Adam: Legend of the Blue Marvel is a 2008-2009 five-issue Marvel mini-series written by Kevin Grevioux, with art by Mat Broome and Roberto Castro.
In the present day, a supervillain named Anti-Man suddenly appears out of nowhere and attacks the Avengers, almost defeating them before being sucked away to wherever he came from. The Avengers, realizing that they are out of their depth, turn to the only name that Anti-Man mentioned: the Blue Marvel.
Back in 1961, the Blue Marvel was the premiere American superhero, the Magnificent Master of Might, the Blue Bomber of Battles, but during a battle with Anti-Man, his metallic mask was torn away and he was revealed to be a black man. Specifically, Adam Brashear, Korean War veteran, with a Ph.D. in theoretical physics. With the reveal that the mightiest person on Earth was black, the country erupts in controversy and violence, with many white people attacking the Blue Marvel for his race and many black people condemning him for not doing more for his race.
Finally, President Kennedy, realizing that they can't get civil rights legislation passed with such an uproar, asks Brashear to stand down as the Blue Marvel. Walking away from the superhero life after one last battle, Brashear disappeared. Now, however, he is needed again.
But, after what he went through, will he even want to return?
Adam: Legend of the Blue Marvel provides examples of:
- Antimatter: What gave both the Blue Marvel and Anti-Man their powers was an anti-matter explosion. It resulted in Adam Brashear becoming a living anti-matter reactor, while Connor Sims was consumed by the anti-matter and then reformed but was unstable.
- Becoming the Mask: Adam's wife Candace was born as Marlene Frazier, a government agent tasked with keeping an eye on Adam in the years after he went underground. Candace wasn't expecting to fall in love with Adam, and eventually committed entirely to her new identity, claiming to her husband and children that she was an orphan. Adam didn't find out about her birth identity or her government ties until their children were in college, when Tony Stark uncovered her secret.
- Beware the Superman: This was the other reason why the government was afraid of him.
- Call-Forward: In a flashback in issue 2, we see the Pentagon meeting with Mr. Trask, who warns them that the Blue Marvel could be an indication of "micro-evolutionary change." He then tells them that they need to stay vigilant, "wide awake, if you will." Trask will eventually convince the government to create Project: Wideawake, which results in the creation of Sentinels.
- Collateral Angst: Candace/Marlene dies in the fifth issue basically in order to motivate the Blue Marvel some more, even though he was already pretty motivated.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: This comic constantly shows us flashbacks to Civil Rights era America and the very racist culture that was prevalent back then. This includes showing White characters using terminology that today is considered extremely racist and offensive, such as referring to African-Americans as "Coloreds" or using some variation of the N-word, as well a former Cabinet Member calling Blue Marvel a "Boy".note
- Freudian Excuse: Even after Connor Sims became Anti-Man, he was relatively okay...until his brother, an undercover FBI agent, was killed by the Klan. Then he began his quest to change the world into a utopia.
- Government Conspiracy: There was a government conspiracy to make it look like the Blue Marvel died in his last mission, with a special spy set up to observe him afterwards, posing as his wife. She, of course, ended up falling in love with him.
- In Love with the Mark: Marlene Frazier was a spy, Agent 314, assigned to watch over Adam Brashear by becoming his girlfriend and, eventually, his wife, Candace Brashear. She never told Adam, because she eventually fell in love with him and they ended up having a few children. Adam doesn't take it well when she tells him.
- Mythology Gag: At one point, the Blue Marvel fights the Sentry, two characters who were both based on deconstructing the Superman archetype and who were both forgotten by the general public for different reasons.
- Racist Grandpa: The old politician who was a member of Kennedey's cabinet that Iron Man meets to find out more about Blue Marvel. He continues to use racist terms from that era such as referring to African-Americans as "Coloreds" and calling Blue Marvel "Boy", much to Iron Man's disdain.
- Suddenly Ethnicity: The root cause of the entire story is an incident that occurred back in the 1960s, when Blue Marvel was fighting his Arch-Enemy, Anti-Man, and his mask was accidentally torn during the battle, revealing to the world that he was Black during a time of great racial tension.
- Tragic Villain: Connor Sims, who initially appears to be a Well-Intentioned Extremist who was outraged by the mistreatment Adam received for being black, and how he wasn't given the credit he deserved for being a genius war-hero with multiple doctorates. As it turns out, thanks to a combination of his powers and the helmet Adam built for him to try and stabilize his visions actually amplifying them into an unstable form of cosmic awareness, he was actually driven mad by it.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: What Anti-Man is trying to accomplish. Brashear explains that he's trying to turn the world into a utopia — even if it means he has to kill it.
- Where da White Women At?: When Marlene is given her assignment to get close to Adam, she is told that black men love white women.