(Warning: The following contains potential SPOILERS for DC’s upcoming Shazam movie, as well as definite ones for several past comic-book story-lines. Proceed with whatever level of caution that mysterious cabal of Egyptian gods that gives folks powers suggests is wise…)
Now, you might imagine that seeing Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson sign on to play you in a major Hollywood movie would be enough to satisfy even the most megalomaniacal of super-villains (after all, it’s The Rock), but that would suggest that you’ve never met Black Adam. The arch-nemesis of DC’s Captain Marvel – and impending antagonist of his solo movie, Shazam – is, after all, (this side of Ego the Living Planet, of course).
As it turns out, though…
Everything We Know About DC’s Black Adam Suggests He WON’T Be A Villain In ‘Shazam’
Or, rather, while he might play the role of antagonist in the movie, he most likely won’t be a ‘villain’ in the traditional sense of the word. Instead, the past few years of Black Adam’s comic-book development would seem to suggest that we’re going to see The Rock’s take on the character will be far closer to an anti-hero in nature.
Though, of course…
Black Adam Started Off As A Pretty Traditional Supervillain
Black Adam gained his powers in much the same fashion as his heroic counterpart Captain Marvel – by being given them by a mysterious cabal of gods – but chose to use them not to protect the world, but to rule it. Except, of course, his debut back in 1945’s The Marvel Family # 1 wasn’t actually his DC Comics debut at all. Y’see, both he and Captain Marvel were originally owned and published by Fawcett Comics, and didn’t wind up in the DC Universe until the 1970s, after Fawcett’s characters were licensed (and later purchased outright) by DC.
At which point, Adam remained… more-or-less the same cruel, ruthless super-villain he’d always been, only with his origins made a little more distinct from those of Captain Marvel (having been granted by a different set of gods, whose names nonetheless collectively spell Shazam, the magic code word he uses to transform between his real identity – Teth-Adam – and the super-powered ‘Black Adam’).
Recently, Though, Black Adam Has Become A Little More Complex A Character
Specifically, his character has been redefined as a man obsessed with both vengeance and justice – and willing to kill in the pursuit of them. Frequently acting as the protector of the nation of Khandaq, Black Adam has evolved into something more like an anti-hero – a figure who diverges wildly from the traditional heroic ideals of, say, Superman, but who would likely be able to share a beer with The Punisher quite happily.
While he may still arguably be villainous, then – and his New 52 origin, which now involves his having stolen the powers of ‘Shazam’ from his nephew, Aman, certainly supports that – he’s also far from the cardboard cutout ‘bad guy’ of yesteryear. Instead, he’s a complex, morally questionable counterpoint to the shiny nobility of Captain Marvel (who himself has been renamed Shazam) – and all the more interesting as a result.
Why Are We Going To See The Anti-Heroic Black Adam In The DCEU, Though?
After all, there’s surely just as much chance that we’ll see the more traditionally – and straightforwardly – villainous version of the character in Shazam – with a generically ‘evil’ bad guy always being a little easier to introduce than a morally complex one. Why, then, should we expect Black Adam’s recent anti-heroism to transfer over to the DCEU?
Well, as much as anything else, because …
“Kneel at his feet or get crushed by his boot.” My honor to become..
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock)
…which, in a world dominated by neck-snapping Men of Steel and Superman-hunting Dark Knights, actually makes a whole lot of sense. After all, if the DCEU is willing to explore moral relativity with its heroes…
What do you reckon, though?
What do you think Black Adam should be in the DCEU?0 Votes
Staff Writer, Superheroes, Star Wars and such. Bad jokes aplenty. Follow at @kitsb1