A mysterious and deadly new villain named Insomnia forces the world into eternal slumber as he searches their dreams. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and others must face their nightmares to combat this foe before he gets what he wants! Meanwhile, Knight Terrors: Black Adam #1 pits Insomnia against the king of Kahndaq. Of course, Black Adam simply ain’t afraid of no boogeyman!
The MacDreamy MacGuffin
This adventure suddenly begins with a worldwide hostage crisis in search of a MacGuffin only found in unconscious minds. Supposedly, the stone that Dr. Destiny has hidden the stone he uses to control dreams in the mind of a hero. In Knight Terrors: First Blood, Batman figures out that the new villain possesses John Dee (Dr. Destiny) after trying to look through his mind fails. For some reason, Insomnia reasons that he could better find the stone if he searches everyone’s minds at once. As a result, the whole DCU takes a collective nap to find his needle in a haystack.
Therefore, anti-heroes like Black Adam end up fighting off sleep against their will. While unclear how normal people are faring, Black Adam is powerless to stop the ghouls that inhabit his mind. Not even his magic words can stop the nightmares. Weirdly enough, Teth-Adam randomly embarks on his on an impromptu heroes journey to a tower destination. Adam doesn’t give an explanation for this goal, he just suddenly decides that is where he must go. In any case, the action sequences aren’t very clear but is visually pleasing.
Black Adam’s Boogeyman
Analyzing Black Adam’s nightmare is a troublesome task. Firstly, Insomnia whisks Adam away from real world confrontation to an ambush by grotesque monsters. Ironically, both mirror each other in skeletal designs. While the monstrous villains resemble cloaked wraiths, the skull-masked terrorists wear tattered red capes. Curiously, their inverted color schemes made me wonder if they were purposeful subversions of the terrorists by Teth-Adam’s subconscious. Secondly, Adam is led through the fray by Bast as his guide. Readers may recognize the famous god from its heavy involvement with Marvel’s Black Panther, though plays more appropriately like the Egyptian interpretation in DC’s Sandman. The character provides a unique voice and occasional comic relief with lines like, “you strong.”
Black Adam’s actual nightmare involves a perversion of the Rock of Eternity and the destruction of Black Adam’s family. His fears takes the scaly form of another Egyptian god named Sobek. For some reason, Teth-Adam is unable to control his transformation and quickly loses strength. Worst of all, Adam can’t keep up with each monster’s gifts of power and regeneration. In a way, his fruitless experience in the nightmare is akin to the myth of Sisyphus and the torture of endlessly pushing a boulder. Readers can easily assume that the world represents his regret and fears of powerlessness to the will of the gods.
Writer Jeremy Haun and colorist Nick Filardi flesh out this nightmare pretty well. There are good illustrations of city streets, animals, creatures, and battles throughout. The spooky color scheme features a solid set of violets, purples, indigo, reds, and lightning blues that contrast with the gold and complementary green sfx lettering. In particular, the use of ink and deep blacks gives the book a mystic tone akin to the cave of wonders in Aladdin. However, Adam himself is an odd render. His outfit is baggy like a crew neck sweatshirt, and his face seems like a “brown version” of The Captain/Shazam. Additionally, choices such as scaling the tower in one page, or having to say the magic word twice are examples of confusing pacing. Although, because of the dreamlike setting, I can excuse the less satisfying sequencing.
- Remotely interested in the Knight Terrors events.
- You don’t mind reading a story about Black Adam suffering from confusion.
- You’ve been waiting for a horror story to drop in the height of the summer.
Overall, the book itself is generally fine, but it has stand out issues. Insomnia’s plan and how the characters react to it is messy. Most of the artwork is nice to look at and contains few neat artistic Easter eggs like Bast or posters of Deadman. Other narrative choices and details are pretty frustrating like Black Adam’s look. Beyond its minor irritations, the book can be fine outside of having to tie-in to an already convoluted event. I just don’t see any reason to run out and read this one quite yet.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purposes of this review.