Black Adam's new comic makes him a hero, not a villain
The history lesson on Black Adam showcases the former Shazam champion's past and digs into what drives him to want to be a hero.
Warning! Spoilers ahead for Black Adam #8!
A glimpse into Black Adam's past reconfirms that Shazam's fallen champion is an incredibly complex hero. The eponymous character reveals his early years as a magician and what led him to his unusual paths.
Despite gaining the ability to wield lightning and become Earth's magical protector, the hero once known as Mighty Adam fell out of favor after deciding to use his powers recklessly. Unable to remove Adam's power, the wizard Shazam exiled what is now Black Adam for thousands of years. However, he eventually returned shortly after Billy Batson became the hero Shazam and took over Adam's role. Unable to accept his replacement, Black Adam repeatedly attempted to steal Batson's power for himself, often allying with more nefarious forces. However, part of Mighty Adam still glows through Black Adam, indicating that there may be another hero inside.
Black Adam's Past Shaped His Desire for Justice
Looking back at the champion's early years, it is possible to revisit what really drove the man once known as Mighty Adam. In Black Adam #8 by Christopher Priest, Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, and Montos, Black Adam returns to his palace with his offspring Malik White, aka The new hero, Bolt, also suffers from the same disease that Adam contracted. While everyone waited for Malik to heal, Tes-Adam told Malik the story of the last pharaoh the Champion served. Teti is the latest in a long line of pharaohs served by the Mighty Adam, but Teti was ruthless, using Adam's power to kill and enslave his enemies. However, one day, Adam was ordered to kill countless innocent lives, he suddenly killed Pharaoh and said that from now on, justice will rule the land.
Teth-Adam's usual parentage suggests that he used the power of the wizard Shazam to overthrow the system that enslaved people like him. However, this only tweaks his beginnings slightly to show that long before he dispatches any rulers, he is actually complicit in helping to maintain a system of inhuman practices. It seems that Black Adam's true mission is not to try to avenge those who enslaved him and his people, but to try to atone for his past sins.
Black Adam Wants to be a Hero to Redeem Himself
A theme running through the new Black Adam series is whether Black Adam can redeem himself. The stories he told his descendants show Black Adam is a conflicted man, tormented by the bad decisions he has made in his life. Black Adam murdered for power, and for reasons he didn't believe in. Black Adam clearly has a sense of guilt that drives him towards heroism in order to atone for the evil he's done in the past. Fans can judge Tes Adam's hero status by reading Black Adam #8, which is out now.