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Comic Book / Shazam!: The New Beginning

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Shazam!: The New Beginning was a four-issue mini-series that was published by DC Comics in 1987, following the release of the Legends mini-series but taking place just before it. The series was written by Roy and Dannette Thomas with art by Tom Mandrake. It was the first Post-Crisis adaptation of the origin of Captain Marvel that was considered canon until years later when it was replaced by The Power Of Shazam! by Jerry Ordway. Crisis on Infinite Earths: The Compendium now relegates this story to "Earth-85" in the DC Multiverse. However, this series established a permanent change to the character: from then on, Captain Marvel is definitely Billy transformed into an adult superhero with his youthful personality, instead of Captain Marvel being vaguely treated as a separate individual as before.


In this series, which is now mostly set in San Francisco, Billy Batson was orphaned by his parents as a teenager and, through a court case to determine who would have custody of the child, goes to live with his uncle Dr. Thaddeus Sivana instead of his great-uncle Dudley Batson. However, he soon finds out what Sivana was after and runs away, only to meet up with the ancient wizard Shazam who gives him the power to become Captain Marvel so he could deal with his Evil Counterpart Black Adam, who was released from exile into hyperspace by Sivana to Take Over the World.


Shazam!: The New Beginning provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parent: Sivana is this to his two children, and also to Billy Batson.
  • Adapted Out: Billy Batson's sister Mary, who would otherwise become Mary Marvel, has been adapted out. Sivana's other two children, Thaddeus Jr. and Georgia, were also removed.
  • The Brute: Sivana intended to use Black Adam as this, but Adam has other ideas in mind.
  • Bus Full of Innocents: A plane full of international delegates is hijacked by Black Adam, and Captain Marvel must save them.
  • The Chosen Many: Inverted. Created by having not only Captain Marvel's origin being set in modern times as opposed to the Golden Age period, but also by having Captain Marvel at that point be the sole recipient of Shazam's powers, barring his Evil Counterpart Black Adam. Shazam briefly recalls the existence of the Marvel Family before the Crisis, and then immediately dismisses it as being "madness".
  • Composite Character: This version of Sivana is combined with both himself and Billy Batson's greedy uncle Ebenezer Batson, who here acquires the boy's life insurance from his parents so that he could fund his research.
  • Continuity Snarl: With Legends, as during the series it was not known exactly where Billy's exploits regarding Macro-Man took place. (It was originally assumed to be Fawcett City, as there was a reporter from WHIZ-TV — the TV station Billy was working for in Pre-Crisis continuity — on the scene reporting the "death" of Macro-Man.)
  • Death by Origin Story: Billy's parents, this time through Vehicular Sabotage. Shazam also dies after giving Billy his powers.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: Billy as Captain Marvel does have some problems with handling his super-strength, as he lands on the roof of his Uncle Dudley's apartment building and makes a hole in the roof while doing so, or tries to open up a locked door and breaks off the handle by accident.
  • Evil Counterpart: Black Adam, who was created by Shazam as originally a good character and guardian of ancient Egypt, until the power he wielded corrupted him and forced Shazam to exile him to the farthest star. Shazam learned from this not to give his powers to a grown person and instead bequeath them unto a child, hence the creation of Captain Marvel.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Black Adam, in the origin story told about him.
  • Financial Abuse: Dr. Sivana, who adopts Billy only so he can collect on his parents' life insurance.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Billy Batson to Black Adam: "If you're such hot spit, find him yourself."
  • Judgment of Solomon: Referenced by Billy as Captain Marvel after his first confrontation with Black Adam.
  • Mythology Gag: Dudley has a rabbit that he uses for magic tricks named Hoppy.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Both Dudley and Sivana are Billy Batson's uncles related by family in this adaptation, with Sivana also being a Composite Character. This also makes Sivana's children Beautia and Magnificus Billy's cousins.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Black Adam, banished into hyperspace, then brought back by Sivana, then banished again by Billy Batson.
  • Sequel Hook: Near the end of the final issue, Sivana is sitting in a bar drinking tequila and plotting how to get revenge on Captain Marvel, when the final panel focuses in on a worm sitting in the bottom of his glass, possibly hinting at a future appearance of Mister Mind in some form.
  • Sexier Alter Ego: Billy as Captain Marvel got hit on by the ticket vendor that he bought a ticket to Dudley's magic show from.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Billy compares the Sivanas' house to that of The Munsters.
    • Billy mentions Star Trek when he runs into a magic force field protecting Shazam when he tries to rescue the wizard from being crushed under a big block hanging over his head.
    • Billy wonders if Shazam had turned him into Arnold Schwarzenegger when he was first transformed into Captain Marvel. He also compares his new form to being "Rambo in a Santa Claus suit".
    • When Billy changes into Captain Marvel so that he could attend his uncle Dudley's magic show as an adult, the ticket vendor comments if he should wait for the showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
  • Spirit Advisor: Shazam plays this role after his death to reveal Black Adam's origins to Captain Marvel.
  • Stage Magician: Dudley Batson's profession in this adaptation.
  • That Was Not a Dream: Billy after his first encounter with Shazam, when he was transformed back to his original self from being Captain Marvel, thought the whole meeting was just a dream when he was left standing at the entrance of the subway station... until he calls out Shazam's name again and realizes that it wasn't.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: Billy Batson's parents died due to Sivana having somebody sabotage the car so that it would crash and cause an accident.
  • You Talk Too Much!: Said by Captain Marvel to Black Adam during their final fight together.