Who is Black Adam? 7 things to know about the ‘Shazam’ antihero


DC Entertainment

Earlier today, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson announced he will be playing Black Adam in the upcoming “Shazam” movie by DC Entertainment/Warner Bros. To which a great deal of the movie-going public replied, “Who?” 

Image Credit: DC Entertainment

“I'm Black Adam, man. You know, the legendary wizard…ah forget it.”

Luckily there is plenty of time to get caught up. You could read his saga during the World War III event as a jumping off point. Or you could just read this primer. Or both. Both is always good.

Warning: Potential “Shazam” movie spoilers, I guess.

#1 – He is old. Like really, really old. Black Adam was originally named Teth-Adam, otherwise known as the son of Ramses II. As in the Great Pharaoh of ancient Egypt. So at this point, he is over 2000 years old. Of course, compared to Shazam's age of 9000, he is but a wee babe.

#2 – He was supposed to be Shazam's successor. Even the super old wizards know one day they will die, so Shazam sought out someone to inherit his powers. He thought he'd found that protege in the form of Black Adam…but he was mistaken.

#3 – Shazam's evil daughter Blaze (literally evil, she's a demon) ruined everything. Instead of giving Black Adam the powers of Shazam, Blaze set it up so that Adam inherited the combined powers of the Egyptian pantheon. Black Adam is basically the Captain Planet of Egyptian gods. 

#4 – Black Adam is not in his original body anymore. After realizing what Blaze had done, Shazam eventually got around to taking Black Adam's powers away and putting them in a scarab, because Egypt. Without his superpowers, Adam's body withered within moments since it was hundreds of years old. Cut to modern day; a descendant of Black Adam finds the scarab and their souls/personalities merge.

#5 – Black Adam has anger issues. What sets Adam apart from the heroes is his willingness to just straight up murder a bitch. Supervillain kills his family? He'll murder them right back. His country overrun by bad guys? He'll just stage a bloody coup and overthrow the government. Justice League won't pull the trigger to permanently neutralize threats? Black Adam will form his own team to slink off and execute them. 

#6 – No seriously, he's got anger issues. This is a man who committed genocide against a country for harboring one of the Four Horseman. His rage made him so unstoppable, the Justice League was reduced to begging the gods of Egypt to strip him of his powers before he destroyed the world. They declined. Gods man, whaddya gonna do?

#7 – He just wants people to stop killing his family. The gist of Black Adam's cycle of antihero-villain-antihero-villain hinges on the cyclical death of his relatives. Whether in ancient Egypt or modern times, everything is always cool until some jerkwad shows up to kill his wife and children. Then it's a descent into madness and rage until Black Adam can resurrect/replace them.

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