Shazam and Black Adam are usually enemies, but they can also make a good team, and they’ll need to work together to defeat this classic DC villain.
WARNING: Spoilers ahead for Shazam #14
Shazam and Black Adam have been arch-enemies for a long time, but in the new Shazam #14, the rivals need to put aside their differences and unite to take down one of DC’s most formidable villains: Superboy-Prime.
Created by Elliot S. Maggie and Curt Swan back in 1985, Superboy-Prime is an evil version of Clark Kent from an alternate Earth, but he didn’t start out that way. In fact, in Superboy-Prime’s world, superheroes only existed in comic books – that is, until he discovered he had the powers of Superman. Superboy-Prime then went on to help the defeat the Anti-Monitor in the Crisis on Infinite Earths series, after which he was trapped in a pocket dimension, from where he watched the heroes of the reborn DC universe with increasing jealousy. By the time he escaped, Superboy-Prime’s envy had driven him insane and turned him into a villain – a villain with all the powers of Superman, making him incredibly dangerous.
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Superboy-Prime has been off the radar ever since he was imprisoned in the Source Wall by the Teen Titans before Flashpoint, but he recently resurfaced in Geoff Johns’s ongoing Shazam series. The storyline thus far has centered around the Shazam Family discovering various magic lands through tunnels in the Rock of Eternity. However, the path that leads to the Monsterlands was closed off until Doctor Sivana and Mr. Mind opened it and released the monsters that were imprisoned there into Earth – all except one. Trapped in a small cell that Mr. Mind tells Sivana to keep closed is none other than Superboy-Prime. How he wound up there is anyone’s guess, but he manages to escape at the end of issue #11, and all he wants is revenge on Billy Batson.
The Shazam family manages to take down the Monster Society, but they’re no match for Superboy-Prime. Just when it looks like Billy will have to face him alone, Black Adam arrives to lend a hand. Much to Superboy’s annoyance, nobody remembers who he is – after all, the universe has been remade a few times since his last appearance. Still, it quickly becomes clear that neither Shazam nor Black Adam could take Superboy one-on-one; unlike most kryptonians, Superboy-Prime is not weak to magic, and he’s already fought and defeated Black Adam before in another timeline. However, by working together, the two champions manage to knock Superboy out and stop the magic lands from colliding, after which they hand the villainous Kryptonian over to the Justice League.
Superboy-Prime may be defeated, but its doubtful we’ve seen the last of him. Reintroducing a fan-favorite villain after such a long absence for such a short appearance would be disappointing to say the least. Even so, if Superboy accomplished nothing else, he managed to end the longstanding feud between Shazam and Black Adam, opening the door for more team-ups between the two in the future.
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