The 52 Steps: Week Sixteen

"My hair looks terrible." - Black Adam

Week Sixteen

Previously in 52...

Renee and The Question escaped from a prison in Kahndaq, while Booster Gold's attempt to redeem himself resulted in his death.

This Week's Key Players

Renee Montoya, The Question, Black Adam. Animal Man, Adam Strange and Starfire also appear.

Guest appearances

Isis and the Marvel Family.


The week begins with a pretty big proposal as Black Adam asks Isis to marry him and become the queen of Kahndaq. She agrees, and the entire country begins planning for the ceremony. The short version is that we get to see both sides of the bridal party as they prepare: Adam and Captain Marvel chat about Adam's plans for worldwide superpowers, while Isis and Mary Marvel talk about Adam and all the changes he's gone through recently. It's at this time that we also learn that Captain Marvel will officiate the wedding proceedings. The wedding is, simply put, a great bit of splendor, as Cap asks the gods Shazam to bless the union, with the approval of the gods granted by bolts of lightning. Following the wedding, Adam and Isis head into their honeymoon night, planning on returning to the search for Isis' lost brother tomorrow.

The second half of our week focuses on Renee and The Question, who are hiding out in a shipping container sent to them by Vic's friend, Aristotle. While there, they try to decide what their next move shall be, only to have Renee come up with a startling revelation: all the rat poison they found had been planned for bombs (since rat poison stops blood from clotting, shrapnel covered in it causes victims of a bomb to bleed out faster). With the wedding almost upon them, they realize that, though Adam and Isis are nigh-invincible, the crowd is not… what better way for Intergang to pay back Adam for rousting them from his country than destroying his people? The hunt is on, and Renee and The Question finally discover the bomber: a lone young woman. Renee is forced to shoot the girl before she kills the crowd at the wedding, and as Renee shoots, the shot is drowned out by the lightning of Shazam that blesses the marriage taking place in the skies above.

Meanwhile, out in space, Adam Strange, Starfire and Animal Man finally blast off in an attempt to return home.

Lastly, this week's origin features the newlywed Black Adam, as explained by Mark Waid with JG Jones on the art assist.

Justin's Thoughts and Concerns

  • Black Adam worrying about his hair and the bloodstains on his cape. Priceless.
  • I don't remember Vic's no-face mask covering his ears, do you? Just a thought.
  • Time slowing down on the far side of the universe? Not cool. Though it is interesting that we now have a clock for those three in the upper corner.

Crisis Continuity with Brian Eason

Since Black Adam made up the lion's share of the issue (including the backup feature) I think it's probably a good idea to look at his out of continuity history.

Black Adam was created in 1945 for the first issue of 'The Marvel Family' (Fawcett Comics). He was created by science fiction (and comic book) author Otto Binder and Captain Marvel creator C.C. Beck as an evil version of the big red cheese.

FAWCETT CONTINUITY - The original version of Black Adam was an ancient Egyptian prince named Teth-Adam, who was chosen by the wizard Shazam to be his successor. Teth-Adam became corrupt and overthrew the Pharaoh. Shazam became angry with Teth-Adam and changed his name to Black Adam and banished him to "the most distant star in the universe." Adam spent the 5000 years trying to get back to Earth and finally makes it in 1945. Their he confronts the Marvel Family. Since the whole group are impervious to damage, the fight goes on until Uncle Marvel (I kid you not) tricks Adam into saying Shazam. He turns back into a 5000 year old Teth-Adam and withers to dust as a result of extreme old age.

PRE-CRISIS - When DC purchased the Fawcett library and launched the Shazam! title in the 1970's, the writers could not pass up bringing back Black Adam and Dr. Sivana resurrected him in issue #28 of the title. This was also when DC changed what SHAZAM meant for Black Adam (in the original appearance it stood for the same Graeco-Roman-Hebrew characters that Captain Marvel called on): Shu (stamina), Hershef (strength), Amon (power), Zehuti (wisdom), Anpu (speed), and Menthu (courage).

POST CRISIS - In 1994 Black Adam came back in the 'Power of Shazam!' graphic novel. In his revised origin, Adam is the son of Pharaoh Ramses II. Shazam took the young prince and made him 'Mighty Adam'. Mighty Adam is the hero of the ancient world until he becomes corrupted by the wiles of Shazam's daughter Blaze.

Now, we finally arrive that the current origin where Theo Adam, an evil descendant of Black Adam, unearths Adam's scarab and reawakens Black Adam into the world.

As a side note, Black Adam is the member of the Marvel family that has been most fully integrated into the DC universe. It has been established that he was friends with the ancient Pharaoh Khufu and his wife Chay-Ara (Hawkman and Hawkgirl) and the Lord of Order, Nabu (Dr. Fate) as well as joining the JSA and villainous 'Society' and, of course, playing a major part in 52.


I still have trouble believing that the space-faring heroes will make it back anytime soon, and that pic of Lobo on next week's cover is certainly some aid to that. And I'm thinking that Renee's actions during the wedding ceremony might help her and Vic out of the spot they're in. Or they'll be executed for killing a Kahndaqi citizen. You never can tell anymore.

The Daily Planet

At www.52thecomic.com, it looks like there are several new articles up, including a report on the attempted bombing during the royal wedding and some notes about Supernova and Booster Gold. Biographies and the previous "History of the DCU" features are also available.

Panel of the Week

A blessed union, though I still I have my worries…


Steve Rude's Detective Comics Cover is An Emotional Memorial to [SPOILER]

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