Follow TV Tropes


Awesome / Shazam

Go To

  • First and foremost, the simple premise of the comic itself: a kid is granted the magic power to instantly become an adult Flying Brick Super Hero anytime he wants.
    • Related to that are those grand moments when knowledgable villains go Oh, Crap! finding Billy is free to speak and yelling the magic word, "Shazam!" That especially goes with great artists like Don Newton who are able to convey that awesome moment for all it's worth.
  • His life long rivalry with Superman could also be considered this. Back in the Golden Age, when Clark and Billy were owned by different companies, their constant competition to outdo each other is what resulted in them going from 'leaping tall buildings' to flying and from 'more powerful than a locomotive' to 'moving mountains'. They were both so popular that who was selling more than whom would change month to month. In the age of superheroes that Superman created, Captain Marvel was one of the few characters that could be considered a true peer to Clark.
    • This carried over once DC Comics licensed and then purchased the Fawcett characters for their own use. While many writers consider Superman to be the most powerful hero in DC Comics, often downplaying other heroes to showcase this, Captain Marvel has been one of the few heroes who can consistently fight Superman as an equal. While writers Grant Morrison and Jeph Loeb attribute this to Cap's magical nature, most other writers simply write Cap as being powerful, skilled and determined enough to match Superman strength for strength and blow for blow. In Kingdom Come, even when Superman is at the height of his power and all but immune to Kryptonite, Lex Luthor feels Captain Marvel can still match the Man of Steel (at least physically; Lex's brainwashing allows Clark to outwit Billy during their battle).
    • Advertisement:
    • This is backed up in universe, as people such as the Martian Manhunter, the Flash, Batman, Aquaman, Starman, Eclipso, the Atom and Superman himself have all commented on Cap being as powerful, as strong, or the logical choice to face Superman.
  • The Adventures of Captain Marvel was the first superhero film in history, starring the Big Red Cheese himself. Especially when it's likewise considered one of the best film serials of all time, along with the Flash Gordon serials. From the effects to the story, it helped popularize the superhero genre, and for the audiences of the time, it made them believe a man could fly.
  • Underworld Unleashed has Cap as part of a Justice League team sent into Hell itself to rescue Superman from Neron, who is basically DC's version of The Devil at this point. However, once they arrive they discover that Superman isn't there, and that it was Captain Marvel's soul that Neron wanted all along due to its purity. The influence of Neron and the center of Hell warps the other heroes, letting Neron goad them into attacking the Captain. Despite starting the fight with a broken arm, Cap holds his own and seemingly defeats the League, and then offers up his soul to Neron willingly. The purity of both Cap's soul and with which it was given defeats Neron and saves the day. That's right, Cap's soul was so pure it DEFEATED THE DEVIL.
    • It's made even better by just how the Big Red Cheese does this. He offers his soul to Neron in exchange for Neorn setting everyone else he made a contract with free. If Neron accepts, he loses everyone he worked to get, and has to let Cap's soul go too because he asked for something selfless. If he refused, Neron would have violated his basic nature, and he'd STILL lose everyone. No matter what choice he made, Neron was beaten. The goody-two-shoes Billy Batson pulled a Xanatos Gambit on Satan himself.
    • Advertisement:
    • This isn't the first time Cap has faced the Devil. During his World's Finest days when Don Newton drew the book, one of Cap's regularly occurring foes was Satan himself. Yes, Cap had Satan himself as a regular opponent.
  • Justice issue 5 qualifies. Superman has just been blindsided by Bizarro, who tackled the Man of Steel into the middle of the street so Solomon Grundy could help beat him down. Then Metallo shows up and begins weakening Superman with his Kryptonite heart while the Parasite drains Superman's powers and begins to join in the beat down. All in all, Superman is helpless, wondering why none of the JLA are responding to his distress call, and finally cries out for help. Just then a lightning bolt flashes across the sky and all of the villains get an "oh shit" look on their faces as a red and gold blur comes down and proceeds to take them apart. Bizarro? Punched into orbit. Metallo? Kryptonite yanked out of his chest. Parasite? Had that Kryptonite jammed in his chest, and since he had stolen Superman's powers, was instantly defeated by it. Solomon Grundy? Beaten unconscious into a crater. In the space of a page, these four powerful villains are handily and decisively dealt with. The blur finally slows down enough to reveal who it is, offering a hand to help Superman up.
    Captain Marvel: "It's okay Superman. I got your signal. It's going to be okay."
  • In the mini-series Superman/Shazam: First Thunder Billy and a friend are attacked by gunmen hired by Dr. Sivana. Billy turns into Capt. Marvel to stop them but his friend is hit. He races him to the hospital but the surgeons are unable to save him. Showing an outrage unlike him, Captain Marvel storms into police headquarters, brushing past the cops trying to tell him "let us do our jobs!" He grabs one of the gunmen, slams his head into a desk and demands to know who hired him or "I will crush your head off your shoulders, take your headless body to show your friends and see if one of them talks!" After the terrified gunman spills his guts, Marvel flies to Sivana's office and wrecks the place, barely stopping himself from crushing the man like a bug. Moral of the story: Marvel may seem a friendly guy but do not piss him off.
    • Not to cramp Cap's style, but Supes also gets one hell of an awesome and heartwarming moment (what else would you expect from the Big Blue?) in the mini-series:
      Superman: WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!
      Wizard: I bestowed the powers of the gods upon a mortal. It is my province to do so.
      Superman: He's a little boy! You did this to a little boy!
      Wizard: He is more adept, more tenacious than any-
      Superman: What is wrong with you? He is a child! His life shouldn't be about this! Little boys go to school, play with their friends and go to bed at night. Their biggest concerns should be homework and school-yard crushes - Not if their best friends are going to be murdered by assassins!
      Wizard: It is his fate to bear the mantle.
      Superman: Do not talk to me about fate. All of you people of magic - you sorcerers... All your talk about fate and destiny... This is wrong. No boy should have the responsibility of the world on his shoulders. It is fate chosen by men. He is just a boy.
    • At the same time, Shazam is absolutely right. The Wizard spent 5,000 years looking for someone to trust with his power, and since the fall of Black Adam, Shazam will only trust someone completely incorruptible. The only person he judged worthy of his power is Billy. Not Superman, not Batman, not Hal Jordan, Barry Allen, Wonder Woman, etc. Only Billy. Shazam doesn't back down from his decision, however well intended Superman's argument is. In a way, Shazam is sticking up for Billy by making it clear that his chosen champion is the only one for the job. And for all his might, Superman knows he can't force Shazam to do anything, since Shazam is vastly more powerful than even Clark. But instead, Shazam just calmly, even sadly, points out that Billy is "a young boy . . . who could use some guidance." Shazam not only cuts all of the energy out of Superman's argument, but he uses the moment to give Billy and Clark something they both need: a friend.
  • Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam showcases a slightly tweaked, animated version of Capt. Marvel's origin, with Superman protecting Billy from Black Adam until the wizard Shazam can make Billy his new champion. Initially, Black Adam has an edge on Billy and Clark despite all three being roughly as powerful as each other; Adam has more experience than Billy and has a magical attack that gives him an unfair advantage against Clark. However, once the two start working together, Adam finds himself outmatched. It gets worse for Adam later when he threatens an innocent civilian. Billy gets so mad at this that he delivers unto Adam a VERY satisfying No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
  • During Day of Vengeance, Captain Marvel has to delay the Spectre for as long as possible. The Spectre is the literal Wrath of God, and Cap has virtually no chance against him. Cap fights him anyway, and the Blue Devil is basically awestruck by his heroism.
    Blue Devil: Want to see real bravery? Take a look at this guy. He calls himself Captain Marvel, the Earth's Mightiest Mortal. Who knows? Maybe he is. Now he's in the middle of a one-on-one throwdown with the Spectre — an immortal being so incalculably powerful that our Mightiest Mortal's like a paraplegic child taking on a heavyweight prize fighter. From what I understand, Captain Marvel can survive only so long as his magical power source holds out. But the Spectre is bleeding it dry so quickly, Marvel's continued life span can be measured in a matter of seconds, double digits at most. And every one of those precious seconds will be spent in indescribable agony. Regardless, Marvel fights on. Take a note, boys and girls: that's what real bravery looks like.

Example of: