Who Is Black Adam? A Look At The Characters In The DC’s Upcoming Black Adam Movie
One character making buzz lately in the DC world is Black Adam, with the release of his own movie starring Dwayne Jhonson, “The Rock.” There are some concerns about this anti-hero, who is almost in the supervillain area. He possesses powers similar to Shazam, unlike DC heroes, although his origin is from another universe.
There are many rumors about this movie, which will premiere on October 12. These point out that Black Adam is the evil version of Shazam in another universe. Or it is an alternative version of the hero, as is the case of Zoom or Reverse-Flash, Flash’s mortal enemy.
In this post, we will explain who Black Adam is, what inspires him, and why he is not considered such a villain but an anti-hero. We will also explain the origin of his confrontation against Shazam and the similarities between these superhumans with magical powers.
Who is Black Adam?
Image: DC Comics
Black Adam is a DC character, although he initially originated in Marvel comics. He is characterized by having his principles of what is just and unjust and tries to impose them. He is capable of murder to enforce his codes, bringing him into conflict with the heroes. But Balck Adam does not want to conquer the world like the villains. That is the main reason why he is classified more as an anti-hero.
He seeks to repair his image, which in the distant past was darkened by certain events that happened to him. However, the violent methods he uses makes his purpose difficult. On some occasions, Black Adam had the intervention and help of magical beings like Doctor Fate, although he could not change his way of being.
His powers are similar to Shazam’s, invulnerability, flying, wisdom, and lightning. He can even transform and return to his standard form by saying “Shazam.” However, his powers do not belong to the same source because they are linked to Egyptian gods and not Greek, as in the case of Shazam.
Origin and Biography
Image: DC Comics
The origin of this anti-hero is not linked to DC Comics but to Fawcett Comics, just like Shazam. Black Adam originated in the 1940s in a comic book that explained the origins of Captain Marvel’s powers, but not the character from Marvel we know. This Captain Marvel later moved to DC Comics, where, for copyright reasons, they changed his name to Shazam.
Birth in Fawcett Comics
Image: DC Comics
Black Adam’s birth was in 1945 in Fawcett Comics. The comic book Marvel Family’s creators were Otto Binder and C. C. Beck. In it, they placed Teth Adam, a prince who was considered just and wise by his people, catching the attention of the magician Shazam.
He gave him his powers, which involved the strength of various Greek gods. Black Adam would assume the powers and responsibility for a time. However, he was corrupted by them. He invoked the power of Egyptian gods, which gave him abilities similar to those of Shazam.
Six Egyptian gods granted the powers: Shu gave him resistance and invulnerability, Heru gave him super speed, and Amon gave him superhuman strength. Zehuti gave him knowledge and wisdom similar to King Solomon, Aton the power of lightning, and Menthu gave him courage.
With these powers, Teth Adam killed the pharaoh and tried to conquer the world. However, the magician Shazam realized this, took away the abilities he had given him, and sent him to a galaxy far away. At that moment, he ceased to be Teth Adam, to become Black Adam.
Becoming Black Adam
Black Adam would begin his journey back to earth, which took millennia. When he arrived on the planet, he met three champions, who were made up of the Marvel family. These were the current chosen ones by the magician Shazam, and they would face the anti-villain in several opportunities.
The magician would explain the origin of Black Adam and their relationship. The fight would continue with them barely damaging each other due to their invulnerability. However, Uncle Marvel would influence Black Adam to say “Shazam.” In doing so, he would turn back into Teth Adam and feel the weight of the 5 thousand years he had traveling through space. Captain Marvel would knock him unconscious with a punch, and the anti-villain would slowly turn to skeleton and dust, thus ending the fight and the comic.
Moving to DC Comics
Image: DC Comics
In 1970 DC Comics bought the rights to Black Adam and Shazam. Therefore, they could accommodate the story and create the battle story between these two characters. In this DC story, Black Adam was not a prince but a slave in ancient Egypt. Shazam calls him to get his powers; however, his daughter had already made a pact with the god Set. So when he said “Shazam,” he received the powers of the Egyptian gods instead of the Greeks.
Black Adam would work at the side of Pharaoh Ramses II. A mad priest named Ahk-ton, the cleric, would ravage the land of Teth Adam’s origin, murdering Teth Adam’s family. The latter could not stop him, so he remained in the court of Pharaoh Ramses. The fighting went on until 3-time travelers came before Black Adam. These were Hawkgirl, Terrifying Mystery, and Shazam himself. They helped him eliminate Ank-top, finally ending the carnage caused by him. They would return to their time, although Hawkgirl would have her doubts about Adam.
Despite having avenged his family, these events marked Teth Adam, causing him to stage a coup d’état against the government of Egypt. He ended up as the region’s monarch; however, the magician Shazam realized Adam was corrupted.
Black Adam Entombed
To stop his champion at the time, the magician cast a powerful spell on Black Adam. The magic locked all Adam’s powers and soul in a scarab and buried his body in the same tomb as Pharaoh Ramses II. That was the tomb of the hero of the time known as Khem-Adam, which translates as Black Adam.
The seal was active for millennia, and the wizard Shazam refused to have new champions, considering this failure to be his fault. The Batson family (what would become the Marvel family) were hired to excavate the tomb of Ramses II by the Sivana company. However, a descendant of Black Adam went with them and got hold of the scarab. At that moment, Billy Batso transformed into Shazam, and Theo said the magic word and got the powers of Black Adam.
These two magical giants fought for a while, and Billy took away Theo’s power of speech. In the end, Black Adam and Shazam decided to stop the fight, where the latter would help Adam to control his powers. The last would join the Justice Society of America, convincing this group that he was not under the influence of the spirit of the original Black Adam. Shazam wasn’t entirely sure this was true and joined the group to be forewarned.
From The Power of Shazam! to the Justice Society of America
Image: DC Comics
Black Adam would join this Justice Society, helping it fight and defeat the Injustice Society. To do this, Black Adam posed as a member to find out about the organization and then support the JS in eliminating this criminal organization.
Black Adam would continue with the group until a villain would appear who would change everything. Kobra would fight against the group, losing the battle with him, but they would spare his life. That did not please Black Adam, who would kill Kobra and separate from the group for good.
This villain would form his own group and take control of the government of the original Black Adam’s hometown of Khandaq. The Justice Society sought to talk some sense into their former partner, and when they failed to do so, they fought with him but to no avail. In the end, they reached an agreement in which the anti-hero would not go beyond the borders of this city.
He would keep his word momentarily; however, to keep Khandaq in good shape and help him flourish, he decided to ally with the Secret Society of Supervillains. They set a trap for the Justice Society of America and attacked other heroes with magical powers. The Atom Smasher would fall in this confrontation, but Adam would revive him using some of his magical powers.
Ultimately, Adam continued to work with the villain society but was betrayed by it sometime later. He discovered at the end that this group was employing it to reach the infinite lands, and the brain of all this was Lex Luthor.
Infinity Crisis and 52
Image: DC Comics
After this would come the Infinity Crisis, where a supposed Lex Luthor orders to learn Black Adam and then tells Psycho-Pirate to control this character’s mind. In doing so, he orders him to place himself in a machine and say the word “Shazam.”
As expected, lightning strikes, activating the machine, and we discover that this wasn’t precisely Lex Luthor. The real name of this villain was Alexander Luthor Jr., a version of this villain from another universe. We also found out that the goal was to access the multiverse and conquer it, and with the help of Black Adam, anyone related to the wizard Shazam could activate it.
Black Adam would escape, aided by Superboy and Nightwing, who killed the villain who brainwashed him. He would try to eliminate the rest, including the Luthor from the other dimension. Superboy-Prime, however, did not allow it, stopping him in his tracks. In the end, Black Adam returned to his city to rule, thus ending the Infinite Crisis.
The story would continue in comic number 52, with a Black Adam protector of his city but bloodthirsty. He would be dedicated to protecting the city, battling against criminals and supervillains, and killing them without mercy. Many of the deaths are televised, being very bloody, and many of the villains were dismembered by the Anti-hero.
Adrianna Tomaz is Isis, Black Adam’s Wife
Image: DC Comics
We see later how Adam receives two million dollars in gold from Intergang Adrianna, an enslaved Egyptian. He kills the messenger and sends the remains to Intergang’s house, leaving the slave alive. Black Adam later creates a group of metahumans to serve as a coalition for the group in the US. He joins forces with the Group of Ten from China and the Rockets Reds from Russia.
Adam decides to accept Adrianna on his land as a refugee, befriending her. She advises him to show more mercy, which would be the most beneficial. He follows her advice and becomes a ruler who shows more compassion and understanding. Black Adam’s affection for Adrianna increases, and he decides to give her powers using the scarab where her abilities and souls are trapped. She becomes Isis, not only a human target in his service, but she becomes his wife.
The Appearance of Osiris
During the rule, Black Adam and Isis find Adrianna’s brother Aron. He was severely beaten by the beatings he received while trying to escape from his captors. That caused him to be unable to walk anymore, although Black Adam would give him of his powers, healing him and turning him into Osiris.
Osiris would join the young Titans and help Blac Adam and his sister in several battles, one of which was against the Suicide Squad. They win, but Osiris kills Persuator, one of their members. That leads Osiris into depression, being tricked and devoured by one of the four horseman of the apocalypse.
Black Adam finishes him off, discovers that the horseman was sent by Intergang, and goes to confront him. He faces the other horsemen and kills them all, but one of them poisons him and Isis. Isis heals Black Adam and tells him before dying to forget her advice and to show no mercy to anyone.
From Black Adam: The Dark Age to the Present
Image: DC Comics
After the murder of his wife, Black Adam becomes an angry person. This anger causes the death of many people, making him the most wanted and persecuted being in the world. Later, he decides to revive his wife no matter what, and at one point, he changes back to the Teth Adam set.
He travels the world to find a way to revive Isis, passing through the Lazarus source of Ras al Ghul. Isis returns to life for a few seconds but soon dies again because her corpse is missing a finger.
He went to the rooms where Doctor Fate was imprisoned and told him about his ordeal. Doctor Fate indicated that he should look for Isis’ amulet to revive her. Unfortunately, the charm had been divided into four and was spread all over the world. This magical being would use the bones of Isis to momentarily return the powers to Black Adam, warning him not to use them too much because it could cause his wife not to revive.
Black Adam searched the world for the four pieces. Consequently, finding them, although it was not easy, he had to fight with Hawkman, several magical tribes, and other obstacles along the way. He also found his wife’s finger and the key to activate and deactivate her powers.
Then he returns to Doctor Fate, carrying Isis’ finger and amulet. He casts a spell but cannot revive her, telling Black Adam that this is because he overused his powers. He leaves saddened, unaware that this is a deception by Doctor Fate, who revives Isis and keeps her under his control.
Black Adam’s Powers
Black Adam’s powers are 7 in total if we consider the power to transform. He possesses invulnerability, super strength, knowledge, and wisdom, the ability to fly, the power to throw magic rays, to have unbreakable courage, and finally to transform by saying the keyword, falling a magic ray in the process.
Alternative Appearances and Versions
Image: DC Comics
There are other versions of this character currently in the DC Comic Universe. The first and best known is Billy Batson and the magic of Shazam! In this, we see a story with a similar beginning in terms of origin. However, when Teth Adam is freed from prison through his descendant, he forgets the key to activate his powers. He kidnaps Billy Batson, Shazam’s current champion with the four evil demons, to tell him the keyword to activate his powers.
Another appearance is in one of the many Flashpoints that Flash created. This story turns our anti-hero into Teth Adam by an outsider who used technological equipment to summon the lightning that transformed him into a magical being. These would fight on the train; however, Teht Adam would die at the hands of J’onn J’onzz.
As we can see, this character’s story is somewhat tragic, and we will live it soon in the movies. We will have the Rock playing this anti-hero who will fight with some heroes and villains, imposing his own principles.
Featured Image Via DC Comics
I am a circus aerialist influenced by Dick Grayson and Spider-Man. Fortunate to write about the characters that inspired me. I also have a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and a Master's degree in International Trade.