WARNING: The following contains spoilers for DCeased: Hope at World’s End #2 by Tom Taylor, Renato Guedes, Rex Lokus and SaidaTemofonte, available now.
Unlike Shazam, who was still merely human when he was infected by the Anti-Life in the pages of DCeased: The Unkillables, his longtime foe Black Adam has been teased repeatedly as having his powers while he’s infected.
And now, DCeased: Hope at World’s End #2 just revealed how exactly Black Adam was contaminated by the Anti-Life Virus, and how he was able to unlock his powered form in the process.
While most of the world has been ravaged by the Anti-Life Virus that has wiped out swaths of humanity, one nation proved to be surprisingly resilient: Khadaq. This is because its monarch, Black Adam, has been using his powers to target and destroy any and all people infected with the virus as fast as he can. Because of the unparalleled control he asserts over the nation, Black Adam is able to keep most of the nation relatively safe. While numerous civilians have been lost in these efforts, Black Adam forces himself to continue his work. It weighs heavily on the ruler, with Black Adam even collapsing into his throne at one point – exhausted with the dark work he has to carry out to keep the greater populace safe.
This also means that when the Justice League come to request that Khadaq become a safe-haven for the surviving other populaces, he turns them away. However, the empathetic words of Superman seemingly have a slight impact on Black Adam, convincing him to reach out and try to understand the pain his subjects are going through. However, this also leads to destruction for everyone involved. As he resumes his human form as Teth-Adam, he travels through Khadaq and meets survivors of his outbursts.
Unfortunately, this includes a child infected by the virus. Before he can fully transform back to Black Adam and regain invulnerability, the child scratches him – spreading the virus to him. But since the transformation was already in the process of happening, Black Adam is released and infected.
Unlike Billy Batson, who was infected while in human form and never had the chance to transform into Shazam, Black Adam has been fully corrupted and is now in that superpowered form. It’s important to remember that Black Adam is one of the deadliest fighters in the entire DC Universe, regularly going toe-to-toe with powerhouses like Superman, Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter. While all three are near Khadaq, it would be a tough fight even if he wasn’t turned into a Blighted One. But with the living Anti-Life Virus now in possession of one of the champions of the Wizard Shazam, the zombie virus’ assault on the world is likely about to become far more deadly. Without another DC powerhouse around, it would take a genuine army to bring him down just on his own.
Khadaq will likely fall once Black Adam is fully released onto the nation, with the ruined population likely helping fuel the Anti-Life Army that’s been teased in previous issues. And while heroes like Superman and Wonder Woman will survive the assault — as proven by their eventual later infections — plenty of other heroes who weren’t specifically seen among the survivors fleeing the planet could easily fall or be infected themselves in the efforts to bring down Black Adam. Stopping the spread of the virus just became significantly more difficult, and Black Adam could even lead to the infection of other major heroes. While Superman’s words have inspired countless individuals inside and outside of the DC Universe, it looks like trying to have the kind of empathy that Superman preached may have doomed Adam and his whole country.
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DCeased: Hope at World's End just revealed how a major player in the universe was infected and may have doomed a whole nation in the process.