How The Black Adam Movie Changes His Origin From The Comics (2023)

By Brad Curran

The upcoming DC movie Black Adam changes a few things about the anti-hero's story - we look at Black Adam's origins in the comics and the film.

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Black Adam will hit theaters in the summer of 2022, and the movie is making a few adjustments to his comic book origins. Black Adamhas been the passion project of The Rock since 2008, stretching back as far as 2008, with the movie completing principal photography earlier this year. Johnson and several cast members also were on hand to showcase the first look at Black Adam at 2021's DC FanDome, which showed the first look at Johnson in costume with a taste of Black Adam's vast strength and powers.


The movie will also be the first big-screen appearance of the Justice Society of America, with Hawkman, Doctor Fate, Cyclone, and Atom Smasher all set to appear. Black Adam has a history with the Justice Society in the comics, so their appearance in the movie makes sense. Black Adamis also giving its own update to another important character in his backstory, Adrianna Tomaz aka Isis.


Black Adam has undergone a great deal of reinterpretation through his comic book life, so his movie telling its own version of his story and even possibly redeeming Black Adam is just the latest example. With The Rock promising huge ramifications for the DC Universe in Black Adam, the movie's version of his origin is sure to be a packed one. Here's Black Adam's comic book origin, and how the Black Adam film is reworking aspects of it for the story it will tell.

Black Adam's Backstory In The Comics Explained

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Black Adam has one of the most complex histories of any DC character and has evolved greatly from where he began. Originally conceived as a villainous mirror of Shazam, Black Adam's contemporary story recast him as a former slave in the nation ofKahndaq.Teth-Adam managed to gain his freedom after being granted the power of Shazam, but his brutal, vengeful methods proved a bridge too far for the gods, who imprisoned him for 5,000 years.

The Black Adam movie is drawing from the character's anti-hero reworking, which could give him a Wolverine-like quality among DC characters. Dwayne Johnson has also positioned Black Adam as viewing himself as the hero, and not being afraid to go to much harsher lengths to achieve justice than heroes like Superman would. Aside from his rivalries with more clean-cut heroes like Shazam and Superman, Black Adam's comic book history will also bring another important character into play in the film.

Black Adam's Relationship With Isis In The Comics

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Part of Black Adam's evolution into the 21st century involved the introduction ofAdrianna Tomaz in the 52 comics, a re-imagined version of the original Andrea Thomas character from the 1970s. Tomaz was kidnapped and brought to Adam by the Intergang, but he freed her upon her arrival. Tomaz believed Adam was capable of doing greater good for Kahndaq, while he felt Tomaz had great potential to be a force for good too, with Adam taking her to the Rock of Eternity where she was granted the Amulet of Isis by Black Adam's usual enemy Shazam, gaining the powers of the ancient goddess.

RELATED:Why Henry Cavill's Superman Needs To Fight The Rock's Black Adam

Isis and Adam joined forces from that point on as husband and wife, but Isis is later infected by a disease from one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Pestilence. Before her death, she implores Adam to take revenge for her, now feeling the more humane methods she advocated were misguided. This leads Adam to return to his old ways, battling the heroes of Earth in the World War III story arc. When it comes to the Black Adam movie, the story willadjust how he and Adrianna Tomaz met a fair bit.

How The Black Adam Movie Changes His Origin Story

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Sarah Shahi will portray Adrianna Tomaz in Black Adam, but instead of the kidnapping that brought her and Adam together originally, the film is putting an Indiana Jones-style spin on how they first cross paths, more or less combining her with Andrea Thomas' archaeological background. The clip from Black Adam shown for the DC FanDome online reel shows her with a group of archaeologists and mercenaries on some kind of expedition. Tomaz discovers an inscription etched into the chamber's stone floor, and calls out the name "Shazam!", which frees Adam from his imprisonment, with Adam displaying his vast power level when he disintegrates one of the mercenaries to accompany the group.

Clearly, Tomaz and Adam are going to be off to a much rockier start when they first meet in Black Adam.At the same time, with Atom Smasher, Doctor Fate, Cyclone, and Hawkman also appearing, the movie is going full speed ahead into superpowers and metahumans, so Tomaz gaining the power of Isis could be teased in the movie, or even set up directly. Though this rejiggers elements of Black Adam's history, the film has a perfectly legitimate reason for doing so.

Why The Movie Changed Black Adam's Story

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While the Black Adamtrailer only revealed so much about the story beyond The Rock's mantra of "the hierarchy of power in the DC Universe is about to change", like any comic book adaptation, it has to tell its story in the most user-friendly way possible. Black Adam has grown in popularity in the last few years through his comic book evolution and appearances in the Injusticevideo games, but he's not an A-list DC character - or, at least, he's only becoming one now that he has his own movie. As such,Black Adam has to give the essence of the character to audiences in the most succinct way possible.

Related:DC FanDome Proves The DCEU Does Villains Better Than Heroes

The Black Adam movie is also doing a fair amount of heavy lifting for his big-screen debut, with Adam having literally thousands of years of history to explore, with the movie involving the Justice Society of America. Johnson has also made no secret about wanting to bring Black Adam and Superman head-to-head, and with significant speculation that Henry Cavill may drop in for at least a cameo, the film could finally be where their metahuman smackdown is set up. With Black Adambeing heavy on ancient mythology, gods, and sorcery, essentially merging Tomaz with Andrea Thomas to make her an archaeologist who unearths Adam could streamline the story and her eventual transformation into Isis, so the tweaks toTomaz' origin and how she and Black Adam meet one another work for the story the film is telling.

There's still quite a road ahead before Black Adam hits theaters, but with the showmanship of Dwayne Johnson behind it, the movie is gearing up to be quite the mythological superhero adventure with the Justice Society of America also on board. Some elements of Black Adam and Isis' origins willbe re-invented from their comic book canon. However, that's just part of superhero moviemaking, and as is often the case, it'll be for the best for the story of Black Adam.

NEXT: Black Adam Could Be The DCEU's Injustice Superman

Key Release Dates

  • The Batman Release Date:2022-03-04
  • Super Pets Release Date:2022-07-29
  • Black Adam Release Date:2022-10-21
  • The Flash Movie Release Date:2023-06-16
  • Aquaman 2 Release Date:2023-12-25
  • Shazam! The Fury of the Gods Release Date:2023-03-17
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