Supervillain Origins: Black Adam

This character’s origins began in Ancient Egypt, where a wizard named Shazam took notice of a proud and skilled warrior, Teth-Adam. Shazam blessed Teth-Adam with the strengths of 6 Gods to help him protect his land and renamed him Mighty Adam. It was a name he lived up to until he became so corrupt with power that he overthrew the Pharaoh and took over his city with fear and violence. Shazam, unable to retract the powers he regretted giving, could only banish this newly named "Black-Adam" to the farthest star. But it wasn't far enough, because Black Adam returned. He flew for 5000 years to seek his vengeance. Join WatchMojo.com as we will explore the comic book origins of Black Adam. Special thanks to our user Lalaxbo, Drew Pennington, Josip Crep, ibriers1, Monta Wolfshade, Tristan Brown, PopularNobody, Oscar Fernandez, aldqbigsquare, eddiebear, Captainshazaam, reecedesmond71, Janine Mastrokalos, Nick Warrick, TheSkitifyChannel, Margaret Rd, cop123, Mike Atcherson, KILLABAZINGA708, dylan ryan and Applesmart for submitting the idea on our WatchMojo.comsuggest page!
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*Written by Akil Goin

Supervillain Origins: Black Adam


Meet the Black Sheep of Captain Marvel’s Family. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we will explore the comic book origins of Black Adam.

As with most comic book characters, there are often re-imaginations and different versions to a character’s past. We have chosen to primarily follow the storyline, which unfolded in 1945's Marvel Family #1, and was expanded upon in 1977's Shazam #28 and 1987's Shazam! The New Beginning.

This character’s origins began in Ancient Egypt, where a wizard named Shazam took notice of a proud and skilled warrior, Teth-Adam. Shazam blessed Teth-Adam with the strengths of 6 Gods to help him protect his land and renamed him Mighty Adam. It was a name he lived up to until he became so corrupt with power that he overthrew the Pharaoh and took over his city with fear and violence. Shazam, unable to retract the powers he regretted giving, could only banish this newly named "Black-Adam" to the farthest star. But it wasn't far enough, because Black Adam returned. He flew for 5000 years to seek his vengeance.

Empowering Teth-Adam was the mistake that prompted Shazam to bestow similar powers unto someone young and pure of heart like Billy Batson, who became known as Captain Marvel. Shazam also granted similar powers to Billy’s sister Mary, his Uncle Dudley and his friend Freddy, creating the Marvel Family, all of them with the powers of Solomon's Wisdom, Hercules' Strength, Atlas's stamina, Zeus' Power, Achilles' Courage and Mercury's speed, which spells out the SHAZAM acronym nicely. You could say that Black Adam was Shazam's failed prototype of Captain Marvel, which always makes for a great villain.

Eventually, the entire marvel family challenged Black Adam in the wizards lair, and defeated him by tricking him into saying the magic word Shazam! which reverts him back to his powerless Teth-Adam self. Since Teth-Adam is a 5000 year old man, he quickly ages his years’ worth and dies. But this was not his last appearance

In 1977’s Shazam #28, mad Scientist Dr Sivana resurrects Black Adam with a reincarnation machine. Around this time, Billy asks the Wizard Shazam a good question: how did Black Adam get the powers of greek gods that didn't exist 5000 years ago? It’s explained that Black Adam's powers come from ancient Gods Shu, Hershef, Amon, Zehuti, Anpu and Menthu, so that the SHAZAM acronym conveniently still holds true.

In the 1987 reimaging of Black Adam's origins through Shazam! The New Beginning, it’s implied that the creation of Captain Marvel is specifically to confront the danger of Black Adam. In this Captain Marvel origin story, Dr Sivana is Billy's estranged uncle, who used the inheritance of Billy's recently deceased parents to fund the bringing of Black Adam back from interstellar exile.

In these new appearances, Black Adam is sometimes drawn with pointed ears, but the presence of this feature varies depending on the artist in question.

Some of the more recent origin revisions for Black Adam introduced a distant Teth-Adam relative named Theo-Adam. In these stories, Black Adam was imprisoned in a scarab instead of being banished to space, and Theo-Adam is instrumental in his escape. The existence of the Marvel Family has also since been restored in these revisions.

Black Adam, empowered and invulnerable as he is, proves a worthy match for the DC powerhouses houses like Superman. In one story, the entire Justice Society of America could not even bring Black Adam down without taking a trip back in time to use the source of his powers against him. There have been issues where BlackAdam has “gone good” and helped others fight for Justice, but he is rarely trusted by his new allies or readers alike.

Aside from Comics, Black Adam has appeared in various animated series including "Batman: The Brave and the Bold", "The Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam!", and the Shazam/Superman crossover film "DC Showcase: Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam" (2010).

Are you a fan of the Captain Marvel’s greatest foe? For more interesting comic book origins, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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