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Every Fight Between Black Adam And Superman Ranked

It is one of the most formidable match-ups that could come out of DC Comics. Two heavyweights, matching each other blow for blow. And one of Hollywood's most celebrated superstars wants to make it happen on the big screen: Black Adam versus Superman would be a match-up to shake theaters (and imaginations) across the globe.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has been angling to portray Black Adam in the DC Extended Universe since 2007, and in 2022 finally kicked off what might be a new era for the cinematic franchise. "Black Adam" was not only a big hit at the box office, but made big promises at the end with an end credits arrival of Henry Cavill's Superman. The expectation is for the two comic book titans to match up in an upcoming project — or perhaps, through multiple future installments.

Surprisingly, the goal to create an ongoing battle between the big blue boy scout and the ancient Egyptian powerhouse is a significant steering away from the source material. Truthfully, the behemoths of the DC Universe rarely find themselves in conflict. As Earth's premiere superhero, Superman has enough fish to fry with consistent threats like Doomsday, Lex Luthor, and Darkseid. Meanwhile, Black Adam traditionally serves as the tyrant leader of the fictional nation of Khandaq; he is rarely bothered with the problems of the West and the Justice League.

Still, when the two godlike beings do square off, it tends to be  memorable. So, as audiences prepare themselves to see the two characters clash on screen, here is a ranking of 12 times Black Adam and Superman went toe-to-toe in various media.

12. Doomsday Clock

At the bottom of the rankings of fights featuring Superman and Black Adam are instances when one teamed up with other powerful beings to tip the scales. DC's "Doomsday Clock" is such an example of things getting out of hand, with one of the titans needing to recruit help to defeat their rival. 

The events of "Doomsday Clock" played an important role in the publishing company's ongoing history. Not only did the limited series solidify the DC Rebirth relaunch, but it also introduced the characters of "Watchmen" into the main comic universe — simultaneously serving as a sequel to Alan Moore's celebrated graphic novel.

At the center of "Doomsday Clock" is the dichotomy between Superman (an all-powerful alien who is compassionate for humankind) and Doctor Manhattan (a godlike human who has detached himself from his brethren, designed by Moore as a comment on Superman). Black Adam slips into the story as a political leader who doesn't agree with the United States creating its own metahumans as a war tactic. The Khandaq leader recruits his own super team, culminating in a concluding chapter that has the villains ganging up on the big blue behemoth as war breaks out on the streets of Washington DC. Superman's only hope becomes convincing Doctor Manhattan that humanity is worth saving.

11. Justice League Action Shazam Slam

Superman is an icon. Not just the chief representation of the company of DC, but also as a symbol of superheroes and comic books. It is no surprise that the Man of Steel has been the feature of many television shows, headlined multiple theatrical features, and has made countless appearances across entertainment media. 

Conversely, Black Adam is not the quintessential comic book character The Rock would have you believe. Compared to other famous magazine villains, Teth-Adam rarely cracks the list. Traditionally, if Captain Marvel (a.k.a. Shazam) didn't appear in a film or television series, the chances of Black Adam showing up were next to nothing; in essence, most media has treated him like Shazam's Lex Luthor. So, it is no wonder why Black Adam and Superman failed to trade blows in the latter's multiple television shows until late 2016.

"Justice League Action" was a one-season animated series aimed at younger audiences on Cartoon Network. The show followed DC's holy trio — Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman — as they interacted with various supercharacters from the publishing company's extensive roster. In the premiere episode, "Shazam Slam," the skeleton crew Justice League assisted a wizard in saving Billy Batson from Black Adam. Unfortunately, the Man of Steel and his friends didn't put up much of a fight, leaving the young Batson to transform into his superhero form and defeat his archnemesis himself.

10. Injustice: Gods Among Us #19

Adding to the growing list of unfair fights between Black Adam and Superman is one of their more ruthless interactions. 

"Injustice: Gods Among Us" was a digital print comic series spanning multiple years, leading to the release of the playable video game of the same name that concluded the event. 

The story begins with Superman losing his family and becoming a tyrant to all of humanity. Much of the plot of the comic (and subsequent game) involves characters from around the DC Universe either joining the oppressor's regime or rebelling alongside the likes of Batman. However, Superman's rise to power requires multiple pieces to fall, including leaders of sovereign nations like Khandaq.

For much of "Injustice: Gods Among Us," Black Adam manages to remain outside Superman's notice, following guidelines and laws set out by the Kryptonian, including no warfare. Unfortunately, when Khandaq is bombed, Adam goes on a rampage, forcing Superman's hand. With his loyal Justice League regime members at his side, the Man of Steel pins down the powerful leader of Khandaq. With the use of Wonder Woman's Lasso of Truth, Teth-Adam is compelled to say his magical phrase, reverting back to the ancient man behind the superpowers, effectively killing him. 

As brutal as this execution was, the alternate-reality version of Black Adam did get a few good punches in on his would-be oppressor.

9. Forever Evil #3

Following the events of DC's "New 52," Earth's greatest protectors are missing, leaving room for a new super team to rise to power. Unfortunately, the terrible Crime Syndicate of Earth-3 decides to travel dimensions and overtake the prime universe, Earth-0. The only meta-humans remaining to defeat the dangerously violent Crime Syndicate is the Injustice League, a team of supervillains headed by Lex Luthor. Unfortunately for Lex and crew, at the head of the otherworldly evil supergroup is a version of Superman from another dimension, Ultraman.

Although Ultraman may not canonically be the primary Superman, he essentially fills the role of being the last son of Krypton raised in the small town of Smallville. For the purposes of evaluating battles between Black Adam and the big blue powerhouse, Ultraman checks all the boxes. This also happens to be one of the best fights between the god-like champions. 

Starting in the pages of "Justice League" #24, their clash stretches into the headlining mini-series, "Forever Evil," where Black Adam hopes to defeat his foe with magical bolts of lightning. In one of the more brutal displays featured on this list, Ultraman gains the upper hand by crushing Adam's jaw and nearly killing him.

8. DC Comics Presents #49

Although Black Adam and Superman had been around for decades, the two characters did not meet until 1978. Even then, crossovers between Superman and Captain Marvel were convoluted and treated as if they were from alternate worlds. Meaning, Black Adam crossing paths with the Man of Steel was a rare occurrence. In their rich comic book history, the second time that these characters clashed was not until September 1982, in issue #49 of "DC Comics Presents."

In the issue, Superman accidentally opens a portal to Captain Marvel's world and Black Adam has slipped through. After taking a beating from the supervillain, Superman gets an assist from his world's Billy Batson, who helps summon Captain Marvel from Black Adam's universe. Still, the black-suited enemy gets the best of the heroes. Thankfully, the young Batson tricks Adam into saying the magic word that transforms him into an ordinary person, giving Captain Marvel enough time to capture the bad guy.

7. DCeased: Hope at World's End #14-15

Comic books about zombie invasions have become a hit in the industry. Robert Kirkman's "The Walking Dead" series exceeded expectations and became a long-running fan favorite television series. "Marvel Zombies" started as a celebrated mini-series before being featured on the Disney+ series "What If...?" and is now in production for its own spin-off animated show. So, it was only a matter of time before DC decided to take a spin at a plague of brain-eating monsters. In 2019, the publishing company delivered the critically successful "DCeased" six-issue miniseries, taking place on an alternate Earth.

"DCeased" did its part of cramming in as many recognizable characters into its zombie apocalypse. However, with such a large universe, many sequels and spin-offs were created to explore the impact of the virus across the DC lineup. 

One such spin-off, "DCeased: Hope at World's End," heavily featured Black Adam, who has closed off Khandaq's borders in hopes of staving off the zombie virus. Inevitably, Adam falls victim to the plague, and as such a powerful force, wreaks havoc on the rest of the surviving world. It takes Superman, Wonder Woman, and a few more powerful heroes to finally take down the raging zombie. After finally getting the dangerous Black Adam to revert to his powerless state, Superman uses his microscopic, X-ray, and heat vision to perform microsurgery, severing the Khandaqian's vocal cords.

6. DC Universe Online Cinematic Trailer

One of the best fights between the Last Son of Krypton and the reverse-Shazam took place in an unexpected venue. In 2011, DC launched one of its most successful video games with its free-to-play multiplayer, DC Universe Online. While the game has built a massive audience and is still playable today, it was the lead-up to its release that turned heads of video game fans and comic book readers alike.

The DC Universe Online cinematic trailer is arguably one of the greatest animated representations of comic book characters ever made. The six-minute teaser that was released during 2010's San Diego Comic-Con features all the publishing company's biggest figures. In a traditional battle of good versus evil, the Justice League is facing a collection of their greatest enemies. The stakes are high, as depicted when Black Adam single-handedly destroys Flash and Green Lantern with one yell of "Shazam." Of course, it is the arrival of Superman that tilts the odds back in the hero's favor, and he quickly gets redemption for his teammates. After taking a few blows from Black Adam, the Man of Steel finishes off the god-like being with his heat ray vision. The trailer ends with Lex Luthor stabbing big blue with a Kryptonite spear, moments before an alien invasion arrives on Earth's doorstep.

5. All-New Collectors' Edition C-58

DC's "Collectors' Edition" was a long-running collection of tabloid-like comic books. Sometimes titled "Limited Edition" and other times "All-New," the series was a mixed bag of anthology stories ranging from a "Superman: The Movie" accompaniment to a full issue pitting the Man of Steel against professional boxer Muhammad Ali. At other times, the series explored characters from popular culture such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or Dick Tracy. While sometimes strange, the "Collectors' Edition" did include some groundbreaking ideas, including the first-ever crossover between Superman and Captain Marvel.

"All-New Collectors' Edition" issue #C-58, published in 1978, starts off with a new Martian villain, Karmang the Evil, disrupting the universe by clashing two Earths together. With help from Black Adam and Quarrmer (Sand Superman), Karmang devises a plan to instigate a fight between Superman and Captain Marvel. As such, Black Adam disguises himself as his archenemy and instigates a fight with big blue. Promptly getting out of the way, Superman is left believing that Captain Marvel attacked him, leading to the two heroes clashing. As the Man of Steel nearly kills his opponent, Mary Marvel and Supergirl manage to get to the bottom of the true threat.

4. Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Five #29

The events of "Injustice: Gods Among Us" begin with Superman losing his way. After being brainwashed by the Joker, the Man of Steel kills his wife Lois Lane and their unborn child. Going off the deep end, Superman becomes a dictator for the entire planet, demanding peace in any way necessary. The video game picks up the story five years later. However, those lost years are filled in, thanks to a digital comic series of the same name.

Unfortunately, by "Year 5" of the "Injustice" timeline, Superman is beginning to lose control of his all-powerful regime, as many of the former superheroes begin to disagree with his tyrannical methods. In his attempt to ground his control, the Man of Steel pays a visit to leaders of the last sovereign nations around the world. One of the last freestanding nations includes Khandaq, still headed by its long-time protector, Black Adam. Subsequently, Adam is one of the last metahumans capable of standing his ground against Superman, as he is quick to remind his would-be oppressor. Putting up a good fight, Black Adam manages to draw blood from the Kryptonian. However, when Superman's backup arrives, Khandaq's leader pledges his allegiance, albeit temporarily.

3. Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam

Technically, Dwayne Johnson's superhero feature "Black Adam" is not the character's film debut. Neither is the cameo in the post-credit scene in "DC's League of Super-Pets." The honor goes to the 2010 direct-to-DVD animated film "Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam." Coincidentally, the actor who first performed Black Adam was The Rock's former "The Mummy Returns" co-star, Arnold Vosloo

With a runtime of 25-minutes, the short film serves as a reimagined origin story for Captain Marvel, introducing him as young Billy Batson and explaining how he became the big red superhero.

"Superman/Shazam!" introduces Black Adam as the champion of the same wizard that grants Billy his powers. Traversing space for thousands of years, Adam has returned to Earth in hopes of destroying the young boy before he can learn to use his new abilities. Thankfully, Superman interferes, going toe-to-toe with Adam and giving Batson enough time to discover his new form. Even against both superheroes, Black Adam holds his own for most of the fight, but is inevitably defeated. Wisely in favor of not being banished across the universe again, Black Adam calls out his magic word, turning to dust in his ancient mortal body.

2. Action Comics #831

In DC's long history of publishing these characters, there is only one true example of Black Adam and Superman canonically fighting in a fair match, where they both come from the primary Earth. Sure, these characters have some history together and have even been on the same team. However, with the mixed-up backstories of alternate planets and timelines, the two behemoths have rarely come together for a one-on-one throwdown. Although, with plans in store for the godlike beings to clash on the big screen, expect DC to explore such possibilities further.

With this in mind, issue #831 of "Action Comics" is a significant milestone in battles between Black Adam and Superman. The moment takes place during DC's "Villains United" storyline, which featured Lex Luthor organizing the supervillain community into one army. An essential element of Luthor's new team included Doctor Psycho, and Black Adam was tasked with finding him. However, when the Khandaqian finally tracked down Doctor Psycho, Superman stood in his way, leading to the titans having one of their biggest battles. Unfortunately for the Man of Steel, Doctor Psycho blackmails the situation, forcing Superman to let both villains take their leave.

1. The Rock's smack talk

Exploring the combative history between Black Adam and Superman is a reminder of one thing: These characters have not been going toe-to-toe for countless rounds, as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson would have you believe. In all honesty, Black Adam traditionally fights Shazam, rarely landing himself in the bad graces of the Man of Steel. But then again, The Rock is a former wrestler, and as he has shown with everyone from Mankind to Vin Diesel, he is all too aware that nothing attracts eyeballs like a hyped-up feud.

Johnson first brought up Black Adam clashing with Superman as far back as 2015, the year he signed on for the role. A year later, the former wrestling superstar teased the combat even further, sharing a picture of him with Cavill. Since then, Johnson has only escalated the one-sided trash talk, saying, "They both fly at light speed. They both are unstoppable forces. But only one will kill the other. And we know who that is." Arguably, the greatest fight between Black Adam and Superman exists inside The Rock's imagination. Fans, undoubtedly, can't wait to see it.