Black Adam #3 ushers the titular antihero into the afterlife, but it isn't exactly what he expected

What happens when Black Adam finally meets his fate

Black Adam #3 art (Image credit: DC)

There is no redemption for Black Adam, even in death – and his descendent, Malik White, is reluctant to take up the mantle. 

Spoilers ahead for Black Adam #3

Good thing Black Adam isn’t dead.

In Black Adam #3, written by Priest, illustrated by Rafa Sandoval, colored by Matt Herms, and lettered by Troy Peteri, Malik – a med student who just received the power of Shazam! from a dying Black Adam – tries to determine where Black Adam, the immortal, and Theo Teth-Adam, the human, begin and end. The body left behind after Black Adam’s dramatic death in issue #2 is far more human and decomposing rapidly, and Malik becomes determined to save him even if it’s not possible to bring back his alter ego.

What happens when Black Adam finally meets his fate
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What happens when Black Adam finally meets his fate
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While he attempts to determine what killed Theo, Black Adam ends up in Irkalla, the Underworld. After all of his dastardly deeds, there was no way he’d make it to Heaven, or any equivalent thereof – and in the Underworld, he quickly becomes a punching bag for the gods of the Akkad.

Slowly, the issue reveals that Black Adam’s Irkalla is Kahndaq in ruins, and Sargon – King of Akkad – is actually a much older version of Malik in costume. When Black Adam lands a particularly hard hit on this version of Sargon/Malik, he “dies,” leaving Black Adam to suffer in the wake of killing yet another descendent and ruining any chance of redeeming his legacy and name.

The issue ends with Black Adam waking up once more in Theo Teth-Adam’s body, still in the hospital, as Malik reads at his bedside. It’s a rapid-fire status change for the antihero, whose death happened just one issue ago – but it makes sense, as the current Black Adam series begins to catch up with DC’s Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths event.

Plus, Malik needs someone to teach him how to wield his new powers – who better than the man who bestowed them upon him?

Black Adam #3 is available now.

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