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Comic Book / The Power of Shazam

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The Power of Shazam! is a 1995 comic book series published by DC Comics.

Serving as yet another retelling of the Shazam! mythos, the series serves as a retcon for Shazam!: The New Beginning and reintroduces many of the characters to the DC Universe.

It started out as a 1994 graphic novel by Jerry Ordway, then became an ongoing series which ran from 1995 to 1999, and was given a single issue revival in January 2010, tying into DC's Blackest Night event.

Over 25 years after its debut, the graphic novel and series proper are finally being reprinted in collected format. Volume 1, covering the graphic novel and issues 1-12, was released on 14 April 2020. Volume 2, covering issues 13-23 plus one-off appearances in other DC series, had an scheduled release date of December 2021, before finally being released on 30 May 2023.


  • Adaptational Comic Relief: Inverted - this continuity's version of Mr. Mind is a far cry from the comedic character he was Pre-Crisis. Not only is he drawn more realistically, he is very much a Knight of Cerebus.
  • Adaptational Name Change: Billy Batson's deceased parents were called "Merrill" and "Jocelyn" in the Pre-Crisis days, but in this series, his father is named "Clarence Charles "C.C." Batson" (after Captain Marvel's creator, C.C. Beck) and his mother is named "Marilyn".
  • Adaptational Origin Connection:
    • Black Adam (or rather, his reincarnation Theo Adam) is responsible for the death of Billy and Mary's parents. Pre-Crisis, they died in a car crash.
    • Pre-Crisis, Ibis awoke from his mummification by himself. Here, it's revealed that Shazam's spells were the reason he was awakened.
  • Adaptational Species Change: Tawky Tawny is a spirit being animating a stuffed tiger doll, rather than a real tiger given an Anthropomorphic Transformation.
  • The Alcoholic: Dudley, although not to an extent.
  • Antagonistic Offspring: Blaze and Satanus serve as this to Shazam. Blaze completely despises him, while Satanus seems to have a small fondness for him.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: When Billy confronts Ebenzer about throwing him out on the street and threatens to do the same to him, Mary asks if this is the way their parents raised them. This causes him to relent.
  • Back from the Dead: Mary and Dudley use one of Shazam's spells to awaken Ibis.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Black Adam saves a woman and her son from her crazed ex-husband.
  • Body Horror:
    • The fate of Sinclair Batson - badly burned and covered in numerous boils.
    • After being exposed to a strange chemical, Patty Patty Bang Bang turn into liquid metal, and merge with each other.
  • Break Them by Talking: When Shazam confronts Sivana about the alterations he (or rather, his time-travelling future self) made to the timeline, Sivana gets him to back off by pointing out that Shazam could easily fix the timeline himself, but is reluctant to do so because if he does, Billy and Mary will once again lose their parents.
  • Brought Down to Normal: In issue 1, Shazam removes Billy's powers when he complains about having them. He restores them when Billy proves himself brave and resourceful even without them.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: After Mary Marvel saves some commuters from a mutated Patty Patty Bang Bang, one of them complains about his destroyed car and the fact that he's now late for work. He's rightfully called out by the others.
  • The Corrupter: Blaze took the form of a helpless female in order to get close to Adam and convince him that he should be Pharaoh.
  • Culture Equals Costume: Shazam's costume as the Champion consisted of a tunic marked with a lightning bolt, while Teth-Adam's consisted of a black loincloth, a gold headdress and a gold lightning bolt-shaped sash running diagonally down his chest, as opposed to the black bodysuit he wore Pre-Crisis.
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: Amber hides in the backseat of Freddy's new car to attack him and the Batsons.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • Blaze specialises in these. The people she's made these with include Ebenezer Batson (who wanted a son to carry on his legacy) and Theo Adam (who gains the ability to talk again).
    • Dudley is approached by a demon named Mr. Finish, who informs him that he will die in a week unless he can think of seven people who could die in his place. Despite knowing that he could never take the deal, Dudley can't help thinking about who he wants to die, so he has to recruit the Marvels to help him save the victims.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Shazam's first act as the Champion was to crush the bandits who had murdered his tribe with a boulder, an exaggeration of the then-common stoning punishment.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Tala first made a one-panel appearance in the graphic novel, before showing up in the later half of the series.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Theo Adam is Sarah Pimm's brother, and is not happy to learn that his sister has been condemned to Hell.
  • Forced to Watch: Sarah Pimm's punishment in Hell is to be forced to watch all the suffering.
  • Generation Xerox: Both Blaze and her mother seduced the holder of the Shazam powers.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Blaze and Satanus are the child of a female demon and the human Shazam.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Adam tears Tawny's doll form in half.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Black Adam makes one.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • C.C. Batson travels back in time to stop Sivana from altering the past, despite being fully aware that if he succeeds, both he and his wife will die in the corrected timeline.
    • Upon seeing that Ibis has essentially become a living mummy due to the radiation he absorbed, Tawny offers to give up the energy used to make him real so that Ibis can heal himself with it. Ibis appreciates the offer, but explains that it would not solve his problem.
  • Human Popsicle: Captain Nazi was frozen near the end of the war so that he could be thawed out many years later.
  • Kick the Dog: Black Adam kicks over a pot of rice one of the inhabitants of Hell has been forced to fill.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia:
    • Shazam was once attacked by a mugger and lost all memory of his identity and powers until he met C.C. Batson.
    • In 1942, Abin Sur helped Starman and Bulletman defeat a Venusian worm, then erased their memories of the event.
  • Late for School: Billy is late several times, due to having to work at night in order to make his rent, until he gets his job at the radio station.
  • Legacy Character:
    • In the annual, Billy's future successor is a girl named Cecebeck from the planet Binderaan, who can transform into the hero Thunder.
    • The original Mr. Scarlet has long retired, and his former sidekick Pinky has taken over the role.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Billy always wears his signature red sweater. Lampshaded when he remarks that he once bought seven of them in a Salvation Army thrift shop.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: While posing as Billy's grandfather, Shazam goes by the name "Jebediah O'Keenan", a corruption of his original name, Jebediah of Canaan.
  • Literal Split Personality: Thanks to being struck with the Shazam lightning, Chain Lightning is split into her four different personalities.
  • Mama Bear: Marilyn Batson attacks Sivana for revealing her husband's secret identity and putting her children at risk from anyone with a grudge against the Marvels.
  • Minor Living Alone: Billy uses his Older Alter Ego to rent an apartment for himself to live in, and lives by himself until first Shazam briefly moves in with him, then he gets adopted by the Bromfields.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Amy is guilt-stricken after Amber (one of her personalities) attacks the Batson twins and Freddy.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits: Marvel does not take kindly to Junior flirting with Mary, getting into a fistfight with him. He eventually backs off.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Fawcett City is named after the original Fawcett comics.
    • When Billy suggests that Mary change her superhero moniker, she suggests "Lieutenant Marvel" as an alternative. In the alternate timeline, Billy and Mary use the same codenames when they are attempting to bluff the attacking Ibac.
    • Sivana's ex-wife is named Venus. Pre-Venera, Sivana and his family lived on Venus.
  • Not What It Looks Like: While passing through an alleyway on his way to school, Dudley comes across a half-empty bottle of alcohol. Knowing that children sometimes use the alleyway to get to school, he tries to dispose of it, only to be startled by a rat and fall over, spilling it all over himself. Miss Wormwood comes across him and thinks that he's been drinking, reprimanding him severely.
  • Older Alter Ego: Billy, of course, but Mary's Mary Marvel form also qualifies.
  • Papa Wolf: Jim Barr does not take kindly to Amber attacking his daughter.
  • Potty Emergency: Shazam has to run to the bathroom after Billy feeds him spicy chilli.
  • Precocious Crush: Billy develops one on Deanna Barr, and starts dating her as Captain Marvel.
  • Pretending to Be One's Own Relative: Billy uses his Older Alter Ego to pose as his uncle.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: After possessing Ebenezer Batson, Mr. Mind forces the hospital workers who witnessed the act to kill themselves.
  • Reincarnation: Theo Adam is the reincarnation of Teth-Adam.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Two of these are added to Mary's backstory. She was still taken by Sarah Primm and raised by the Bromsfields, but Nora Bromsfield is now a cousin of Marilyn Batson. In addition, Sarah Primm was the sister of Theo Adam, Black Adam's present-day descendant and host body. In the Fawcett comics, Adam didn't need a host body and had no known connection to Primm. Combined with making Theo responsible for the Batsons' death, her backstory goes from "Nurse randomly gives orphaned baby to rich lady rather than tell her her child died" to "Nanny is worried about what her brother might do to orphan, so takes her to live with relatives". (And she'd have done the same for Billy if he hadn't dropped off the grid by then.)
  • Retired Badass: Adam Armstrong (Spy Smasher), Jack Weston (Minute Man) and Jim Barr (Bulletman) don't let being old stop them from kicking ass.
  • Riches to Rags: Sivana goes from being a wealthy businessman to a criminal pauper, thanks to Billy.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Three Faces of Evil were imprisoned in the Rock of Eternity long ago. Blaze shares their fate until Black Adam frees her.
  • Secret-Keeper: Dudley becomes one to the Marvels. He also becomes one regarding Billy living alone.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: After finding himself on the Rock of Eternity, Sivana takes advantage of it being outside the normal flow of time and space to travel back in time and warn his younger self of the events that will lead to the loss of "their" fortune. C.C later travels back in time to stop him.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In issue 27, C.C. Batson is shown strange alternate versions of Captain Marvel that might exist if history changed. These include Captain Thunder (DC's former Captain Ersatz Marvel), a Captain whose limbs and head detach from his body (M.F. Enterprises' Captain Marvel), a Billy Batson who transforms into Captain Marvel by striking a pair of wristbands together (Rick Jones and Captain Marvel), and Hoppy the Marvel Bunny.
    • Billy and Mary's adoptive parents are named Nick and Nora.
    • Billy's principal is named Miss Wormwood, and Tawny initially being a stuffed doll who becomes a living tiger depending on who's looking at him comes from the same strip.
    • The men who rescue the Batson twins and Freddy in issue 43 are named Mort and Phil.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Bibbo Bibbowski's brother appears in the series, and is an educated professor who despises violence, in contrast to his Street Smart bar-owning brawler of a brother.
  • Sole Survivor: Shazam was the only person in his tribe to survive an attack by murderous bandits.
  • Split Personality: Chain Lightning (A.K.A Amy) has four.
  • Vegetarian Carnivore: Mr. Tawny, which makes his shilling a barbecue sauce awkward.
  • The Voiceless: Theo Adam becomes this when Shazam uses a spell to remove his voice. He gets better after making a deal with Blaze.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Edouard Laslo, a German Nazi sympathizer, possesses the unique ability to mimic the appearance of others.
  • Wham Shot: The ending of issue 24, where Billy and Mary are greeted by their deceased father.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Ibac is perfectly willing to attack Billy and Mary when he confronts them in the altered timeline.
  • Would Not Hurt A Child: During his final fight with Black Adam, Captain Marvel turns back into Billy. Adam is about to attack him, but finds himself unable to.