In Black Adam, DCEU fans are introduced to a new (yet quite old) villain. The character appears dramatically, complete with red skin, horns, and a flaming pentagram on his chest. As it turns out, he’s been in the comics for quite a long time, but for anybody who doesn’t know, let’s explain who Sabbac is in Black Adam.
What Is The Crown of Sabbac? Answered
In the film, the host of Sabbac is a gangster named Ishmael Gregor, a member of the criminal tech organization Intergang, who demonstrates some knowledge of sorcery while being the last descendant of King Ahk-Ton, who first forged the Crown of Sabbac and sought the power of Hell. Through the crown, Ishmael becomes Sabbac, a powerful being who is the combination of the most powerful demons of Hell.
In opposition to the Council of Wizards and their efforts to prevent chaos and destruction, Hell’s six most powerful demons decided to create their own Champion. To accomplish this, they required a human to forge the Crown of Sabbac, the name being an anagram of six demons: Satan, Aym, Belial, Beelzebub, Asmodeus, and Crateis. The Crown of Sabbac is thus a key to the Kingdoms of Hell, and to gain access to the underworld, the Champion candidates must die while holding the Crown.
In the DC Universe, several villains go by the name Sabbac, but they all share the same fundamental power source. The original Sabbac was Timothy Karnes, a standard Golden Age comic villain first introduced in Fawcett Comics Captain Marvel Jr. #4 in 1943, who worked with the Nazis during WWII. Karnes’s Sabbac gained more depth and a stronger connection to his nemesis, Shazam’s Freddie Freeman, after being reintroduced in Judd Winick’s The Outsiders.
In Winick’s iteration, Karnes and Freeman were foster brothers, where Karnes eventually developed intense jealousy of Freeman and later learned that he was a member of the Bagdan family, an ancient lineage that had been linked to Sabbac for centuries.
The film drew the name and most of Sabbac’s origin from the second incarnation of the character in the DC Universe, Ishmael Gregor. After a ritualistic massacre, Gregor, a Russian gangster, managed to seize Karnes’ power for himself. Later as part of DC’s New 52 relaunch, writer Geoff Johns rebooted Sabbac along with the Shazam mythos. Here, Sabbac is powered by the Seven Deadly Sins of Man rather than six demons.
The film did change Gregor up, understandably, for the film. Instead of a Russian gangster, Karnes’s backstory is blended in by making Gregor a descendant of the ancient King Ahk-Ton and native to Kahndaq, integrating him more into the film’s narrative and its centering on the nation and its history. Also, since the Seven Deadly Sins of Man were already used in Shazam, they returned to Sabbac’s demon roots.
That’s all the info we have regarding who is Sabbac in Black Adam. Check out our other Black Adam content such as what you should watch before seeing Black Adam, a guide to what Eternium is, and the fallout after the Black Adam end credit scene was leaked.