Comics have explored ancient mythology in great detail, featuring various characters linked to different pantheons. DC are known for favouring Egyptian mythology through characters like Hawkgirl and Black Adam. In particular, Adam has gained prominence as one of the most powerful characters in the DC Universe. A character linked to Adam’s legacy is Isis, though she has roots that extend back to the 1970s.
In her modern interpretation, Isis acted as a superhero who sowed for peace. But the connection she had to Black Adam corrupted her, making for an intriguing story. I’m looking into the history of the character to see how she developed.
A small screen goddess
The original Isis, called Andrea Thomas, was a high school teacher who appeared in The Secrets of Isis TV show. The character was played by Joanna Cameron and like other characters in the Shazam world, her powers were linked to chanting words. For example, she activated her powers through the phrase “Oh zephyr winds that blow on high, lift me now so I can fly!”
Andrea Thomas first appeared in the comics in 1976’s Shazam! #25. Eventually, she was retconned out of existence and it wasn’t until 2006 that she reappeared.
Connection to Black Adam
A new version of Isis was reintroduced in the pages of 52. An Egyptian woman named Adrianna Tomaz found herself enslaved by Intergang and presented as a gift to Black Adam. Disgusted with Intergang, Adam murdered them, setting Adrianna free. In response, Adrianna showed no fear towards the Black Marvel, vocalising how she thought he could make Kahndaq a better place.
Adrianna’s influence changed Adam’s perspective of the world. He became merciful, improving his relationship with the Justice Society of America and Shazam. After falling in love with Adrianna, Adam gave her an amulet that transformed her into Isis. She activated her powers by saying “I am Isis!” The two of them married and Adrianna invited her brother Amon into the family as the superhero Osiris.
Under Adam and Isis’ reign, Kahndaq entered a golden age of peace. However, Isis was killed during a battle with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Her death brought Adam’s rage to the surface, with him instigating World War III in his efforts to bring her back.
Eventually, Isis was resurrected, but her world view had changed. She believed Earth needed to be cleansed of human sin and convinced Adam to go along with her plans. The Justice Society of America revealed Isis’ change of heart was partly due to Adam sharing his powers with her. Adam’s rage had tainted her, which forced him to recall his power back.
Isis’ descent into darkness contrasted with her abilities. She had control over nature, using her powers to make Kahndaq bloom. She wanted to live in peace, encouraging her husband to see the world as a place worth fighting for.
Her powers made her one of the most powerful female heroes around. Her strength was comparable to other heavy hitters like Wonder Woman and Big Barda. She had bulletproof skin, superhuman intelligence and telekinesis. When angered, Isis became the living embodiment of nature. She caused fires, flash floods and all manner of natural disasters.
Isis’ relationship with Adam is an important dynamic for both characters. Be sure to read The Badassery Of Black Adam to find out more about the Black Marvel.