Friday, November 27, 2015

Introducing Black Adam

Black Adam was literally a one-hit-wonder villain making only one golden age appearance in Captain Marvel comics.  The wizard Shazam himself tells us Black Adam's story in Marvel Family Comics #1.      

Over 5,000 years ago in Egypt, the wizard Shazam chose a man named Teth-Adam to be his champion.  Shazam told Teth-Adam, "The world needs a powerful champion to combat the evil which infests it!"  Because Shazam thought Teth-Adam's soul was good and pure, he picked him to be that champion.  When Teth-Adam spoke Shazam's name, he transformed into Mighty Adam and was to go and fight evil in the world.  (Note:  This comic was published in 1945, so 5,000 years from that time places this event in 3055BC!)

However, after discovering his mighty powers, Mighty Adam decided he would be the ruler over all mankind.  He stormed into Pharaoh's palace and killed him by breaking his neck and took Pharaoh's place on the throne.  He immediately made plans to send out armies to conquer the world in his name.  Shazam appears and confronts Mighty Adam.  He tells him, "You have turned evil, Mighty Adam! I change your name to Black Adam!  You must be punished."  And punish Black Adam he did!  Shazam banished Black Adam from the earth and hurled him through space to the farthest star in the universe!  Black Adam vowed to return and get his revenge on Shazam as he was being cast into the darkness of the universe.

Black Adam does return to the earth after flying for 5,000 years across the universe.  He not only lands back on earth, he lands in Fawcett City, home of the mighty Marvel Family!  Black Adam makes his intentions known as he proclaims, "The world is certainly different today from what it was when I last knew it!  But I will conquer and rule it!"  Black Adam then squares off in a fight against Captain Marvel, Jr. and Captain Marvel.  Realizing he needs to rethink his plans, Black Adam hides in the crowd while Captain Marvel, Jr. and Captain Marvel decide to visit Shazam for insight into Black Adam.  They change back into Freddy Freeman and Billy Batson before their meeting with Shazam.

Unbeknownst to Freddy and Billy, they are being followed by Black Adam.  Black Adam captures Freddy and Billy, preventing them from changing into Captain Marvel and Captain Marvel, Jr.  Meanwhile, Mary Marvel and Uncle Dudley decide to visit Shazam as they realize both Billy and Freddy have gone missing.

A tremendous battle between Black Adam and the Marvel Family ensues!  While the battle rages, Uncle Dudley summons Shazam and asks how they can defeat Black Adam and Shazam tells him that he must get Black Adam to speak Shazam's name.  Uncle Dudley tricks Black Adam into saying, "Shazam!" and immediately the magic lightning strikes Black Adam, transforming him back into Teth-Adam.  Captain Marvel gives Teth-Adam a mighty punch before he can say the magic word and transform back to Black Adam!  Teth-Adam ages 5,000 years in an instant and is turned to dust and bones, thus destroying the villainous Black Adam!

Here's a few things to ponder about Black Adam and his story.  

  • Mighty Adam was to fight evil as Shazam's champion but he became corrupted by the power he had.  Shazam bestowed the Black Adam title on him as he no longer deserved the champion's name of Mighty Adam.
  • Mighty Adam was decidedly different than Captain Marvel.  While the uniforms of both were pretty much the same except for color, Mighty Adam was never given a regal cape such as the one Captain Marvel wears!
  • Black Adam's pride was his downfall.  As soon as he reached the farthest star where he was banished, he immediately set out back to earth to conquer it and get his revenge on Shazam.
  • Good came out of the wizard's 'most terrible mistake.'  Realizing he chose the wrong person, Shazam waited 5,000 years before choosing a new champion.  This time he did not choose an adult but instead chose an orphan boy named Billy Batson.  When Billy speaks Shazam's name, he transforms into Captain Marvel and has been commissioned as Shazam's new champion in the fight against evil.

That is the story of Black Adam as told by Shazam in Marvel Family Comics #1. 

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