – The Grooming Of Terror In Black Adam #1

Black Adam #1, part of DC's Villains Month, out today by Geoff Johns, Sterling Gates and Edgar Salazar.

Geoff Johns has played with people's expectations and prejudices around the concept of terrorism in the New 52 a fair bit, from the introduction of Baz to the recent Trinity War, and the differing attitudes to protest.

And he's just given us another, with Sterling Gates, firmly based in recent international activity and what turns someone from a pacifist to… the opposite. We start with that very argument, at the centre of so many protest movements. Violence or non-violence?

IMG_0025 So, there's that. A cut and thrust divide of opinion. While we may sympathise with Amon, we stay on side with Adrianna. Because she's the "good" activist, using peaceful means to put her point across, and she's also had a door slammed in her face which is not nice.

And doesn't just talk the talk, she walks the walk too.

IMG_0027 So… which is it? Effective or useless? Because then bad things happen. Very bad things. Black Adam is involved, but enough of him, lets get back to Adrianna and Amon.

Oh dear.


And it switches. From a committed pacifist to violent insurgent, revenge fuelled by tragedy, and bringing the audience with them on that very justified journey.

It's broad brush strokes, it's simplistic, it's rather basic, but it's the story of how someone becomes a terrorist, taking the audience's sympathies with them, in a very mainstream DC comic book. With a 3D cover. This seems to complete what one might see as the WarrenEllisation of mainstream comics, with a stark viewpoint, journey and use of technology getting to that point reminiscent of comics like The Authority. As Ellis returns to the form with Avengers Assemble and the Endless Wartime OGN, it appears that others are getting there first…

While in Sinestro #1? It's all about creating a planet-sized NSA. Or, basically, the NSA.


Comics courtesy of Orbital Comics, London. Who, in a week's time, will be exhibiting the work of Esad Ribic.


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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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