DC Comics Relaunch: Piecing Together Geoff Johns & Gary Frank’s CURSE OF SHAZAM Puzzle… In Batgirl & Justice League?
by John Babos on October 22, 2011

What We Know So Far

As we reported, at the NYCC 2011 it was announced that starting with Justice League #5 the book will contain a backup feature by writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank called “The Curse of Shazam” to relaunch the Shazam/Captain Marvel Family.

For anyone that may not remember, Gary Frank designed the Shazam bust from a few years ago. He does seem to get the classic interpretation of the character.

Following the NYCC big news, Newsarama interviewed Gary Frank who released some interesting costuming tidbits:

Ours is a very modern Shazam.

Both Geoff and I were keen that our costume should look different to the rest of the Justice League’s costumes since it comes from a different place.

We’re still ironing it out but, whereas the other costumes feel very modern and cool, ours needs to feel timeless and, hopefully, cool. We are dealing with magic rather than tailoring, so this has to be in there somehow.

So, a BRAND NEW costume for Shazam / Captain Marvel.

What followed was this week’s Justice League #2 where the back-end included DVD type extras including an interview between Amanda Waller, of Suicide Squad fame, and Steve Trevor from Wonder Woman. As Bleeding Cool pointed out, that interview included a tease about the upcoming Shazam series and seemingly random individuals being magically abducted to see if they are “Shazam” worthy.

A Tease Or Red Herring?

I also recently picked up Batgirl #2 and was intrigued by the fashion choice of Barbara Gordon’s, Batgirl’s alter ego, roommate. You’ll see that her roommate is wearing a pink top with a black Shazam bolt on it with red Shazam-like earrings. Interesting. Is this a tease like “Professor Stein Lives” (a reference to Batgirl writer Gail Simone’s “Fury of Firestorm” book) spray-painted in the same issue on a subway car? After all, Gail had indicated she was interested in writing Shazam.

The Questions

What will the hero Billy Batson turns into be called? Readers have noted that Gary Frank didn’t really mention the words “Captain Marvel” in his interview, but Shazam, Shazam, Shazam. So, will DC have a Captain Marvel in the new DCU? Or will he be called Shazam? Or, was Flashpoint’s Captain Thunder a test for a new name for Billy’s alter ego?

What will Captain Marvel / Thunder / Shazam’s costume look like? Modern yet timeless, not-as-modern as Superman’s costume, but magically inspired. Wow. That is a mouth full.

Shazam / Marvel “Family” out? With “random” people being tested for Shazam worthiness, does that mean that no Shazam-infused heroes won’t be related? No Billy and Mary as brother and sister? Or will she be revealed later as a sister? Clearly this is a ground zero introduction of Shazam in the new DCU, but that doesn’t mean it will all play out the same way.

Ethnically diverse opportunity? Since Jerry Ordway’s 1990s “Power of Shazam” series, and perhaps earlier than that, the notion of an African American Shazam-powered hero was been thrown around, but never stuck. Is now the time for a real Black Marvel?

What’s Next?

With news that the Justice Society is coming back, and now Shazam, DC is publishing all of my fave properties including Suicide Squad, Shade/Starman, Deathstroke, Hawk and Dove, and Green Arrow. :)

I’m excited about what’s next for Shazam. Can’t be worse than the “Trials of Shazam”. 😉

What do you think of all this? How do you think “Curse of Shazam” will play out?

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