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Western Animation / Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam

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Life is tough for young Billy Batson. Orphaned and alone, he lives in a dingy neighborhood in a seedy part of town, with rats for pets and little food or commodities. Still, he tries to live by the words of his now-deceased father: "Be good and good things will happen to you", and keeps an upbeat attitude, even complimenting his prostitute neighbor on her appearance and standing up to a gang of punks mugging a homeless man, despite the predictable outcome. He hopes an article being written about him by intrepid Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent will help him out of his predicament.

Unfortunately, Billy's luck takes a turn for the worse when a powerful being called Black Adam comes crashing from the sky with only one goal in mind: Billy's death. Because of his vulnerability to magic, not even the mighty Superman is a match for him, but a strange encounter with an immortal wizard will grant Billy the power of five gods in order to become the new champion of justice: Captain Marvel!

This original short was released as the main "feature" of a compilation of the DC Showcase shorts released with recent DC Universe Animated Original Movies, along with DC Showcase: The Spectre, DC Showcase: Jonah Hex and DC Showcase: Green Arrow.

Despite the similar name, it is not an adaptation from the first crossover between both characters, Superman vs. Shazam!.

This short contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Badass: To date, Superman and Black Adam have fought many times in the comics but none of those battles have ever ended conclusively with one standing triumphantly over the other and they usually get interrupted before they can proceed further. However, it is implied narrative-wise that if Superman decides to get serious, he can really put the beatdown on Black Adam despite his magical power since Superman's been able to decisively defeat characters such as The-Shazam-Who-Laughs or Ultraman that have destroyed Black Adam in fights. In this short, Black Adam's magic against Superman is the difference maker in defeating him and Superman has to rely on Captain Marvel's help to be able to take on Black Adam, who's much more effective in bringing Superman down in this incarnation than in the comics.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Black Adam lacks any of his more redeeming qualities, and is far more psychotic and arrogant here, willing to kill innocents just so that he could kill Billy and take away his powers, at one point even threatening to kill a female hostage and use her as leverage to make Billy revert back to human form, and doesn't even try to deny that he wants this done so that he would kill him.
  • Bash Brothers: In contrast to their previous media appearances together, Superman and Captain Marvel are undoubtedly this. At one point they find a nice rhythm and pretty much take turns knocking Adam silly.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Black Adam commits suicide rather than be banished back to empty space.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Captain Marvel may be one of the nicest superheroes out there, but as Black Adam learned the hard way, once you have made him angry, it will not end well for you.
  • Big Bad: Black Adam, Shazam's former champion who's on a vengeful rampage after being exiled.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • The street punk knocks down Billy Batson with a single blow.
    • Also what happens to Black Adam once he pushes Billy too far.
  • Death by Depower: Black Adam chooses to depower and age to death rather than being banished again.
  • Driven to Suicide: Black Adam chose letting go of his powers and rapidly aging to dust in a mere instant over being sent to a corner of the universe it'd take him ten thousand years to get back from.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Black Adam was Shazam's previous champion before he turned to evil 5000 years ago.
  • Fate Worse than Death
  • A God Am I: Black Adam is absolutely convinced that despite the recent circumstances, he has powers similar to Shazam, so by that logic, he automatically must be a god himself.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Billy triggers his transformation the first time by accident. And deactivates them by accident. While flying. This doubles as a Mythology Gag as he did the same thing in the Power Of Shazam graphic novel that rebooted him in the 80s.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: Captain Marvel almost killed Black Adam, but Superman talked him out of it. Reminding him of what his parents taught him.
  • Kick the Dog: Black Adam purposely changes course to kill a couple having a romantic evening on a hill.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Billy is shown to have multiple copies of the same shirt and pants hanging in the closet.
  • No Immortal Inertia: Faced with the prospect of getting zapped back to outer space, twice as far away as the first time, Black Adam reverts to his mortal self and instantly ages into dust.
  • Oh, Crap!: Black Adam gives a delicious one when he realized Captain Marvel is holding him in one place for Superman to hit him with a Megaton Punch.
  • Plucky Girl: Even with all these hardships facing him, Billy does his best to do good things and help others.
  • Rapid Aging: Black Adam. "Aged 5,000 years in a single moment. Harsh."
  • Sadistic Choice: Black Adam forces Captain Marvel into one of these, stating that either Cap revert back to normal or Adam will kill a civilian. When Cap powers down to sacrifice himself for the woman, Adam attempts to kill them both anyway. Unfortunately for Adam, Superman was on hand to rescue them both, and this act ultimately resulted in Billy unleashing a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Adam.
  • Shockwave Clap: Black Adam opens his attack on the unpowered Billy with one, demolishing the shop he and Clark were in
  • Shoryuken: CM delivers a flying one to Black Adam when he finds his Heroic Resolve.
  • Shout-Out: a fight sequence between Black Adam and Captain Marvel emulates the exact same movements of a fight scene from Undisputed II: Last Man Standing. A comparison can be seen here.
  • Soft Water: Captain Marvel was flying above buildings when he accidentally reverts to Billy and plummets to the river below, yet hitting the water does not seem to harm him in any way. He does have trouble swimming back up however.
  • Terminal Transformation: Black Adam has been in supermode for thousands of years as he returns to Earth from deep space where he was banished. This means that his original mortal form Teth-Adam is long, long dead. So, when Tawny threatens to send him even farther into space, Adam commits suicide by transforming back into Teth-Adam: the desiccated corpse quickly breaks down into dust and blows away.
  • The Worf Effect: Supes spends much of the short as Adam's punching bag due to his weakness to magic, which serves the purpose of demonstrating both Black Adam's ability and why Captain Marvel is needed.