Why does Black Adam say “Shazam”?

Why does Black Adam say “Shazam”?

Black Adam says “Shazam” to activate his superhuman powers that he received from the wizard, Shazam, when he was Teth-Adam.

Black Adam is an anti-hero that has recently been included in his own live action film, which expands his lore within the DC Extended Universe (DCEU).

Black Adam’s lore is varied, but he says “Shazam”, much like Billy Batson, in order to activate the powers that he received from Shazam, the wizard, but saying it again will return him to his non-superhuman form.

Who is Black Adam?

Black Adam is one of the most powerful figures in the DCEU and even though this anti-hero is not necessarily as well-known as many of the other characters in the DCEU, he does have a long and convoluted history.

This is why many fans were so excited to see the announcement for the Black Adam film, featuring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, which premiered in the United States on 21 October 2022.

This film not only introduces the fierce, but dark demigod to the big screen and to the DCEU, but it also opens the universe up to include the lore that has not yet been explored in the live action films.

Why does Black Adam say “Shazam”?

The announcement of the Black Adam live action film stirred up a lot of excitement among fans.

This was partly because they were excited to see some of their favourite characters returning to their screens, but also because Black Adam promised to break many of the predictable tropes that the superheroes and villains in these movies can so easily fall into.

In order to understand why Black Adam falls into the category of an anti-hero, it is important to understand what the new 2022 film and the lore say about his history and origin.

Black Adam’s origin starts in the 1945 comic by Otto Binder and C. C. Beck, where Teth-Adam, an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh is revealed to be the first mortal who is granted superhuman powers by the wizard, Shazam.

In much the same way as Shazam, Teth-Adam had to say the word “Shazam” in these early comics to activate his superhuman powers, which also mimic those that Shazam has, which is partly why many will mostly know Black Adam as being the foil to Billy Batson/ Shazam.

However, unlike with Shazam, these powers quickly corrupted Teth-Adam and the wizard Shazam exiled him to space because of this and changed his superhuman name from Mighty Adam to Black Adam.

From this moment on, it was rare to see Black Adam in his mortal form, because throughout the lore, if he happened to say “Shazam” again, he would turn back into a powerless mortal and his old age would catch up with him and lead to his death.

Which powers did Black Adam get when he said “Shazam”?

Even though Black Adam’s history and origin has been revised several times over the years, the most recent portrayals of the characters have made the sources of his powers the ancient Egyptian gods instead of the Greek gods, like that of Billy’s powers.

This means that the superhuman powers that Black Adam got when he said “Shazam” include:

  • The stamina of Shu
  • The swiftness of Horus
  • The strength of Amon
  • The wisdom of Zehuti
  • The power of Aton
  • The courage of Meheen

In the new 2022 Black Adam film, he is also shown having the same control over lightning that Billy Batson/ Shazam has in the Shazam! film.

How similar are Black Adam and Shazam?

Black Adam is mainly known to many fans as the foil to Shazam, but his new debut in the DCEU and the slight variations in his history and origin throughout the years have made these two characters very similar.

Obviously, both Black Adam and Shazam are chosen as champions by the wizard Shazam, and they activate their powers by saying his name.

However, Black Adam is most certainly an anti-hero, and his merciless and gruesome fighting style and moral compass means that he and Shazam end up being quite different characters in the end.

What will happen if Black Adam says “Shazam” again?

Even though it is evident that saying “Shazam” gave Black Adam his powers to begin with, what happens when he says “Shazam” again while he is superhuman will depend on which version of the comic you are reading.

In some instances, Black Adam will return to his mortal Teth-Adam form and he will literally turn to dust when his superhuman age catches up to him, but in other cases, he simply returns to a middle-aged mortal man.