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Black Adam Vs. Superman: Who Would Win In A Fight?

In the long and storied history of siblings arguing over which action figure could beat which other action figure, there have been a few standouts — Superman versus Batman. Superman versus Lava Blast Batman variant. Superman versus your sister's Barbie that's been painted green and temporarily requisitioned as a stand in for Brainiac. Then along came big budget superhero movies, hundred million-dollar spectacles dedicated to lovingly, obsessively detailed superhuman smackdowns. Finally, we could stop arguing over who could beat up who and focus on what was really important: how the movie got everything wrong and Wonder Woman could totally kick the crap out of Doomsday.

And during 2020's DC FanDome, comic book fans got to feast their itchy corneas on what might just be the next great donnybrook in cinematic superhero history: Superman versus Black Adam. Asked about which member of the DC Universe he'd like to share the screen with, Black Adam star Dwayne "The Rock of Eternity" Johnson was quick to mention the Last Son of Krypton, stating, "At the end of the day, you never know, Black Adam and Superman could become friends. Or... they won't. Who knows? Maybe we'll see." A little vague, sure, but it was enough to get fans frothing at the mouth with excitement and wondering: who yells "uncle" in a bout between the Man of Steel and the King of Kahndaq?

If the prospect of waiting another two or three years for an answer is too daunting, have no fear: we now take you ringside to the rhetorical clash of these two titans.

Superman brings the big guns

In the red and blue corner, we have Superman. Alias: Clark Kent, but don't tell anybody. Since before most of us were born, he's been Detective Comics' solid gold standard, with a boy scout demeanor and all-American "aw-shucks" attitude that can't downplay the ambient "now you're in trouble" energy that he exudes when he floats, eyes glowing, into your warehouse full of killer robots.

Over the years, Superman's level of power has varied immensely. His debut in Action Comics #1 back in 1938 saw him able to "leap 1/8th of a mile," with skin that could be broken by "nothing less than a bursting shell." By contrast, the Superman of more recent days has been seen lifting quintillions of tons one handed, flying so fast that time moved backwards, and punching holes in the fabric of reality. His laundry list of superhuman abilities is seemingly infinite, with some of Superman's lesser-known powers including super-ventriloquism, super-hypnosis, and super-shooting-tiny-versions-of-himself-out-of-his-hands. Nerds have been pouting about his perceived OP nature for decades, and writers have gone back to the "Superman loses his powers" well so many times that it's become a trope, all because, well, how do you write a story with heavy stakes if the main character can't be beaten? How do you smash that which smashes all other things?

And that might just be where Black Adam comes into play. See, everybody knows that Superman is vulnerable to kryptonite — as personalized Achilles' heels go, it's basically his kryptonite. But traditionally, he has another weakness that people forget about: magic. Superman can't deal with magic. It's a little jarring to think about, but the staple of American mythology most associated with invulnerability has a real glass jaw when it comes to birthday clowns pulling quarters out of his ears.

Black Adam: Frienemyship is Magic

There were a few examples of the Kryptonian's susceptibility to sleight of hand in the early days. In Superman #14, he was put under a trance by malevolent fish people. But it wasn't until Superman #171 that the Metropolis Marvel made it clear that magic could hurt him, when a tête-à-tête with Mister Mxyzptlk saw him opining, "Too bad my invulnerability can't protect me from magic or a sorcerer's spell!"

Which brings us to Black Adam. Adam has gone through his own heaping portion of growing pains over the years, starting out as an ancient Egyptian absolutely corrupted by absolute power, then later becoming an isolationist anti-hero from the fictional nation of Kahndaq. But one aspect of his personality has remained solid: his powers are magical in nature. They were given to him by the same wizard who turned Billy Batson into the World's Mightiest Mortal, and they stem from the abilities of ancient gods — sometimes Greek, sometimes Egyptian, always intense. Getting Superman in a bear hug would be the hard part. Holding him towards the sky, shouting "Shazam!" and watching the Last Son of Krypton get extra kryspy? No biggie.

Obviously this is all speculative, with any big screen Superman-Black Adam meetups still years away. Still, something big is brewing. Dwayne Johnson warned the Justice League during his DC FanDome panel, saying, "Let's let Flash, Shazam, Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman — let's let them know something. Things will never be the same because the hierarchy of power in the DC Universe is about to change."

Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's getting its spandex handed to it by the guy from Jumanji 2!