Is Black Adam Evil? Or Is He an Anti-Hero? Explained

black adam evil
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There are a lot of things that we know about the different characters of DC, and one of the characters whose fans have been divided in terms of his overall nature is Black Adam. Often regarded as the ultimate rival of Shazam, Black Adam has undergone several retcons in his character, but the one thing that never changed was his unworthiness as the Wizard’s former champion. Still, he has made fans wonder whether he may even be a true villain at all. So, is Black Adam actually evil?

  • Article Breakdown:
  • Black Adam was an ancient Egyptian man who held the power of the Wizard but ended up becoming unworthy of it when the power corrupted him.
  • Originally a villain, Black Adam was retconned to become an antihero with a strict sense of justice that can be very twisted, violent, and brutal.

Why did Black Adam turn evil?

Black Adam has been one of the most interesting villains in DC lately not only because of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s portrayal of the character in the ‘Black Adam’ live-action movie but also because his portrayal in the comics has allowed fans to wonder whether or not he is actually an evil character.

Make no mistake about the fact that Black Adam was originally created and designed to be an evil villain. He was created by Otto Binder and CC Beck in his introduction to The Marvel Family in 1945. Black Adam was originally an ancient Egyptian named Teth-Adam who used to be the Wizard’s champion.

Black Adam

Adam’s role was to free the city of Kahndaq from the oppression of foreign rule, and he was the one who was given the power of the Wizard to help lead his people to their freedom. However, after defeating the oppressive rulers, he became corrupted by his own power as he proved to be a ruthless man who ended up becoming just as brutal as the oppressive rulers.

Believing that Adam was no longer worthy of his powers, the Wizard tried to strip him of his gifts. But when it became impossible for him to do so, he decided to banish him from the planet as far as he could. It took Adam 5,000 years to return to the planet, hoping he could take revenge on the Wizard. But this only turned him into Captain Marvel’s (Shazam) greatest rival because Billy Batson was now the Wizard’s new champion.

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Black Adam has since gone through plenty of different retcons. In some storylines, he was never banished from Earth but was left to rule Kahndaq for a long time before he got locked in a tomb. But after he was awakened from his tomb, he resumed his role as the ruler of Kahndaq. 

But in most instances, Black Adam was depicted as an evil version of Shazam. It was not beyond him to kill people or brutalize them in any way as long as he achieved his goals. And in many ways, he became evil due to the oppressive past that he experienced.

In most depictions of Black Adam, he was a slave who suffered a lot thousands of years ago before he acquired the power of the Wizard. It was after he became powerful that he became evil as he no longer wanted to go through the things that he went through in the past when his country of Kahndaq was under oppressive rule. So, unlike other villains who are evil for the sake of evil, Adam’s villainy was born out of necessity in terms of pure selfishness.

black adam

For decades, Black Adam served as a villain with no opportunity for redemption whatsoever. Then again, the DC universe went through a lot of retcons and resets that allowed different superheroes and villains to have new storylines that are still consistent with their characters. Of course, Black Adam was one of them.

Is Black Adam a superhero or a villain?

Of course, it goes without saying that Black Adam had a pretty dark origin story because he was a slave who ended up becoming the champion of the Wizard before proving that he was unworthy. But in some origin stories, he killed his own nephew and stole the powers of the Wizard from his own son. He started off as a villain because of this, but DC has played it a bit cool with his character since then.

The DCEU movie portrays him as an anti-hero figure who ended up fighting the Justice Society of America for the sake of the Kahndaqis before working alongside them to defeat Sabbac. Then, at the end of the movie, he went against Amanda Waller herself and became such a big threat to the world that the US government sent none other than Superman to try to take care of this problem.

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Basically, in the live-action movie, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson portrayed Black Adam as a no-BS kind of character whose only goal was to protect Kahndaq. It didn’t matter what he needed to do or who he needed to go up against as long as he was able to protect his people. Of course, this is something that we can say is straight out of the comics.

In many ways, Black Adam is straight-up a violent and merciless man in the comics because brutalizing and killing people isn’t beyond him. However, in most cases, he only does what he does to make sure that Kahndaq is safe from any outside threat. He rules Kahndaq with an iron fist but makes sure that his people and nation are safe from invasions or anything that seeks to threaten them.

On top of that, Black Adam has also shown a lot of times that he has a strong sense of justice, even joining the Justice League at one point. It’s just that he dispenses his brand of justice in a manner that’s quite brutal and merciless. This means that he isn’t a villain at all but is more of an anti-hero.

black adam justice league

What that means is that while he started out as a villain in the comics, Black Adam was eventually retconned to become more of an ant-hero. He is willing to help people, dispense justice, and defeat evil villains as long as it is in line with his own sense of justice and is able to advance the betterment of the people of Kahndaq.

Then again, the problem with him is that he can be quite brutal and violent when it comes to his methods. This hasn’t been something that the members of the Justice League have been happy about, but they know that Black Adam has a sense of justice that is just as strong as theirs.

So, while he may have done evil things in the comics ever since he was introduced during the 1940s, Black Adam has steadily worked his way up to become one of the most interesting characters due to his anti-hero persona. Then again, we can’t call him a hero just yet because we know that he isn’t willing to be the same goody-two-shoes that guys like Shazam and Superman have always been known for.

Got something more to add? Let us know in the comment section below.

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