With the recent release of the official “Black Adam” trailer, we figured now would be a good time to do a deep-dive into the character. As far back as 2014, the film’s been in development and this year we’re finally going to see it on the big-screen! There’s one thing small issue though…not a lot of people know who Black Adam exactly is.
For many, he’s essentially known as that one superhero character played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Which is unfortunate, seeing that there’s a lot of rich and interesting comic book lore surrounding the character. In fact, his presence in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) could seriously shift the balance of power within the universe.
Right, enough talk. Let’s get into everything you need to know about the story of Black Adam, his powers and who he’ll be facing off against in the upcoming film.
From Slave To God
So before there was Black Adam, there was Teth-Adam. A slave 5000 years ago who lived in the thriving kingdom of Kahndaq, which Adam described in the teaser trailer as “a melting pot of cultures, wealth, power and magic”. In the official trailer, we hear his story of how he died and was reborn as a god. He also recounts of how his son sacrificed his life to save him. Quite the tragic backstory, ain’t it? Well, in the comics, his origins are a little less sympathetic and a whole lot more sinister!
In the most recent recounting of Black Adam’s “New 52” origin story, he was also a slave in Kahndaq except he didn’t have a son, he had a nephew. The only surviving member of his family. During an escape from their imprisonment, Adam was mortally wounded by one of the guards and slowly dying. Rather than leave his dear uncle behind, Aman stayed to help him…which caught the attention of a certain powerful sorcerer, the Wizard from “SHAZAM!”.
The both of them were transported to the Rock of Eternity. The same place Billy Batson in “SHAZAM!” found himself in after running away from those bullies. Due to the boy’s selfless act of love, the Wizard deemed that Aman was worthy to be his magical champion. He then used his power to heal his uncle. Adam returned the favour by later murdering his nephew and stealing his power. From there, he would overthrow the rulers of Kahndaq and install himself as the kingdom’s new ruler and protector.
Yeah, this version of the story differs a little from the sob one we hear from the film. Probably to make the Rock’s character more likeable. So, how exactly does he get his powers in the film, then? The clue here is in Adam’s narration of how his son sacrificed his life to save him. So perhaps, in this version of his origin story, his son was the one who was chosen by the Wizard, not his nephew.
However, instead of Adam stealing his son’s powers, his son willingly passes the powers of Shazam to his dying father. Thus saving his life at the expense of his own. Another possibility is that Adam did something so heroic and noble that the Wizard would make the slave his champion, only to regret it later down the line. Seeing that Adam would go on to release the Seven Deadly Sins into the world, as the Wizard showed Billy in “SHAZAM!”.
One thing’s for sure, though: he definitely didn’t kill his son to get his powers. Anyway, Adam would go on to rule Kahndaq as its god-king before eventually being sealed away by the Wizard. From then on, Kahndaq’s divine protector was given the accursed name of Black Adam.
The Power of Gods
In “SHAZAM!”, we learn that the magic word is an acronym for the six magical beings that give Billy Batson his powers. He has the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the lightning powers of Zeus, the bravery of Achilles and the speed of Mercury. It’s essentially the same deal for Black Adam, except he get his powers from six other divine beings, Egyptian gods. He gets his stamina from Shu, his speed from Horus, his strength from Amon, his wisdom from Zehuti, his lightning powers from Aten and his bravery from Mehen.
For all intents and purposes, he is Shazam’s dark mirror. And unlike Billy, Adam has no qualms about killing others for the sake of the greater good. In terms of abilities, Adam is powerful enough to rival that of Superman’s might. That’s right, he can stand toe-to-toe with the Man of Steel himself! Interesting fact: Superman has a vulnerability to magical attacks in the comics, and as seen in the short film “Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam”. Whether or not that’s the case in the DCEU is still up for debate. As is Black Adam’s allegiances. The former champion could either make for a very powerful ally or a formidable foe to the heroes of the DCEU. As of now in comics, Black Adam is an official member of the Justice League. Fingers crossed, he joins up with the team or with the Justice Society of America (JSA)!
Meet the Intergang
We know that at some point Black Adam will be clashing against Doctor Fate and the members of the JSA. We even see a tense conversation between Black Adam and one of its key members, Hawkman in the trailer. That being said, the film won’t solely revolve around the anti-hero’s conflict with the JSA. It seems the common enemy both of them will be facing is Intergang. Intergang is a criminal organisation that specialises in taking down metahumans and superheroes. They also traffic in advanced technology and weapons. They’re best known for being a thorn in Superman’s side.
Over the years, the team has had many leaders from the iconic Lex Luthor to Morgan Edge, who you might know from CW’s “Superman & Lois”. Throughout comics and TV shows though, the leader of Intergang is typically a man named Bruno Mannheim. A mafia-type figure who seeks after money and power. He’s appeared in TV shows like “Superman: The Animated Series”, “Young Justice”, “Smallville” and in the animated film “The Death of Superman”. There’s a strong chance he’ll appear in “Black Adam” as well. Now, here’s the juicy part. The reason why Intergang is such a formidable threat to the heroes of Earth is due to the fact that they use Apokoliptian tech, bestowed to them by none other than Darkseid, the Multiversal God of Evil of the DC Universe.
Will we see Darkseid make an appearance in “Black Adam”? Highly unlikely, but we could definitely see some hints and Easter eggs of who is secretly funding the criminal organisation. Looks like Black Adam isn’t the only one with the power of gods on his side. As to why Intergang and forces of Apokolips are interested in Kahndaq and Black Adam, we’ll just have to wait to find out.
Be sure to check out “Black Adam” when it hits theaters this coming October!