Dwayne Johnson’s been promising for what feels like forever that his new DC Movie will flip the hierarchy of the DCEU on its head but who is Black Adam? Well, the answer’s slightly more confusing than you might expect.
The character’s been rebooted numerous times, had a lot of different powers, and has more origin stories than the UK’s had prime ministers. So we thought it would be useful for those looking to learn more about Black Adam to break down who he is in the DCEU, who is in the comics, and what exactly Black Adam’s powers are.
Who is Black Adam in the DCEU?
Black Adam was originally a slave from the city of Kahndaq known as Teth-Adam. While he was forced to serve the brutal King Anh-Kot, Adam found solace in his wife and son Hurut. One day, however, the Wizard chose Hurut to inherit the power of Shazam, and he used his new abilities to help the people of Kahndaq.
Furious Anh-Kot tried and failed to capture or kill Hurut, but the king had an awful idea. If he could not kill Hurut, he would kill those he loved. Anh-Kot had Hurut’s mother and father put to the sword, and in a desperate attempt to save them, the boy transferred his powers to Teth-Adam. This saved Adam’s life, but Hurut, now mortal, was killed by a rogue archer.
Incandescent with rage, Adam went on a rampage through the city, killing Anh-Kot in the process. However, this is not how the power of Shazam is supposed to be used, so the Wizard sealed Adam away.
5,000 years later, Adam is accidentally freed in the modern day by a group of criminals, led by a man known as Ishmael, who are hunting the Crown of Sabbac – a mystical crown that Anh-Kot wanted to get his greedy paws on. Adam then comes to blows with the Justice Society, whom Amanda Waller has sent, but they quickly realise they’re on the same side and need to stop Ishmael.
Unfortunately, they’re a bit late, and Adam becomes unstable, allowing Ishmael to transform into a demon using the crown of Sabbac. Devastated that he’s let down the people of Kahndaq, Adam agrees to be imprisoned but snaps out of his funk when he realises the danger Sabbac poses. In the end, with the help of the Justice Society, Adam manages to defeat the demon, and then he meets Superman… Which something, I guess?
Who is Black Adam in the comicbooks?
Adam has two separate origins. The first comes from Fawcett comics and sees Teth-Adam become the Black Adam when he speaks the magic words. Like the DCEU version, Mighty Adam is banished for 5,000 years after abusing his powers, only to return in the modern day.
He battles Shazam and is tricked into saying the magic word, transforming him back into Teth-Adam. Stripped of his powers, the now-mortal Adam ages millennia in mere minutes and is reduced to dust, never to darken the hero’s door again.
Writers at DC comic reintroduced Adam in the late ’90s with a new origin. Now Teth-Adam was the son of the Pharaoh Ramesses II, and he was gifted the power of Shazam after impressing the Wizard with his good deeds. Known as Mighty Adam, he served as Egypt’s defender until he came to believe his powers meant he should rule the kingdom.
Renamed Black Adam by the Wizard, he was stripped of his powers and imprisoned for thousands of years until greedy archaeologists freed him. Adam then became a thorn in the side of Shazam, battling him numerous times during his villainous career.
Through various retcons and reboots, Adam slowly changes into more of an antihero who protects the fictional country of Kahndaq from outside threats. Unlike other heroes, however, he’s a ruthless guardian who’s unafraid to kill those who might threaten his homeland.
What are Black Adam’s powers and abilities?
The power of Shazam empowers Black Adam, giving him the abilities of several ancient deities. By speaking his magic word, Adam gains several superpowers, giving him the equivalent abilities of Superman.
Adam can fly, is invulnerable, and possesses super-human strength. Adam also has the magical ability to control lightning. Besides his incredible powers, he’s also a great warrior and tactician.
Black Adam is released on October 21, 2022 and here’s how to watch Black Adam. For more from DC, check out our guide to the Joker 2 release date.