We all know it awaits us when we sit down for a superhero film: the mid-credit and/or end credit scene. Even knowing it is coming, though, does not necessarily mean you will understand it when it arrives. That is where we here at ComicsVerse come in. We have your back. And today, having your back means answering you SHAZAM questions.

First up, who visits Dr. Sivana in the mid-credits scene and what the heck does any of it even mean?

You may have also heard news of a BLACK ADAM movie starring Dwayne Johnson. You may know him as the Rock; we’re buddies so he lets me call him Dwayne. You probably also heard it is connected to SHAZAM but you may not know how. And is this the first mention of Black Adam? Did he come up in SHAZAM and you missed it? Don’t worry, we got your back on this one too. We have all the answers you need for your SHAZAM Questions.

Shazam Questions: Mr. Mind's usual form
Mister Mind mixes a potion while reading and ignoring his rat neighbors. He’s essentially an introverted New Yorker on a Friday night. (Courtesy of DC Comics)

Shazam Questions: Just Who Is That Inching on Sivana’s Windowsill?

As the mid-credits sequence unspools, we see an almost panicked Dr. Sivana (Mark Strong) manically pacing his gray prison cell. Then, a voice comes. Robotic but proper and poised. Sivana scans the room and so do we, but the voice seemingly came from nowhere. However, it continues, making promises of future power. Then, finally, we see the source. A caterpillar-like creature with a talk box around his neck. Eagle-eyed viewers may even recall seeing him in the wizard Shazam’s sanctum earlier on in the film.

Ladies and Gentlemen, SHAZAM gives you, Mister Mind.

Mister Mind, while more of a caterpillar in appearance, commonly gets referred to in comics as a worm. In his original incarnation, he had incredible intelligence and a total lack of conscience. Beyond that, however, he was just a small crawling creature. Still, in his first heyday, he did plenty of damage via alligator men and, dastardlier, allying himself with the Axis powers during World War II.

However, DC Comics sued Fawcett, claiming Captain Marvel — the hero we now know as Shazam — and not the various Marvel Comics characters over the decades that too closely resembled Superman. DC won and Fawcett quickly ended up folding at which time DC snapped up the Fawcett heroes, including Captain Marvel. While the company would struggle to integrate Shazam and his cast into the larger DCU for years, the POWER OF SHAZAM series of the ’90s proved far and away the most successful. When the book brought Mister Mind back too, he was now an alien working from Jupiter who not only had a massive intellect but now possessed high-level telepathy, powerful enough to let him control the minds of others.

The Current Day Mister Mind

The Mister Mind of the current DC Comics Universe hews closely to his 90s reinvention. Gone is the bit about Venus. Now Mind hails from the Wildlands, one of the seven supposed realms of the DCU. However, in terms of powers and attitude, he plays pretty much the same. He is an intelligent telepathic caterpillar with a talkbox who wishes to destroy as much as he can and rule over everything else.

The scene of him visiting Sivana promises a relationship much like the one they currently have in comics. There, once again, Mind approached Sivana with a plan to team up not only to gain power for themselves but also to defeat and destroy Shazam.

Shazam Questions: Mister Mind All Growed Up
“You are all grown up Mr Mind!” I would shout at this elder god looking horror show in the hopes that he would show me mercy. (Courtesy of DC Comics)

Shazam Questions: Even if He is Super Smart and Telepathic, Is He Scary?

In a word, yes. Personally, I think a creature the size and physical appearance of a caterpillar that can control your mind is scary regardless. Especially given said creatures once willingly sought out an alliance with Adolf Hitler during the height of World War II.

However, if you need further persuasion, look no further than DC’s massive weekly comic book series 52. In the book’s final act, Mister Mind reveals himself to be the big bad of the whole series. And I do mean big.

For months, he had used Booster Gold’s robot Skeets as a hiding spot cum incubation center. Then, he emerges as the monstrous Hyperfly and begins to literally consume time and space, altering vast swaths of the history of DC’s 52 Earths. In the end, he fails in his goal of consuming all space and time and is sealed in a time loop of 52 seconds in the past, moments before he can start his plan. Still, the damage he did remained. As a result, the 52 Earths proved both familiar and strange until this reboot as part of the “New 52” in 2011.

Shazam Questions: Who is Black Adam and How Does He Connect to Shazam?

As noted above, this week also brought news of a long gestating BLACK ADAM film being fast tracked to production. The long-rumored and commented on by its star Dwayne Johnson project has been a Schrödinger’s Cat of a film. It existed in a perpetual state of never being alive but also not quite dead. However, SHAZAM’s critical success and eclipsing of box office expectations pushed the thing to straight up alive.

If you saw SHAZAM, you kind of already met Black Adam. When the Wizard (Djimon Hounsou) explains to Billy Batson (Asher Angel) what happened to his six other wizard brethren, he mentions a former champion who decided to free the Seven Sins the first time around leading to cataclysms on Earth and the death of all of the Wizard’s fellow protectors of the realm. The champion gone bad? Likely Black Adam.

Shazam Questions: He's Electric Boogie Woogie Woogie
Black Adam invites you to ride the lightning. In a painful sort of way. (Courtesy of DC Comics)

Comic Black Adam

In comics, both as a Fawcett and DC character, Black Adam’s origins do resemble the movie’s mention him. Teth-Adam did get selected as the Wizard’s champion due to his seeming purity. However, the power did corrupt him and he sought to rule over humanity, reasoning the skills and wisdom magic word gave him made him the obvious right choice. The Wizard intervenes too late to save the lives of several pharaohs but still before Adam could go too far. Referring to him as Black Adam in recognition of his corruption the Wizard realizes he cannot de-power his out of control champion and instead banishing him to a distant star. Black Adam essentially spends the next several centuries flying back to Earth and arrives in time to fight Billy Batson.

With updated DC origins from the ’90s, it has become another dimension rather than a distant star. Instead of flying back, he returns via a Dr. Sivana invention. However, his disposition and hatred for humanity in general and Shazam in specific remains the same. Black Adam’s origins were further tweaked in the new 52 and are still not fully revealed. Again, however, the brand strokes of a champion corrupted by power remain in place.

Shazam Questions: How Will Black Adam Fit In?

This, of course, will be pure speculation. However, if something was in the process of Dr. Sivana freeing the Seven Sins and the Wizard empowering Billy broke Mister Mind free, it stands to reason that Black Adam might have been freed as well. What is interesting is that Billy’s choice, as Shazam (Zachary Levi), to similarly power his foster brothers and sisters creates five more heroes. Thus, with Shazam, they are six strong. There are, however, seven thrones in the Rock of Eternity. Moreover, there are Seven Sins and Seven Realms. This suggests room for one more. This final throne might end up being Black Adam’s or he uses it in some way to gain favor with the other six and then betray them.

Given that Black Adam became something of an anti-hero under writer Geoff Johns’ direction in the mid-2000s, one could easily see him trying to fit in with the others and then betraying them when he wants to go farther than they are will. Or the film may choose to go the more unambiguous villain route. I just find myself cluing into the fact that Shazam and Company seem one member short.

Shazam Questions: Black Adam chilling
Black Adam’s throne and background may recall a certain wizard’s dwelling and that might not be an accident. (Courtesy of DC Comics)

Shazam Questions: Does Casting Dwayne Johnson Make Sense?

On a purely superficial level? One hundred percent. He is big and strong and strong in a way that dwarfs the also muscled and strong Zachary Levi. He is also a person of color, albeit Pacific Islander not Middle Eastern, so in terms of on-camera, he will very much resemble his comic book counterpart.

For the rest, it depends on what incarnation of Black Adam they decide to go with. In a strange way, he could play a lot like one of Johnson’s first big roles, The Scorpion King. That is, a hero in his own time (and spinoff film) who ends up being the villain in another man’s (and the primary franchise’s) story.

If they choose to go anti-hero, I have little doubts about Johnson’s ability to realize the character. A pure villain, however? Harder for me to envision. The closest to a full villain Johnson has played would probably be is a dim bulb religious addict from PAIN AND GAIN. As you can tell from that description, though, he had plenty of brawn but little of the cunning or cruelty Black Adam would need. Moreover, that film came just before a turning point in Johnson’s career when he began to insist upon happy endings for his films and focused more on friendly hero types. It would be exciting to see Johnson stretch his proverbial acting legs a bit though.

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