Black Adam may have just recruited an ideal new member of the Shazam family — who in turn could bring the franchise in a new direction.
The following contains spoilers for Black Adam #1, now on sale from DC Comics
The Shazam corner of the DC Universe has been evolving in some surprising ways lately, with stories like Titans Academy and events like “Future State” introducing unexpected twists and turns for Billy Batson, his loved ones, and his rivals. But he might just be getting a new one of the former, all thanks to a former enemy.
Black Adam #1 (by Christopher Priest, Rafa Sandoval, Matt Herms, and Willie Schubert) introduced a potential new addition to the Shazam/Black Adam family in the form of Malik-Adam and he could be a nice breath of fresh air for that corner of the DC Universe.
Malik is introduced at a hospital, tending to patients brought to him regardless of their personal politics, including a Neo-Nazi who’d otherwise hate the young man for the color of his skin. Just because he’s a good person and a committed medical student doesn’t mean he’s a soft soul. He spends his time saving the Neo-Nazi openly mocking him, and he’s defiant when arrested under suspicion of a connection to Kahndaqi political candidate’s death.
Even when Black Adam arrives on the scene to intimidate him and try to figure out more about him, Malik is unimpressed. The end of the issue revealed Malik’s true importance though as it turns out that he’s the direct descendant of Black Adam. As a result, he will be bequeathed not just power over the nation, but the power of Black Adam as well. It’s a massive reveal and sets up an interesting situation for Black Adam.
As the issue admitted at the very top, it takes place before the events of Dark Crisis meaning Black Adam is wrong in his estimation that he’s dying. It’s even possible he ultimately gave none of it away, given how Black Adam holds his own in the lead-up Dark Crisis while fighting against Pariah. But there’s also the chance that some of his power was given to Malik which could make for a fun new addition to the Shazam family of characters.
The Shazam family has evolved in lots of unique ways over the last decade, expanding to include all of Billy Batson’s family members. In the process, they’ve also found a way to find a certain level of peace with Black Adam, even fighting alongside their former enemy. Black Adam’s past attempts to expand the family ended in tragedy, but the addition of Malik could be a particularly exciting development. Malik could offer a unique perspective on the Shazam family, giving the group a new figure to rely on.
As a slightly older character than most of the Shazam family, he likely comes with a bit of experience that the rest of the family lacks. Malik’s refusal to back down against Black Adam or the authorities speaks to an attitude that could lend itself well to the Shazam family. It could potentially even give the family more of an affinity for getting themselves involved in street-level concerns.
Malik could easily become something of an honorary uncle or surprising older cousin to the Shazam Family as a whole, bringing a new kind of energy to the group dynamic. while still operating in Black Adam’s orbit (and, if successful as a concept, could eventually make the transition to live-action in Black Adam’s cinematic output). While there are plenty of fates that could still await Malik, he’s a character who even after just one issue has a solid amount of potential as an addition to the series.
Brandon Zachary is an Associate Writer with Comic Book Resources and has written for CBR since 2018. He covers breakouts on comics, film, television, video games, and anime. He also conducts industry interviews, is a Rotten Tomatoes certified film critic, and knows SO MUCH about the X-Men. For requests, comments, or to hear his pitch for a third Avatar series that incorporates robots, you can contact him through email@example.com.