|First Appearance:|| The Marvel Family #1|
|Created by:|| Bill Parker|
|Affiliations:|| Formerly the Black Marvel Family|
Secret Society of Super-Villains
Justice Society of America
|Portrayed by:||Dwayne Johnson|
Circa 1200 BC, Shazam became a high priest to the pharaoh Tut III of Egypt. As the wizard grew older, he sought a champion worthy to inherit his powers. The young prince Teth-Adam of Kahndaq (Ramses' son) impressed the wizard with his fairness and decency. But before Shazam could bestow his powers, his daughter Blaze made a deal with the god Set. When Teth-Adam spoke the name "Shazam," instead of gaining the wizard's powers, he was blessed with the power of six Egyptian gods: Shu, Heru, Amon, Zehuti, Aton and Mehen. Thus, though Adam speaks the name "Shazam," he does not draw power from the wizard. Teth-Adam served Egypt for many years, but this duty drew him away from his wife and children in Kahndaq. While he was away, the mad priest, Ahk-ton ravaged Kahndaq and killed Adam's family. The priest was powered by the "Orb the Ra". Adam could not apprehend Ahk-ton, so he entombed his family and returned to the court of Ramses. There he served as Egypt's champion alongside another great wizard, Nabu. Mighty-Adam was a success as a hero for Egypt, but his service kept him away from his wife, Shiruta, and his sons Gon and Hurut.
Adam's homeland was destroyed and his family killed by the evil priest Ahk-ton using the Orb of Ra. A disparaged Adam continued to serve in Rameses' court, and allied himself with Prince Khufu (later Hawkman). At this time, he met three travelers from the future: Hawkgirl, Mr. Terrific, and Captain Marvel. Adam felt relieved that his legacy would continue through Marvel, and thought highly of his future counterpart. With the help of these visitors and the wizard Nabu, Adam was able to capture Ahk-ton, whom he killed as retribution for murdering Adam's family.
Adam returned to Khandaq and forcefully overthrew the government present there, and appointed himself ruler. The wizard Shazam was made aware of all of these events and, thinking Adam had been corrupted by Blaze, unleashed a powerful spell. He trapped Adam's soul and powers within a powerful scarab rendering Adam's de-powered body, now several hundred years old, into a withered corpse. Shazam then buried both the body and the scarab in the tomb of Rameses II, where he had planned for it to remain for all eternity. In death, the former hero was referred to as "Khem-Adam" ("Black Adam"). Disillusioned by what he perceived as Adam's betrayal, Shazam went several millennia before appointing a second champion to fight evil in his name.
Years later Rameses II's tomb was excavated by the Batsons' under the orders of the Sivana Federation. A colleague of the Batsons', Adam's descendant Theo, murdered the Batsons' after finding the scarab. Suspecting something was odd, his sister, Sarah, had Mary Batson adopted by the Bromfields' to keep her away from Theo.
When Theo saw Billy Batson as Captain Marvel, he realized the power and said "Shazam" and "Black Adam." The two battled, with Shazam temporarily removing Adam's ability to speak. This was undone by the evil Blaze, and Adam later spent time in deep space.
Black Adam joined the JSA after claiming he had rid himself of Theo Adam's evil influence. Captain Marvel joined the JSA as well, wanting to keep an eye on him.
Johnny Sorrow removed a malignant brain tumor in Adam's head, and Black Adam joined the Injustice Society. He soon betrayed them so the JSA could defeat them.
Black Adam left the JSA after Kobra was allowed to live. He formed his own team, executed Kobra, and once again overthrew Khandaq's government. The JSA intervened. After a battle, Black Adam was allowed to retain control of Khandaq as long as he stayed within its borders. He and the Feitherans began to rebuild the war-torn country.
Black Adam joined the Secret Society of Super-Villains to protect Khandaq, or so he claimed. During the Spectre's attack on magical beings, Atom-Smasher was killed, but Adam was able to revive him with magical lightning.
Adam was part of the group that set a trap for Uncle Sam and the rest of the Freedom Fighters. However, Adam himself was betrayed by the other villains as Alex Luthor sought 'a Marvel' to use as part of his plot.
Adam was given Adrianna Tomaz as a gift from Intergang. She was meant to be used as a slave for his pleasure, in return for allowing Intergang to use Khandaq as a base for their criminal activities. However, Black Adam executed her captors. Her wisdom helped him to focus on using his powers for the benefit of the people of Kahndaq. He granted her the power of the Goddess, Isis, and the two were married. When Adrianna's younger brother, Amon, was found a prisoner of Intergang, Adam granted him a portion of his own power due to him being crippled from repeated beatings and he became the hero, Osiris.
Adam finally felt as if he had a true family. Isis had a tremendous influence on him, and she managed to dampen Adam's otherwise violent temper. As an act of goodwill, Black Adam and his family went to the United States and participated in several events including a holiday parade and a charity dinner at the Sivana estate.
Not long after, Adam's brother-in-law, Osiris, befriended a shy talking crocodile which he named Sobek. He brought Sobek back to Kahndaq with him and he became a part of the colloquially named Black Marvel Family. Sobek's presence eventually proved to be the undoing of the Black Marvel Family however.
Black Adam soon discovered that Sobek was in fact the Fourth Horseman known as Famine (Yurrd the Unknown). Sobek caused a massive blight that swept across Kahndaq ultimately killing Isis. He also turned against Osiris, savagely biting him in half and consuming the remains. Black Adam came upon Isis' body as she lay dying. Her final words were a plea of vengeance against those who brought this tragedy upon Kahndaq.
Adam next attacked Sobek, killing him by hyper-extending his jaws. He then tracked the First of the Horsemen, Death (Azeuz) to the nation of Bialya and engaged in a massive battle with him. Black Adam's thirst for vengeance wasn't sated with merely defeating the Horsemen however. He lashed out against the entire country, killing every man, woman and child in Bialya, even sterilizing the earth. This genocide empowered Death, who believed he would now be able to defeat Black Adam in battle. He was soon proven incorrect.
World War IIIEdit
The world at large watched in horror as Black Adam continued blazing a trail of devastation across the globe. His next target was mainland China, whom he suspected was responsible for financially backing the Oolong Island experiments that resulted in the creation of the Four Horsemen. China's super-hero team the Great Ten attempted to stop Black Adam, but they proved ineffective. The Chinese government issued a proclamation that no other country was to interfere in China’s affairs, even on their own behalf. Such an action would be interpreted as an act of war, and China would retaliate with nuclear weapons.
An assemblage of heroes led by the Justice Society of America set up a beachhead on China's borders. Many of them wanted to ignore China's warning and fight Black Adam, but they maintained their vigilance for fear of aggravating a new war.
When Black Adam defeated the Great Ten, the Chinese government asked the Western world for aid. Dozens of super-heroes including the JSA, the Doom Patrol, and the Teen Titans mounted an attack against Black Adam, but his fury was so intense that nothing seemed to stop him. One of the casualties was the former Teen Titan, Terra, whom Black Adam slew by punching his fist through her chest. The Teen Titan, Young Frankenstein, also fell to his fury.
Captain Marvel petitioned the gods of ancient Egypt to take away Black Adam's powers, but they refused. In fact, they even advocated Adam's actions. Marvel then sought the aid of the mystical community and worked with Zatanna in a desperate attempt to defeat Black Adam once and for all.
Captain Marvel and Adam fought one another, and Marvel spoke the magic word "Shazam", summoning the mystic lightning that grants them their powers. He channeled the lightning into Black Adam, forcing him to transform back into the mortal Teth-Adam. Through Zatanna's spell, Captain Marvel managed to change the magic word so that Teth-Adam would be unable to turn back into Black Adam. Power Girl and Green Lantern (Alan Scott) try to hold onto him but the lightning blast tears him from their hands.
As the war came to a close, Teth-Adam escaped justice and fled back to Kahndaq. He was last seen wandering the streets of Shiruta incognito, attempting to learn the new magic word that would bring his powers back.
Black Adam: The Dark AgesEdit
The still-powerless Teth-Adam orders his remaining loyal servant to savagely beat his face in order to alter his physical appearance. Effectively disguised, he leads the group to Kahndaq to retrieve the bones of Isis, while the JSA is in Bialya searching for him. Adam and his men are attacked by unidentified soldiers (who are also searching for Teth-Adam) while leaving the tomb of Isis and Osiris. Adam's followers sacrifice their lives so that he can escape with his wife's remains. Adam then travels to the frozen Himalayas, where he eats the corpse of his last remaining henchman after running out of food. Finally reaching a secluded cave, Teth-Adam resurrects Isis using a Lazarus Pit.
Coming to realize she is no more than a decaying reanimated dead body, he is forced by the realization to kill her. He then takes her bones and goes on a pilgrimage to the Tower of Fate. Using a small piece of the Rock of Eternity, he reveals the Tower of Fate's location and enters. Expecting to find Doctor Fate so that he may get back the Amulet of Isis, he is surprised to find the doctor not in and Felix Faust has been trapped there with Neron, due to a spell cast by the deceased Ralph Dibny. Apparently Neron found a way out and left. Faust, in order to gain freedom, joins forces with Adam and helps him cast a spell to transfer residual magic from Isis's bones to him to allow him to transform into Black Adam.
In retrieving the first part of the amulet, Teth Adam encounters Hawkman. The two have a savage battle in the sky, leading to Hawkman's serious injury. After the fight, the Justice League is notified and the team begins trying to find Black Adam. Meanwhile, while resting at a riverbank and contemplating his mission to bring back his wife, Teth Adam is shot down and badly wounded by members of the same organization that attacked him in issue one. He is, however, strong enough to speak the magic word "Isis" and transform into Black Adam. After promptly dispatching the assassins with extreme prejudice, he visits a veterinary hospital to have his wounds repaired.
After leaving the hospital, the doctors who save Teth Adam's life are attacked by the assassins. Teth Adam sees this happening, saves the two doctors, and kidnaps the two assassins. He kills them both, one by striking him with lightning and one by flying him up into the thermosphere, after getting information from them. The Justice League talk to the two doctors as part of their hunt for Teth Adam, and learn about his heroic act of saving them from the assassins. This further develops Teth Adam's anti-hero character, as it is one of his first acts of heroism since the events of World War III.
The miniseries ended at issue six, instead of the previously anticipated issue eight. Black Adam arrives at Fawcett City and accidentally discovers that the new transformation word Captain Marvel changed back in 52 was in fact "Chocolate Egg Cream". With his original power returned, he flies to Fate's Tower and confronts Faust. Faust attempts to resurrect Isis, but the resurrection fails, and Isis' bones crumble to the floor. Faust blames Black Adam for using Isis' power too much, and distraught, Black Adam flies away, ending up in the Kahndaq embassy in Gotham City. It is revealed that the bones that Faust showed to Black Adam belonged to Ralph Dibny, and Faust resurrects Isis successfully. With her under his power, he exits the tower.
Adam has secretly taken up residence in the abandoned Khandaq embassy in Gotham City. Mary Marvel stumbles upon him at the embassy and finds that he has killed several others that have had the misfortune to find their way in there. It appears that Adam is very angry with Mary as well but with the uttering of "Shazam", he transfers all of his powers to Mary. Before leaving, he tells Mary to tell Billy that he is 'Sorry'. In transferring his powers to her he is now an average mortal and powerless, what he has decided is better than the burden he bore for so long as Black Adam.
Appearing again in the final issue, Black Adam is once again empowered (in Justice Society of America #16, we see this is because he knew Mary would relinquish the powers back to him, hoping her goodness would rub off on them, to no avail.) Mary Marvel seeks to join forces with him in a new Black Marvel Family, but he dismisses her as arrogant and childish, leaving her entirely alone.
Later he resumes living in his family shrine, sleeping in his coffin and mourning his dead family. He reveals that the whole meaning of his power transfer to Mary Marvel was the hope that her innocence would eventually force Mary into surrendering back his power to him, but changed enough to allow Isis' rebirth. This attempt fails, Adam returns to his state of mourning and anger, until he discovers a bloodied flower in his shrine, believing it a sign from Isis.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
In order to change form, Adam must be able to call upon the name of Shazam, then the energies of those extra-dimensional beings once known as gods on Earth. This spell adds almost a hundred pound of impervious godly muscle and tissue to his frame. This spell seems to be solely vocal; he cannot access this spell if he is gagged or hampered in some way from talking. He can share his power with Osiris, but while in this state, each person is only in possession of a fragment of the full power of Black Adam as opposed to one person commanding all of it. By calling upon Shazam again, he can once again return to his normal form and size. The spell can be shared with other personages who are of noble intent and purity, such as Mary Marvel. It is known that certain gods of sufficient power, can manipulate Shazam's spell and render Black Adam back to the human form of Teth-Adam once more.
Black Adam can switch to Teth-Adam's body by speaking the magic word, "SHAZAM". He possesses:
- S for the Stamina of Shu: Using Shu's endurance, Black Adam can withstand and survive most types of extreme physical assaults. additionally, he does not need to eat or breathe and can survive unaided in space.
- Superhuman Endurance: His godly metabolism provides him with far greater than human endurance in all physical activities.
- Self-Sustenance: Sustained by the magical energies coursing through his body. He does not require air, food or water. Black Adam is immortal.
- H for the Swiftness of Heru: By channeling Heru's speed, Black Adam, on earth can fly and move at speeds in excess of Mach 10 (2 miles a second) and at the speed of light in space. While not as fast as the Flash, he has been shown easily running at a speed of over Mach 500, while less powerful (Black Adam's speed was being drained by the Flash).
- Superhuman Speed: Ability to sharpen his awareness and increase his temporal flow, appearing to move faster than humanly possible. He can move at incredible speeds, possibly equal to Superman. He can move fast enough to not register in the normal peripheral range of humans and seemingly vanish and disappear at will. At this speed, his mind processes information at least on a subliminal level that he is aware of his surroundings.
- Flight: Black Adam can also mystically fly through the atmosphere through sure act of will, enabling him to soar through the atmosphere at sub-orbital levels and travel across the planet. He is immune from the effects of extreme height, such as dizziness and lightheadedness. He can travel from the earth to the moon, but he requires extra-precautionary paraphernalia for interstellar travel. Black adam is capable of flying at light speed.
- A for the Strength of Amon: Black Adam has a phenomenal level of super strength that enables him to lift 100,000 tons effortlessly, he can effortlessly bend steel, punch through walls and lift massive objects. Adam's strength is enough that he can easily defeat beings such as Captain Marvel. Black Adam is numerously referred to as the strongest metahuman on Earth. Black Adam has on more than one occasion held his own against the entire JSA. He has once fought and defeated the Great Ten, and even the entire Marvel Family( which was composed of Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel, and Captain Marvel jr ). He has held his own against a group of superheroes composed of the JSA, Doom Patrol, JLA, and Teen Titans and even they couldn't seem to be able to stop him.
- Superhuman Strength: Godly flesh and bone are about three times as dense as similar human tissue, contributing to the Olympians' superhuman strength and weight.
- Z for the Wisdom of Zehuti: Black Adam has instant access to a vast level of scholarly knowledge. The wisdom of Zehuti also gives Adam clairvoyance and provides him with counsel and advice in times of need.
- Superhuman Knowledge: Can recall knowledge and facts that he normally should not and/or would not know.
- Clairvoyance: An uncanny awareness of his circumstances that allows him to turn disadvantages into advantages, an understanding of divine interactions with the mortal world.
- Hypnosis: Can hypnotize people as well, through this power.
- A for the Power of Aton: Besides fueling the magic thunderbolt that transforms Adam, it also enhances Adam's other physical abilities and allows for inter-dimensional travel. Adam can use the lightning bolt as a weapon by dodging it and allowing it to strike an opponent or target. He can channel the Power of Aton and the other Gods to increase the power of his attacks to God like levels, whilst doing this he has hurt the likes of Spectre himself. He rarely resorts to this.
- Mystical Transformation
- Physical Enhancement
- Spell Source
- Advanced Healing
- Inter-dimensional Travel: This can only be used to travel to the Rock of Eternity.
- M for the Courage of Mehen: This aspect is partly psychological, and gives Adam superhuman amounts of inner strength to draw off of, while also making him indestructible and practically invulnerable to conventional physical injury like the great snake itself.
- Superhuman Inner Strength: He is always supported by an innate and harmonious presence of goodwill and strength of perseverance that he never backs down from a challenge.
- Invulnerability: If he were somehow wounded, his godly energies would enable him to recover instantly. It would take an injury of such magnitude that it dispersed a major portion of his bodily molecules to cause him a physical death. Even then, it might be possible for a god of significant power, such as Ra, Anubis, and Osiris or for a number of Egyptian gods of equal power working together to revive him.
- The Power of Isis: He has recently acquired the Power of the Goddess Isis. When Black Adam utters the magic word he not only gains his usual powers but all of his original powers are greater in strength because of the extra power he gains from Isis. The Power of Isis also grants him:
- Nature Control: Ability to control various aspects of nature. Although Black Adam has never used this power, Isis's power grants him control over all of the elements. This power should allow him to summon a mighty wind to sweep across the land, or cause geysers of molten lava to spontaneously rise from the ground.
- Telekinesis: Ability to move objects with the power of the mind.
- Egyptology: Egyptian history and lore, Egyptian mythology, Egyptian magic.
- Multilingualism: Black Adam can speak several languages including ancient Egyptian, Arabic, Kahndaqi and American English.
- Magical Vulnerability: Only significant magic can affect him.
- Lightning: Lightning attacks that cause damage and can cause Black Adam to revert back to Theo Adam.
In Other MediaEdit
- Adam appeared in the Shazam! portion of The Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam! episode "Black Adam's Return" voiced by Lou Scheimer. His origin is similar to the Pre-Crisis Black Adam. As in his original comic book appearance, he is tricked into saying "Shazam!", this time with a scroll, and turns to dust, presumably killing him. However, he returns in a later episode; this time, he is tricked into saying "Shazam" and is sent back to the days of ancient Egypt. In this version, he was shown knowing magical spells, such as bringing a baboon in an exhibit called Thoth to life and hypnotizing Mary Marvel, in addition to his Marvel powers perhaps to level the field against the numerically superior Marvel Family. Additional powers include freeze vision, mystical paralysis, animated statues, and teleportation. He also had mystical artifacts like a grenade which shape-changed Captain Marvel Jr. into a dog (though Shazam managed to undo this). He has an associate, Princess Jemia, an ancient Egyptian princess with magical powers who resembles Isis.
- The character is briefly mentioned by his alter-ego's name, Teth-Adam, during a flashback in the "Ancient History" episode of Justice League Unlimited. Thousands of years in the past, Egyptian troops under the command of Bashari (who would be reincarnated in the present as John Stewart, a member of the Green Lantern Corps and the Justice League) liberated Kahndaq from enemy rule. In gratitude, Teth-Adam gave 100 stallions to Egypt's rulers, Katar and Shayera (who would be reincarnated as Hawkman and Hawkgirl).
- Black Adam appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "The Power of Shazam" voiced by John DiMaggio. Like in the comics, he is revealed to be Shazam's former champion who abused his power and was banished to another planet. Batman teams up with Captain Marvel to battle him and Dr. Sivana, who wishes to usurp the magic of Shazam that gives Billy Batson his power. Adam is betrayed by Sivana, who absorbs his power, and turns Adam into an old man. After Sivana is defeated (by Batman mispronouncing "Shazam" to trick Sivana into correcting him and reverting, as per Black Adam's original comics defeat), Black Adam disappears, with Shazam fearing his return.
- Black Adam's name is mentioned in the Smallville episode "Isis". A museum has a nameplate that states "Dagger of Teth-Adam".
- Black Adam appears in the Young Justice episode "Revelation." He is seen as a member of the Injustice League.
- New Line Cinema had been developing a Shazam! live-action feature film, with Peter Segal (The Longest Yard, 50 First Dates) as director and Michael Uslan as producer. Actor and former wrestler Dwayne Johnson had agreed to appear in the film as Black Adam, but the project has been abandoned, but Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema resurrected the project after the success of DC's own Man of Steel. Johnson is still cast as Black Adam, whose depiction will be as the modern anti-hero version of the character. In February 2017, Lights Out director David F. Sandberg was in talks to direct. Shazam!, which was released by New Line Cinema through parent company Warner Bros., written by Jack the Giant Slayer writer Darren Lemke and released on April 5, 2019. In July 2017, it was confirmed by Geoff Johns that Black Adam will no longer appear in the film. While Black Adam doesn't physically appear in Shazam! he is mentioned by The Wizard as a previous champion of his who turned evil by releasing the Seven Deadly Sins, and shown briefly- hooded- in a magical projection. Dwayne Johnson will be portraying the character in both a spinoff movie and in a planned Shazam! sequel.
- Black Adam appears in an animated short film entitled Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam (released on the DC Showcase Original Shorts Collection DVD compilation as part of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies) with Arnold Vosloo voicing Black Adam. He returns to Earth following his 5,000 years of exile to wreak havoc on Earth only to end up fighting Superman and Captain Marvel. After a long battle, he is defeated by Captain Marvel but spared his life. When Tawky Tawny arrives, Black Adam identifies him as Shazam's lackey. To evade being banished farther from Earth, Black Adam quotes "Shazam" and turns into a withered old man who turns to dust.
- Black Adam appears as a villain in a cinematic trailer for the video game DC Universe Online MMORPG, voiced by Alexander Brandon. In the cinematic, "Who Do You Trust", the trailer depicts a dark future where Lex Luthor and other villains are engaged in what seems to be a final battle against what's then left of the Justice League. Black Adam is primarily engaged in battle with Green Lantern seemingly killing him and the Flash (Also Harley Quinn) when he calls down his lightning bolt and triggers an explosion, however he is ultimately defeated by Superman. In this depiction, he has the pale flesh and elfin elongated ears along with his standard costume. Adam appears during the villain's questline, attempting to resurrect Isis. He is tricked by Felix Faust, draining Adam of his powers, leaving him helpless, while an undead Isis attempts to battle the player and Faust flees with his newfound power. The hero battles Isis, defeating her, ultimately restoring Adam's powers. Adam however is less than grateful, and swears vengeance upon Faust for fooling him and the player for robbing him of the chance of being with Isis once more. Adam appears later as the final boss in the Kahndaq raid.
- In Injustice: Gods Among Us, Black Adam appears as a playable character and is one of the several villains who follows and supports parallel Superman's One Earth government. He is first shown battling the Justice League alongside other supervillains. Black Adam is engaged in battle with Shazam but is overpowered when his successor and Hawkgirl tag-teamed. Shazam manages to daze Black Adam, allowing him to call down his magical lightning bolt, transforming Black Adam back to Teth-Adam, just in time for him to be caught under a falling Doomsday. Adam is safely caught by Green Arrow before he falls to his death. In the parallel universe, Black Adam joined Superman, claiming that the One Earth government is based on the kingdom of Kahndaq.
- DC Direct has released two action figures of Black Adam, the most recent based on the work of artist Alex Ross.
- Black Adam appeared as the main villain in a set of View-Master reels starring Captain Marvel.
- In 2009 Black Adam was released in the 9th wave of DC Universe Classics series.
- In 2011 Black Adam and Shazam! (Captain Marvel) were rereleased in a two-pack named Mightiest Mortals.
- In Egyptian Myth:
- Shu is the sky-god and father of Geb and Nut, the parents of Osiris, Seth, Horus, Isis, and Nephthys.
- Heru is Horus, the sun-god, brother of Osiris and Seth.
- Amon is the Ruler of the Egyptian Gods, son of Atum-Ra and brother of Shu.
- Zehuti is Thoth, the god of wisdom and time and son of Shu.
- Aton is the name of the one true God proposed by Pharaoh Akhenaton, later merged into the worship of Horus the Younger, son of Osiris and Isis.
- Mehen is Mihos, the lion-god, son of Amon and Bast, the daughter of Osiris.
- Adam is currently wanted by various earth governments for crimes against humanity.
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