Black Adam/Teth-Adam is a comic book character. He first appeared in Marvel Family
#1 (December, 1945). Created by writer Otto Binder, and artist Clarence Charles "C.C." Beck. He was at first a one-shot character, but was revived Shazam!
#28 (March, 1977) and has had semi-regular appearances ever since. Adam was originally the archnemesis for Captain Marvel/Shazam
, and the Marvel Family, but in recent years he's been portrayed more as an antihero, conflicted with which side controls the Black Adam body.
His backstory is relatively simple: Born millennia ago, he was given intense magical power by the wizard Shazam, Black Adam was the original Earth's Mightiest Mortal in ancient Khandaq (a fictional Ancient Egypt
-like country). Unfortunately, he became drunk with his own power, and Mighty Adam (as he's called) rebelled. Shazam had him banished to another dimension. In the 20th century, Captain Marvel was appointed the new champion of Shazam to battle the treacherous Adam. Bonding with Theo Adam, a modern archaeological aid, Black Adam comes back as a ruthless animal who killed Captain Marvel's parents years ago when he first returned.
In Justice Society of America
, Black Adam came to the JSA asking for membership, saying that Theo Adam and Black Adam were not one and the same. He was let on probationarily, but was soon brought into some trouble when he wanted to reinvade his homeland of Khandaq. Taking a separatist team of heroes, he invaded his homeland and took over. In the series 52
, Adam was one of the protagonists, and one of the leads gaining his own Black Marvel Family. Isis
, Osiris, and Sobek, became his Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr., and Tawky Tawny, respectively.
However towards the end of 52, they were all slain, and Black Adam became enraged and went on a rampage killing all people in the country of Bialya (another fictional Mid-Eastern nation), starting an actual World War Three. After 52, Black Adam received a miniseries where he managed to revive Isis, but the formerly loving and friendly Isis became embittered by her and her brother's murder. Together, they became darker and more evil than before, eventually having their powers taken from them by Shazam and transformed into statues.
As of The New 52
, Black Adam has returned. He is the villain of the back-up stories in Justice League
Adam is something of an alternate company equivalent to Namor the Sub-Mariner
, the Marvel Universe
's own superstrong, pointy eared, black hair slick backed, anti-hero flyer. Both are also Golden Age characters, and both have been members of their World War II
equivalent teams, the Invaders and JSA. Adam was originally published in Fawcett Comics stories, before the company closed and DC bought the characters.
Provides Examples Of:
- Alternate Company Equivalent: Black Adam shares more than a few similarities to Marvel's Namor the Sub-Mariner as noted above.
- Ancient Egypt: Originally he was from here, but it was later retroactively changed to the fictional Khandaq.
- Anti-Hero Substitute: One for Captain Marvel as Black Adam was used far more often in the late 2000's than Captain Marvel, who didn't even have a book for most of the decade.
- Bad Ass: A rare example of a badass with god-like powers. When he is depowered during The Dark Age we see that he is still a seriously tough motherfucker.
- Berserk Button: Harm his country or allies, and he will find out all the details and make you pay. And by "make you pay", I mean have fun surveying the rubble and the bodies. Mind control also pisses him off, as Psycho Pirate found out.
- He slaughtered the entire population of a neighboring country for its leaders' complicity in killing his family. Then, one of the killers, the Apokaliptan god of Death, shows up and claims all the killing made him stronger. Black Adam completely wrecks Death in only a handful of pages, and then spends the rest of the night slowly killing him.
- Beyond the Impossible: Shattering Hawkman's Nth Metal mace with one hand. Nth Metal is not only one of the strongest materials in all of the DCU, but it has Anti-Magic properties and is considered indestructible. Adam has magic-based abilities.
- Boom, Headshot: Infamously does this to Psycho Pirate with one bare hand. By driving the latter's Medusa Mask right through his skull. "No more silly faces" indeed.
- Breakout Villain: Originally intended as a one-shot baddy back in the 1940s, Black Adam has come back in force to become the most powerful villain/antihero of not only Captain Marvel mythos, but also one of the most powerful villains in the whole of the DC Universe.
- Egyptian Mythology: The source of Adam's powers, with his version of SHAZAM standing for Shu, Heru, Amon, Zehuti, Aton, and Mehen. When his rampage on Bialya was going on, apparently they were amused with what he was doing.
- Expy: The Black Adam Family for the Marvel Family, Isis for Mary Marvel, Osiris for Captain Marvel Jr., and Sobek for Mr. Talky Tawny.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: The modern Black Adam is disturbingly fond of horrible deaths. In Infinite Crisis he pushes the Psycho Pirate's mask through his head and out the back. In 52 he kills Sobek by forcing his jaw open until his head is torn in half. In WWIII he literally tears a man's face off in order to kill him.
- Flying Brick: Black Adam, like all users of the power of Shazam, is an example of this.
- Heroic Resolve: He will do ANYTHING to get Isis back. If it means wandering the entire earth powerless, having his followers sacrifice themselves, or eating human flesh to survive.
- Monster Was A Husband: The reason he becomes fully evil at the end of 52 is because his wife dies in his arms, driving him to madness.
- Nepharious Pharaoh: After learning how to use the word "Shazam!" to gain super powers, Black Adam overthrows the pharaoh of Egypt and assumes the throne.
- Qurac: Being from the Middle-East, he interacts with a few of these, most notably Bialya (which is nearly obliterated by Adam), and Khandaq (Adam's country).
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Near the end of the comic book series 52, Black Adam's wife and brother-in-law are killed. As it was the death of his first wife that caused his original fall from grace, it is unsurprising that the death of the second led to him going on on a Roaring Rampage Of Revenge, wiping out the country that harbored the murderers, and anybody else that stood in his way. It doesn't end well, though, as the nerdy Mad Scientists behind her death soundly kick his ass with SCIENCE. And when he escapes from that, he just declares bloody vengeance on the entire world, leading to the week long World War III.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: He was ruling his country until his massive non-Heroic BSOD.
- Shockwave Clap: Uses this during his attempt at joining the JSA (the first time), it knocks a few people away.
- Strong as They Need to Be: While he's typically presented as being on Captain Marvel's level, during the World War III storyline he was able to fight against him, Superman, and a number of other heroes from the Justice League and Justice Society AT THE SAME TIME!
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Started out as a villain, but tried to go clean. In fact, it looked for a while as if he'd finally have something to be happy about. Then the events of 52 hit.
- World War III: Started one in fact, actually technically the second World War Three the DCU has had.
- You Can Barely Stand: Towards the end of World War Three he gets to this point. It doesn't slow him down.