- I am not a villain -- not in the narrow definition of the word according to the self-named "modern" world. I fought alongside the Justice Society and for a time, made them my allies... but I never earned their trust.
- -- Black Adam src
Circa 1200 BC, Shazam became a high priest to the pharaoh Ramses II of Egypt. As the wizard grew older, he sought a champion worthy to inherit his powers. The young prince Teth-Adam of Kahndaq (Ramses' son) impressed the wizard with his fairness and decency. But before Shazam could bestow his powers, his daughter Blaze made a deal with the god Set. When Teth-Adam spoke the name "Shazam," instead of gaining the wizard's powers, he was blessed with the power of six Egyptian gods: Shu, Heru, Amon, Zehuti, Aton and Mehen. Although Adam speaks the name "Shazam," he does not draw power from the wizard. Teth-Adam served Egypt for many years as a successful hero, but this duty often drew him away from his wife, Shiruta, and his sons Gon and Hurut in Kahndaq.
Centuries later, Adam's home was destroyed and his family killed by the evil priest Ahk-Ton using the Orb of Ra. A disparaged Adam continued to serve in Rameses' court, and allied himself with Prince Khufu (later Hawkman). At this time, he met three travelers from the future: Hawkgirl, Mr. Terrific, and Captain Marvel. Adam felt relieved that his legacy would continue through Marvel, and thought highly of his future counterpart. With the help of these visitors and the wizard Nabu, Adam was able to capture Ahk-ton, whom he killed as retribution for murdering Adam's family.
Adam returned to Khandaq and forcefully overthrew the government present there, appointing himself ruler. The wizard Shazam became aware of these events and, thinking Adam had been corrupted by Blaze, unleashed a powerful spell. He trapped Adam's soul and powers within a powerful scarab and rendered Adam's de-powered body, now several hundred years old, into a withered corpse. Shazam then buried both the body and the scarab in the tomb of Ramses II, where he had planned for it to remain for all eternity. In death, the former hero was referred to as "Khem-Adam" ("Black Adam"). Disillusioned by what he perceived as Adam's betrayal, Shazam went several millennia before appointing a second champion to fight evil in his name.
Years later Rameses II's tomb was excavated by the Batsons under the orders of the Sivana Federation. A colleague of the Batsons, Adam's descendant Theo, murdered the Batsons after finding the scarab. Suspecting something was odd, his sister, Sarah, had Mary Batson adopted by the Bromfields to keep her away from Theo.
After seeing Billy Batson as Captain Marvel, Theo spoke the name "Shazam" and became possessed by the soul of Black Adam. With Black Adam reborn, the two battled, Adam temporarily rendered mute by Shazam. This was undone by the evil Blaze, and Adam later spent time in deep space.
Johnny Sorrow removed a malignant brain tumor in Adam's head, and Black Adam joined the Injustice Society. He soon betrayed them so the JSA could defeat them.
Black Adam left the JSA after Kobra was allowed to live. He formed his own team, executed Kobra, and once again overthrew Khandaq's government. The JSA intervened. After a battle, Black Adam was allowed to retain control of Khandaq as long as he stayed within its borders. He and the Feitherans began to rebuild the war-torn country.
Black Adam joined the Secret Society of Super-Villains to protect Khandaq, or so he claimed. During the Spectre's attack on magical beings, Atom-Smasher was killed, but Adam was able to revive him with magical lightning.
Adam was part of the group that set a trap for Uncle Sam and the rest of the Freedom Fighters. However, Adam himself was betrayed by the other villains as Alex Luthor sought 'a Marvel' to use as part of his plot.
Adam was given Adrianna Tomaz as a gift from Intergang. She was meant to be used as a slave to his pleasure, in return for allowing Intergang to use Khandaq as a base for their criminal activities. However, Black Adam executed her captors. Her wisdom helped him to focus on using his powers for the benefit of the people of Kahndaq. He granted her the power of the Goddess, Isis, and the two were married. When Adrianna's younger brother, Amon, was found a prisoner of Intergang, Adam granted him a portion of his own power and he became the hero, Osiris. Adam finally felt as if he had a true family. Isis had a tremendous influence on him, and she managed to dampen Adam's otherwise violent temper. As an act of good will, Black Adam and his family went to the United States and participated in several events including a holiday parade and a charity dinner at the Sivana estate.
Not long after, Adam's brother-in-law, Osiris, befriended a shy talking crocodile which he named Sobek. He brought Sobek back to Kahndaq with him and he became a part of the colloquially named Black Marvel Family. Sobek's presence eventually proved to be the undoing of the Black Marvel Family however.
Black Adam soon discovered that Sobek was in fact the Fourth Horseman known as Famine (Yurrd the Unknown). Sobek caused a massive blight that swept across Kahndaq ultimately killing Isis. He also turned against Osiris, savagely biting him in half and consuming the remains. Black Adam came upon Isis' body as she lay dying. Her final words were a plea of vengeance against those who brought this tragedy upon Kahndaq.
Adam next attacked Sobek, killing him by hyper-extending his jaws. He then tracked the First of the Horsemen, Death (Azeuz) to the nation of Bialya and engaged in a massive battle with him. Black Adam's thirst for vengeance wasn't sated with merely defeating the Horsemen however. He lashed out against the entire country, killing every man, woman and child in Bialya, even sterilizing the earth. This genocide empowered Death, who believed he would now be able to defeat Black Adam in battle. He was soon proven incorrect.
World War III
The world at large watched in horror as Black Adam continued blazing a trail of devastation across the globe. His next target was mainland China, whom he suspected was responsible for financially backing the Oolong Island experiments that resulted in the creation of the Four Horsemen. China's super-hero team the Great Ten attempted to stop Black Adam, but they proved ineffective. The Chinese government issued a proclamation that no other country was to interfere in China’s affairs, even on their own behalf. Such an action would be interpreted as an act of war, and China would retaliate with nuclear weapons.
An assemblage of heroes led by the Justice Society of America set up a beachhead on China's borders. Many of them wanted to ignore China's warning and fight Black Adam, but they maintained their vigilance for fear of aggravating a new war.
When Black Adam defeated the Great Ten, the Chinese government asked the Western world for aid. Dozens of super-heroes including the JSA, the Doom Patrol and the Teen Titans mounted an attack against Black Adam, but his fury was so intense that nothing seemed to stop him. One of the casualties was the former Teen Titan, Terra, whom Black Adam slew by punching his fist through her chest. The Teen Titan, Young Frankenstein, also fell to his fury.
Captain Marvel petitioned the Gods of ancient Egypt to take away Black Adam's powers, but they refused. In fact, they even advocated Adam's actions. Marvel then sought the aid of the mystical community and worked with Zatanna in a desperate attempt to defeat Black Adam once and for all.
Captain Marvel and Adam fought one another, and Marvel spoke the magic word "Shazam", summoning the mystic lightning that grants them their powers. He channeled the lightning into Black Adam, forcing him to transform back into the mortal Teth-Adam. Through Zatanna's spell, Captain Marvel managed to change the magic word so that Teth-Adam would be unable to turn back into Black Adam.
As the war came to a close, Teth-Adam escaped justice and fled back to Kahndaq. He was last seen wandering the streets of Shiruta incognito, attempting to learn the new magic word that bring his powers back.
Black Adam: The Dark Ages
The still-powerless Teth-Adam orders his remaining loyal servant to savagely beat his face in order to alter his physical appearance. Effectively disguised, he leads the group to Kahndaq to retrieve the bones of Isis, while the JSA is in Bialya searching for him. Adam and his men are attacked by unidentified soldiers (who are also searching for Teth-Adam) while leaving the tomb of Isis and Osiris. Adam's followers sacrifice their lives so that he can escape with his wife's remains. Adam then travels to the frozen Himalayas, where he eats the corpse of his last remaining henchman after running out of food. Finally reaching a secluded cave, Teth-Adam resurrects Isis using a Lazarus Pit.
Coming to realize she is no more then a decaying reanimated dead body, he is forced by the realization to kill her. He then takes her bones and goes on a pilgrimage to the Tower of Fate. Using a small piece of the Rock of Eternity, he reveals the Tower of Fate's location and enters. Expecting to find Doctor Fate so that he may get back the Amulet of Isis, he is surprised to find the doctor not in and Felix Faust has been trapped there with Neron, due to a spell cast by the deceased Ralph Dibny. Apparently Neron found a way out and left. Faust, in order to gain freedom joins forces with Adam and helps him cast a spell to transfer residual magic from Isis's bones to him to allow him to transform into Black Adam.
In retrieving the first part of the amulet, Teth Adam encounters Hawkman. The two have a savage battle in the sky, leading to Hawkman's serious injury. After the fight, the Justice League is notified and the team begins trying to find Black Adam. Meanwhile, while resting at a riverbank and contemplating his mission to bring back his wife, Teth Adam is shot down and badly wounded by members of the same organization that attacked him in issue one. He is, however, strong enough to speak the magic word "Isis" and transform into Black Adam. After promptly dispatching the assassins with extreme prejudice, he visits a veterinary hospital to have his wounds repaired.
After leaving the hospital, the doctors who save Teth Adam's life are attacked by the assassins. Teth Adam sees this happening, saves the two doctors, and kidnaps the two assassins. He kills them both, one by striking him with lightning and one by flying him up into the thermosphere, after getting information from them. The Justice League talk to the two doctors as part of their hunt for Teth Adam, and learn about his heroic act of saving them from the assassins. This further develops Teth Adam's anti-hero character, as it is one of his first acts of heroism since the events of World War III.
The miniseries ended at issue six, instead of the previously anticipated issue eight. Black Adam arrives at Fawcett City and accidentally discovers that the new transformation word Captain Marvel changed back in 52 was in fact "Chocolate Egg Cream". With his original power returned, he flies to Fate's Tower and confronts Faust. Faust attempts to resurrect Isis, but the resurrection fails, and Isis' bones crumble to the floor. Faust blames Black Adam for using Isis' power too much, and distraught, Black Adam flies away, ending up in the Kahndaq embassy in Gotham City. It is revealed that the bones that Faust showed to Black Adam belonged to Ralph Dibny, and Faust resurrects Isis successfully. With her under his power, he exits the tower.
Adam having secretly taken up residence in the abandoned Khandaq embassy in Gotham City. Mary Marvel stumbles upon him at the embassy and finds that he has killed several others that have had to the misfortune to find their way in there. It appears that Adam is very angry with Mary as well but with the uttering of "Shazam" he transfers all of his powers to Mary. Before leaving, he tells Mary to tell Billy that he is 'Sorry'. In transferring his powers to her he is now an average mortal and powerless, what he has decided is better then the burden he bore for so long as Black Adam.
Later, Black Adam is once again empowered Mary Marvel seeks to join forces with him in a new Black Marvel Family, but he dismisses her as arrogant and childish, leaving her entirely alone.
Later he resumes living in his family shrine, sleeping in his coffin and mourning his dead family. He reveals that the whole meaning of his power transfer to Mary Marvel was the hope that her innocence would eventually force Mary into surrendering back his power to him, but changed enough to allow Isis' rebirth. This attempt fails, Adam returns to his state of mourning and anger, until he discovers a bloodied flower in his shrine, believing it a sign from Isis.
Justice Society of America
Isis later managed to use her powers to create a trail of flowers to lead Adam to where Faust has been holding her captive. After following the trail to find Isis and free her from Faust's control, Black Adam then journeyed to the Rock of Eternity and battled the newly-appointed wizard of the Rock of Eternity, Billy Batson, using the same scarab necklace that once imprisoned him to strip Billy of his powers with help from Isis sending lightning at Marvel and use them to take control of the Rock of Eternity. Isis planned to use the power of the Rock to "cleanse the earth" of all of humankind, which she saw as irredeemably evil. Black Adam and Isis are were able to convince Mary Marvel to join their crusade and soon challenged by the Justice Society, who came to the aid of the powerless Billy Batson when he was trying to summon Freddy. During the course of the fight, the combatants end up in Kahndaq, where the people praised Black Adam's return. However, Isis proceeded to kill several of the followers, claiming that they were tainted by the Earth. Black Adam attempted to protect his people, only to be attacked by Mary and Billy, who had been tainted by Mary's power. At that point, Jay Garrick (who had earlier been thrown by Isis into the mists surrounding the Rock of Eternity) appeared with the spirit of Billy's father, and the wizard Shazam, whom the two had recovered from the Rock of Finality, where he had been imprisoned in a statue. Adam was convinced to return his power to Shazam, so that he could save Isis from her corruption. In turn, Shazam - who was furious at the misuse of the power he bequeath to his champions - took the power from Isis, Billy, and Mary, and transformed Teth-Adam and Adrianna into statues. Sometime later a shadowy figure appears in a bolt of lightning, gloating that Shazam has given him new champions to play with.
Black Adam was last seen inside Osiris' chambers known as the Labyrinth still trapped and powerless as a statue while Isis was freed and eventually returned to Kahndaq as its queen.
- Power of the Egyptian Gods: Upon saying the magic word, Shazam, Adam can transform into a new body with powers directly granted by the Egyptian Gods.
- S for the Stamina of Shu: Using Shu's endurance, Black Adam can withstand and survive most types of extreme physical assaults. Additionally, he does not need to eat or breathe and can survive unaided in space.
- Self-Sustenance:The ability to survive without sleep, food, water, or air.
- H for the Swiftness of Heru: By channeling Heru's speed, Black Adam can move at hyper sonic speeds and steadily run at these superhuman speeds.
- A for the Strength of Amon: Black Adam has phenomenal levels of super strength that rank him as one of the strongest beings on Earth, able to easily bend steel, punch through walls and lift massive objects with little difficulty. Black Adam's strength is enough that he can at least lift 100 tons while weakened.
- Z for the Wisdom of Zehuti: Black Adam has instant access to a vast level of scholarly knowledge.
- A for the Power of Aton: Aton's power, besides fueling the magic thunderbolt that transforms Black Adam , also enhances his other physical abilities and allows for inter-dimensional travel.
- M for the Courage of Mehen: This aspect is physical and partly psychological, and gives Black Adam superhuman amounts of inner strength to draw off from, while also making him indestructible to harm like the great snake itself.
- Accelerated Healing: He displayed the ability to use the transformative lightning to heal others or himself instantly from wounds inflicted on his mortal form.
- Indomitable Will: An incredible amount of willpower that allows perseverance in overwhelming odds and seemingly unbeatable situations. It also grants him great resistance to telepathic intrusions or mind control.
- Divine Grace: Innate luck and divine guidance that allows finesse in actions and dealings with others.
- Immortality: As long as he remains in his empowered form he doesn't age.
- Egyptology: Egyptian history and lore, Egyptian mythology, Egyptian magic.
- Multilingualism: Black Adam can speak several languages including ancient Egyptian, Arabic, Kahndaqi and American English.
- Hand-to-Hand Combat (Advanced): Even without his powers, he is a considerably skilled combatant, and has repeatedly been described as a warrior who had proven himself to be highly skilled even before he was given the power of Shazam or the Egyptian Gods.
- Leadership: His draconian methods grant him effective leadership abilities and have allowed him to rule his own country without considerable dissent.
- Vulnerability to Magic: Only significant magic can affect him, such as the mystical abilities of the Spectre.
- In Egyptian Myth:
- Shu is the sky-god and father of Geb and Nut, the parents of Osiris, Seth, Horus, Isis and Nephthys.
- Heru is Horus, the sun-god, brother of Osiris and Seth.
- Amon is the Ruler of the Egyptian Gods, son of Atum-Ra and brother of Shu.
- Zehuti is Thoth, god of wisdom and time and son of Shu.
- Aton is the name of the one true God proposed by Pharaoh Akhenaton, later merged into worship of Horus the Younger, son of Osiris and Isis.
- Mehen is Mihos, the lion-god, son of Amon and Bast, the daughter of Osiris.
- Adam is currently wanted by various earth governments for crimes against humanity.
- Adam is also known as Mighty Adam and the Black Marvel.
- While possessing the form of Theo Adam, Black Adam has a scar that runs horizontally across his throat which once rendered him temporarily mute. As he almost never takes the form of Theo Adam any longer, the scar is no longer visible.
- Once he had acquired the Power of the Goddess Isis, making him stronger than ever. When Black Adam utters the magic word he not only gains his usual powers but all of his original powers are greater in strength because of the extra power he gains from Isis.
- The Power of Shazam
- JSA: Black Reign
- JSA: Black Vengeance
- World War III
- Black Adam The Dark Age
- JSA: Black Adam and Isis
- 160 Appearances of Teth-Adam (New Earth)
- 87 Images featuring Teth-Adam (New Earth)
- 16 Quotations by or about Teth-Adam (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Teth-Adam (New Earth)
Justice Society of America member
This character is or was primarily an enemy of Captain Marvel, the Wizard Shazam, or any of the extended members of the Marvel Family. This template will categorize articles that include it into the category "Marvel Family Villains."