Black Adam: 15 Things You Must Know


The DC Extended Universe has a lot in store for us. Along with all the excitement for the "Justice League" film, DC comic fans also get to eagerly await the "Shazam" film, featuring the cinematic debut of Black Adam. There are many who wonder if such a film would see as much hype as "Dawn of Justice," or the more recent "Suicide Squad" films, owing to the fact that Shazam and Black Adam aren't exactly the most well known DC characters.

RELATED: Black Adam’s 15 Most Brutal Kills

However, they're just as awesome as more prominent DC characters. Black Adam, for instance, is a lot more complex than any villain we've seen so far in the DC films, so it'll be exciting to see him on the big screen. To help those of you who might be unfamiliar get as hyped up as we are for Black Adam, here are 15 things you have to know.

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With the DC universe going through a reboot of sorts with its "New 52" in 2011, Black Adam, along with most characters in the DC comic universe, saw a revamping of their origin stories. Originally, the man known as Teth-Adam was given the powers of Shazam in "The Marvel Family" #1; it corrupted him and he took over Egypt after snapping the neck of the reigning pharaoh. His new origin is a bit darker.

In the "New 52" series, Teth-Adam and his nephew are the only surviving members of their family, who were slaughtered under an oppressive regime in ancient Kahndaq, a fictional country in the DC Universe. His nephew, Aman, having received the powers of Shazam, saved Adam's life and enabled the two to escape. Aman, being just a young boy, was an idealist, and Adam didn't agree with how he planned to use his powers. So, Adam took the powers of Shazam for himself and killed his nephew. It's doubtful that we'll get a likeable Black Adam in the film either.



In both the original and "New 52" storylines, Black Adam becomes the protector of his home of Kahndaq after violently overthrowing an oppressive ruler. In "JSA" #56 (written by Geoff Jones, with artwork by Don Kramer, Keith Champagne and John Kalisz), we see him march into Kahndaq with the Justice Society, violently and literally crushing the dictator's forces. In "Justice League Vol 3" #7.4, Black Adam is resurrected (for a second time) by the people of Kahndaq and frees them from their dictator.

Despite his obvious menacing qualities, in both stories, he's shown to be a force of good for Kahndaq. It's definitely something that could be unique to Black Adam in regards to cinematic superheroes and villains. He often acts in the best interests of Kahndaq, a fact that could help balance his character out for movie-goers who may not be familiar with him and can't really see themselves rooting for a destructive Egyptian pantheon-empowered maniac. Just imagine a "Justice League" villain with that much to his background.



At this point, some of you might be wondering how Black Adam can just walk in and take over a nation. Unlike a lot of comic book characters, he wasn't involved in a freak lab accident and he wasn't experimented on. We cannot wait to see him show off his powers on film and that first transformation using the collective name of the gods that grant him such power: Shazam.

Shu, gifts him with unearthly stamina and unending life. Heru grants him the power of speed, which means he can match if not outdo many of DC's fastest, with the exception of the Flash. Amon gives him strength enough to match and sometimes best the likes of Superman. Zehuti offers Adam great wisdom and knowledge, including multiple languages and advice. Aton allows Adam to fly and wield the power of the lightning that charges him as a living weapon. Finally, Mehen protects and strengthens Adam's mind, gifting him with vast amounts of willpower and inner strength.



His godly powers aren't what make Black Adam unique. In fact, he's not even the only one with those powers. Billy Batson, also known as Shazam, calls down powers based on different gods -- those of the ancient Greek pantheon. They're very much equals, although one does have more experience than the other, just a few reasons why their battles are so entertaining. Every decent hero needs a worthy adversary and Black Adam has proven himself to be that perfect foe.

From their first fight in "The Marvel Family" #1 to battles of more epic proportions, as in the explosive end of the "World War III" storyline in "52" #50 (written by Geoff Jones, illustrated by Keith Griffin and other skilled writers and artists), in which Shazam defeats Black Adam. The two titans have shown that they balance each other out, as is necessary among unearthly forces placed on Earth by powerful deities.



It's no surprise he's taken on some of DCs most powerful forces. He made the Man of Steel himself bleed in "Injustice Gods Among Us: Year 5" #29 (written by Brian Buccellato, with art by Xermanico and Rex Lokus); in fact, in the short film "Superman/Shazam: Return of Black Adam" (written by Michael Jelenic), as the title implies, it takes both Billy Batson and Superman to subdue Black Adam. "World War III" #1 (written by Keith Champagne, illustrated by Patrick Olliffe and Drew Geraci) has him completely destroying Martian Manhunter both physically and mentally, while "52" #44 showed us Black Adam taking on Azraeus, the horseman of Death.

You might think that that's really no big deal, but just know that Death returns and it takes Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman to take him down while Black Adam did it on his own, while the horseman had been empowered by the deaths of millions. That's just to give you some idea of how powerful Black Adam is so we know what to expect in the film. Anything less than a hard-hitting Kahndaqian protector who can't go toe-to-toe with Superman (or clones like Ultraman) would be disappointing to say the least.



Who is the man behind it all? Of course, anyone with those powers wouldn't fear going up against some of the greats, but take those away and what's left? Black Adam has proven that he's still a force to be reckoned with. There were a few times he'd lost access to his powers -- for example, at the end of "World War III" when Shazam cuts him off by changing the words he needs -- Adam is forced to trek across the globe as a mortal man, trying to resurrect his wife, Isis. He takes on an army, guts a Yeti and braves merciless environments all without the aid of the gods.

Even after Ultraman crushed his jaw in "Forever Evil" #3, Adam managed to persevere, going on to defeat the madman by moving the moon with the help of Sinestro. His tenacity and willpower are what make him impressive. He can be broken and stripped of everything that allowed him to rule, and still he'll keep going. There aren't a lot of film villains who display that kind of quality. It's enough to make him seem like a truly frightening character.



Adam and Sinestro became best buddies during that "Forever Evil" storyline, first bonding over pushing the moon out of the way in order to beat Ultraman (you didn't expect supervillain friendships to begin over drinks, did you?) and why not? They're both protectors who reign supreme using fear and powers and they both have their own comic series. The best display of their friendship is in "Sinestro" #21 (written by Cullen Bunn, illustrated by Martin Coccolo).

After saving the day (from something Sinestro unleashed), Sinestro gives Adam a yellow ring to show that he is a friend of the Sinestro Corps. In exchange, Adam kept Sinestro's dirty little secret and allowed the people of Earth to continue adoring the protector of Korugar. It's a pretty awesome friendship because they're both equally stuck on that blurred line between anti-hero and complete villain. You never know if they'll destroy everything together or help save the day... or both.



Black Adam doesn't shy away from bloodshed; in fact, he revels in it. As he told J'onn J'onzz in "World War III" #1, "I swim in an ocean of blood and do not drown beneath the waves." A lot of the time, it's because he's quick to anger and doesn't care for the world outside of Kahndaq. There are few moments in which he's shown any sort of respect for life. You can be sure that when he starts fighting someone, be they an enduring hero or sinister villain, there's bound to be blood. And it probably won't be his.

Just ask Psycho Pirate, whose face he completely obliterated, or the thugs from Intergang, who tried to bribe the ruler of Kahndaq. There's also the dozens left dead after Adam ripped their hearts out from their chests. It's an effective way of intimidating and discouraging those who would act against him or the nation of Kahndaq. After all, who'd want to mess with a country protected by someone who's willing to kill on a whim?



While he doesn't value life all that much, he respects it enough to despise those who threaten it in any way. It's why he takes such drastic steps to ensure bad guys don't return, no matter what their motives are. It's clear that he doesn't think what heroes like Superman, Wonder Woman or Batman are enough, which is why he gathered the press in "52" #3 and killed a small-time villain just to show everyone that he has zero tolerance for bad guys.

His staunch but skewed moral code is exactly what led him to kill his Nephew, who wanted to use the powers of Shazam to save the souls of their former oppressors, and it's what led him to hunt down and kill Kobra for his grieving friend, Atom Smasher. He's completely and utterly committed to ridding the world of people he deems evil. It doesn't matter how bad they are, it's all the same to him, which, again, not everyone agrees with.



With all this talk of superpowers, destruction, blood and cynicism, it's understandably difficult to picture Black Adam as anything close to being kind-hearted. Believe it or not, Black Adam was a family man, and we're not talking about the Marvel Family. With his beloved Isis (Adrianna Tomaz) and her brother, Osiris, Kahndaq had its own royal family of gods watching over it. Because of Isis, Adam became a much gentler man, respecting life a lot more than he once had. The world was better for it.

He'd do anything for his family, which is what drove him to destroy everything in sight when the horsemen of the apocalypse slaughtered Isis and Osiris in "52" #44 (written by Geoff Jones and others, illustrated by Eddy Barrows and more). It's clear that he loved nothing more than his family, and considering he seemed to feel next to nothing for anything in comparison before meeting them, you can imagine why the rampage that followed would be so immense that it would begin an epic storyline.



That devotion to his family was the reason the entire population of Bialya, numbering around two-million men, women and children, were killed in the madness of Black Adam's grief. That was unfortunately, even at the beginning of it all. After torturing Death, Adam discovered who ordered the hit on his family and it led him across the world. He battled dozens of heroes, each one falling and becoming just another broken body in a sea of them.

Eventually, he did find those responsible and it was revealed that the brutal deaths of Isis and Osiris were politically motivated, though those who ordered their deaths would soon regret having taken such drastic actions. The world had banded together to stop the destruction in what would be called "World War III," which pitted Black Adam against everyone in the world... and he really did put up a fight. It's a testament to how powerful a force he is and how the gods that empower him aren't blind to what he does; in fact, they support it.



By now, you probably get that Black Adam does terrible things, arguably for the right reasons (or some semblance of a right reason). He's a protector who does brutal things to ensure that a threat cannot return once it's been dealt with. He's proven himself to have heroic intentions by saving the world from those who would conquer it and enslave everyone. For example, as we briefly mentioned, in "Forever Evil" #7 (written by Geoff Jones, illustrated by David Finch, Richard Friend and Sonia Oback), he and Sinestro were the whole reason Ultraman met his defeat. When the heroes told the two that their criminal records had been wiped clean for their noble acts, they simply laughed and flew off.

He's liberated Kahndaq multiple times and helped the JSA beat Spectre and Johnny Sorrow in "JSA" #20 (written by Geoff Jones and David S. Goyer, artwork by Stephen Sadowski, Michael Blair and John Kalisz). His methods aren't something anyone wants to look back on or praise -- tearing a villain's head off isn't exactly inspiring, after all -- but no matter what you think of his methods, you can't deny that he gets the job done and has shown himself to be an effective savior.



Though it might seem as though someone like Black Adam is the kind of character only villains would really consider joining forces with, he's been welcomed quite a few times into heroic groups. In fact, it was the Justice Society that aided him in freeing Kahndaq in "JSA" #56. It's a group he still has close ties to, thanks to Atom Smasher, who has proven to be one of Black Adam's few but true friends.

Adam has also been a member of the Suicide Squad, which admittedly isn't heroic per se, but they do work for the greater good. It was in "Suicide Squad" #58 (written by John Ostrander and Kim Yale with artwork by Geof Isherwood, Tom McCraw and Robert Campanella) where he aided them in assaulting the island of Circe; or rather, they aided him, since he pretty much said that he wanted to use them as pawns. At least he was honest about it.

Those are both great examples of what he's like when it comes to those who surround him. It'll be interesting to see how the film adaptation of the characters works with or against the Justice League, especially with the Suicide Squad having been introduced.



This is why many of you are here. You heard that the Rock will be portraying the unpredictable Black Adam in the "Shazam" film and the "Black Adam" solo film that will follow. With his impressive set of muscles, he certainly looks like he could wield the power of ancient Egyptian gods. He also has a long list of action hero roles you could refer to if you wanted to get an idea of what he'd be like. You could also take a look at his career as a wrestler, since, as you know, Black Adam is a bit of a brawler... just a lot more devastatingly brutal than a wrestler would ever be expected to be.

He definitely seems enthusiastic about the character. When asked why he chose to play Black Adam as opposed to Shazam, Johnson said, " I just felt Black Adam was inherently more interesting to me because I felt there were more layers to Black Adam, starting out as a slave and then ultimately becoming the anti-hero who we enjoy today." He seems so committed already that he'll reportedly be producing the "Shazam" film, as well, which is slated for release in 2019.



Right now, there's very little information about those films, but Dwayne Johnson, who'll be producing at least one of them, has said that eventually Black Adam will face Superman and Batman. The films, developed by New Line Cinema, will be set in the DCEU, a shared universe. That being said, the tone will differ somewhat from that of "Dawn of Justice" or even "Suicide Squad," with Johnson also stating that there will be plenty of winking humor.

We know that "Shazam" will hit theatres before the release of the scheduled "Justice League 2," but as of yet, there hasn't been a set date for the premiere of "Black Adam." What does that mean for his role in the DCEU? Could he be the worthy Justice League foe they need or will he be their unlikely ally against a greater threat? Unfortunately, it looks like we'll just have to wait and see. Given the source material, there's a lot of potential here. There are few as complex and as thought-provoking as Black Adam, so let's hope the films do this awesome anti-hero justice.

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