Just Say The Word

When troubled teenager Billy Batson encounters an ancient wizard, he is bestowed the powers of a god. To transform into an adult superhero, Shazam, he need only utter the word…

Article Published on 15.03.2019

While DC’s main staples wear their superpowers with a brood and a scowl, Billy Batson is having a blast.

A troubled fourteen-year-old boy, Billy has spent his life bouncing between foster homes. After protecting his disabled foster brother from local bullies, the two escape to the subway and are transported to a magical plane where Billy meets an ancient magician - the all-powerful Shazam.

Chosen as champion for this world, he need only say the wizard’s name tobe transformed (into Zachary Levi, best known as geek super-spy, Chuck). Giddy with excitement, Billy discovers he has strength to rival Superman, can fly, and shoot electricity from his hands. Awesome! But even as a child, great powers come with great responsibilities. Shazam may pummel armed robbers with ease, but when encountering Dr Thaddeus Sivana, a twisted inventor intent on destruction, he discovers magic is not enough.

Easter eggs in the trailer confirm that Billy exists in the same world as Batman and Superman, but here, dark and brooding give way to irreverence and absurdism. What child (or adult, for that matter) hasn’t ever imagined having superpowers? Imagine the fun you could have...

“Sup? I’m A Superhero…”

First published in 1940, Billy Batson is one of DC’s longest-running heroes. However, his first appearance was under a different (now slightly confusing) name, Captain Marvel. Publishing stopped in the seventies and the licence for the name lapsed … to be quickly poached by Marvel. DC relaunched the comic, using the character’s catchphrase “Shazam” as a name and acronym for his powers:

S – wisdom of Soloman
H – strength of Hercules
A – stamina of Atlas
Z – power of Zeus
A – courage of Achilles
M – speed of Mercury

Shazam would have many enemies over the next fifty years, but his greatest foes are Dr Sivana and Black Adam. More powerful than Superman (and with Dwayne Johnson confirmed for the role), expect Adam in the sequel.