Black Adam has finally made his grand entrance onto the big screen, with Dwayne Johnson portraying one of DC’s most cherished antiheroes. The film brilliantly highlights Black Adam’s god-like abilities, making it abundantly clear that no one on Earth can rival his power. In the movie’s end-credits scene, Amanda Waller, played by Viola Davis, takes the initiative to summon some extraterrestrial reinforcement to keep Black Adam in check – none other than Henry Cavill’s Superman. This set the stage for an epic showdown in the DC Extended Universe, especially considering Cavill’s return as Superman and his readiness to confront Johnson’s Black Adam head-on. However, fans were met with disappointment as Cavill has now exited the DCEU.
But what about Billy Batson, portrayed by Asher Angel and Zachary Levi? Isn’t Shazam supposed to be Black Adam’s sworn arch-nemesis? And if that’s the case, could Shazam emerge victorious in a fair fight against Black Adam? It’s a question that has left DCEU enthusiasts curious and eager for an answer. While the DCEU may have to eventually resolve the age-old debate of who’s stronger – Black Adam or Shazam, DC Comics has already provided a definitive answer.
Shazam and Black Adam Comic Book Rivalry
Black Adam, a character created by Bill Parker, C.C. Beck, and Jerry Ordway in 1945’s The Marvel Family #1, was originally conceived as Billy Batson’s intriguing counterpart. Similar to Billy, the initial iteration of Black Adam possessed the very same remarkable powers: the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury. These powers were derived from the heroes and gods whose initials spell “S.H.A.Z.A.M.,” the magic word that both Teth-Adam and Billy used to acquire or relinquish their powers. So, in terms of raw power, one could argue that both metahumans were evenly matched on the battlefield. However, it’s worth noting that Billy was a child empowered by the Council of Wizards, while Teth-Adam was a fully grown man who had undergone extensive combat training and possessed years of experience as the ruthless ruler of Kahndaq. Consequently, Black Adam held a clear advantage, and Billy only managed to win their initial encounters by outsmarting Teth-Adam into uttering his magic word and thus forfeiting his powers.
Subsequent iterations of Black Adam in the comic books only heightened his already formidable abilities. Firstly, they revamped his original powers to align with Egyptian deities. Consequently, Black Adam now possesses the stamina of Shu, the swiftness of Heru, the strength of Amon, the wisdom of Zehuti, the power of Aton, and the courage of Mehen. While these changes theoretically place him on par with Billy Batson as a Champion of the Wizards, Black Adam’s new abilities grant him a distinct advantage in various situations. For example, Zehuti’s wisdom enables him to hypnotize individuals, and Shu’s stamina renders him effectively immortal, requiring no sustenance or air. Furthermore, his invulnerability to magic means that not even Superman can inflict permanent harm upon Black Adam.
Black Adam’s incredible powers have allowed him to achieve remarkable feats in the DC universe. He’s known for single-handedly defeating formidable superhero teams like the Justice Society of America, the Justice League, and even the Teen Titans. What’s more, he has squared off against numerous DC heroes and consistently emerged victorious in fair battles. While Shazam often relies on the support of his superhero family, Black Adam has his own allies to aid him. For instance, the movie introduces Adrianna and Amon, both humans who have shared Black Adam’s powers on certain occasions.
In summary, Black Adam is undoubtedly a formidable adversary for Shazam, and in some aspects, his powers exceed those of Billy Batson. Additionally, he benefits from a wealth of combat experience, while Shazam, let’s not forget, is essentially a child. Furthermore, Shazam adheres to a superhero code that guides his actions, whereas Black Adam doesn’t let moral constraints hinder his decisions. As a result, Shazam’s most effective strategy against Black Adam often involves tapping into his youthful creativity to outsmart the antihero, compelling him to utter the magic word that strips him of his powers. Creativity can be a potent weapon, but in many cases, Shazam finds himself in need of substantial backup when facing Black Adam. Fortunately, the return of Superman to the DC Extended Universe promises exciting possibilities.
Will Black Adam Fight Shazam in the DCEU?
The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) is currently in the midst of a significant transformation under the guidance of James Gunn and Peter Safran, who have taken the reins at DC Studios. Their mission? To craft a comprehensive 10-year plan that brings together films, TV series, animations, and even video games into a seamless and interconnected narrative. Given the somewhat disjointed nature of the DCEU in the past, Gunn and Safran face the daunting task of clearing the slate, shelving many previous projects, and laying the groundwork for a cohesive and unified future. Regrettably for fans, one casualty of this reimagining is Henry Cavill, who will not be reprising his role as Superman. Instead, Gunn promises a fresh take on the Man of Steel, focusing on a younger version of the character—an endeavor that might well tie into the Legion of Superheroes animated series.
While bidding farewell to Cavill’s Superman is undeniably bittersweet, it also throws a curveball into Dwayne Johnson’s plans for a blockbuster showdown between Black Adam and the Man of Steel. As the DCEU undergoes its revamp, the question remains whether Black Adam will remain part of this revitalized canon. With Superman now out of the picture, Shazam emerges as the next formidable contender, setting the stage for what could be the superhero showdown of the decade. However, the fate of Black Adam himself within this evolving DCEU universe remains uncertain, particularly as the film continues to grapple with its financial prospects.
In the coming months, we’ll gain better insight into Gunn and Safran’s vision for the DCEU, including how they plan to integrate Shazam and Black Adam. Fans can look forward to Shazam’s next adventure, “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” slated for a 2023 theatrical release. While the exact shape of the new DC Universe remains shrouded in mystery, this film, along with others like “The Flash,” “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” and “Blue Beetle,” were conceived during the previous DC Studios era and are now hanging in the balance. The box office performance of “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” could hold the key to when—or if—we’ll witness the clash between Shazam and Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam on the big screen.