Demythify: FCBD DC New 52 #1 Reveals HUGE Implications With 4 Shazam Puzzle Pieces
by John Babos on May 7, 2012

I hope everyone had a great Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) 2012! I popped into a few stores and picked up some FCBs as well as spent some cash on some great deals. I was particularly pleased to get my hands on DC Comics’ The New 52 FCBD 2012 #1 offering.

I was so glad to see Shazam, formerly Captain Marvel, and his mythology take central stage in the new DC Universe (DCU) through the FCBD book. As you may recall, a few months ago I laid out the Top 5 things we could expect from the DC New 52′s… more reboot than relaunch… of its Shazam franchise. Following the initial puzzle pieces laid out by writer Geoff Johns in his Justice League co-feature with artist Gary Frank, comes some more game-changing ones from the FCBD DC New 52 #1.

However, despite what I was expecting, DC is clearly making the Shazam mythos quite integral to the new DC’s history and modern-day events. That’s great to see.


    Ok, let’s deconstruct FCBD New 52 #1 as it relates to Shazam. There were some overt and subtle Shazam implications in the book.

    Multicultural Marvels?

    Ok, I probably shouldn’t use the word “Marvel” anymore in relation to Shazam, but thought I’d use it out of nostalgia. :)

    Anyhow, I was expecting more multiculturalism in the Shazam family in 2012 and beyond. And, we get that with the foster kids that surround Billy Batson so far in the Shazam co-feature in Justice League. However, I didn’t exactly expect the pantheon that sponsors Shazam to be diversified. Well, we learn in the FCBD The New 52 #1 that in fact at the dawn of time there were seven – not six – holders of power that dwelled at the Rock of Eternity.

    It’s not clear if they are gods or wizards, but each member appears to represent a different cultural pantheon: African, Celtic, Chinese, Japanese, Native American, Egyptian and perhaps Roman. I didn’t say Greek since the Greek Gods as portrayed in Wonder Woman are VERY DIFFERENT from ye olde pre-Flashpoint versions.

    So, it would appear that the SHAZAM gods or wizards that represent the various pantheons may also change the sponsors that make up the word ‘SHAZAM’. Perhaps Amma, the African supreme god of Dogon \ Mali replaces Zeus at the all-powerful among the sponsors? Is that Amma that we see in the ‘command throne’ of this cross-cultural pantheon?

    Interesting implications going forward. Plus, it would seem the Shazam sponsors are more central to the DCU of the New 52 since they are the ones that cast out the ‘Trinity of Sin’. Looks like there will be more relevance for all things Shazam in the New 52.

    Black Adam, Thief… or Metamorpho?

    We got a nice little easter egg about the theft of the Orb of Ra.

    As you may recall in the pre-Flashpoint DCU, Black Adam had a very complex and engaging Egyptian lineage. Could this Orb of Ra be his power source instead of the magical scarab he used to have? Is a modern-day thief the new inheritor of the Black Adam mantle?

    Black Adam’s legend has already been mentioned by Dr. Sivana (a reimagined version of the classic Shazam foil) in the back-up feature in Justice League. Writer Geoff Johns seems to be laying this groundwork for a new 2012 Black Adam building on his Egyptian legacy?

    However, the Orb of Ra was certainly used differently in the pre-Flashpoint DCU. It had a Metamorpho connection. Who, through Geoff Johns, also had ties to Black Adam and Hawkman’s ancient Egyptian selves.

    What’s In A Number?

    Ok this one surprised me. Apparently, there are seven – not six (SHAZAM is a six-letter word) – spells and somehow they are stored… by mortals… at the super-secret security facility that Steve Trevor has access to.

    I’m not sure how one stores seven spells, unless through spell books. Any other ideas? I wonder if the seventh spell is the Egyptian one? Perhaps the Egyptian wizard \ goddess leaves the pantheon that DC’s FCBD opens with and imbues the Orb of Ra with her powers or the power of the sun god Ra? Perhaps, that then becomes the source of Black Adam’s powers now that he is no longer the sanctioned avatar of the Shazam wizards \ gods? Or… perhaps not since the Orb of Ra is gone, but the seven Shazam spells remain. Still intrigued this notion of acquired Shazam spells.

    Very intrigued by all these Shazam easter eggs.

    Black Adam, Hero or Villain or Other?

    It is certainly curious that in the Jim Lee gate-fold 4-page FCBD New 52 #1 spread that Black Adam is in the thick of the super-hero battle royal that seemingly is part of the Trinity War event in 2013 for DC.

    Where is Shazam \ Billy Batson or those other possible Shazam kids?

    I’m a huge Black Adam fan, certainly his more nuanced and complex portrayal in the last decade. It is a big deal in my view that he would be front and centre in this Trinity War tease rather than Billy Batson’s Shazam…. of course, unless… this character isn’t Black Adam at all?

    Fun times ahead!


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