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YMMV / Shazam

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  • Author's Saving Throw: The 2019 Series brings back Tawky Tawny to his classic appearance, instead of the Battle-Cat-esque version seen in Flashpoint and the origin story from the Justice League backups. Presumably, the sentient Tawny might still meet the non-sentient one sometime down the line...
  • Broken Base: Some fans have taken to the New 52 rename to "Shazam" easier than others, while some vehemently cling to the identity of "Captain Marvel." And there's the other camp who feel that Captain Thunder should have just been implemented since nothing at all would have honestly changed with the naming dynamics of the Marvel Family, and thematically it COULD fit more.
  • Complete Monster: Mister Mind is a two-inch long parasitic worm from Venus. As his race's advance scout on Earth, Mister Mind took control of Captain Marvel's cousin, Sinclair Batson, mutating him into a monster. When Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel foiled Mind's plans, the worm vowed revenge, and bodyjacking Sarge Steel of the Department of Metahuman Affairs, set in motion a plan for a nuclear holocaust. Incubating his larvae in sores within Sinclair's body, Mind took mental control of his offspring after they were born and had them in turn infest nuclear technicians, army officers, and politicians, while he himself used Sarge Steel's authority to obliterate Fairfield, Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel's hometown. Defeated before he could end humanity, Mind broke out again during the events of 52, and after mutating into his adult form of the Hyperfly, tried to devour the totality of space/time, plotting to end the multiverse.
    • In Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil, by Jeff Smith: Mister Mind is just as evil as ever. Liberated due to Billy Batson's irresponsibility, Mister Mind proceeds to plot the extinction of humanity. Sending a special machine known as the Destroyer to Earth, Mister Mind calls all the insects to the world to help him. Mister Mind works with Dr. Sivanna, who kidnaps Mary Batson to force Billy Batson to come without his powers. When Billy tries to climb the Destroyer, Mister Mind orders the insects to cover him, intending to drown Billy to get rid of Captain Marvel, with the kid surviving only due to the kindness of the bugs. Once Mister Mind realizes that Sivanna is no longer useful, he asks him to "Kindly throw yourself off" before trying to force Billy to pilot the Destroyer.
  • Creepy Awesome: Mister Mind, Depending On The Writer And Artist.
  • Dork Age:
    • Black Mary, both the character and her involvement in Countdown to Final Crisis.
    • Many fans consider the post-2011 "Shazam" to be this. Stripped of his previous idealism, sincerity, good humor and optimism, Billy comes off to many as a rude bundle of angst. Images like this didn't help matters, as he appears like something right out of 90's Image.
    • Of course others argue that the character has been in Dork Age ever since Fawcett lost its case, folded, and the character went to DC. Thanks to DC not properly integrating him into the verse, hijacking his concepts for Superman, and worst of all, failing to properly handle the trademark, allowing Timely Comics to not only rebrand themselves as Marvel but letting them usurp the title of Captain Marvel for an entirely unrelated concept whose cumulative iterations and Legacy Character can't match to Billy Batson's popularity at his height. The original stories by C. C. Beck and Otto Binder is still considered the Glory Days for the entire run but since that version of the character doesn't even have his name anymore, there's very little chance for him to be revived again in any meaningful form in the future. In general, the Fawcett series is the height of the character's commercial impact and cultural influence, a time when it outsold Superman and was a trailblazer in multi-media adaptations and merchandise. In that light, the DC era is nothing but a decline, with its recent period seeing Billy Batson being de-emphasized in favor of Black Adam.
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    • AND... there are some (including Mark Waid) who love the 70s/80s DC stories but feel that Captain Marvel went into a Dork Age in the 90s or late 80s since he didn't fit very well into the Post-Crisis DC Universe. The only thing all camps can agree on is that DC has made very little use of Billy in the 21st Century.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Black Adam, who has easily eclipsed the Big Red Cheese in popularity thanks to Geoff Johns's use of him in JSA and his later appearances in 52. Credit for this should also go to Jerry Ordway, who revamped Adam from a fairly generic evil twin type villain into an a-list threat and a terrific evil counterpoint to Captain Marvel's wholesomeness.
    • Cap Junior was this back in the Golden Age.
    • Billy's foster sister Darla in the New 52 stories was quite popular over on Scans Daily, whose readers hoped that she would be given Shazam's powers as well. At the end, it was shown that Billy could share his Marvel powers with all of those he considered his family, but could only share it with so many before the magic fizzles out and they return to normal.
    • Despite many fans complaints about the treatment of Billy and Freddy in the Nu-52, the new take on Mary has been considered to be very refreshing, allowing her to keep much of her old 'nice girl' personality while also giving her a lot more backbone than other books did.
  • Ethnic Scrappy: The early character of Steamboat, a bungling, subservient black "pickaninny"-type character with enormous red lips and a stereotypical pidgin dialect, was so offensive, even by the standards of the 1940's, that he was quickly dropped and never spoken of again after the Youth Builders, a multi-racial student organization based in New York and Philadelphia, began a letter-writing campaign to Fawcett. C.C. Beck later tried (very unconvincingly) to defend the notion behind his conception - namely, that it was a misunderstood attempt to reach out to a black audience - but even publisher Will Lieberson mentioned afterward that he didn't like Steamboat in the first place.
  • Evil Is Cool: Mister Mind, the telepathic leader of the Monster Society of Evil, who despite being a mere worm manages to be the greatest single threat in Shazam's rogues.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • The friendliness between Billy Batson and Superman's fans is very much a recent thing. At one point the rivalry between the two was pretty intense. So intense that DC sued Fawcett not merely because they saw Captain Marvel as a copy but because Billy Batson was more popular and better selling than Superman. Harvey Kurtzman's MAD, parodied it in the famous superhero spoof (considered the greatest comic ever by Alan Moore) — Superduperman where the title Captain Ersatz battles out Captain Marbles (which is technically the first fight between the two), and it's often common for a Let's You and Him Fight between Superman and Captain Marvel/Shazam in many iterations, most notably Justice League.
    • More recently, the acrimony between fans of DC's Captain Marvel and those of Marvel's Captain Marvel, specifically Carol Danvers in the role, has been increasing - largely because of Carol's Marvel Cinematic Universe film.
  • First Installment Wins: The CC Beck and Otto Binder era from the time that Captain Marvel was published by Fawcett Comics is still considered the high point, the most important and influential period of the character's history. It is critically heralded as such by a number of comics creators and writers.
  • Friendly Fandoms: With Superman, which is to be expected, given how the two series have such similar philosophies and styles. Billy often idolizing the Man of Steel and intentionally following his example helps.
  • It Was His Sled: Mister Mind being a worm was a major plot twist in the original Monster Society of Evil serial, but today it's one of the first things people know about him.
  • Love to Hate: Dr. Sivana and Mister Mind. Sivana for being a likable Affably Evil mad scientist while still being a threat, Mind for being the Marvel Family's most ruthless and terrifying villain.
  • Memetic Badass: Captain Marvel/Shazam himself, largely for being one of the few superheroes capable of legitimately going toe-to-toe with Superman by himself.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Sivana's possibly the best example of a Mad Scientist, though few specifically remember him now as a major part of the trope's genesis in modern pop culture (see "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny). Even his catchphrase qualifies — "Curses, foiled again!"
    • In /co/, changing Billy's transformation so that instead of Captain Marvel, he turns into... Marvel's Captain Marvel. Probably not safe for work...
  • Moral Event Horizon: Mister Mind famously crossed it in "Power Of Shazam" when he blew up Fairfield.
  • Narm: The Wozenderlands, a combination of Oz and Wonderland seen in the 2018 series. While a potentially interesting idea, the place is squashed into the Seven Magic Lands storyline, making the inclusion of famous literary characters seem pointless and random. Seeing the Wicked Witch of the West amongst the newly released Monster Society is particularly distracting.
  • Narm Charm: Fueled by this. If you think a man shouting "SHAZAM" at the top of his lungs fighting a talking, two-foot caterpillar with mind powers can't be awesome, you're wrong.
  • Older Than They Think: A lot of elements that many people associate with Superman were done by Captain Marvel first, including a Distaff Counterpart, a Mad Scientist villain, an Evil Counterpart with the same powers, and a Muggle Best Friend wearing a bowtie and green jacket. Quite a few of these came from Otto Binder, who wrote both characters. Captain Marvel was also the first superhero to be adapted for film, in a popular serial and more important it was Billy Batson who first had the power of flight, while Superman was still stuck leaping tall buildings in a single bound. Captain Marvel sold more and was more popular than Superman during the war, which is almost inconceivable when one considers how he became totally forgotten since then.
  • Popular with Furries: Tawky Tawny, a well-dressed and well-mannered bipedal tiger. Especially noticeable in Rebirth series, where he is introduced as living in a city of anthropomorphic animals and forcibly stripped down by them due to their prejudice against tigers, allowing the artist multiple scenes showing he is also very muscular.
  • The Scrappy: Osiris was deliberately built up as this in 52 to build up to an Alas, Poor Scrappy moment. Fans were still annoyed when the series' Blackest Night tie-in, which was billed as being about Billy and Mary having to fend off a zombified Osiris without their powers, wound up being about Osiris bumbling around confused. Things were not eased when Osiris was used in Eric Wallace's run on Titans, where he basically devolved into the Marvel Family's version of Superboy-Prime.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Many trends that are commonplace in comics today, like a female counterpart and continuity between issues (including continuous stories) were popularized by Captain Marvel way back when.
    • Captain Marvel was the first comic to feature the hero's villains teaming up to fight him.
  • Shipping: Many fans want to see Billy hook back up with Stargirl, even badgering the new writers of the book about it. It ain't happening, since they're now handled by two different editorial teams.
  • Signature Series Arc: The Monster Society of Evil which is notable for being considered the first Story Arc ever in superhero comics. It was a long-running serial story running in the Captain Marvel comics (Golden Age comics were published in magazine form with multiple short comics rather than a single 20-30 pg. issue) that was highly serialized with continuity carrying forward in each succeeding issue, which was the first of its kind. It was also the first supervillain team (the ancestor to the Injustice Gang, the Legion of Doom, the Sinister Six, the Masters of Evil) and it introduced the popular villain Mister Mind.
  • Tear Jerker: The story (Superman/Shazam: First Thunder by Judd Winick) where Billy's best friend is killed taking a bullet meant for him. At first Captain Marvel goes into Tranquil Fury while interrogating the killers and tracking down who hired them. When he's done he just sits down and cries his eyes out, very much like a ten-year-old boy who just lost his best friend...
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: The New 52 version of the Marvel family is nothing but this trope. Whether it's Captain Marvel's name being changed permanently to kill I Am Not Shazam for good, or Billy Batson's personality being changed to an edgy emo kid, almost every new development causes fans to hate it even more.
    • With the (long delayed) ongoing title now out during Rebirth, things have greatly stabilized on both sides. Billy is written to be a much nicer person, the new Shazam Family has been well received by the fans. The only lasting issue is, as mentioned, the loss of the Marvel name for the characters.
  • Ugly Cute: The version of Mister Mind that appeared in The Black Ring: he looks like he escaped from an anime. Or a stuffed animal collection.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • A number of the Fawcett comics are infected by the racism of the time, with gross caricatures of African-Americans and Japanese people specifically. The landmark serial story "The Monster Society of Evil" (considered the first of its kind in superhero comics) has never been reprinted in full by DC for that reason, although it is available in the public domain.
    • The origin story of the classic Captain Marvel is not seen very highly these days, mostly because of the premise: a mysterious man talks with a young boy in the middle of the street at night to follow him, and he will grant him superpowers. That doesn't sound like kidnapping at all! Played with considering the mysterious man is the ghost of Billy's father, and the "Power of Shazam" series shows that Billy went with him for that reason.
      • Every new incarnation of the character origin is written with more self-awareness by default.


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