How Ancient Mythology Influenced the Powers of Black Adam
Now imagine... You’re in Ancient Egypt... It’s 5,000 years ago... Impressed by your fairness and decency, the pharaoh’s wizard summons you. He explains to you that he has chosen you as the heir to his powers to fight the evil forces of the world.
You accept the responsibility. All you have to do is call the wizard’s name out loud, and you’ll invoke the power of six Egyptian deities to become invulnerable in every way... Okay, I need to stop you right here before this daydream gets too exciting...
Snap out of it this instant! It is not your OG story, it’s Black Adam’s — at least in one version of the comics. You know him, DC Universe’s invincible and immortal hero-but-not-really or in other words villain-but-not-really... Thanks to my very own telepathy power, I can sense that now you want to know what his powers are that make him so indestructible.
So, the wizard who is the cause of all this is called Shazam. Yep, the same wizard who gave Billy Batson his powers in “Shazam!”. And no, don’t bother saying his name out loud because it won’t work for you...
Anyway, the word “Shazam” is actually an acronym for the names of those six deities that Black Adam gets his powers when he speaks the word out loud. Here are who they are; S is for the stamina of Shu; Shu was one of the primordial deities of Egyptian mythology. He was the deity of wind, air, light, peace, and lions.
As the air, Shu represented the atmosphere or the space between the earth and the sky. It was believed that he gave the breath of life to all creatures. Since the air was his element, sailors would invoke him to provide good winds that would carry their ships further. He was also seen as the one who supported the ladder by which the souls of those who had passed away could climb to the skies.
As the light and the protector of the sun, he represented the illumination of the primordial darkness. It was believed that he brought the sun to life every morning and that he separated day and night, as well as the world of the living and the underworld. It is through Shu that Black Adam got his endurance. He can withstand and survive most types of extreme physical attacks. His celestial metabolism provides him with incredible resilience in all physical activities.
In addition, thanks to the magical energies coursing through his body, he does not have to eat, breathe, or drink. So, he is immortal. H is for the swiftness of Heru or in other words Horus; Often depicted as the falcon, Horus was the deity of kingship and the sky. Egyptians believed that Horus’ right eye was the sun and his left eye was the moon, and images of the “Eye of Horus” were considered to be powerful protective amulets. His speckled feathers formed the stars, and his wings created the wind.
It is through Horus’ powers that Black Adam got his speed. On earth, he can fly and run at speeds that are possibly equal to Superman’s, and in space, he can move at the speed of light. And in case you’re wondering, yep, he can run with Flash, too. This unmatchable superhuman speed also sharpens his awareness and increases his temporal flow.
He moves fast enough that, to the human eye, it seems like he can disappear at will. He can also mystically fly through the atmosphere. And since he is immune to the effects of extreme height, such as dizziness and lightheadedness, he can soar through the atmosphere at sub-orbital levels and travel across the planet. A is for the strength of Amon; If Amon doesn’t ring a bell, what if I say Amun-Ra?
Amon was the deity of the sun and the air. The name Amon meant “the hidden one,” or the “mysterious of form” and his image was painted blue to represent invisibility. This attribute of invisibility led to a popular belief that Amon was knowledgeable and impartial.
Therefore, he also became the deity for those who felt oppressed. He was also identified as the most powerful deity in the universe and was regarded as the king of deities and the lord of all who controlled the cosmos and oversaw the creation of humanity. He eventually merged with Ra, the ancient sun deity, to become Amun-Ra.
It is through Amon that Black Adam got his super strength which allows him the ability to bend steel, punch through walls, produce powerful shockwaves by clapping his hands, and lift massive objects which weigh hundreds of thousands of tons without a single trace of effort. That is why he is often referred to as the strongest metahuman on Earth.
His strength is generally depicted as being on levels equal to those of Superman. Yep, you heard that right! And here’s a fun fact, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who plays Black Adam in the movie actually wants to see his character go up against Superman at one point in the franchise. Z is for the wisdom of Zehuti or in other words Toth.
Often depicted as a man with the head of an ibis or a baboon, Toth was the deity of the moon, wisdom, writing, science, magic, art, and judgment. That is a lot of responsibilities... He was the one to maintain the universe, making calculations for the establishment of the stars, Earth, and everything in them. He was credited as the true author of every branch of knowledge from law to philosophy, as well as spells.
He was also in charge of the library of the deities. He also controlled an area of the underworld in the land of the caves. Egyptian mythology states that Toth had a book in which he inscribed all the secrets of the universe. Those who could read it would become the most powerful sorcerer in the world, but they would also be cursed by their knowledge.
It is through Toth that Black Adam got his vast level of scholarly knowledge which he can access instantly. Because of this, he can speak multiple languages, recall facts that he normally should not know, and hypnotize people. This power also gives him an uncanny understanding of his circumstances, and therefore he can turn disadvantages into advantages.
A for the power of Aton; The Aton, or Aten, was the disc of the sun and originally an aspect of Ra in traditional ancient Egyptian mythology. He was seen as the creator and giver of life who also nurtured the world. He was often depicted as a radiant sphere with long hands with which he bathed the world with his light, a necessary condition for plants, animals, and human life. He was the one to order the Sun to rise and set at the same times as he did.
It is through Aton that Black Adam could heal fast, fly and fuel the magic lightning bolt which transforms and enhances his superhuman physical abilities, allows him to travel to the rock of Eternity, and provides magical resistance against a great number of magic spells and attacks. He can also use this bolt to strike an opponent.
M for the courage of Menthu or in other words Montu; Montu had destructive and martial aspects which caused him to be known as the deity of combat. He was amongst the ones to protect Ra on his nightly journey through the underworld and fight the serpent of chaos. He was also thought to act as a guardian of happy family life. However, in earlier times, he was said to be the destructive power of the sun.
He was often depicted as a man with the head of a falcon or sometimes a bull, wearing a solar disk and two feathers. It is through Montu that Black Adam got unshakable courage, psychological strength, willpower, and discipline. It grants him great perseverance that he never backs down from a challenge. Thanks to this power, he is constantly supported by a harmonious presence of goodwill, therefore he never feels fear or despair. This strength of mind also renders him resistant to telepathy and mind control.