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Black Adam(pop culture)
Black Adam, the deviant doppelgänger of the original Captain Marvel, was in fact the Big Red Cheese's predecessor, as revealed by writer Otto Binder and artist C. C. Beck in Fawcett's Marvel Family #1 (1945). Five millennia ago the wizard Shazam selects Teth-Adam to receive the powers of six Egyptian gods and become a juggernaut for justice called the Mighty Adam. By speaking the mage's name, Teth-Adam is imbued with the stamina of Shu, the swiftness of Heru, the strength of Amon, the wisdom of Zehuti, the power of Aton, and the courage of Mehen. He abuses this gift and is exiled in space by Shazam for thousands of years, until returning in 1945 intent upon enslaving Earth. When Shazam's new recruits—Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel, and Captain Marvel, Jr.—are vanquished by Adam, only the mortal Uncle Marvel is able to defeat the knave, tricking him into voicing “Shazam” and thereby removing his superpowers. Black Adam reverts to his true age of over five thousand years and disintegrates into ash. By 1954 the entire Captain Marvel franchise of titles, once among the best-selling in the comicbook business, also faded from view as the result of a lawsuit with DC Comics over Captain Marvel's supposed similarities to Superman. DC revived the hero in 1973 in the series Shazam!, and in issue #28 (1977) Black Adam was resuscitated by the mastermind Dr. Sivana for a clash with the Captain (Black Adam's comic-book return was preceded by a 1976 Shazam! View-Master packet featuring the villain). Black Adam fought Captain Marvel several times in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and appeared in episodes of NBC's animated series, Kid Super-Power Hour with Shazam! (1981–1982). Captain Marvel was rebooted in the miniseries Legends (1986–1987), and in the four-issue follow- up series Shazam!: The New Beginning (1987), Black Adam was similarly revived in a darker but short-lived interpretation by Roy Thomas and Tom Mandrake. Writer/artist Jerry Ordway discarded previous continuity and started Captain Marvel afresh in the 1994 graphic novel The Power of Shazam!, followed by a monthly series of the same name (1995–1999), in a version that endures in DC's twenty-first-century continuity. Black Adam's Golden Age backstory remained partially intact, with Teth- Adam transformed by the utterance of the word “Shazam” into “Khem-Adam” (or, in English, Black Adam), serving Prince Khufu (connected to the lore of DC's Hawkman) until turning renegade after the deaths of Adam's family. The wizard Shazam removed Adam's superpowers and placed them inside a scarab-shaped amulet, discovered in the late twentieth century in Pharaoh Rameses' tomb by husband-and-wife archaeologists, the Batsons— parents of Billy (Captain Marvel) and Mary (Mary Marvel)—but their cold-blooded aide, Theo Adam (actually introduced in 1991's War of the Gods #2), slaughtered them for the trinket, assuming Black Adam's phenomenal powers. Black Adam resurfaced to battle Captain Marvel and Shazam on numerous occasions throughout the late 1990s, even teaming with the wizard's bastard offspring Blaze to enchain Shazam. In JSA #6 (2000) Adam returned from an intergalactic sojourn to battle the Justice Society of America, a team he fought on several occasions—solo and as one of the Injustice Society—until he reformed and worked with the JSA on a probationary basis (although he was regarded a villain in a 2002 DC Direct action-figure release). Adam ultimately splintered the JSA in the 2004 storyline “Black Reign,” leading some of its members on an invasion of his homeland Kahndaq, where Adam established himself as dictator. The trepidation toward Black Adam shared by many JSAers proved founded in 2005 as Teth-Adam joined Lex Luthor's Society—an assemblage of most of the supervillains in the DC Universe— as one of its inner council in the Villains United miniseries.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.