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Summary

  • Shazam’s powers and secret identity are undergoing major changes in the character’s bold new era.
  • Shazam/The Captain’s powers have been in flux, leading to questions about Billy and Shazam’s relationship.
  • Billy and Shazam may become separate entities, and potentially even enemies, in an unexpected twist.



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Warning: contains spoilers for Shazam #9!


For many years, Shazam’s powers have been well-defined, but now they are undergoing a massive change in DC lore. Since Shazam (or the Captain) returned with his own series last year, his powers have been in flux. Initially, they changed because of the machinations of his patron gods, but as seen in Shazam #9, his powers are continuing to change, which could flip the script on his secret identity.

Shazam #9 is written by Mark Waid and drawn by Emanuela Lupacchino. Billy has appeared on Jack Ryder’s news show. Afterward, Ryder gives Billy a ride home and, on the way, tricks him into saying “Shazam.” Irritated, the Captain says he cannot believe Billy fell for Ryder’s trick. Ryder, puzzled, asks “aren’t you Billy?” The Captain does not answer the question, instead thinking to himself “less so every day.”

Image of a sulking Shazam in Jack Ryder's car.


Clearly, something is changing for the Captain.


Shazam Has Been Undergoing Many Changes Since Returning With His Own Title

Shazam’s Powers (and Name) Have Been in Flux

DC's Captain Marvel, aka Billy Batson, aka Shazam

Last year, Mark Waid and Dan Mora brought Shazam into a bold new era, rechristening him “the Captain” and tapping into the fun and light-hearted tone that used to be the character’s hallmark. Their run kicked off in a grand fashion as the Captain lost control of his powers. His six patron gods felt he was squandering their gifts, and began lashing out at him. Currently, Billy and Mary are the only two champions of Shazam as the rest of the family has been sidelined for the time being.


The Captain was able to patch affairs up with his patron gods, leading to his powers returning to normal, but now it appears they are in flux once again. It has been assumed that Billy had access to Shazam’s powers all the time, but Waid and Mora have revealed this is not the case. In one issue, Billy mentioned leaving the Captain’s form simply because the wisdom of Solomon, which manifests as a constant voice in his head, was becoming too much. Waid is treating Shazam/the Captain as two different people, a shift in previous approaches.

Related

“I Know Your Power Level, You Can Do Pretty Much Anything”: Shazam Names the 1 Person Who’ll Always Be More Powerful Than Him (& They’re Not Kryptonian)

A recent issue of Shazam featured Billy Batson appealing to his chief patron god for help, making it clear that Zeus is one of DC’s greatest powers.

If Billy and Shazam Continue to Grow Apart, Bad Things Could Happen

Could Billy and Shazam Become Enemies?

shazam with past versions of shazam billy batson


What this could mean for Shazam/the Captain’s future is unclear. Some creators treat the Captain as an adult version of Billy, but Waid and Lupacchino have broken with this tradition. Billy is clearly becoming his own person, with his own views and attitudes different from the Captain. As Billy continues to age and change both physically and mentally, it is not a stretch to see him and the Captain become completely separate individuals. More than likely, they will work together, but there is a possibility they could also be enemies, which would truly flip the script on Shazam’s powers.

Shazam #9 is on sale now from DC Comics!

Shazam! #9 (2024)

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SHAZAM 9 Cover

  • Writer: Mark Waid
  • Artist: Emanuela Lupacchino
  • Colorist: Trish Mulvihill
  • Letterer: Troy Peteri
  • Cover Artist: Dan Mora



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