Teth-Adam is one of DC Comics’ most famous and popular supervillains. The archenemy of the superhero Shazam (Billy Batson), Teth-Adam, better known as Black Adam, is quite popular among the fans and readers generally love all of the stories of this powerful supervillain.
It’s not just him and his powers, but the rich mythology and lore of Black Adam that attract the fans to one of the villains with the most depth in the DC Universe. With the upcoming movie already being a silent hit among the fans, we have decided to give our contribution to the whole lore by giving you a list of the eight best comics featuring Black Adam.
DC Comics, for those of you that are not familiar with the story behind the comics, is a major American comic book publisher founded back in 1934. Along with Marcel Comics, it is the most popular comic book publisher in the United States. DC Comics is a major player in the comic book business and is the “home” of many famous comic book characters such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, and many others.
Who is Black Adam?
Black Adam is the alter ego of one Teth/Theo-Adam, a fictional supervillain and occasional antihero appearing in stories published by DC Comics. He is usually portrayed as the rival and archenemy of the superhero Shazam, whose real name is Billy Batson. Otto Binder and C.C Beck are credited as Black Adam’s creators; he made his debut in The Marvel Family #1 (1945). Black Adam was initially owned by Fawcett Comics, but the rights transferred to DC Comics in 1973.
His initial origin story, as presented by Fawcett Comics, states that he was an ancient Egyptian known as Teth-Adam, who was chosen by the wizard Shazam to be his successor due to his presumed purity.
Granted magical powers, Teth-Adam became the powerful superhero Mighty Adam, but was soon corrupted by that same power. This opted Shazam to rename him Black Adam and to banish him into the farthest corner of the universe, as he was unable to take the powers back.
Black Adam travelled the universe for 5,000 years before returning to Earth in 1945. Unbeknownst to him, Shazam had already picked a new successor, Captain Marvel, whose archenemy Black Adam soon became.
When DC Comics got the rights to the character, they changed his origin story, although not drastically. In this revised origin, Teth-Adam was born on September 11, 1279 BC. Teth-Adam is the son of the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses II, and impresses one of the high priests, the wizard Shazam, with his good deeds.
The wizard gives Teth-Adam the power to become the superhero Mighty Adam by speaking the name “Shazam”. Mighty Adam serves as Egypt’s champion for many centuries, but becomes corrupted by the charms of a mysterious woman, revealed to be Shazam’s evil daughter Blaze in disguise. Becoming corrupt, he soon killed the Pharaoh and appointed himself the new ruler; this disappointed Shazam so much that he actually took Black Adam’s powers from him and locked him into a necklace, where he died.
Thousands of years later, during the late 20th century, an unscrupulous archaeological aide named Theo Adam finds himself assigned to an expedition to excavate the tomb of Ramesses II. Adam uncovers Khem-Adam’s tomb in a secret passageway, and leads his superiors, C.C. Batson and his wife Marilyn, to the discovery.
Upon first sight of Khem-Adam’s scarab, Theo Adam becomes obsessed with the artifact, and kills both Batsons in order to steal it. The Batsons’ son, Billy, has been left behind in the United States, and is drafted by Shazam to become the wizard’s second champion, Captain Marvel.
When Theo Adam first encounters Captain Marvel, he notes both Marvel’s identical appearance to C.C. Batson and the lightning-bolt insignia on Marvel’s chest that had also decorated Khem-Adam’s tomb. Adam therefore has a revelation, and realizes that he is a reincarnation of Khem-Adam. Grasping his stolen scarab, Adam speaks Shazam’s name and is transformed into the super-powered Black Adam.
Since then, Black Adam’s has mostly been an enemy of Shazam, but in the recent years, he was most often portrayed as a antihero who wants to redeem his villainous deeds. Still, he is one of the best-known and most popular supervillains in DC Comics’ lore.
He has appeared in several media adaptations, including video games and animation. Dwayne Johnson was cast as Black Adam in the upcoming solo film Black Adam, which is going to be part of the DCEU.
This here is our list of the eight best comic books and graphic novels featuring the character of Black Adam. He was a main character in some of them, while in the others, he had a less important role, but the stories are important for his fictional biography.
1. The Power of Shazam!
Publication Date(s): 1994
Writer(s): Jerry Ordway
Artist(s): Jerry Ordway, John Constanza, Mike Carlin
At the beginning of the comic, the parents of ten-year-old Billy Batson, both archaeologists, are working in Egypt, excavating the tomb of Ramesses II with their partner, Theo Adam. By murdering the Batsons, Adam kidnapped their little daughter, Mary, and stole a scarab-shaped necklace once it was stuck to a sarcophagus in the grave. Billy had been left at home in Fawcett City due to school exams.
As for the origins narrated in Whiz Comics #2 by Fawcett Comics (1940), Billy was abandoned and sent to his cruel uncle Ebenezer, who took the inheritance left by his family and abandoned him on the street, where he became a “newsboy” (a newspaper seller on the street) to earn a living. One night, Billy met a dark-dressed stranger outside the subway tunnel, who invited him to follow him on a magical train. The vehicle transported them both to the realm of Wizard Shazam, who elected the boy as his successor.
Naming the Wizard’s name, Billy was struck by a magical lightning bolt that transformed him into Captain Marvel, an adult superhero. As Captain Marvel, Billy thwarted the plans of Theo Adam and his employer, wealthy tycoon Thaddeus Sivana, to destroy the WHIZ radio building and silence a witness to Adam’s murder. Adam’s encounter with Marvel, which is the spitting image of C.C. Batson (Billy’s father), together with the clues of the expedition, led him to understand that he is the reincarnation of Teth-Adam, the original champion of the Wizard Shazam.
Crossing the path of the Wizard, Teth-Adam was killed and his powers were inserted into a scarab, the same one that Adam stole from the grave after killing the Batsons. Taking the scarab from Sivana’s trophy room, Adam spoke the Wizard’s name and was struck by the magical lightning bolt, becoming Black Adam.
Adam and Captain Marvel fought on the ground of the Fawcett World’s Fair founded by Sivana, which saw Marvel winning by snatching the scarab from its enemy. Then, Marvel took Adam to the Wizard, who took away his use of the voice and his memories. Then Billy discovered that the stranger who brought him to the Wizard was his father’s spirit, and that his sister Mary was still alive. Billy promised, as Captain Marvel, to fight injustice and evil, and also to find his missing sister. Meanwhile, Sivana lost all of her money and property to Marvel and Adam’s destruction of it during their fight, and vowed to take revenge on the good Captain.
Significance: Although this graphic novel focuses more on the superhero Shazam (Captain Marvel), it is the seminal modern Black Adam story. This is the best story to start with when modern (DC Comics) Black Adam stories are concerned. Namely, this graphic novel introduced Black Adam to the DC Comics continuity in a proper way and it serves as a reimagined origin story for the character, which is somewhat different than the original one from 1945. This story also established him as Shazam’s primary antagonist, along with Dr. Sivana, which he remains even today, despite his somewhat changed role. This is story is of the utmost importance and is a must-read for Black Adam fans.
2. JSA: Savage Times
Publication Date(s): 2002 — 2003
Writer(s): Geoff Johns, David S. Goyer
Artist(s): Leonard Kirk, Patrick Gleason, Keith Champagne
Da Bomb trains in his cell at Blackgate Penitentiary. He is preparing to reunite with Power Girl, whom he has plastered with photos and newspaper clippings from his prison cell. Da Bomb loosened the inhibitors that suppressed his powers and explodeS. He emerges from the ruins and goes in search of the love of his life. Meanwhile, Power Girl arrives in Central Park for a ceremony to discuss her foundation and the charity work she does. Force arrives and prepares to attack Power Girl. Da Bomb flies in and takes the power out. He offers Power Girl his love and devotion, while Power Girl flippantly rejects him.
In Portsmouth, a villain named Shadower has kidnapped and will kill a class of children – unless Doctor Mid-Nite performs an operation on Shadower’s grandfather, a former Nazi supervillain of the same name. Captain Marvel is there with the Star-Spangled Kid. Star-Spangled Kid interrupts the force with her cosmic staff and distracts the shadow as Captain Marvel punches through the walls. But the plan fails: Shadower’s power consists in connecting to other people’s nervous systems and depriving them of power and information. He pulled the policeman over and saw their plan coming. and he is connected to the children. So if they attack him, everyone else in the room will bear the brunt of the attack. Captain Marvel points out that Shadower never met his grandfather, but Shadower disagrees: as his powers manifested, he was able to hear his grandfather’s thoughts and guide him in their use.
Suddenly the operation goes badly as the original Shadower suffers a heart attack. Mid-Nite and Terrific give up, and Shadower realizes that he can no longer hear his grandfather’s thoughts. Affected, he puts his gun to his head and intends to kill himself and everyone else in the room. Suddenly one of the children gets up and says he wants to be an artist. As the others stand up and list dreams, the boy asks Shadower what he would like to be when he was her age. There is silence and Shadower replies, “I … don’t remember.”
Black Adam disagrees with Captain Marvel’s behaviour. And with the help of some friends, he hopefully won’t have to deal with them for long. Rick Tyler trains in the JSA swimming pool. He has a sudden vision of Black Barax in the near future. He calls an emergency meeting with the JSA to warn them. Elsewhere, Doctor Fate is in a coma over his wife. He’s following up on the lead he’s been given to check out Gemworld. Black Adam continues to dig for Captain Marvel. Marvel tells him that he believes he has never been angry and will continue to watch over him. They are interrupted by the sudden arrival of Black Barax. His drones emerge from his ship and attack the JSA members. Marvel and Black Adam are quickly overwhelmed by a lightning attack as Black Barax comes from the future where he knows all of their weaknesses.
When the lightning bolt from Marvel’s Barax ‘ship falls, Barax rushes back worried, the lightning will activate the tachyons. They are suddenly teleported to another location, confusing the JSA. Later, we discover that Captain Marvel is stuck with half of his body in a time-lapse. He’s suddenly completely involved when he tells them Black Adam is coming for him. Kendra notices sand on the floor and recognizes it from the 12th century. They are both surprised when Terry Sloan appears behind them.
Hawkgirl leads the Terrifics to Washington, DC, where there are reports of Black Barax attacks. In Gemworld, Doctor Fate is tricked into meeting Cutter by Flaw. Cutter explains that his Anubis amulet was actually made by him. In Washington, Terry Sloan threatens Black Barax with a suicide proposal. Barax realizes that as a potential descendant of his, there is no way he can allow this, as he would cease to exist. Barax takes the bait and teleports back to his century. After he leaves, JSA members joke that he bought the lie as there was no way they would know if Barax was really a descendant of Terry.
Michael Holt and Kendra go into the time cube. Since it came from ancient Egypt, she knows she can control it using her telepathic commands to send to Captain Marvel. Mister Terrific, Hawkgirl, and Captain Marvel have been transported back in time to 15th Dynasty of Egypt, where they face Vandal Savage from five-thousand years ago. Nabu sends Captain Marvel and Teth-Adam to the Land of the Dead to call upon the great sun-god Ra for help, and not even Ahk-Ton and Vandal Savage can stand up to a god. Unable to return home, the heroes turn to Nabu for help. The only solution that he can offer is that they go to sleep in a chrysalis, and have an undying wake them up. Black Adam wakes them up in present time, and they re-join their friends in the Justice Society of America.
At the JSA Brownstone, Doctor Fate woke the woman he thought was Lyta Trevor, his wife. However, she is revealed as a dove, the mother of his present body. Dove explains that although she was considered dead, this was a ploy by Extants Controller, a malicious entity that wanted her child’s body to itself – Mordru.
Later, Black Adam notes that this would not have been tolerated in his day while Atom-Smasher is hit by a thrown bottle, causing Doctor Fate to target the thrower with his magic – much to Hawkman’s dismay. At the Brownstone, Alex Montez was sent a package by a Doctor Bruce Gordon – one of Eclipso’s black diamonds that was crushed into a liquid and placed in a syringe. As he injects it, his face darkens. In front of the courthouse, one of the crowd has a ticking bag. Power Girl rips it from him and flies in the sky, so that only she is affected by its explosion.
In the courthouse, the crowd responds to the noise by running to the exits while police officers rush to Kobra and expect him to run. However, Mister Terrific realizes the truth – Kobra is not trying to run, he is simply trying to get everyone’s attention. Kobra then informs them that 500 of his supporters operated arsonists in the crowd. Since they are brainwashed, the judge and heroes face a choice – either release him or be responsible for killing the entire crowd. You have no choice but to let him go. As he walks out, he tells them about his plan to teleport himself and his followers away using Thanagar technology he stole from Justice League headquarters. Angry at looking like fools, Black Adam and Atom-Smasher decide to leave society and fly away. Doctor Fate notices that their souls will burn in Hell. Hawkman demands that he take off his helmet, and Hector does so – revealing that he has been possessed by Mordru.
Significance: “Savage Times”, which is a story taken from the pages of the Justice Society of America series, presents a very special and important story that deals with Black Adam. When the JSA has to fight Vandal Savage in ancient Egypt, they also meet a historical incarnation of the future villain, Black Adam. Although this story doesn’t really examine his origins, it is a great historical perspective that gives us a brilliant insight into the character’s biography, development and evolution. We manage to get a glimpse of what the historical version of DC’s Black Adam looked like and that showed us just how interesting this character is.
3. JSA: Black Reign
Publication Date(s): 2005
Writer(s): Geoff Johns
Artist(s): Don Kramer, Keith Champagne, Rags Morales
In Kahndaq, Black Adam leads a group of heroes he gathered at the Justice Society to overthrow Asim Muhunnad’s corrupt military government. Most of the team members are eager to kill the vicious junta, but Atom-Smasher hesitates until Adam pressures him to stomp Muhunnad after the team liberates a warehouse full of abused child slaves. Carter Hall is hosting the JSA in St. Roch for a birthday party.
While some of the men are bar hoping, Doctor Mid-Nite encourages a prostitute to quit her job and threatens her pimp, while some of the female members of the team see a fortune teller but leave when Power Girl is offended by the medium’s claims. Hourman stays at the hotel, claiming he has a headache, but is tormented by the prospect of returning to the Miraclo addiction. He is visiting his father at the time for advice. Hawkman is late to his own party to stop Matter Master. Though the bout is short, he informs his teammates that they have bigger concerns: Kahndaq had a coup and Black Adam and the Black Reign have overtaken the nation. He insists that given the difficult circumstances, he will take over the chairmanship of the JSA.
In Kahndaq, Black Reign announces that they have freed the country from their military dictator. The JSA argues how best to try to take over the chairmanship of Mister Terrific and Hawkman agrees to step down temporarily. Atom Smasher is tormented by his decision to kill and the voice of The Atom literally whispering in his ear. The debate about the steel eagle and even the amulet of Anubis continues where Nabu Dr. Fate debates the ethics of black rule. As soon as they enter the airspace of Kahndaqi, the discussion is interrupted when Black Adam destroys their plane and several JSAers in the air are attacked by Feitherans loyal to Northwind.
Atom-Smasher kidnaps Terrific and Doctor Mid-Nite and declares they are right. In Kahndaq, Hourman runs for his life on the streets of Kahndaqis, who is loyal to the new government of Black rule. The battle with the JSA escalates when Nabu takes control of Dr. Fate and Nemesis take over and deal a potentially fatal blow to Hourman. In his desperation, he brings his father off the vanishing point. The battle between Black Reign and the JSA escalates: Hawkman tears Northwind’s wings off, Dr. Fate removes control of his body from Nabu and Rex Tyler appears from Timepoint to take responsibility for his fatally wounded son. Alexander Montez’s bond tattoos are cut, loosening his control over Eclipso, who instantly kills Nemesis.
Several Kahndaqis formed a mob to kill some JSA members, and Black Adam tied and gagged Captain Marvel, unable to transform from Billy Batson. The Atom coordinates with Doctor Mid-Nite to lobotomize Brainwave, but discovers the root of his personality change and heightened mental powers: Mister Mind. In the war against Black Reign, Hawkman’s secret plan to have The Atom lobotomize the malignant brainwave is complicated by the presence of Mister Mind. He attacks the alien creature and Brainwave falls into convulsions. Stargirl frees Captain Marvel with the help of Atom Smasher and her teammates fight together against Black Adam. Anger appears from the amulet of Anubis and supports the team in battle.
Green Lantern drives Hawkman’s maces to subjugate Adam, and as the two fight a stalemate over the grave of Adam’s long-dead family, Atom-Smasher, Captain Marvel and Stargirl arrive to offer a truce: Kahndaq remains a no- Go zone in which Adam can rule the nation in peace. They know that he wants only what is best for his people and as long as that peace is maintained he will not have violent ambitions. The two sides agree when a group of Kahndaqis arrive to protect their guide and the JSA vacation. A week later, Brainwave is brought into the care of his mother. Hawkman is leaving the company because of his perceived leadership errors.
Significance: Black Adam’s redemption was short-lived, as he – disillusioned with the JSA – left the group and quickly became an antagonist once more. This story is chronicled in Geoff Johns’ “Black Reign”, which is one of the seminal stories from the Justice Society of America series. Johns redefined Adam’s personality and background, focusing on the character’s old-fashioned and militant ideals of justice, and his officious and strongly opinionated attitude. In that aspect, this is yet another in-depth exploration of his personality and most fans actually love Black Adam because most of his stories have such high-quality character development that makes him so unique and beloved, despite the fact that he is a villain.
4. JSA: Black Vengeance
Publication Date(s): 2006
Writer(s): Geoff Johns
Artist(s): Don Kramer, Keith Champagne
The JSA calls a special meeting to decide the fate of Atom-Smasher. Sand vouches for his re-entry to the team, but several others, including Sentinel and Hourman, are reluctant to consider the idea in place of Al’s actions in Kahndaq. Together they decide to put the matter to the vote. Meanwhile, the mysterious Crimson Avenger appears in Midway City and prepares to bring justice to a man who murdered his wife. Before she can demand justice, however, the unbound spirit of the ghost’s vengeance appears in the room. He kills the Avenger’s target, then turns his attention to the Avenger himself.
Suddenly, a ray of purple energy shoots through her shoulder. The origin of this ray of light is Jean Loring, who recently took over the power of Eclipso. In Kahndaq, Black Adam is having a video conference with Lex Luthor. He reminds him that the only reason he associated with his company was that Luthor had agreed to keep his people away from Kahndaq. Adam warns Luthor to make sure he keeps his end of the deal. In Fawcett City, Billy and Mary Batson climb the steps of their school. Billy suddenly sees Shazam’s reflection in a window. Shazam calls Billy to the Rock of Eternity. He tells Billy about the merging of Jean Loring’s body with that of Eclipso. It also points him in the right direction from Eclipso’s next target.
As Captain Marvel, Billy decides to enlist the help of his old allies, the JSA. Meanwhile, Black Adam flies to the USA and comes to Atom Smashers room. Al patiently waits for his former teammates to make a decision. Adam tells him that the people of Kahndaq need his help. Al agrees to accompany him back to Kahndaq. After the JSA members make their decision about whether to rejoin Al, they go to his room. Al is gone, but Hawkman and Captain Marvel are floating outside his window. They tell the JSA they have to go to Kahndaq. Two days ago, The Spectre continued its crazy quest to destroy all magic on Earth. He appeared in the middle of the Tower of Doom in Salem to face Hector Hall. Hector wears Nabu’s helmet, but it wasn’t fast enough. The ghost violently attacked Hector and his wife Lyta. Today Black Adam takes Atom-Smasher to Kahndaq.
The Spectre has already arrived and is burning down the capital, Shiruta. The loyal Feitheran warriors of Black Adam rave about the ghost, but with a wave of the hand, he turns a phalanx of Feitherans into stone. Northwind, evading the Spectre’s first attack, struck him in the face with his spear. Black Adam flies down and ploughs through the middle section of the Spectre. The attack gives the Spectre a break, but he manages to lose the power that gives Black Adam his strength. He transforms back into a mortal and falls until he is caught by the giant atomic smasher. The JSA finally arrives aboard the Steel Eagle in Kahndaq. They immediately begin visiting the endangered Kahndaqi citizens. Black Adam speaks the magic word “Shazam” and regains his strength and vitality.
He turns against the JSA even though they are here to help. He tells them that the people of Kahndaq don’t want their help. Adam starts fighting Power Girl and during the fight Power Girl’s eyes start to light up. She is suddenly beaten blind for some unknown reason. Through reflex, she unleashes a strong burst of thermal images that shakes Black Adam. Meanwhile, Mister Terrific instructs J.J. Thunder to release the lightning. Johnny Thunderbolt bursts out of the pen and J.J. asks him to teleport the ghost into the fifth dimension. However, the Thunderbolt is not up to the raw power of the Spectre, and the Spectre sends the Thunderbolt power along with J.J. Thunder back to the fifth dimension. In the meantime, Eclipso is finally making their presence known. She creates stone sculptures of the late heroes Alexander Montez and Nemesis and lets them attack Stargirl. Atom-Smasher watches in horror as one of the stone golems grabs Stargirl by the neck.
As the ghost rages on Shiruta, Eclipso animates stone statues of Alex Montez and Nemesis to attack Stargirl and Atom-Smasher. Stargirl manages to free herself from her grip and regain her cosmic staff. Atom-Smasher then does short work on both statues. He gets the drop on Eclipso and steps on her, threatening to exert deadly pressure unless she tells him how to call the ghost. Eclipso mocks him and then releases a burst of energy that pushes Atom Smasher back. Meanwhile, a panicked power girl is still blindly stumbling around in a crowd of angry Kahndaqi citizens. Hawkgirl falls down and pulls Kara to safety, but Eclipso jumps on top of her and scratches her back with her sharp claws. Hawkgirl uses her spear and rams Eclipso in the eye. Black Adam approaches them and grabs Eclipso.
Furious and with no remorse in his heart, he grabs Eclipso’s neck and drops her to the ground. Jean survives, however, and after locking her neck back into place, she decides to escape from the fight scene. Atom-Smasher, meanwhile, decides to confront the Spectre directly. He increases his size and mass far beyond safe limits and attacks him head-on. Al negotiates with the Spectre and tells him that if the Spectre leaves Kahndaq, he will offer himself to the Spectre’s judgment and subsequent revenge. The ghost agrees and thrusts its ghostly fist into Atom-Smasher’s chest. He judges him for his deliberate actions that resulted in Extant’s death. His fist crushes Al’s heart and the former JSA member falls to the ground. The ghost who keeps his promise disappears from Kahndaq.
For a moment, Per Degaton appears in front of Al’s broken and dying body and says, “I told you I would watch your heart burst with sin.” Stargirl discovers him and hurls her Starburts, but Per Degaton disappears again in the stream of time. The other JSA members quickly crowd around Al’s body, but there is nothing they can do. Atom Smasher is dead. Black Adam, refusing to see his ally die, calls down the power of magical lightning. Twin Bolts hit Atom Smasher’s chest where Black Bolt stands and the shock is strong enough to restart his oversized heart. Green Lantern creates an energy vehicle to carry Al away, and Hawkman tells Black Adam that they are taking him home.
Significance: “Black Vengeance” is not one of the more prominent Black Adam stories from the Justice Society of America series, but it is a decent continuation of the Black Adam stories written by Geoff Johns. “Black Vengeance” follows the villainous endeavour of Black Adam and doesn’t really do much for the character except add another story to the list. Still, it’s good enough that it doesn’t do anything wrong either and it’s a fairly decent read that we definitely do recommend and that fittingly continues the story of Black Adam during his “rebirth” in the DC Comics mainstream continuity.
5. World War III
Publication Date(s): 2007
Writer(s): Keith Champagne, John Ostrander
Artist(s): Norm Rapmund, Pat Oliffe, Drew Geraci, Andy Smith, Ray Snyder, Tom Derenick, Jack Jadson, Rodney Ramos
Five weeks before the main events of the series, Martian Manhunter tried to telepathically fight Black Adam following his nearby obliteration of the Bialya, first disguising himself as a young girl, but was overwhelmed by his dark memories and fled into space from where he watched the impending battle, which it is then narrated from his point of view. During Week 50, Black Adam goes wild all over the planet, killing innocent civilians, leaving destruction and disease behind him. For example, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and many other cities were destroyed. Sydney in Australia was also devastated. The Great Pyramids of Egypt were damaged. Father Tempo tried in vain to stop him on the American shores and his face was ripped off for turning against him (even though he survived).
In retaliation for the attack despite the fact that he did not cross American borders, Black Adam launched an aircraft carrier over New York. Firestorm was forced to return from retirement, along with Firehawk. Together, the two turned the ship into snow. Nightwing (thought to be Jason Todd in full ruthlessness) battled a gang of looters; the words he said hinted that he had killed them; later he was seen with their money. Meanwhile, J’onn watched Supergirl return from the 31st century. Unstable from time travel, she passed through J’onn. Her form stabilized as she approached Earth. As a result, each hero tried to do their best in their role, even Harvey Dent tried to defend Gotham from Killer Croc, the Doom Patrol tried to stop Black Adam in Pisa, and Donna Troy became the new Wonder Woman.
Black Adam defeated Captain Marvel Jr. and Mary Marvel. In Sub Diego the effects of the Geiss serum were wearing off, turning the population back into air breathers, with the exception of Aquagirl and a few others, who enlisted the help of Aquaman. The latter now with the divine powers of Poseidon and Triton, asked for the power to save the Sub Diegoani. The gods, while denying any involvement with the fate of aquatic humans, gave Aquaman new powers, with a ritual designed to give him the powers of the “dark gods” of Atlantis, who saw the birth of his hand and bones in aquatic form. reborn from those snatched from him. Aquaman managed to bring part of Sub Diego back to the surface, saving its inhabitants.
As he expected, he paid a great price; he was transfigured into a maddened, amnesic and monstrous form, remembering the Dwellers of the Abyss. J’onn continued to follow Black Adam’s whereabouts, distracting his thoughts from the Justice Society, once again united to help the suffering population. He found Black Adam fighting the Teen Titans, demanding revenge for their alleged betrayal of Osiris. During the two fights, he killed Young Frankenstein and Terra. This caused J’onn to return to Earth and alert Checkmate. Kate Spencer’s cover as Manhunter nearly blew up; yet his attainment of the greater good convinced J’onn to take one more step towards his maturity: he went to his old police district in the guise of John Jones, revealing himself to his former friends, and burning down his old spy agency at the foundation to prevent re-assuming other disguises.
Not even Captain Marvel was able to defeat Adam and asked the Egyptian gods to remove their powers from Adam, but they replied that Adam had their blessing. Finally Black Adam was stopped in China by the Great Ten. Initially, the heroes could not do anything, as China promised to launch its nuclear missiles if they crossed the Great Wall of China. Eventually, the Justice Society and the other super heroes were allowed to join the battle. J’onn himself showed up, personally fighting Black Adam, and using his connection with him to fill his mind with images of the destruction of Mars and every death he had caused during World War III.
Black Adam paused for a few minutes, just long enough for Captain Marvel to create a magical lightning bolt to hurl at him while Power Girl and Alan Scott held him back, turning Black Adam into Teth-Adam and changing his magic word into a other unknown word. However, the magical lightning snatched it from Kara and Alan’s hands, but Teth-Adam was caught on the fly by Atom-Smasher before he fell to the ground. The magical lightning also hurt J’onn who could no longer assume the form he assumed in A Year Later, freeing him from the mental connection he had with Adam, but disposing him to rethink his life as a Martian on Earth, and no longer as an alien who he pretended to be as human as possible.
From their satellite base, the Monitors declared the end of the “Third World War”, intended as a one-man war against the whole world, but they declared fear of an even worse event coming to Earth.
Significance: If you want a truly good Black Adam story, World War III is one of the best picks you can find. Namely, this story does concern itself with what a full-on rage attack by Black Adam would look like, but it’s much more than just a thrilling, action-packed story for the fans. World War III is a story that shows us what Black Adam is capable of, throwing at us the full extent of the supervillain’s powers, but also examining his character and his personality far deeper than a lot of other stories featuring the ancient Egyptian supervillain. This is why World War III is so good and why we recommend it to all, since it’s definitely one of the best Black Adam comics out there.
6. Black Adam: The Dark Age
Publication Date(s): 2007 — 2008
Writer(s): Peter J. Tomasi
Artist(s): Doug Mahnke, Christian Alamy, Norm Rapmund,
Black Adam sits tied to a chair in a hidden room on the border with Kahndaqi. He has one of his loyal followers, Tamir, who mercilessly slaps him in the face so that he is unrecognizable. When the deed is done, Adam rises. He is now ready to walk the streets of Kahndaq discreetly. In the skies over Greece, the Justice Society of America flies towards Bialya. You are committed to finding Black Adam. Green Lantern flies ahead of them and maintains radio contact. On their way through town, the team finds a group of villagers torturing a man they believe is Black Adam. Atom-Smasher stops them and Mister Terrific performs an identity scan on the body with his T-spheres. The results are negative. This is not Black Adam.
At the Kahndaq border checkpoint, Black Adam is waiting in line to enter the country. He names the checkpoint guards Hassan Bari and tells them that Black Adam is responsible for killing his family. The guards believe his story and allow him to return to Kahndaq. A few days later, Adam and his followers break into the tomb of Isis and Osiris. They kill the guards and exhume Isis’ remains. An alarm sounds and the men fight with armed soldiers. During the carnage, Black escapes Adam, but drops one of Isis’ skeletal fingers. The next day, the JSA arrives to investigate the scene. Atom Smasher discovers Isis’ finger, which lies in the rubble, and puts it in his belt. He neglects to tell his teammates about his find. Weeks later, Black Adam and his trusted follower Tamir climb the windswept mountains of the Himalayas.
When food is scarce, Tamir Black offers himself to Adam to give him strength to continue his journey. Black Adam accepts Tamir’s brave offer and eats him. He continues his journey with renewed strength and vitality. After a few more weeks of trekking through treacherous terrain, Black Adam finally reaches his destination – a Lazarus pit. He throws the remains of Isis into the pit and moments later she rises from the mysterious liquid – whole and alive. Black Adam is reunited with his wife Isis. However, something is wrong. The Lazarus Pit did not restore her to health. Before his eyes Adam’s wife begins to lose cohesion as the skin and muscle tissue dry up and wither from her body.
In the meantime, the JSA is conducting a study on the mystical lightning bolt that turns Freddy Freeman into Captain Marvel. Freddy stands in the middle of the Mojave Desert while Mister Terrific, Atom-Smasher and Wildcat watch over him from their New York headquarters. Freddy speaks the magic word “Shazam” and Mister Terrific tries to follow the path of lightning. He decides to do another test to see if the magnetic poles played a role in the course of the lightning bolt. Back in the Himalayas, Black puts Adam Isis’ remains in his pocket and begins the long hike down the mountainside. A yeti shows up and attacks him, forcing Black Adam to drop his backpack. Adam cuts open the yeti’s stomach with his knife and grabs his intestines. He uses the animal’s innards to rappel down the slope of the mountain and retrieve Isis’ bones. As soon as it reaches the lower edge, it cuts its gut bungee cord and continues on its way.
In the Batcave, Batman and Superman monitor strange activities at the Kahndaqi embassy. Batman picks up the picture of an M-107 sniper rifle next to the embassy, and Superman flies off to intercept. He arrives on the roof and arrests a black-clad man who points his gun at the embassy. The man tries to fire his pistol at Superman, but the bullets ricochet off him. Superman uses his thermal imaging camera to melt the rebounding slugs before they can hit innocent bystanders. Superman’s efforts to interrogate the sniper fail and he takes him back to the Batcave, where Batman interrogates him at length. Time goes by and Black Adam arrives in the United States. He goes to Salem, Massachusetts and shows him the way to the Tower of Fate with a shard of the Rock of Eternity.
As he enters the tower, he calls out for Doctor Fate, but the only living thing he finds is Felix Faust. Felix has been trapped in the tower since the late Ralph Dibny built a bond circle in which Faust and the demon Neron were locked. However, Neron has since found out to escape the circle. The black Adam sticks Faust against the wall with a sword and asks him where he can find the amulet of Isis. The amulet is the only item that could make his beloved well again. Faust does not have an amulet but tells Adam that he may be able to use his magic to restore his powers. He finds a way to counter the spell created by Billy Batson that prevented Black Adam from using the magic word Shazam.
Now Adam’s power is tied to the remaining mystical energy given off by Isis’ body. Felix warns him that borrowing power from Isis will cause her body to deteriorate even further. Adam speaks his wife’s name and his costume and powers are restored. He stands in front of Faust and says: “And so it begins.”
Later, Black Adam is shot by mercenaries. After he is healed by doctors, the mercenaries go after the doctors and Black Adam saves them, then murders the mercenaries. He also disables the Justice Society’s satellite which had been attempting to track his location. At one point in the story, Black Adam finds the final piece of Isis’ amulet in Antarctica. Finally, Teth-Adam discovers the word he must use to transform into Black Adam without draining Isis’ energy. When he returns to the Tower of Fate, Felix revives Elongated Man in order to trick Black Adam, then after Adam leaves, revives Isis and escapes the tower.
Significance: The Dark Age is actually a follow-up from World War III, as it chronicles Black Adam’s endeavours after the events of World War III. The Dark Age might not be as exciting as its predecessor, but it is one of the most important stories in Black Adam’s history. This story brings us another entertaining in-depth approach to Black Adam’s character and is yet another piece of evidence why the complexity of this supervillain is something that the fans absolutely love. This story is likewise significant because it ties into the Countdown storyline, where Black Adam also played a very prominent role.
7. JSA: Black Adam and Isis
Publication Date(s): 2009
Writer(s): Jerry Ordway, Geoff Johns, Matthew Sturges
Artist(s): Jerry Ordway, Nathan Massengill, Bob Wiacek, Fernando Pasarin
The JSA gather at their headquarters to discuss the implications of their fight against Gog. The older members are upset with the team’s recent behavior, particularly on the part of Hawkman. They think Carter should take a leave of absence to cool off. Hawkman is furious at his JSA colleagues for reconsidering his membership, and he leaves the team furiously. The other members present go through their lists to evaluate who should stay and who should leave. In the meantime, Felix Faust still has the insensitive body of Isis. Isis has been his toy since he brought her back to life in the Tower of Fate.
Black Adam storms into the building and throws Faust across the room. Now that Faust is distracted, Isis returns to her senses. She retrieves her amulet and her necklace and then commits an atrocity on Faust’s subdomains. Black Adam and Isis are flying away from restarting their lives together. Atom-Smasher arrives at JSA headquarters and says that he would like to join the team again. The other members are skeptical about Atom Smasher’s recent battle against the damage. Some time later, Black Adam and Isis go to the Rock of Eternity and attack Billy Batson. With the power of a magic book, Isis speaks the magic word “Shazam” and channels the mystical lightning into her necklace and amulet. Billy Batson disappears.
Billy arrives home in Fawcett City but can no longer conjure up the power of Shazam . He tries to call Freddy Freeman, the current Captain Marvel, but it is the JSA that answers his subpoena. They meet at the Bromfield Residence and Billy tells them that he was once Captain Marvel. At the Rock of Eternity, Black Adam and Isis welcome the newest member of the Black Marvel Family – Mary Marvel.
While the bulk of the JSA fights Isis and Adam, Black Mary forces her brother to say her superhero name and threatens to kill Stargirl if he doesn’t. Billy agrees and transforms into “Black Billy”, a corrupt version of himself. The rock of eternity breaks open and the justice society flocks to the streets of Shiruta, Kahndaq, where the locals mistakenly believe Adam and Isis have returned to run their lands again, until Isis unleashes a horrific wave of plague killing several of them. Meanwhile, the late Mr. Batson leads Mary and Billy’s father, Jay Garrick, through time and space to the Rock of Finality, a reflection of the Rock of Eternity, in which the seven sacred virtues of man are buried. Here the wizard Shazam has been locked in a statue since his death by the ghost , and so Mr. Batson has called on Garrick’s help to free the wizard. In Kahndaq, Black asks Adam Isis to take care of the people in Kahndaq, but realizes that she has gone too far. Atom Smasher tries again to argue with Adam to convince him to give up his powers to spare the other Black Marvels the damnation that he himself will face.
Garrick and Batson appear with the statue of Shazam and ask Adam to return his lighting to the wizard, who they believe will cleanse Isis, Billy and Mary. Reluctantly, Adam agrees and gives up his power to revive the wizard. Shazam is not the slightest bit of gratefui, however. In fact, he’s angry. He permanently drains Billy, Mary and Isis of their powers and then turns the now mortal Teth Adam and Adrianna Tomaz to stone. Billy Batson asks the wizard to restore Teth and Adrianna so they can face deadly justice, but the only favor Shazam will do him is Stargirl’s return to Earth. After that, the wizard goes to find the final miracle, Freddie Freeman. Two days later, Billy and Mary Batson are homeless and wandering the streets of Fawcett City. The rock of eternity is sealed forever, so even Dr. Fate or Zatanna can find him. Meanwhile in New York, Alan Scott, Ted Grant and Jay Garrick have made their final decision on who will be allowed to stay in the Justice Society after the rift created by Magog.
They state that anyone who reported prior to Gog’s arrival is allowed to stay, with the exception of Amazing Man, Hawkman, and Starman, who have all stepped down to follow their own projects. The three chairmen also decide to reinstate Atom Smasher and decide that he has repented enough to forgive his involvement in the liberation of Kahndaq. Back in Kahndaq, the resident of the Rock of Finality appears at the statues of Teth and Adrianna and is happy that the magician Shazam has finally given him his own champions to play with. Courtney Whitmore and Mary Kramer get off a school bus near Courtney’s house. She’s angry because her recent fight against Black ruined Adam Courtney’s birthday. However, when they get to the house, they find the entire JSA roster waiting to surprise them. Everyone shouts Happy Birthday and Courtney is delighted. Starman gives her gifts consisting of her own costume and Cosmic Rod. Damage and Hourman go out to get ice cream, but Damage is in a fix claiming he doesn’t like ice cream. Back at the house, Wildcat bonds with his son, and Alan Scott tells Courtney how much she’s inspired other young heroes. The heroes (as well as Courtney’s family) present her with a large star-shaped birthday cake.
Courtney blows out the candles and makes a wish. Her wish is to finally have her braces removed. The entire JSA accompanies Courtney to the dentist, but unfortunately she has to wear Stargirl for another year. Atom Smasher has a meeting with Mister Bones in a pub in Metropolis. Bones tells Atom Smasher that while the government has still pardoned him for his actions with Black Adam in Kahndaq, they are still watching him and that his re-entry into the JSA has brought them unnecessary control. Atom Smasher receives a signal from Stargirl to meet him outside. Stargirl tells him that Obsidian sealed the entire JSA brownstone and that his help is needed immediately.
When they arrive, they discover that Flash, Green Lantern, Liberty Belle, and Wildcat are trapped inside, while the rest of the team stays outside the building and is denied entry. Obsidian offers little explanation for his actions, but to say that he does so for the safety of the team. The JSA finds a pedestrian nearby who collapses in front of them. His name is Bill and he’s apparently the host for an angry ghost. The ghost leaves Bill’s body and then jumps into Stargirl’s body. It uses the power of their cosmic staff to shoot away Obsidian’s black wall that he has around headquarters. As soon as the JSA realizes what is happening, Power Girl uses some power cords to give Stargirl an electric shock that forces the mind to leave her body.
However, it is too late. Stargirl’s attack was enough to weaken Obsidian’s defenses, and the field of darkness dissolves. The angry ghost gains access to the building and uses its power to transport five JSA members backwards through time, where it reveals its true identity. The ghost is the World War II villain known as Kung, and it brought the JSA back to Hiroshima, Japan on August 5, 1945, the day the Enola Gay dropped the atomic bomb on Japan. In the present, the chronic disorders have drawn the attention of one of the original JSA members – the Spectre.
Significance: This graphic novel is actually a collection of stories from a recent Justice Society of America series that features the Black Marvel family, led by Black Adam. This story continues Johns’ stories about Black Adam, but just like “Black Vengeance”, this collection remains a decent storyline from the Black Adam lore that doesn’t actually do much good or bad. This story expands the lore and is a great addition in that aspect, but as far as depth and character development are concerned, it’s just an installment that doesn’t do much for either. But, we do recommend it nevertheless.
8. Infinite Crisis (Villains United)
Publication Date(s): 2005 — 2006
Writer(s): Gail Simone
Artist(s): Dale Eaglesham, Val Semeiks, Wade Von Grawbadger, Prentis Rollins
For months, former President Luthor has been using his resources to form an army that will stand up to superheroes. Luthor’s team now had over 200 members, with core teams of six consisting of Luthor, Talia al Ghul, Doctor Psycho, Deathstroke, Black Adam and the Calculator. But not all criminals who were given the chance to join the team were eager to be a part of it. Batman’s enemy, Catman, joined a five-member squad supported by the mysterious Mockingbird, which included Cheshire, Deadshot, Scandal, Rag Doll, and Parademon, who opposed the Secret Society. Catman replaced the first Fiddler, after he was killed by Deadshot on Mockingbird’s orders, when the latter felt he had not completed his part on a mission. One night, at the Secret Six base, Catman and Deadshot began an argument about their leader, Mockingbird, and, about the change in Catman’s life, while Cheshire secretly listened without being seen.
After a while, Scandal informed the team that Mockingbird had just assigned them the mission of stealing an oil tanker located in Gotham Bay from the Thanagarian Armory. Upon arriving at the tanker they were attacked by members of the Society, finding: the Time Wizard, Cheetah, Doctor Polaris, Count Vertigo, Killer Frost, Captain Nazi, Hyena, Crazy Quilt and many more. After their capture, the Doctor of Crime tortured the Secret Six, asking them, among other things, to reveal Mockingbird’s true identity. After a couple of tortures, Catman managed to break free and saved his teammates. As they fled, they decided to send the Society a message. After their escape, the Six infiltrated a Society installation in Brazil. After making their way through a legion of H.I.V.E. troops, apparently led by Queen Bee, they discovered the Society’s plans called the “Vindication Scenario”, the purpose of which was to erase all memories of all the superheroes on Earth. The factory was a giant battery, powered by a couple of kidnapped victims, Firestorm and Gehenna. Firestorm was released as soon as Black Adam arrived with a team, while the factory was destroyed. Once the Secret Six returned to their base, Cheshire and Catman were sleeping together, she accused Catman of being a spy and wanting to be a hero.
However, Cheshire revealed to him that she had slept with him only because she was intending to get her pregnant with her. A short time later, most of the Society’s founding council voted to give the Secret Six a final blow, but the four remaining members decided instead that action was needed. Simultaneously, the Six agreed to a final defense, but only on the condition that each survivor would be freed from the control of Mockingbird in all its forms. Before the battle between the Company and the Six, Deadshot paid a visit to Scandal’s room to talk to her about the future of the team. A fragmented image on the woman’s desk revealed that she was the daughter of the notorious immortal criminal Vandal Savage. Before the conversation could move beyond basic greetings, Catman attacked Deadshot and admitted knowing that he (Deadshot) disguised as Deathstroke killed the lions of his pride. The two fought until they discovered that the real Deathstroke led a small gang of criminals in front of the door of the House of Secrets. As the team discussed how the Society found them, Cheshire confessed to several treacherous acts, and gave Luthor the coordinates of the base of the Six by joining the undercover Society. When she was asked why she did such a thing, she said that Mockingbird had threatened to kill her daughter if she did not cooperate.
Cheshire claimed that the child she would have with Catman would make a great replacement for a lost daughter. The Society broke through the castle, and Cheshire was hit by Deathstroke, who commented “The Society doesn’t need traitors.” The Secret Six, however, fought the invasion successfully. Talia and Scandal, daughters of the immortals Ra’s al Ghul and Vandal Savage, fought against each other. Just as Talia was about to have the mallet, Scandal’s mole in the Society, Knockout, knocked her out. Ragdoll convinced Solomon Grundy, a fellow termed, “hideous monster”, to switch sides. Ragdoll fought against his father until Parademon defeated the older Ragdoll. Catman and Ragdoll Jr. escaped with Black Adam’s group, while Parademon blew up himself, Ragdoll and the battlefield. The duel between Deathstroke and Deadshot ended when the two shot at each other at the same time.
To save his daughter Scandal, Vandal Savage infiltrated the Society’s headquarters and threatened to kill Luthor if he did not agree to disengage the attack on the Six. Reluctantly, and beyond Black Adam’s objections, Luthor put an end to the battle. Deadshot was provided with medical assistance by the surviving members of the Secret Six. The central revelation of the comic was that Mockingbird was actually none other than Luthor and that the Luthor who organized the Secret Society was an impostor (actually, Alexander Luthor Jr.).
Mockingbird / Luthor revealed that he chose these six particular individuals because each of them had different knowledge and experience that could be used in opposition to the Society: Catman, for his knowledge of Batman’s enemies; Deadshot, for knowing him about the members of the Suicide Squad; Parademone, for his life experience on Apokolips; Ragdoll, because he grew up as a grandson of the members of the Society of Injustice; Scandal, because she grew up with Vandal Savage and his associates; and Cheshire, for her knowledge of the enemies of the Teen Titans. Mockingbird / Luthor revealed to Scandal that he never put the Six families in danger and disbanded the team. Also of note is the apparent assassination of Pariah in the Luthor Society, a character from the original Crisis.
Significance: This is a collective story written by Gail Simone, that was part of the larger Infinite Crisis event, which was one of DC’s major narrative crossovers. Black Adam is not the main character in this story, but he does play a prominent role in it. We highly recommend this not just because it is an essential part to completely understanding Infinite Crisis, but because it also shows Black Adam’s character development in future stories and because it shows him in a contemporary setting, where he interacts with other villains from DC’s lore.
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