Black Adam

+ "Black Marvel Family"

Created by Otto Binder and C. C. Beck

Note: This profile covers the character's continuity up to the "New 52."

Black Adam

Teth-Adam, Theo Adam

Teth-Adam: Shiruta (wife, deceased), Gon and Hurut (children, deceased).
Theo Adam: Sarah Primm (sister)

Justice Society, The Society

Fawcett Comics: The Marvel Family #1 (Dec. 1945)
DC: Shazam! #28 (Mar./Apr. 1977)
Power of Shazam Graphic Novel


Andrea Thomas
Post-Crisis: Adrianna Tomaz

Amon Tomaz (Osiris, brother, deceased)

The Black Marvel Family

Shazam! #25 (Sept./Oct. 1976)
Post-Crisis, as Adriana: 52 #3 (July 2006)
As Isis: 52 #12 (Sept. 2006)


Amon Tomaz

Adrianna Tomaz (Isis, sister, deceased)

Teen Titans, The Black Marvel Family

52 #23 (Dec. 2006)

Fawcett Comics (Golden Age)

Captain Black Bunny is a fraud from hell. From Fawcett's Funny Animals #32 (Oct./Nov. 1945); art by Chad Grothkopf.
The wizard Shazam creates then banishes his champion, From The Marvel Family #1 (Dec. 1945); by Otto Binder, C. C. Beck and Pete Costanza.

Captain Black Bunny

For the character's current popularity, it's surprising that the original, Golden Age villain called Black Adam only appeared once, in Marvel Family #1 (Dec. 1945)!

It's interesting to note that just a month before Black Adam's first appearance, a similar character appeared in Fawcett's Funny Animals #32 (Oct./Nov. 1945). Captain Black Bunny wore a black version of Hoppy's costume, but instead of a lightning bolt, his chest bears a yellow flame.

One day, Hoppy and his friend Millie were relaxing outside when a fissure opened in the ground and out popped Captain Black Bunny! He had come to rule them all, accompanied by "strange assistants," devlish little imps who terroized the surface people and stole their valuables.

Black Bunny knocked out Hoppy and retreated to his underground kingdom. Hoppy awoke and, as Marvel Bunny, pursued him there. Black Bunny was enjoying his newfound riches, but he feigned submission to Marvel Bunny. Before he could leave, Black Bunny said he needed to put his boots on — the boots turned out to have an artificial source of power — outfitted with rockets, they enabled him to fly. Still, Black Bunny was no match for the Marvel Bunny and he was captured quickly.

Aside from being a bully, the only super-power that Captain Black Bunny showed was that ability to fly. (Fawcett's Feature Funnies #32)

Teth-Adam, Black Adam

Teth-Adam was a seemingly good man who lived in ancient Egypt. Adam was chosen by the wizard Shazam 5,000 years ago to possess godlike powers. He was called the Mighty Adam and his powers came from six Egyptian gods:

  1. the stamina of Shu
  2. the strength of Hershef (or Harsaphes)
  3. the power of Amon
  4. the wisdom of Zehuti (or Thoth)
  5. the speed of Anpu (or Anubis)
  6. and the courage of Menthu (or Mont)

But the Mighty Adam turned evil, killing the Pharaoh and seizing his throne. He was then known as Black Adam. Shazam banished Adam to the farthest star in the universe and it took him 5,000 years to return to Earth.

When he arrived, he was met by the wizard's new champions, Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel, Jr. The Marvel Family could not physically defeat him because they were evenly matched. But their sidekick, Uncle Marvel, tricked Adam into saying the name, "Shazam," which changed Black Adam back into the mortal Teth-Adam. His ancient body then crumbled to dust. (The Marvel Family #1)

DC Comics (pre-Crisis)

Black Adam is restored by Sivana. From Shazam! #28 (Mar./Apr. 1977); by E. Nelson Bridwell and Kurt Schaffenberger.
The wizard Shazam delineates the sources of Black Adam's powers. From Shazam! #28 (Mar./Apr. 1977); by E. Nelson Bridwell and Kurt Schaffenberger.
Kole turns Black Adam to crystal. From Crisis on Infinite Earths #10 (Jan. 1986); by Marv Wolfman, George Pérez and Jerry Ordway.

When the Fawcett properties were acquired by DC in 1973, they begin publishing the Shazam! series. The events of this series and all Marvel Family appearances were based on "Earth-S," a parallel Earth in the DC multiverse. Original Fawcett Comics continuity was maintained within these stories. Black Adam's Golden Age appearance was reprinted in Shazam! #8 (Dec. 1973) and the character formally reappeared in Shazam! #28 (Mar./Apr. 1977).

In Boston, Captain Marvel's arch enemy, Sivana, used his reincarnation machine to bring back Teth-Adam. When the Egyptian emerged from his coffin, he uttered "Shazam!" and became Black Adam again. Adam destroyed the machine and made swiftly for the Rock of Eternity to confront his enemies. After another round trip to the past, Dudley ("Uncle Marvel") once again tricked Adam him into saying "Shazam." Now mortal again, Captain Marvel hit Adam with an "amnesia punch" so he would not remember to say it again. This time, he did not die of old age. (Shazam! #28)

Note: In his origin's retelling, it was said that in ancient times he was called Khem-Adam, "khem" being the word for "black," which was symbolic of Egypt's soil along the Nile.

Black Adam was restored to full vitality by an evil Martian wizard called Karmang. Karmang wanted to bring Earths-One and -S together in a giant cataclysm to produce enough energy to release his fellow Martians from their ghostly existence. Supergirl stopped him with the magic of the Ibistick, an artifact from ancient Egypt. She, Superman, Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel put a stop to Karmang's plans. (All-New Collectors' Edition #C-58)

Thet-Adam was imprisoned (World's Finest Comics #257) but soon released by the alien worm, Mister Mind, who had formed a new Monster Society of Evil. (#264, 267)

As the existence of Earth-S came to an end in the first great crisis, Black Adam was turned entirely to crystal by the Teen Titan named Kole. (Crisis on Infinite Earths #10)


  • Shazam! #28 (1977)
  • All-New Collectors' Edition #C-58 (1978)
  • World's Finest Comics #257, 264, 267
  • DC Comics Presents #49 (1982)
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths #9–10


Black Adam's story begins with the young boy who would one day be known as the wizard Shazam. Shazam was born as Jebediah, in the ancient land of Canaan. When his family was murdered he called upon his gods for power, which they granted. He became a god in his own right with the powers of Voldar, Lumiun, Arel, Ribalvei, Elbiam and Marzosh. One day he was tempted by a demon who bore him two children, Blaze and Satanus. The gods were so angered that they banished the children to the netherworld. Later, Shazam battled the Three Faces of Evil and they were trapped inside the Rock of Eternity. The gods decreed that Shazam must watch over it for all time.

Circa 1200 BCE, 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 seven Egyptian gods: Shu, Heru, Amon, Zehuti, Aton and Mehen. Thus, though Adam spoke the name "Shazam," he did not draw power not from the wizard.

Teth-Adam (translated "Mighty Adam") served Egypt for many years, but this duty drew him away from his wife and children (Shiruta, Gon and Hurut) in Kahndaq. While he was away, the mad priest, Ahk-ton ravaged Kahndaq and killed Adam's family. The priest was powered by the "Orb of Ra" (which gave him metamorphic abilities). Adam could not apprehend Ahk-ton, so he entombed his family and returned to the court of Ramses. There he served as Egypt's champion alongside another great wizard, Nabu.

Thet-Adam finally found his revenge against Ahk-ton, with help from time-traveling members of the Justice Society — from the 20th century! Adam met Shazam's future champion, Captain Marvel and was gladdened that his legacy would continue on. Ahk-ton and his ally, Vandal Savage were defeated and Adam slew the priest. (JSA #43-44) Teth-Adam continued to serve Egypt for hundreds of years, but ultimately the loss of his family drove him to extremes; he became overly protective of Kahndaq, which attracted the attention of Shazam. The wizard believed that Adam had been bewitched by Blaze and dubbed him Khem Adam ("Black Adam"). Shazam withdrew Adam's power into a scarab, and entombed them both for millennia. (Power of Shazam! #10, JSA #44)

Teth-Adam rested until his sarcophagus was disturbed by an expedition from the Sivana Foundation. There, Theo Adam betrayed and killed Marilyn and C.C. Batson (the parents of Captain Marvel) over Teth-Adam's scarab. With the Scarab, Theo Adam awakened Thet-Adam's soul and accessed his ancient powers, becoming Black Adam. When Shazam and his new champion Captain Marvel finally caught Theo, they took away his ability to speak and thus, his ability to access his powers. (PoS Graphic Novel) Adam was soon cured of this condition by Blaze. In addition, she coerced Theo into her service by holding the soul of his sister, Sarah Primm, hostage. When Blaze's brother, Lord Satanus set Primm's soul free, Adam did the right thing and fought Blaze. This distraction allowed Shazam and Ibis to triumph and Black Adam was sent to the far reaches of the universe. (#12)

When Black Adam returned to Earth, he claimed to be totally free of the evil urges of Theo Adam. Even fingerprint analysis revealed that he was a different man. He claimed that bonding with Theo Adam was his "Holy Grail," his soul's way out of Tartarus. He proved his sincerity somewhat by saving Captain Marvel's life. In return, Shazam used a Mother Box to take Black Adam wherever he wished. He chose to return to deep space, to a world where he'd felt particularly at home. (#44-47)

The circumstances of his return to Earth are unrevealed, but his first reappearance again demonstrated the evil of Theo Adam. The JSA managed to defeat Adam by stealing a bit of lightning from the time of his creation (1200 B.C.) and forcing the transformation back to Theo Adam. (JSA #6) Later, Adam claimed that he had again been under the influence of Theo. Worse, he'd made a deal with the JSA's foe, Johnny Sorrow. Sorrow agreed to remove a malignant tumor in Adam's brain and in exchange, Adam agreed to join Sorrow's new Injustice Society. Teth-Adam ultimately "betrayed" Sorrow and helped the JSA defeat him. (#16-20) After this, Adam placed a bid for membership in the JSA. He reasoned that many other heroes — including Superman — had dark moments in their history and that he, too, deserved a chance to prove himself. (#21) The elder members of the JSA agreed to grant him probationary membership after his help on Thanagar. (#26) He remained a JSA member in good standing for a while but quit the JSA when it refused to take decisive action against the terrorist known as Kobra. (#45)

Following this, he formed his own group to rival the JSA and take international justice into their own hands. (#40) He allied with the Venusian worm called Mister Mind, who took over the body of Brainwave. He also enlisted the entire society of Feithera, including former Infinity, Inc. member, Northwind. Atom-Smasher, Nemesis and Eclipso II rounded out their ranks. This group went to extremes, executing Kobra after his escape from authorities. (#51)

Eclipso, Nemesis, Black Adam, Northwind, Brainwave, and Atom-Smasher. From JSA #56 (2004); art by Don Kramer and Keith Champagne.

Adam's ultimate goal was to free his old homeland from its dictatorial rule. He first returned to Kahndaq when he learned that his family's ancient burial site was excavated. His old ally Prince Khufu (now Hawkman) agreed to stop the excavations. (Hawkman v.5 #19) But this alliance ended when Adam's team declared full-out war on the nation. They successfully took control, but the JSA stepped in to stop them. Ultimately, the JSA agreed to let Adam rule Kahndaq as long as he remained within the nation's boundaries. Atom-Smasher and the Feitherans remained as well. (Hawkman #25)

Apparently Adam's evil tendencies cannot be suppressed. He was quick to help form the core of a new Secret Society of Super-Villains with Lex Luthor. (Villains United #1) This alliance could not save him from the power of the Spectre. The newly disembodied Spectre had committed to unrestrained vengeance and of ridding the world of magical forces. This led him and the new Eclipso to Kahndaq. (JSA #73)

The "Black Marvel Family"

The Black Marvel Family was founded by Black Adam some time after becoming the ruler of his ancient homeland, Kahndaq. At first he ruled alone, with a fair but iron fist. That changed the day Intergang came to Kahndaq. (52 #3) Intergang's emissaries attempted to offer Adam a partnership. As a gesture of "good will ," they offered Adam the gift of a young woman they had kidnapped: Adrianna Tomaz. Adam was insulted by the offer to join with this notorious mob and he killed the men. As for Adrianna, she was kept out of sight, but treated well. Intergang had killed her parents and sold her brother, Amon, into slavery. Note: Adriana first appeared in 52 #3, but wasn't named until #10.

In the wake of the Infinite Crisis, Adam busied himself with the creation of the Freedom of Power Treaty. This was an agreement between nations against the United States. Member nations would agree to help protect each against the common "threat" of American metas, and allow lethal force against them.

During a high profile meeting of Treaty members, Adrianna interrupted Adam. She opposed the path he was taking to preserve peace. Adam sent her away but visited her later. He was both infuriated and fascinated by Adrianna. During their argument, he learned about her family's fate. (#10) As they continued their discussion, Adrianna challenged Adam to use his power only for peace. She helped him to see more clearly how his anger still stemmed from the ancient loss of his wife and sons. Upon this revelation, he brought Adrianna to the Rock of Eternity, where they met its guardian, Captain Marvel. Adam produced the amulet used by Shazam to imprison him for millennia, but only Adam knew that Shazam had hidden another powerful totem within. This amulet of the goddess Isis had last granted power to Egypt's Queen Hatshepsut. Adam gave the amulet to Adrianna, and when she uttered Isis' name, she was transformed as well! With the clarity of godly vision, Isis agreed to join Adam's worldwide mission — that is, after they found her missing brother, Amon. (#12)

They began their humanitarian mission by freeing imprisoned children in southwest Asia. (#13) Soon the couple fell in love and Black Adam proposed to Isis. The wedding was arranged quickly, and the original Marvel Family (Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel and Marvel Jr.) were in attendance. The ceremony was nearly ruined by a suicide bomber, who was stopped by the Americans Renee Montoya and her companion, the Question. (#16)

Afterwards, Adam awarded the Americans medals of honor. As it happens, the pair were in Kahndaq on the trail of Intergang themselves. (#18) As they followed their own mission to Yemen, they unwittingly discovered Adrianna's missing brother, who was being tortured along with other children by Intergang. (#23) They summoned the Black Marvels who were quick to destroy Intergang's operation, but not before Amon had been badly injured. His injuries were beyond his sister's new healing abilities, but Adam produced a solution that would save the boy's life. As Captain Marvel had done before him (for Freddy Freeman), Black Adam extended his own gods-given powers to Amon. Once revived, Amon took the name Osiris, the name of Isis' brother. Osiris quickly took to up sister's mission and accompanied both of them across the world. (#24)

When Venus Sivana (Dr. Sivana's ex-wife) donated millions to a Kahndaq charity, Adam's new family accepted an invitation to dine with the Sivanas. Though Venus and Thaddeus had divorced, she still worried about his disappearance and asked Adam to help find the mad scientist. Adam was receptive. Amon, however, felt as though they were being bribed by enemies. He stormed out of dinner, feeling alone. As fate would have it, he stumbled across an unexpected new friend: a crocodile-man created by Sivana himself. (#26)



Black Adam possesses much the same power as Captain Marvel. Unlike the Marvels, though, he does not need to utter a magic phrase to summon the power. Originally, this was so, but he now draws his power directly from an ancient mystical scarab.

From the Egyptian gods, Adam draws super-strength, invulnerability, flight and super-speed.

He is susceptible to the mental influence of his evil host, Theo Adam. Theo Adam is currently suppressed within Thet Adam's psyche.

Appearances + References


  • 52 #1, 3, 6, 10, 12, 13, 16, 18, 23-26, 33, 34, 39, 40, 43-50
  • Action Comics #828, 830, 831
  • Breach #3
  • Brightest Day #0
  • Countdown #49-47
  • Countdown to Infinite Crisis #1
  • Day of Vengeance #4
  • Firestorm v.3 #17
  • Hawkman v.4 #19, 24, 25
  • Infinite Crisis #1, 3-7
  • JSA #6, 16, 17, 19-28, 30-32, 35, 36, 40, 41, 43-45, 51-53, 56-58, 66, 70, 73-76
  • JSA: Our Worlds at War #1
  • Justice Society of America v.3 #16, 19-21, 23-25
  • Manhunter v.3 #6
  • Power of Shazam! #5, 7-12, 16, 44-48
  • Power of Shazam! Graphic Novel
  • Sins of Youth: Starwoman and the JSA Jr. #1
  • Sins of Youth: The Secret/Deadboy #1
  • Suicide Squad v.1 #58
  • Titans v.2 #24, 25, 27
  • Titans: Villains for Hire Special #1
  • Villains United: Infinite Crisis Special #1
  • War of the Gods #2-4
  • Young Justice: Sins of Youth #2


  • 52, limited series (2006-07)
  • Villains United, 6-issue limited series (2005)
  • World War III, 4-issue limited series (2007)
  • Black Adam: The Dark Age, 6-issue limited series (2007–08)


  • Isis, 8 issues (1976)