Adam was born to the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II in the neighboring (fictional) land of Kahndaq. While there are contradictory accounts of the circumstances of Black Adamâs early history, certain elements are consistent:
While serving as high priest to Ramses II, the wizard Shazam sought a successor to his godly powers. Impressed with his virtue and martial heroism, he chose Adam. Having determined to make Adam his successor, Shazamâs intentions were altered by the intervention of his half-demonic daughter Blaze. Blaze struck a bargain with the god Set so that when Adam speaks the word âShazam,â instead of becoming the avatar of the wizardâs deific patrons, he becomes the avatar of the Egyptian gods Shu, Heru, Amon, Zehuti, Aton, and Mehen.
“Teth-Adam” (Mighty Adam) then served the Egyptian Pharaoh as his champion for many years. At one point, a time-traveling adventure of the Justice Society showed him in service to Prince Khufu (an early reincarnation of Hawkman) alongside the wizard Nabu. This service however, drew him away from his family and home country of Kahndaq, which was attacked in his absence, resulting in the murder of his family and the devastation of his people. The attack was carried out by a rogue priest who used the Orb of Ra to give himself Metamorpho-like powers, and plotted conquest in league with the immortal Vandal Savage. With the assistance of the time-traveling members of the Justice Society of America, the two villains were eventually defeated. Captain Marvel, interacting with his predecessor prior to his fall from grace, was both impressed by the valor and nobility of Adam, and disturbed by the bloody vengeance he exacted upon the murderer of his family.
Though he went on to serve the pharaoh of Egypt for hundreds of years thereafter, Teth-Adam eventually fell from the good graces of Shazam. This happened either because Adam became dictatorial towards Kahndaq, he became corrupted and homicidal by his powers, or the wizard believed he was plotting conquest with Blaze. Henceforth, the wizard referred to him as “Khem” (or “Black”) Adam. In any event, Shazam somehow magically transposed Teth-Adamâs powers (and apparently Teth-Adamâs spirit) into a mystical scarab amulet, where they remained for thousands of years. Having been unnaturally supported past his normal lifespan, Adamâs body disintegrated. Made cautious by this failure, Shazam does not empower another champion until modern times when Billy Batson was made into Captain Marvel.
The scarab amulet found its way into the tomb of Ramses II and remained there until an archeological expedition financed by Dr. Sivana served as the vehicle for fateâs intercession. Billy Batsonâs father C.C. Batson led the expedition and discovered the amulet along with his wife Marylyn and assistant Theo Adam. Becoming immediately obsessed with the amulet, the unscrupulous assistant killed the Batson’s to claim it for himself. Theo Adam discovered he was a descendant of Black Adam and learned to speak the magic word that bestowed upon him the powers of Black Adam, and eventually released the ancient warriorâs spirit. Recognizing Captain Marvelâs resemblance to C.C. Batson, the empowered Theo Adam revealed himself as the murderer of Billyâs parents, and the two battled. Marvel achieved victory by snatching away the scarab from Theo and took him to the wizard Shazam who removed his memory and voice.
This solution proved short-lived, however, as Shazamâs daughter Blaze again intervened and restored Theoâs faculties and thereby his powers. Holding the soul of his sister hostage in hell, she coerced Theo to serve her in a plot against the wizard. When her brother Satanus interfered and released his sisterâs soul, Black Adam turns on Blaze and she was defeated by the wizard. Theo/Teth-Adam was then sent to a far-flung part of the cosmos. He eventually returned and claimed to be free of the influence of Theo.
Hereafter there is confusion as to whether Black Adamâs real persona is Theo or Teth-Adam. His next appearance showed him acting irrationally and violently, and opposed by the Justice Society, who were only able to stop him by bringing lightning from ancient Egypt to the present and transforming Adam back to mortal form. From that point on, the mortal form Black Adam transmogrifies to is that of Teth in his prime, and he appears to be the sole personality involved. He claimed to have been once again temporarily under the influence of Theo when he made a deal with Johnny Sorrow to remove a brain tumor from Theo in return for his joining the Injustice Society. Black Adam then claimed to be free of Theo. He joined the Society against Sorrow and they triumphed. Applying for membership in the Justice Society, Adam was accepted as a probationary member. However, there was a great deal of suspicion of him, particularly from Atom Smasher, who was openly hostile, and Captain Marvel, who also joins to keep an eye on Adam.
After multiple adventures with the Justice Society, Adam became discontent with what he felt was the Societyâs ineffectual and reactive approach to evil-doers. Black Adam is shown to be a proud and stern champion from another, more brutal age. He is portrayed very much as a sort of Nietzschean anti-hero, who does not hesitate to follow his own concepts of justice, whether or not they are in conflict with those of others. Having gradually won the friendship and respect of Atom Smasher, Black Adam recruited him along with a few other powered individuals to take a proactive, and decidedly bloody, approach to fighting injustice. This group included a Mister Mind-controlled Brainwave Jr., a devolved Northwind and his Feitherean tribe, Eclipso II, and Nemesis. One of their first targets was Kobra, who Adam passed sentence on by ripping his heart out. The group went on to dispatch the repressive regime of Adamâs homeland Kahndaq, and when the JSA arrived to oppose him, they found him universally hailed as a liberator and savior. The JSA then decided to leave Adam unchallenged as Kahndaqâs ruler, as long as he stayed within its borders. Adam had a few small appearances then and there.
Major Story Arcs
Adam cared little for their ultimatums, however, and in the series âVillains Unitedâ was temporarily recruited into a new Secret Society by a pre-crisis Alexander Luthor Jr. masquerading as Lex Luthor. The alliance was purely a result of Adam being coerced by a perceived threat to the people of Kahndaq. Often disgusted by his unwanted cohorts, Teth was manipulated into a conflict with Superman by the mind-controlling Dr. Psycho. While Superman stated to himself that he would not hold back with Adam, he appeared to be able to neither restrain nor damage Teth during the fight. Regretful at having to combat a being he considered so noble, Adam simply turned his back on an impending Moon-shattering blow from the Kryptonian. This gave Superman pause, and faced with the threat of mass suicide of Metropolis citizens by Dr. Psycho, Superman does not attempt to delay Adamâs and Dr. Psycho’s departure. Black Adam was eventually betrayed by his villainous allies when it was revealed that Alex Luthor intended to use him as a mystical battery in his plot to manipulate the fabric of reality. Adam turned against the villains and battled Superboy Prime momentarily, though neither damaged the other. Psycho-Pirate was summarily decapitated by Adam. He then joined the other heroes in a battle royale and performed the astounding feat of tearing the head off of Amazo.
In â52â, Black Adam remained Kahndaqâs ruler and protector, and appeared to continue to receive the adoration of the populace. Appearing to harden further, he undertook a vicious program on the supervillains he encountered, going so far as to rip a minor villain in half in front of an aghast Lois Lane and other members of the press corps while hovering over Metropolis. He also showed a no-tolerance policy towards all Meta-humans, including the JSA, who violate Kahndaq air space. Moreover, he began to build a coalition of national powers hostile to the perceived threat of the U.S.-powered community, called the Freedom of Power Treaty. He is courted by representatives of Intergang, who offer him the gift of a beautiful young woman named Adrianna whom they have abducted and enslaved. Disgusted and outraged, Black Adam slaughtered them where they stood.
Offered sanctuary, Adrianna soon infuriated Adam by fearlessly criticizing the angry and hostile nature of his actions. With remarkable insight, she was able to show him that the source of his rage was the loss of his wife and children in ancient Kahndaq. She revealed to him her own painful past and how she and her brother were abducted by
Intergang. A close bond grew between them, and Adrianna swayed Adam to change his hostile ways and begin to use his powers in a gentler and more productive fashion. The two fell in love, and Teth used the wisdom of Zehuti and a powerful magical artifact concealed within the very scarab that Shazam had imprisoned him in to empower Adrianna with the power of Isis at the Rock of Eternity. The two sought out Isisâs brother, Amon, and they found him on deathâs door after a failed escape attempt from Intergang. His wounds too grievous for even Isis to heal, Amon was saved by Black Adam, who gifted him with a portion of his power even as Captain Marvel had done for Freddy Freeman. Taking the name of Osiris, he became the third member of a new Black Marvel family.
Isis and Black Adam were married with the Marvels in attendance. Osiris briefly joined the Teen Titans. He miscalculated the durability of the Persuader and gorily dispatched him to save his sister Isis when the three were attacked by the Suicide Squad. The scenario was a setup, and the video footage of the killing was used to discredit the Black Marvels. Osiris befriended Sobek, a large shy talking mutant crocodile the Black Marvel family rescued while visiting Beautia Sivana. This too was a setup, however, and Sobek tricked a despondent Osiris into transforming to his mortal form. Sobek then devoured Osiris/Amon, and thereby revealed himself to be Famine (Yuurd the Unknown), a member of four superpowered creatures created by the Science Squad as part of a treacherous attack by Intergang. Isis was killed in the fight with the remaining Horsemen, and with her dying breath, she teleported Death away and had Adam to avenge her and Osiris. Black Adam was then endowed with the powers of Isis, adding the power of an additional god to his power set.
Having slain the other three Horsemen, Black Adam tracked Death to Bialya, whose government participated in the attack on the Black Marvels. The maddened Adam tortured Death until he revealed all he knew of the plot, and then in a fit of Luciferian rage, killed every citizen of Bialya.
His lust for vengeance unabated, Black Adam raced to the island where the mad scientistâs coalition that created the Horsemen were headquartered. Accosted by the U.S. military, Adam demonstrated his displeasure by lobbing an aircraft carrier towards a major U.S. city (it is intercepted by Firestorm). Prepared for him however, T.O. Morrow utilized a device that effectively teleported an astronomical event into the skull of the enraged juggernaut, stunning him and allowing him to be captured. He was tortured for weeks by the cabal of brilliant madmen with the intent of eventually selling him as a weapon. The JSA intervened, however, and freed Adam. Learning that it was his former superpowered allies in China who enlisted the scientists because of his abandonment of the Freedom of Power Treaty, Adam bolted away to unleash his vengeance upon the Chinese.
Attempting to intercept him, the brave but outclassed Teen Titans were badly beaten by Black Adam, whose all-consuming rage at the loss of yet another family has put him beyond temperance or mercy. Two Titans, Young Frankenstein and Terra, were slain. The Martian Manhunter, one of the few beings to match Adam in power on earth, attempted to subdue him psychically but is himself driven temporarily catatonic. Black Adam single-handedly killed the most powerful superhumans in China before the Chinese acquiesced to let the American superhumans intervene on their soil. In a stunning display of power and ferocity, Black Adam then went on to stand alone against a conglomeration of some of Earthâs most powerful beings, including multiple Green Lanterns, Firestorm, Supergirl, Martian Manhunter, the Marvel Family, the remaining Teen Titans, the JSA, and many others. Attempting to win the intercession of the gods who empower Adam, Captain Marvel was instead violently repulsed by them from their plane of existence. Acting in concert with other powerful magic-users, Marvel (now the guardian of the Rock of Eternity) was able to transform Adam to his mortal form and change the Word so that Adam could not regain his link to the Egyptian pantheon that empowers him. Captain Marvel told him it was a word Adam will never guess. Teth escaped the fray and is shown wandering the Middle East muttering various random words in the hope of regaining his powers.
In Black Adam: The Dark Age, a de-powered Adam went to extraordinary lengths to bring his dead love Isis back to life. Assisted by a fanatically devoted cadre of countrymen, Adam first had them beat him until he was unrecognizable, then led the group to recover the bones of Isis in Kahndaq. Hunted by the worldâs superheroes and many other enemies, Adam eluded pursuit and brought the bones of Isis to a Lazarus Pit. Adam endured incredible hardship and was forced to disembowel a Yeti in single combat, and to cannibalize his last remaining comrade. Because the corpse was missing a finger however, he was unsuccessful at reviving her. He then made his way to the Tower of Doctor Fate, where he encountered an imprisoned Felix Faust. Striking a deal with Faust, Adam set out to recover the missing pieces of Isisâs amulet. Through the magic of Faust, Adam was granted his powers by leaching the residual magic from Isisâs bones, though Faust warned him that this could eventually prevent her resurrection if overused. Along the way, Adam visited Fawcett City and ordered a Chocolate Egg Creme and discovered that Captain Marvel had in fact changed the magic word to âChocolate Egg Cream.â Though he was successful at recovering the amulet, Faust tricked Adam into believing the resurrection was unsuccessful. Teth flew off in despair as Felix Faust escaped the tower with an ensorcelled Isis.
Mary Marvel next encountered Black Adam at the Kahdaq embassy in âCountdown #49.â The deserted embassy was littered with the corpses of those who had wandered in on Adamâs grief-induced madness. Having been de-powered, she felt drawn to the place by inner promptings. The embassy was in a bad neighborhood and she was chased into the embassy by hoodlums intent on victimizing her. Adam swiftly killed them. He appeared about to kill her too, even after he recognized who she was. They argued over whether the powers were a curse or a blessing. Adam then transferred all of his powers to her. As he left the scene in his ancient Egyptian mortal form, Teth told the newly black Mary Marvel to tell Billy “Sorry.”
Black Adam appeared in Final Crisis. Black Adam was part of the remaining group of superheroes who fought against the occupation of Darkseid on Earth (Black Adam was convinced by Captain Marvel to join the Resistance). Black Adam confronted Mary Marvel. She headed off to battle Supergirl but was interrupted by Black Adam. During the battle, he intended to kill Mary, but was stopped by Captain Marvel (she was now under Darkseid’s control and not truly Mary anymore) Mary defeated Black Adam and then began to beat Captain Marvel.
Justice Society of America
Black Adam was not left powerless. With his powers returned, he followed a trail of flowers to where Felix Faust has been keeping a resurrected Isis. Black Adam freed her. However, Isis was vengeful and wanted to wipe humanity off the face of the Earth. Mary Marvel, still corrupted by power, worked with them. She forced Billy to take some of Black Adam’s power, corrupting him as well. The Justice Society and the wizard Shazam tried to stop them. He convinced Black Adam to return to Teth-Adam, which also de-powered Mary, Billy, and Isis. Shazam then turned Black Adam and Isis into statues and refused to return Captain Marvel and Mary’s powers.
A resurrected Osiris brought the statues to Kahndaq.
Life before Eternity
Before becoming a champion of The Wizard, Teth Adam had lived the harsh painful life of a slave in the barbarian-ruled Egyptian nations of Kahndaq. The very homeland his benefactor fled from when he was still a mortal mystic practitioner; he, his young nephew Aman and their family were led to live harsh painful lives slaving away under the Mongol horde of the tyrannic Ibac The First. After somehow escaping his captivity Adam managed to subdue his nephew’s slaver master and rescue the boy only to mournfully disclose to him he was unable to save his father or mother; Adam’s sister. Just as they made their escape Teth had been mortally wounded and was bleeding out, he begged his nephew to leave him behind to save himself but the kindly lad refused saying they would escape together.
As they were about to be run into the ground by the slave masters, Teth Adam and young Aman were whisked away but mystic forces to the Rock of Eternity where its ruling council of god mystics deemed his nephew worthy of the powers that be as Magics Champion. The boy would only accept this honor so long as they saved his dying uncle who still suffered from critical injuries. As the two were instructed both Aman and his uncle spoke the magic words and were magically transported back to Kandaq, with Teth’s injuries mystically healed. Adam still resentful and vindictive towards Ibac and his men for the tortuous lives he and his family lived; moved to exact hideous revenge by killing them all as champions of magic. Yet the only living relative left beside him chose another path, opting not to peruse salvation through hatred but through kindness, opting his uncle to preempt the magic lightning when they both spoke the word as he snapped Aman’s neck to claim his share of the power. Over the next few years of the warlord’s cruel reign, Black Adam struck with incredible fury electrocuting most of Ibac’s men where they stood, after having bested him and his armies the defiant overlord challenged Adam to single combat with predictable results.
The cowering ex-king threatened Adam he was still lord of this land and that he could arrange for him only for the avenging champion to curse him frozen in stone with but a word. The years that followed while involving lording over Kahndaq as its protectorate as he promised, eventually becoming a pharaoh of his own province who destroyed and all invading forces who threatened it and its people; remain mostly a mystery save that the council eventually discovered his treachery in the death of their rightful champion and did battle with him losing most of they’re member in the conflict of locking him away for nearly five millennia.
Later in the modern era Dr. Sivana sought out Black Adam’s tomb and eventually managed to awaken the villain by speaking the word “Shazam” after he had been accidentally enchanted by magic. Adam arose and immediately looked for the Wizard after having killed one of two survivors from the collapse of his tomb noting the good doctor could understand him. Sivana takes Black Adam to a city and shows him how civilization has advanced in the long passage of time he’s been gone, assuming the wizard’s promise of hiding magic from the world had come to pass. He wonders what lives these sad people live and why an angry mob stands outside a building when Sivana states they’re protesting due to loss of they’re livelihood, Black Adam states that he sees no difference in this modern age as pharaohs still live off slaves, he pulls a man named Mr. Gray from his penthouse office and drops him 40 stories or more for taking the worker’s pensions on Christmas Eve sending the angry mob situated outside his building complex into a panic.
Bewildered by how and why they flee in terror of the one who freed them he assimilates the English tongue from the doctor with his powers as cops show up, opting for Dr. Sivana to suggest they leave. Heeding his advice the two soon head to The Rock of Eternity when the former champion smashes a hole into the street stating the cornerstone of magic only appears when one is underground. Marveling at the wonders unfolding before him Sivana double’s over in pain as his fingers slowly shrink and crumple, his body unable to handle the magic afflicting him very well, with Adam taking note of this. Due in part to his ability to see and sense magic, Sivana is not enchanted to resist its power, the former warning that if not treated will cause him to slowly, painfully wither away bit by bit. Black Adam goes onto say there is a cure within the chambers of his humble abode only for the rock to reject the evil champion. Black Adam realizes The Wizard has bestowed his power to a new champion while seeing the prone Wizard laying inert in front of his throne, his life force all but flicking in and out like a candle. With this new knowledge in mind Black Adam sets out to locate and release the Seven Deadly Sins to help him unmake and rebuild the world, eventually finding and recruiting a hosting Sloth who the wizard imprisoned outside the rock without their memories since he couldn’t drag him or his siblings back to imprison them. When he tells him he wants to tear down the current societies cities and rebuild them his way; Sloth, while initially weary of Adam remembering him to be an enemy, all but gleefully agrees to his former adversaries terms upon hearing his offer.
After having sent Dr. Sivana and Sloth to find and set free another of the sins; Pride, Black Adam himself proceeds to find the New Champion, eventually coming into conflict with him as they rip through a city block stationed near a shopping mall, eventually Billy shifts from his empowered state to hide from Adam who goes on a rampage in search of his usurper tearing apart Fawcett City, Philadelphia in the process; leaving the others to find the rest of their siblings. Soon Doctor Sivana returns with the rest of the sins and Adam sets out to move with his plan to end the world and the new champion along with it, Aligned with the seven and Sivana Adam orders them to find the champion. After Billy presents himself to Adam; who was surprised to find a young boy to be the rival to his position, hoping to calm the errant former slave turned magic empowered by sitting down and talking about this only to provoke him with his failed reasoning. Black Adam denounces the boy as foolish showing him how far he’d go in order to save the world from those who would enslave, revealing what billy failed to glimpse while Francesca showed him Adam’s past, where he crushed his own nephew’s neck in order to take his power to do just that. During his battle with Captain Marvel, where the rest of his adopted family runs a garbage truck into him.
Adam recuperates just as Billy transforms holding Freddie Freeman and Mary by their throats while Darla, Pedro, and Eugene sit beneath his boot. Adam can feel the tether that binds billy to his foster family no matter how faint it is wondering, knowingly; whether he cares for them or not. He then signals the bickering Sins who leave a decaying Sivana behind to find and possess the most rotten soul within the area. When they find the ideal host in Mr. Bryer he senses his transformation into the monstrous Sabbac and begins to threaten billy with the lives of his siblings to surrender the power or he’ll destroy everything. To affirm his promises Adam moves to snap Freddy’s neck when he shouts at Billy not to comply, SHAZAM moves to cede his power to him yet is unknowing as to how to do so. Black Adam says their connection to the living lightning also binds them as the ties of a family would and he can transfer his power to him by speaking the magic word, as Adam demands Billy surrender his power to him Shazam, remembering that family is what it can not should be, instead imbues a portion of said power to his new family; as the lightning clears after the spell Billy cast dissipates Adam says he feels no different. Then another voice behind him says the opposite as he turns to see that his rival instead gave his foster brothers and sisters their own powers, costumes and physical appearances similar to his and Billy’s own. Enraged by this Black Adam moves to attack only for the new Marvel Family to dog pile on him, wondering what to do next Freddy along with most of his family are knocked off by Adam, the former of which crashes into a snack vendor truck. Eventually catching one of them when he proclaims he’ll kill them all to reclaim his power if he has too only to be knocked back by both Billy and Mary. Catching Billy unawares as the rest of the family battles the host of Adam’s Seven Deadly Sins. Adam reiterates how he’ll save the world from those who rule it cementing his belief by saying Billy’s too young to understand, knocking him into the zoo where Tawny the Tiger sits.
Black Adam is attacked by the beast only for him to swat it away, Billy seeing this enchants him enlarging the beast to monolithic proportions enabling it to wound him but also disrupting the spells SHAZAM already cast depowering his friends as well as weakening himself Adam stating he enchanted his animal avatar incorrectly. Still holding the upper hand Billy reverts back to himself stating that Adam is no hero if nothing less than what he strove and fought against; another bully. Denouncing his claims as the foolish defiance of youth he was compelled to revert back to Teth Adam when the latter told him he’s attacking and fighting children like the nephew he killed and calling himself a hero for it. Adam tries to reaffirm himself as he does only to wince in pain as Billy notes he hasn’t changed back since he first transformed causing him to rapidly age into dust as a result of staying as Black Adam for several thousand years. As Teth Adam crumbles away to nothing Billy resumes his Shazam form and scares away the seven sins who take off to parts unknown as the now naked Mr. Bryer is left out in front of the school at the gawking and laughter of all it’s denizens who retreated there.
Requiem and Resurrection
Feeling some pity for the villain despite his misguided ways Billy transforms into SHAZAM and takes the ashes of Black Adam for a final resting place in Kahndaq. The Kahndaqian army attacks SHAZAM thinking him a foreign invader and the urn with his ashes in it are destroyed, scattering his remains to the countless desert winds. Not long after the Trinity War however Black Adam is brought back to life when rebels fighting against the oppressive US represented regime; it’s figurehead taking the name of Kandaq’s worst oppressor; Ibac, use a page from an ancient Egyptian textile from the book of the dead to resurrect him. When a young woman‘s younger brother is shot dead while reading the parchment for adam’s revival and empowerment by Shu, Horus, Amun, Zehuti, Aten and Mehen of the Egyptian pantheon; she finishes her brother’s resurrection spell which calls on him to return to the living as Khandaq’s champion once more in a clash of thunder and lightning.
Enraged when a disbelieving Kandaqi general shoots him in the head, Black Adam immediately dismantles the small army group of tanks and jeeps killing every soldier within the ranks. Overjoyed at this the Sons of Adam pledge their allegiances to him at the be-haste he destroys their current monarch; but he refrains stating they are subject to no one as he flies off towards the palace. Taking the Throne-room by storm as he crushes two soldiers who convey the news to a scoffing ruler of unfolding events, whom is completely thrown aback by his arrival. Still disillusioned in believing that Black Adam is a myth told by his family through the generations his rant about the throne being his birthright is cut short when Adam crushes his windpipe, silencing him. Jesting to the cowering blood-stained despot as he picks up the throne handing it back to its former ruler by crushing him beneath it, sitting atop the rubble Black Adam reaffirms Kandaq no longer has a ruler but a protector once more just as the power goes out dimming all the lights. Then Adam sees the This World is Ours message on a tablet dropped by one of the soldiers, greatly angered Black Adam fry’s the tablet countering that the world belongs to no one.
He then flies to Metropolis and attacks Ultra Man. Ultraman gets Black Adam to fly out over the piers of Metropolis and with one punch knocks him out. His body was recovered from the bay by Black Manta who had chosen to align with Lex Luthor who managed to resuscitate him. His battle with Ultra Man took a toll on him leaving him unable to speak properly due to a broken jaw however despite this he chose to assist Luthor’s fledgling resistance, even in spite of differences in approach shared by him and Luthor.
Powers and Abilities
Black Adam is gifted with a panoply of powers that appear to correspond to and match, if not exceed, those of Captain Marvel. Essentially, he is gifted with six attributes of particular gods who are exemplars of them. He is as superhumanly strong, fast, durable, powerful, knowing, and as possessed of inner strength as six gods who are pinnacles of those qualities. These powers are both magical and divine in nature. They are magical insofar as it was the wizard Shazam who originally provided the link to the gods who empower Black Adam, but the powers themselves come directly from the six gods who lend their puissance to him. This is a significant distinction insofar as the gods seem to have shown reluctance to abandon their avatar, even when his magical patron would clearly rather have removed his gift. While the wizard was able to initially displace the powers into an amulet, this was clearly not sufficient to keep Adam from eventually reclaiming them. Nor was Shazam apparently able to repeat the feat in the modern age. Captain Marvel, having apparently inherited the wizard Shazamâs power after the Spectre slew him, was roughly rebuked when he sought the godsâ intercession with Black Adam during the events of 52. It took an impressive coalition of magic-users acting in concert with Marvel, and the simultaneous distraction of fighting a large contingent of the worldâs heroes, to change the Word and temporarily de-power the violent powerhouse.
The chief distinction between the power of Captain Marvel and that of Black Adam is that Adamâs powers are provided by the Egyptian, rather than the Greek, pantheon. Presumably, the two are nearly equal in power, though it is conceivable that one god might be more potent than another (an interesting note is that Solomon, Achilles, and Hercules – three of Marvelâs patrons, were originally at least half-mortal). Aside from the short-lived Black Marvel family, Black Adam does not share his power the way Billy does with Freddy, rendering him much more powerful in most situations. Therefore, any feat demonstrated by Captain Marvel should be at the very least duplicable by Adam. Teth even in mortal form shows remarkable ability to inspire his followers, even to their deaths, and was an able warrior before being given his abilities. Moreover, Adam has had centuries more experience with his powers than most super-beings, and is an accomplished and iron-willed combatant even without his powers. The powers granted to Black Adam are as follows:
With the Stamina of Shu, Black Adam is almost invulnerable. He does not require food, sleep, water, or oxygen in order to survive. At that, Adam is effectively tireless, having fought for straight weeks without fatigue during the events that revolved around World War III. He’s also remarkably resistant to magical attacks, having laughed off lightning from the Helmet of Fate, taken hits from full Starheart energy around an Nth metal mace, resisted a stream of magic from Isis (who Adam admitted was more powerful than him), and shrugged off a blast from Mary Marvel, who was amped by magic power of Klarion, Zatanna, the wizard Shazam, Isis, and himself at the time. Even when a specially prepared bullet made from the Rock of Eternity could puncture him, Adam dug it out with his fingers and healed almost immediately. Point being, Black Adam is only vulnerable to specific magic or the thunderbolt that transforms him. Otherwise, he’s virtually indestructible inside and out. As even more impressively, he managed to stay on his feet after being blasted with the power of every bomb, missile, and military weapon on Earth by an Apokoliptian Demi-God. Even internally, Black Adam is invulnerable. He withstood an object the size of a football field teleporting inside of him, and his counterpart Captain Marvel has withstood being literally turned inside out by a spatial tesseract bomb with zero ill effects!
Shu is the Egyptian god of the air, whose name means âhe who rises up.”
The Speed of Heru allows Black Adam to run, move, and fly at least Mach 500 in an atmosphere. He even approached light-speed with a time-traveling Jay Garrick in ancient Egypt, before his velocity was stolen. Captain Marvel has done the same alongside Wally West. In one account, Adam traveled from the farthest reaches of the cosmos to Earth in 5000 years (the universe is 156 billion light-years wide). Black Adam also has a habit of speedblitzing, having effectively blitzed the likes of Power Girl, Billy Batson, Hal Jordan, Onimar Synn, and a blood lusted Mary Marvel. His combat speed is just up to par, as shown when he brawled with Jay Garrick at super speed with such quickness that everyone around them became statues. During World War III, he was blitzing through literal hordes of heroes at once.
Heru is the Egyptian God of the Sky and victory personified.
The Strength of Amon is likely Black Adam’s strongest area. With such strength, he often disrupts speedsters with a simple thunderclap. Among other things, he’s matched Superman on two occasions, tossed an aircraft carrier (hundreds of thousands of tons) from the ocean to New York City without strain, and punched harder than the chicxulub asteroid. It was in fact stated by Superman himself that his punches have the impact of a small bomb with the volume of cannon blasts, and that was in a fight where Adam was holding back. During World War III, an enraged Black Adam mowed through Alan Scott, STRIPE, Steel, Natasha Irons, Dr. Light, Troy, Power Girl, Stargirl, MMH, Hawkgirl, Firestorm, Bulleteer, Plastic Man, Wonder Girl (with Wonder Woman’s equipment), Shining Knight, Aquagirl, Black Canary, Guy Gardner, John Stewart, Aurora, Geo-Force, Vixen, JT & the Thunderbolt, Fire, Jay Garrick, Hourman, Jesse Quick, Green Arrow, Atom Smasher, Guardian, Beast Boy, Sandman, Looker, Mr. Terrific, Nuklon, Offspring, Black Lightning, Arsenal, Wildcat, Metamorpho, and Dr. Midnight all at once. He even ripped off AMAZO’s head, who had been in his strongest version yet. With his brute strength alone, he was able to defeat Lord Marvel – an extremely powerful magician and Captain Marvel’s greatest form yet. In like manner, he broke Power Girl simply by throwing her.
Amon (or Amun-Ra) is considered the king of the Egyptian gods, a God of Virility, and the âbreath of life.’
The Wisdom of Zehuti gives Adam access to godly level of knowledge, magical and mundane. He simply âknowsâ appropriate knowledge for a situation, and be counseled as to the best course of action. This was shown clearly when Adam knew of Wonder Woman’s birthplace, as well as when Adam was able to read Captain Marvel’s thoughts. Adam has voiced distrust for the voices of the gods to Captain Marvel. Adamâs gods have also expressed approval for his more brutal actions in â52â, which appears to be very different than the stance of Captain Marvelâs patrons. Black Adamâs senses are phenomenally sharp as well, able to smell sweat and hear blinking.
Zehuti, or Thoth, is the Egyptian God of Magic and Writing, whose magical powers were so great, that those who read the ‘Book of Thoth’, became the most powerful magician in the world.
The Power of Aton fuels the magic lightning that transforms Adam, and Adam can use the lightning bolt as a weapon by dodging it and allowing it to strike an opponent. But as Black Adam, he is an immortal being who has roamed the Earth for 3,200 years, and has just as much experience. The power of Aton enables Adamâs flight, enhances his physical abilities and invulnerability, and gives him godly resistance against magical attacks. It’s helped him incapacitate Martian Manhunter, instantly incinerate normal people, and breakthrough the Spectre’s physical shell. His magic lightning played a great role in his defeat of Death, an Apokoliptian demigod capable of knocking out and taking hits from Superman (except this version was amped by millions of souls). This ability also allows him the power of interdimensional travel, specifically to the Rock of Eternity. It is feasible that the power of Aton and the wisdom of Zehuti could be used more extensively, if required, but that Adamâs general invincibility makes him favor the direct approach.
Aton is the Egyptian God of the Solar Disk and of Creation itself.
The Courage of Mehen provides Adam with a godly degree of inner strength, including superhuman resistance to psychic manipulation, or any form of mind control. It is worth noting that even in mortal form Teth demonstrates phenomenal determination, mental toughness, and nerves of steel. Black Adam boldly stood up against the strongest version of the Spectre, and on another occasion faced off entire superhero leagues without breaking stride. Martian Manhunter stated he had no fear of death, not even his own.
Mehen, or âone who is coiledâ is the Serpent God who fought the demon Apep to protect the sun.
For a time, Adam had the augmented power set of an extra Goddess by the name of Isis, with these abilities Adam could further enhance his already stupendously enchanted powersets to new and wondrous heights. He even gained access to a host of entirely new abilities he didn’t exhibit before although he has had yet to but preclude to Telekinesis, Empathy, Nature Manipulation and quite a few other exotic powers that aren’t associated with the mystical amulet or the divine head it is empowered by, made possible by combining it and all the powers of Aton with the magical energies of the relic within. It’s important to note that Black Adam was amped by Isis’ amulet after the events of World War III, and not during them.
New 52 / DC Rebirth Powers
The wizard passed his magic to Adam and his nephew, when he utters the word SHAZAM he can transform into his full potential as a Champion of Magic. Black adam gains the following powers when he transforms:
Supernatural Strength: Black Adam has the strength of the Gods, making him far stronger than any human and most superhumans and putting him on equal terms with the likes of Superman and Ultraman. His most impressive demonstration of strength shows when he along with Sinestro, moved Prime Earth’s moon [roughly 73,430,000,000,000,000,000 tonnes] back into orbit suggesting he has near limitless strength. As such Teth Adam can easily lift and toss around vehicles and take full-grown men apart limb from limb and physically dismantle battle attested rigs like tanks or army jeeps with little to no effort. Knocking around Ultraman and a mystically empowered Alex Luther around with a punch with moderate exertion, though his upper limits are still undisclosed. Ultraman is not the only Superman-level threat Adam’s dealt with, either. When he was a Yellow Lantern, he managed to punch the spit out of a superior, amped Mongul. And once his ring was charged an extra hundred percent, they were placed on even ground and Adam pummeled him with ease. In Doomsday Clock, it was implied that Adam punched Superman through multiple buildings and down a street.
Supernatural Speed: Empowered by the Wizard’s magic lightning imbued Adam with some of its properties enabling him to fly at multi-mach speeds. Able to fly all the way from Egypt to Fawcett City under his own power, pacing and reacting to the likes of Shazam, Ultraman, Super Woman, and Alexander Luther in battle. During the Forever Evil story-line while he was situated in his home city of Kandaq he was able to blitz all the way from Egypt to America [around 10,970 km] his way right into the evil Kal-Il and shot from Earth to the moon [22,300 miles above earth] to reset its orbit in mere minutes. He’s even blitzed Ultraman twice and Shazam with such speed, beheaded a terrorist faster than the eye could process, as well as tagged Darla Duddly while she was creating afterimages. The limits of his speed are still unknown.
Supernatural Invulnerability: Having the godly strength, Adam is also imbued with also extends to his durability. He was able to withstand punches from the likes of Shazam, Ultraman, Alexander Luthor, and Superwoman without bodily harm. He’s also caught spiked wooden bludgeons with his bare hands, taken point-blank bullet fire to the head, and has recuperated from blows from multiple Shazam’s without tire or injury. He shows also notable resistance to magic, having remained unscratched by the magic blasts of ancient Myranian wizards.
Supernatural Perception: He can hear and see things only magical beings can hear and see, and he can also talk to them. Just as easily as he could find and free the Seven Deadly Sins from their mortal hosts after he had imprisoned them. In like manner, he has God-given wisdom which gives him limitless amounts of knowledge. In Year of the Villain, Black Adam was able to detect the Batman Who Laughs infection inside Billy and even caught a glimpse of the future. Adam himself stated the “Wisdom of Zehuti” allowed him to know everything, and Doctor Sivana confirmed he has the greatest military mind on the planet. Beyond this, he also possesses supernaturally keen senses, such as when he was able to hear the Shazam Who Laughs flying toward Kahndaq all the way from his meditation chamber.
Supernatural Guardians: Similar to how Billy is the mystic guardian of magic, Black Adam was drawn to avenging the wrongs committed by the evil Ibac and his men as well as everyone else who ever dictated or oppressed nations across the world. Along with the unknown threat of the Pale Vicars that attacked his homeland some several thousand years ago.
Magical Lightning Manipulation: He can project magical lightning from his hands, fingers, from the sky, and from his chest, as well as around his fists. Given his thousands of years of experience, he can control it better than his replacement could. Using it as both a weapon to flash fry unwary assailants, absorb and learn new languages, unhinge the sins from their mortal hosts and restore their memories as well as utilize it for a catalyst to channel and strengthen his spells. This lightning has reduced a man to a burnt skeleton, incinerated a room full of Myranian wizards, bled an almost magic immune and kryptonite-enhanced Ultraman twice, blasted Wonder Woman through a wall, electrocuted Wonder Woman, and successfully seized Wonder Woman once it was imbued around Adam’s hands. Recently, the people of Kahndaq have shown the ability to pray to the Egyptian Gods and call down widespread, mystical lightning capable of immobilizing and depowering their enemies.
Magic: Adam’s powers are magical by nature, when he stole the sole share of the Wizard’s blessing from his page he could use the Living Lightning to cast and weave a number of different spells he can control. Either He can transform, stay the same, or cast incantations with the right words such as petrifying Ibac in stone for eternity or binding the sins to their mortal hosts for thousands of years without memory to their true identities.
Flight: The magic bestowed unto him by the wizard enables Black Adam to fly unaided at will showing he is capable of moving, bolting and dodging rather acrobatically with little to no difficulty at all and while flying with passengers no less.
Weapons and Equipment
Amulet of Isis (formerly)
He had acquired the Power of the Goddess Isis, making him stronger than ever before gifting him with a host of brand new powers and abilities his own pantheon had never bestowed upon him. Through this relic, Adam not only retains all of his old powers but they are augmented to an all-new and incredible degree along with the addition of all-new powers to match.
Yellow Lantern Ring
Recently in the Sinestro comics imprint where Black Adam had been assisted by the leader of the Sinestro Corps for his ability to instill great fear into those around him. Now on top of his own Godly powers, Adam now has the devastating fearful might of the Yellow Corpsmen at his back.
High Order Magic: Black Adam, while resilient to most magic, is susceptible to spells and weaponry cast from the Rock of Eternity. This is likely due to it being the station of power that fuels Black Adam’s abilities, just as it does for Captain Marvel. This includes his own magic thunderbolt which transforms him. An Nth metal mace once used its magical properties to absorb Adam’s lightning and use it against him – this was the only way Wonder Woman could defeat him.
Magic Lightning: The same magic lightning that brings forth the power of the elders also has the ability to transform Black Adam back into his mortal form of young Teth Adam.
Fatal Time Dilation: Teth spent most of his immortal life as Black Adam never returning once to his mortal form. As a result, while his superpowered mode has remained untouched by time, if he were ever to revert back to his human self he would age to dust in seconds due to accumulated millennia catching up to him. Despite this, it’s now a conscious choice for Adam to transform or not whenever he says “Shazam.”
Mystically Untouchable: As Adam’s abilities are all magic-fueled, those who are extremely resilient if not outright impervious to magic can render his powers null. This includes Ultraman of New 52 Earth-3, who simply laughed off his “Shazam” lightning as the latter casually crushed his jaw in his bare hand (he was also enhanced by kryptonite during this instance).
- Height: 6’0″
- Weight: 225 lbs
- Eye Color: Brown
- Hair Color: Black
- Citizenship: Egyptian
- Place of Birth: Kahndaq, Egypt
- Marital Status: Widowed
- Occupation: Country leader (not to be confused with ruler)
- Known Relatives: Shiruta (wife, deceased), Aman (nephew, deceased)
Black Adam secretly followed Mary and Freddy Freeman until he caught Mary and threatened to kill her if Freddy became Captain Marvel Jr. Black Adam later attacks Captain Marvel alongside the brainwashed duo of Captain Marvel Jr. and Mary Marvel. During the battle, Adam was unable to get the edge, so he threatened Mary and forced her to become mortal and plummet to the earth.
Captain Marvel managed to save Mary, but the moment he picked her up, she changed back into Marvel and attacked Billy. Her attack gave Brainiac the opportunity to take control of Captain Marvel.
Animation, Movies, and gaming (video games):
Black Adam appears in the movie, voice by Arnold Vosloo of The Mummy fame. In the film, he is a former champion of Shazam who was banished light-years away from Earth as a result of his crimes. He finally manages to return to the planet after 5000 years, and attempts to kill Billy Batson, Shazam’s new champion. After Superman steps in and helps Billy defeat Black Adam, Tawky Tawny announces that the villain will be banished even farther away from Earth this time. Unwilling to spend more millennia trapped in the lonely void of space, Black Adam commits suicide by reverting to his human form, which instantly withers and dies as a result of having aged 5000 years.
Black Adam is mentioned by the Wizard Shazam as his previous Champion who betrayed him and sided with the Seven Deadly Sins, killing millions of people. Due to this terrible act, he was imprisoned by Shazam in the confines of the Earth.
Black Adam (2022)
Black Adam is an upcoming American superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name. Produced by DC Films, New Line Cinema, Seven Bucks Productions, and FlynnPictureCo., and set for distribution by Warner Bros. Pictures, it is intended to be a spin-offfrom Shazam! (2019) and the eleventh film in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra and written by Adam Sztykiel, Rory Haines, and Sohrab Noshirvani, the film stars Dwayne Johnson as Teth-Adam / Black Adam alongside Noah Centineo, Aldis Hodge, Sarah Shahi, Quintessa Swindell, and Pierce Brosnan.
Johnson was attached to Shazam! early in development, and confirmed in September 2014 that he would portray the villain Black Adam. The producers decided to split the character off to his own film in January 2017, and Sztykiel was hired that October. Collet-Serra joined in June 2019 and filming was expected in July 2020 for a December 2021 release date, but these plans were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional casting took place over the next year, including for members of the Justice Society of America (JSA), and the script was re-written by Haines and Noshirvani. Filming began in April 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia, and will conclude in mid-July.
Black Adam is scheduled to be released in the United States on July 29, 2022.
Though Black Adam himself does not appear, Teth-Adam is mentioned in the episode “Ancient History.”
Black Adam appears in the episode “The Power of Shazam!” voiced by John DiMaggio. The episode is a largely faithful retelling of his first appearance from the Golden Age, where he is freed by Doctor Sivana in order to battle Captain Marvel and Batman. He is apparently killed after his powers are stolen by Sivana, but the wizard Shazam states that they have likely not seen the last of him.
While Black Adam (Teth Adam) didn’t have a speaking or visual appearance in the CW hit show, Teth Adam’s name was shown in season 10’s episode called, Isis. Lois Lane (controlled by the goddess Isis) grabbed a dagger that had Teth Adam’s name written in a display case.
Black Adam appears as a member of the Injustice League in the episode “Revelation.” He battles Superboy, and is taken into custody along with the rest of the League after their defeat. He has no voice actor since he never speaks.
Black Adam appears as a villain, voiced by Alexander Brandon. He is the final boss during the Kahndaq Raid section of the game.
Black Adam appears as a playable character in this fighting game. In story mode, he appears in the first battle fighting the Justice League with various other villains. In the other universe, Black Adam is a part of Superman’s Regime. In his single-player ending, Black Adam defeats Superman and learns that humans are unworthy in sharing his country’s form of government. Black Adam ends up destroys all humanity except his country of Khandaq. He and his wife, Isis, make a magical dome barrier around Khandaq, truly making it paradise. Black Adam is voiced by Joey Naber.
Injustice 2 (2017):
Black Adam appears as a playable character in the sequel to Injustice Gods Among Us. In story mode, he appears in Kahndaq after the Regime has been defeated from the previous game.
Black Adam appears as a playable character as a Mystic character. In this game, he is referred to as Khen-Adam