A powerhouse comparison of two extremely powerful characters is something we really do like to do and today, we managed to prepare one such comparison for you. We’re going to stay in the world of DC Comics and compare two bitter rivals, which is not something we’ve often done; we’ve usually done intra-universe or inter-universe crossovers, but we’ve rarely had the chance to compare two archenemies like today. Today’s protagonists are two very similar characters with unlimited powers. Their source of powers is the same, they even had the same role in different periods of history, yet they are rivals. They are Shazam (Captain Marvel) and Black Adam, and we’re going to tell you which one of them is stronger!
Shazam and Black Adam have the same powers and abilities, and they are both equally powerful, since both of their powers are practically infinite. Yet, due to having thousands of years more experience and being infinitely more lethal, we believe that – objectively speaking – Black Adam is the stronger one.
As per usual, today’s article is going to contain two introductory sections, one for Shazam (Captain Marvel) and one for Black Adam. Then, we are going to compare their powers and abilities, before finally explaining which one of them is stronger than the other. We prepared a lot of interesting facts so be sure to read the whole thing! Enjoy!
Who is Shazam/Captain Marvel?
Shazam, also known by his official name Captain Marvel, is a fictional superhero appearing in stories published by DC Comics. He was initially a Fawcett Comics character, but the rights transferred to DC Comics after years of legal and copyright issues. He made his debut in 1939 in Whiz Comics #2 and was created by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck. Shazam is the alter ego of orphan Billy Batson, who, when uttering the phrase “Shazam!”, becomes the superhero Captain Marvel.
Billy Batson was orphaned at a young age after his parents, C.C. and Marilyn Batson died. After his parents passed away, Billy became cold and cruel to most people. Becoming selfish and heartless, he went from nursing home to nursing home until he ended up in a Philadelphia orphanage. At the age of fifteen, Billy was placed in the care of Victor and Rosa Vasquez, both former foster children themselves who had already adopted a number of children.
Billy moved into the Vazquezes’ home, where he met his new foster siblings Mary, Freddy, Eugene, Pedro and Darla. Billy refused to bond with the other children and refused their attempts to get close to him. The next day, however, Billy stepped in to defend his siblings from bullies who picked them up at school. That night, he snuck out of the house and was followed by Freddy, and the boys decided to hijack the bullies father’s car. Billy was caught and escaped on a subway at the subway station. The train turned into a gateway to the Rock of Eternity, where Billy met the Wizard.
The Wizard searched the boy’s soul and found that he was not perfect. When he told him, Billy was angry with him immediately for believing that everyone is purely good and error-free. The Wizard accepted Billy’s point of view and looked deeper into his soul. After seeing all the good Billy had done in his life, the wizard gave him his power. In a word, he could transform himself into the champion Shazam and lead the living lightning. After giving Billy all his power, the Wizard died.
And the rest is history. It took some time before Billy Batson got used to his new powers but as soon as he did, he became a very popular superhero; Captain Marvel was a brilliant blend between Billy’s childhood ideals and the responsibility of an adult superhero. During his adventures, he has fought a large rogues gallery, most of them working in tandem as the Monster Society of Evil, including primary archenemies Doctor Sivana, Black Adam, and Mister Mind.
Shazam has been included in a series of derivative materials, including animation, video games and, most recently, a stand-alone live-action movie that is part of the DCEU. Asher Anger portrays Billy Batson, while Shazam (Captain Marvel) is portrayed by Zachary Levi.
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.
Comparing the powers of Shazam and Black Adam
As usual, we start off our analysis by comparing the powers and abilities our protagonists have. Usually, it’s a more complex job, but since both of them actually have the same powers, derived from the same source. Their powers are of magical origin and have been given to them by the Wizard; they are activated by uttering the phrase “Shazam!”. The powers are derived from powers of mythological heroes and give both Shazam and Black Adam a diverse set of powers abilities. It is said that their powers actually don’t have any limits. In the following sections, we are going to see just what exact powers these guys thanks to the Wizard.
As for Shazam, his powers, based on the letters of the phrase, are as follows:
|S||for the Wisdom of Solomon||Billy has instant access to a vast amount of scientific knowledge. He possesses excellent mental acuity and near-infallible wisdom, including an innate understanding of virtually all known languages and sciences, and has a photographic memory and perfect recall to keep complete knowledge of everything he is experiencing with perfect clarity. From this he can read and decipher any code, solve long math equations instantly, and make intuitive guesses based on limited data that is almost always correct. He also has a great understanding of divine phenomena in the mortal world, an uncanny awareness of his circumstances, similar to clairvoyance, which enables him to turn disadvantage into advantage and to give advice and advice in times of need. In some stories, this power also gives him the ability to hypnotize people|
|H||for the Strength of Hercules||The power of Hercules bestows superhuman strength comparable to that of the legendary demigod, making him one of the strongest characters in DC Comics. He is able to bend steel easily with his bare hands, do the job of several workers in a fraction of the time, create powerful shock waves by clapping his hands, slam through almost any structure, and lift and throw massive objects. This strength has been compared to that of Superman and other god-like characters. The strength of Captain Marvel from the Golden Age was unlimited and the character was strong enough to move stars and planets.|
|A||for the Stamina of Atlas||The endurance of Atlas ensures almost unlimited resilience. He never feels tired or tired and therefore does not require rest or sleep. Its durability allows it to withstand most types of extreme physical attack with no or little damage. Plus, any physical damage it suffers will heal in seconds with no discomfort or persistent signs of damage. He has a supernaturally endowed metabolism that is well beyond the normal range of human physical activity, requires neither food nor air (although he can participate in it for personal pleasure), and can even survive in space without assistance. Aided by the magical energies flowing through his body, Billy’s empowered form ages very slowly, allowing him to live in his empowered form for potentially thousands of years, although his normal self will continue to age.|
|Z||for the Power of Zeus||Zeus’ power not only powers the magical lightning that transforms Captain Marvel/Shazam, but also greatly improves Captain Marvel/Shazam’s other physical and mental abilities, including his five senses, granting him resistance to all magical spells and attacks. The hero can use lightning as a weapon by dodging and allowing him to hit an enemy or other target. The magical flash has several uses, such as: These include creating contraptions, restoring damage done to the hero, and providing fuel for spells. It enables him to travel to the Rock of Eternity, thus enabling interdimensional and time travel. The current continuity version of Shazam can use its lightning powers to absorb lightning and electricity as well as conjure and generate lightning that it can control for various purposes, such as: B. to shoot energy flashes and to generate electric force fields.|
|A||for the Courage of Achilles||This aspect is mostly psychological and spiritual in nature. Achilles’ courage gives the legendary Greek hero the mental strength that gives him superhuman levels of inner strength, willpower, discipline and determination to fall back on in times of hopelessness. Constantly supported by a harmonious sense of goodwill and unwavering courage, he never backs down to a challenge or feels a debilitating amount of fear or despair, even in the face of the most intimidating adversary. In some stories it also gives him combat skills. It also supports the hero’s mental strength against telepathy, mind control and other mental attacks. In some stories, the power of Achilles also gave Billy the hero’s invulnerability.|
|M||for the Speed of Mercury||By channeling Mercury’s speed, Captain Marvel/Shazam can move at superhuman speeds comparable to lightning and fly at supersonic speeds. He can move at sub-light speeds in orbit and fly at trans-light speeds in space, although in older comics he could only skip great distances. The pre-1985 stories also made him travel to the Rock of Eternity by flying faster than the speed of light.|
As for Black Adam, his situation is somewhat different as he, at one point, went through a change in his powers and abilities, which resulted in him having two powersets instead of just one. The initial version had the letters of the phrase being symbols of Ancient Egyptian deities, while the new ones are more similar to Captain Marvel’s. Here are both of them:
|S||for the stamina of Shu||With Shu’s virtually unlimited stamina, Black Adam can withstand and survive most types of extreme physical attack. In addition, he does not have to eat, sleep or breathe and can survive in space without assistance. His divine metabolism gives him a far greater potency than man in all physical activities. Adam is immortal supported by the magical energies that flow through his body.|
|H||for the swiftness of Horus||By channeling Horus’ supernatural speed, Black Adam can move in orbit at sublight speeds. In space, Black Adam can fly at trans-light speed, while on Earth he was depicted at a maximum of Mach 500. He was able to give his speed to the Golden Age Flash and achieve incredible speeds with it.|
|A||for the strength of Amon||Black Adam has a phenomenal level of superpower that can easily bend steel, punch through walls, create powerful shock waves by clapping your hands, and lift massive objects. Adam’s strength is generally represented by being at a level equivalent to that of Superman and Captain Marvel, although some writers have portrayed his strength as possibly better than them. At least once he was able to stand up to a gathering of the Justice League, Justice Society, Great Ten, Martian Manhunter (whose strength comes close to that of Superman) and the Teen Titans.s.|
|Z||for the wisdom of Zehuti||Black Adam has instant access to a vast level of scholarly knowledge, which allows him to know multiple languages. The wisdom of Zehuti also provides him with counsel and advice in times of need.|
|A||for the power of Aten||Aten’s power enables Black Adam to fly, powers the magical lightning that transforms Adam, further enhances Adam’s superhuman physical abilities, and offers magical resistance to a wide variety of magical spells and attacks. Adam can use lightning as a weapon by dodging and allowing him to hit an enemy or target. It enables him to travel to the Rock of Eternity, thus enabling interdimensional and time travel.|
|M||for the courage of Mehen||This aspect is primarily psychological and spiritual. Mehen’s courage gives Black Adam superhuman amounts of inner strength, willpower, discipline and determination to fall back on in times of hopelessness and possibly great fighting skills. He is constantly supported by a harmonious presence of goodwill and unwavering courage that he never withdraws from a challenge or feels a debilitating amount of fear or despair, even in the face of the most intimidating adversary. His mental strength makes him resistant to telepathy and mind control. In some depictions, Mehen’s courage also offers a degree of his physical invulnerability to harm.|
And the second:
|S||for the Wisdom of Solomon||As Black Adam, Teth has instant access to a wide variety of scientific knowledge, including the most popular languages and sciences. He has extraordinary photographic memory and mental acuity that enables him to read and decipher hieroglyphics, remember everything he has ever learned, and solve long math equations. He also has a great understanding of divine phenomena in the mortal world.|
|H||for the Strength of Hercules||Hercules’ power grants Teth/Black Adam immense superhuman strength, making him one of DC Comics’ strongest characters. He is able to easily bend steel, punch through walls, and lift massive objects. In the New 52 comics, his strength is comparable to that of a demigod.|
|A||for the Stamina of Atlas||Using Atlas’ stamina, Black Adam can withstand and survive most types of extreme physical assaults, and heal from them. In some stories, the stamina of Atlas makes Teth/Black Adam nearly invulnerable. The stamina of Atlas also prevents him from getting tired.|
|Z||for the Power of Zeus||Zeus’ power not only powers the magical lightning that transforms black Adam, but also improves Adam’s other physical and mental abilities and grants him resistance to all magical spells and attacks. The hero can use lightning as a weapon by dodging and allowing him to hit an enemy or other target. The magical flash has several uses, such as: These include creating contraptions, restoring damage done to the hero, and providing fuel for spells. The current Continuity version of Teth-Adam can personally generate and control lightning for various purposes. He can also use it easily from his fingertips. The power of Zeus also increases the levels of Adam’s other powers.|
|A||for the Courage of Achilles||This aspect gives Teth-Adam/Black Adam the courage and bravery of Achilles. It also aids the hero’s mental fortitude against most mental attacks.|
|M||for the Speed of Mercury||By channeling Mercury’s speed, Black Adam can move at superhuman speeds and fly, enabling him to fly faster than the speed of light.|
And with this, we conclude the section on their powers and we can give our final verdict on the issue.
Conclusion: Which one is stronger?
Now that we know everything we needed to know before we conclude this, we can actually answer the first and last questions of this article. Namely, Shazam and Black Adam have, as you can see, the same powers. Initially, Black Adam had a different source for his powers, but the newer iterations of the characters are the same even in that aspect. One could assume that this means that the two of them are identical and that there is no outright winner, but there is a catch.
Namely, Black Adam has had his powers for thousands of years. Shazam is relatively new to the whole thing. During that time, Black Adam had much more time to explore everything his powers offer him and since the source is practically unlimited, Black Adam certainly had time to discover some of the things that Shazam has yet to uncover. This is probably what makes Black Adam such a menace; just remember, a combined effort of both Superman and Shazam was needed to defeat Black Adam when the three of them fought, as Black Adam was manhandling each of them individually.
There is also another thing differentiates Black Adam from Shazam and that is his willingness to kill. Black Adam has little to no inhibitions and he is infinitely more lethal than Shazam, who is a superhero after all. His rage is terrifying and he has proven that he is able to kill someone with one single blow. In that aspect, he is far more dangerous than Shazam and despite him usually losing – because the heroes have to save the day – we believe that objectively, Black Adam is (still) significantly stronger than Shazam.
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!
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