Black Adam: Who is the Corrupted Champion?

From Khandaq With Love

Black Adam:I will turn you into the protectors you always should have been. The kind of heroes this world needs.

Dark Crisis #2

Soldiers herd civilians into a plaza at gunpoint. They are political dissidents who will be publicly executed. Many beg for mercy. Children cry as the soldiers prepare to fire. An old woman prays for salvation as lightning splits a cloudless sky.

A sandstorm approaches the village at impossible speeds. And is that… a man flying in front of it? The soldiers fire, but their bullets bounce off his skin. He kills the soldiers with contemptuous ease. The last soldier aims at the civilians, but is vaporized when the man hurls lightning at him. The old woman remembers stories her grandparents told her and sinks to her knees in awe. Black Adam has returned.

Black Adam is one of DC Comics’ most popular anti-heroes. His morality changes at the drop of a hat, but he’s always one of the strongest beings on Earth. So who is he? How did he get his powers? How is he still alive after 5000 years? Let’s find out.

Across the Universe: Black Adam’s Backstory

Captain Marvel:Your powers… that symbol on your chest…. Who are you?!
Black Adam:I am Teth-Adam. The thunder king. Exiled from my home and now returned to rightfully reclaim my kingdom!”

Batman the Brave and the Bold “The Power of Shazam” (Season 2, Episode 10)

Black Adam debuted in The Marvel Family #1 in 1945. He was created by Otto Binder and C.C. Beck to be Shazam’s evil counterpart.

Teth-Adam was an ancient Egyptian peasant. The wizard Shazam believed that he was pure of heart and made Teth-Adam his champion: Mighty Adam. The new champion became renowned as a hero, but grew drunk on power. He killed the Pharaoh and planned to conquer the world. Shazam renamed his fallen champion Black Adam and used magic to send him to the other side of the universe.

It took five thousand years for Black Adam to return to Earth. He fought Shazam’s newest champions: Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family. They outnumbered him, but couldn’t match his combat training and experience with his powers. Captain Marvel tricked the fallen champion into saying Shazam’s name, reverting him to Teth-Adam and killing him when he aged five thousand years in seconds.

Black Adam was resurrected by Doctor Sivana, Captain Marvel’s arch enemy. He tried to kill the heroes by himself and with the Monster Society of Evil, but always failed. This version of Black Adam was last seen fighting alongside an army of villains during The Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Lightning Strikes Twice: Black Adam’s History

Black Adam:In my attempt to protect our homeland, I turned my back on the rest of the world. And I suffered for it. I witnessed the true evil that lives within so many and I realized that Kahndaq must teach the world how to deal with it. We have a mission.

52 #1

A new Black Adam was introduced after the Crisis. Now Teth-Adam was a citizen of the fictional country Kahndaq whose good deeds resulted in Shazam choosing him to be his champion. Mighty Adam’s brutality while defending Kahndaq from invaders caused Shazam to reconsider and seal Adam’s powers in a scarab.

That scarab was found ages later by Theo Adam, Teth’s reincarnation, who murdered Captain Marvel’s parents to reclaim his powers. Theo’s evil nature caused Black Adam to become a villain, but the alter-ego’s heroism eventually overcame that influence.

Black Adam joined the Justice Society to redeem himself, but they kept him at arm’s length. His violent heroics clashed with the team’s reverence for life. Adam eventually quit and recruited his teammate Atom Smasher to help overthrow Kahndaq’s totalitarian government. They succeeded and Black Adam was crowned the King of Kahndaq.

Becoming king brought out Adam’s responsible side. He fell in love with a refugee named Adrianna, who helped him understand how he could use his power to improve the citizens’ lives. She became a hero called Isis, and the two married.

Black Adam and Isis were a power couple in every sense of the word. They used magic to turn Kahndaq into a paradise and planned to help other countries do the same. Unfortunately, Isis was killed by The Four Horsemen of Apokolips, and Adam was driven mad with grief.

World War 3: Black Adam’s Modern Stories

Black Adam:Send soldiers. Send armies. Send them all.

WWIII

Black Adam murdered three of the Horsemen and chased the last into a neighboring country called Bialya. Adam massacred the Bialyans for sheltering the last Horseman before executing him. The Egyptian gods found Adam’s genocide entertaining and empowered him as he rampaged across the world.

Many heroes tried unsuccessfully to stop the mad king. Every superhero team united and fought Black Adam at once, weakening him enough to allow Captain Marvel to remove his powers. Theo Adam escaped and began a long quest to regain his powers and resurrect Isis.

Black Adam later tried another go at reformation by joining The Justice League. They were a bit more tolerant of his violence, but still wary of his mass murderers. In print, the Justice League was wiped out in a battle with only a wounded Black Adam escaping.

Realizing that his time was coming to an end, Adam searched for a successor. He discovered a descendant named Malik White and gave him most of his power. Black Adam’s race is run, but White Adam is just getting started.

Power of the Gods: Black Adam’s Powers and Personality

Black Adam: [fighting Superman] “Indeed. You are my physical match. But I sense one critical difference: a vulnerability to magic!

Superman/Shazam: Return of Black Adam

Adam is really old and really strong.  He has centuries of fighting experience on top of being a skilled general, tactician, and statesman. The bulk of Black Adam’s powers come when he says “Shazam” and is empowered by the Egyptian pantheon.

Shu’s stamina makes Adam immortal without needing to eat or breathe. Very strong opponents can overwhelm Adam, but it is much easier to take away his powers by tricking him into saying Shazam.

Horus’ swiftness gives Adam superhuman speed. He can fly at faster than light speed and keep up with speedsters like The Flash. He can only move at five hundred miles per hour on Earth without causing mass devastation.

Amon’s strength puts Adam in Superman and Captain Marvel’s ballpark. He is strong enough to fight entire teams of heroes by himself. When further empowered by Amon, he nearly defeated the Justice League, Justice Society, Teen Titans and The Great Ten at the same time.

Zehuti’s wisdom makes it easy for Adam to learn at a superhuman rate. He instantly learns several scholarly fields, can understand most languages, and can call upon Zehuti for advice.

Aten’s power grants Adam flight, power over lightning, magic resistance, time travel, boosts to his other powers, and the ability to make julienne fries.

Mehen’s courage isn’t flashy, but it’s the most useful power. It protects Black Adam from fear and despair while bolstering his courage and willpower. This also helps him resist telepathic attacks and mind control.

Black Adam truly loves his subjects and will do anything to protect Kahndaq. Unfortunately, what was heroic in his age is considered barbaric and cruel today. Adam has a bad temper and hates being disrespected. Combining these traits has given him a body count higher than most villains. Despite that, Black Adam still views himself as a hero.

The Actors Who Play Black Adam

Lou Scheimer – The Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam!
John DiMaggio – Batman: the Brave and the Bold
Gary Cole – Justice League Action
Arnold Vosloo – Superman/Shazam: Return of Black Adam
Dwayne Johnson – DC League of Super-Pets, Black Adam

Didya Get All That?

An ancient anti-hero turned modern villain

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