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Black Adam
Textless cover of 52 #45 (March 2007).
Art by J. G. Jones.
Publication information
Publisher Fawcett Comics(1945) DC Comics (1972-present)
First appearance The Marvel Family #1 (December 1945)
Created by
  • Otto Binder
  • C. C. Beck
In-story information
Alter ego Theo Ramses Djoser Teth-Adam
Team affiliations Injustice League
Legion of Doom
Secret Society of Super Villains
Black Marvel Family
Monster Society of Evil
Injustice Society
Justice League
Justice Society of America
Suicide Squad
Notable aliases Khem-Adam
Theo Adam
Mighty Adam
  • By saying the phrase "Shazam", Black Adam is granted various powers associated with aspects of powers possessed by divine entities, chiefly those in relation to the Egyptian pantheon of deities.
    • Superhuman strength, speed, endurance, durability, etc.
    • Skilled practitioner of magic; spell-casting and manipulation of magical lightning.
  • Highly skilled hand-to-hand combatant & capable leader.

Black Adam, real name Teth/Theo-Adam, is an antihero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics.

He was created by Otto Binder and C. C. Beck, and first appeared in the debut issue of Fawcett Comics' The Marvel Family comic book in December 1945. Since DC Comics licensed and acquired Fawcett's characters in the 1970s, Black Adam has endured as one of the archenemies of the superhero Captain Marvel / Shazam and the Marvel Family (a.k.a. Shazam Family), alongside Doctor Sivana and Mister Mind.

Black Adam was originally depicted as a supervillain and the ancient Egyptian predecessor of Captain Marvel, who fought his way to modern times to challenge the hero and his Marvel Family associates. Since the turn of the 21st century, however, Black Adam has been redefined by DC Comics writers Jerry Ordway, Geoff Johns, and David S. Goyer as a corrupted antihero attempting to clear his name and reputation. Featured roles in such comic book series as Justice Society of America, Villains United, Infinite Crisis, and 52 have elevated the character's prominence in the DC Universe, culminating with DC's 2021 line-wide Infinite Frontier relaunch, wherein he joins the Justice League as Mighty Adam.

In 2009, Black Adam was ranked as IGN's 16th-greatest comic book villain of all time.

Dwayne Johnson voiced Black Adam in DC League of Super-Pets (2022), before starring as him in his live-action debut in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) film Black Adam (2022), following a silent digital cameo in Shazam! (2019).

Publication history

Fawcett Comics

The canon version of Black Adam appeared only once during Fawcett's initial publication run of Captain Marvel comics. In The Marvel Family #1, Black Adam is an ancient Egyptian named Teth-Adam (i.e., "Mighty Human"), who is chosen by the wizard Shazam to be his successor due to his presumed moral purity. This story is reprinted in DC's Shazam! #8 (1973), which is his first appearance in the Bronze Age.

Black Adam's origin, as seen in The Marvel Family #1 (1945). Art by C. C. Beck and Pete Costanza

When Teth-Adam says the magic word "Shazam", he is transformed into the Mighty Adam, a superpowered being possessing the same powers that Captain Marvel (Shazam) would later be granted; however, the Mighty Adam is soon corrupted by the vastness of his powers. Originally, the wizard Shazam grants Adam powers derived from ancient Greco-Roman deities; later in the series, it was changed to ancient Egyptian deities.

Deciding that he should rule the world, the Mighty Adam overthrows and kills the pharaoh and assumes the Egyptian throne. Angered by this betrayal, Shazam renames his errant champion Black Adam and—unable to revoke the powers he gave Adam—banishes him to the most distant star in the universe.

Black Adam spends the next 5,000 years flying back to Earth. By the time he makes it back, in 1945, Shazam has appointed three new champions to take his place: Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr., and Mary Marvel. Adam's attempts to take over the world cause the Marvels to seek counsel with Shazam, who tells them about Black Adam. Adam succeeds in gagging Billy and Freddy while they are talking to Shazam. He then ties them up, planning to kill them later. Uncle Marvel releases them while Mary battles Black Adam, enabling them to transform.

Adam does battle with the trio, known as the Marvel Family, but since all are equally invulnerable, the fight goes on and on without resolution. The non-powered Marvel Family member Uncle Marvel gets an idea from Shazam and tricks Adam into saying "Shazam," reverting him to Teth-Adam. The thousands of years it took traveling to earth catch up to him, and he's transformed into a skeleton.

Black Adam's costume is almost identical to Captain Marvel's—except that Black Adam's costume is black and golden yellow, instead of red and golden yellow.

DC Comics


Though Adam is defeated in the same story which he debuted, the DC version of Adam is resurrected and revitalized nearly 30 years later in Philadelphia by Doctor Sivana's reincarnation machine in DC Comics' Shazam! revival of the Marvel Family characters. He then destroys the machine so it cannot be used against him, much to Sivana's annoyance.

According to Shazam! #28 (Black Adam's first "Bronze Age" appearance, but second actual appearance, after The Marvel Family #1) Black Adam gets his powers from Shu (stamina), Hershef (strength), Amon (power), Zehuti (Thoth) (wisdom), Anpu (speed), and Menthu (courage). Black Adam accidentally time-travels back to 1776 while going to the Rock of Eternity to destroy Shazam at Sivana's request, as Sivana felt Adam's powers would be wiped out as well, but Captain Marvel accidentally throws him back in time. He and Captain Marvel battle, during which Black Adam realizes he will have to do something drastic and tricky to defeat Marvel. Adam gets his transformative lightning to strike Captain Marvel, transforming Captain Marvel back to Billy. He then seizes Billy and covers his mouth before he can finish saying his magic word, "SHAZAM!!".

He then flies to a nearby ship where he obtains a length of rope which he uses to bind and gag Billy, after which he throws him into the sea. However, Billy swims to the surface, and is rescued by a colonist rebel, and freed. He realizes the rebel is Paul Revere, which was ironic since earlier in the story, he repaired Revere's statue. Billy then returns to his own time where Shazam tells him Black Adam is there. Adam comes to Captain Marvel to exact revenge, when during a short battle, Adam is once again tricked by Captain Marvel into saying "Shazam." Adam then gets amnesia as a result of a powerful punch from Captain Marvel.

After that, Black Adam is also involved with Karmang in the All-New Collectors' Edition #C-58 (Black Adam's third appearance, but second new appearance in the Bronze Age) and tries to destroy both Superman and Captain Marvel.

After several more defeats at Captain Marvel's hands, Adam joins Mister Mind's final Pre-Crisis version of the Monster Society of Evil which stages an assault on the Rock of Eternity. The evil god of magic Oggar summons an evil army from the sands and dust of Egypt for Adam to lead after muting Billy with his magic. They escape, despite being defeated.

When last seen during the Crisis On Infinite Earths (Pre-Crisis version), Adam was fighting the heroes on the five remaining and partially merged Earths.

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Black Adam para niños

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