Thursday, July 14, 2016

Shazam The New Beginning 1987

After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, many DC heroes found themselves lacking in history, and even with Darkseid threatening their Legends in the 1986/1987 mini-series, these heroes still struggled to find themselves.  None more so than Captain Marvel, who was a brand new hero to start off the Legends mini-series, and had a 4 part limited series called Shazam: The New Beginning, whose first issue came out at the time of the last issue of Legends....yet was set before that series.

A New Beginning

Shazam: The New Beginning #1 (April, 1987) by Roy and Danette Thomas and Tom Mandrake told the story of young Billy Batson, orphaned in a car crash, and involved in a legal battle between Dudley Batson and Thaddeus B. Sivana, ends up with Sivana, who is using the boy for his inheritance to fund his experiments (which eventually bring Black Adam, an evil Marvel, back to Earth).

Billy discovers this experiment and flees, ending up in a subway tunnel, where he meets the old wizard, Shazam, and gives the boy the power to turn into Captain Marvel when Billy says the old wizard's name (even Shazam feels this is familiar....and recalls the original Marvel Family, before trying to forget; but this issue is technically the first appearance of the post-Crisis Sivana and Black Adam, as well as Dudley Batson).

'S' Is For Wisdom...'H' Is For Strength

Shazam: The New Beginning #2 (May, 1987) by Roy and Danette Thomas and Tom Mandrake sees this story continue...

...with Black Adam and Captain Marvel having their first fight (though cut short), as well as Billy reuniting with Dudley to go to fight Sivana for Billy's money (and Billy getting a little help from Sivana's daughter, Beautia, who also hints at the idea that the evil scientist might have caused the death of Billy's parents!).

Beautia is also a post-Crisis version of her old self (and premiered in the previous issue), and had been famous for her charms, and affection for Captain Marvel, in spite of who her father was.

'A' Is For Stamina...'Z' Is For Power

Shazam: The New Beginning #3 (June, 1987) by Roy and Danette Thomas and Tom Mandrake sees Billy and Dudley return to their home in San Francisco, with Billy going to the TV station, K-WHZ, to report his encounter with Black Adam.  The station manager doesn't believe the boy, and calls Sivana to take the boy to his home, which Billy avoids by turning into Captain Marvel and heading to the subway tunnel.

At the subway tunnel, Captain Marvel finds Shazam's ghost, who explains how the wizard had exiled his former protege to another dimension, which Sivana brought the evil being back from.
Captain Marvel heads to Sivana's home to confront the evil scientist, but Black Adam interrupts.  The two Shazam-powered beings are evenly matched, yet Sivana takes out the Captain with a weapon he had planned to use on Black Adam.

'A' Is For Courage...'M' Is For Speed

Shazam: The New Beginning #4 (July, 1987) by Roy and Danette Thomas and Tom Mandrake sees Sivana planning to send Captain Marvel into the dimensional exile that held Black Adam for thousands of years, but Dudley stops Sivana (during which Sivana learns that Billy and Cap are one).

Captain Marvel finds Black Adam, and the two battle, coming back to Sivana's lab, with Cap changing back to Billy, and tricking Black Adam into activating the machine, which sends the evil one back into exile (though he eventually returns in DC's War of the Gods).

Captain Marvel frees hostages taken by Black Adam, gives Billy the credit for his finding them, which leads to Billy getting a job at the television station (just in time to see G. Gordon Godfrey begin his tirade against super-heroes that kicks off Legends....where we see Billy interviewing Godfrey on air).

Action Comics Weekly

This Captain Marvel had a small run in 4 issues of Action Comics Weekly (#623 to #626) in 1988, by Roy and Danette Thomas, Rick Stasi and Rick Magyar, that had Billy dealing with a new Captain Nazi (but he was totally a modern day villain...thus he could have been called Captain Neo Nazi in the post-Crisis world....), set after Captain Marvel's brief run as a member of the Justice League.

Cap didn't even rate a cover appearance in this series, and Roy's version of Captain Marvel was mostly forgotten, even when Cap and Black Adam came back for Wonder Woman's War of the Gods...

...and then Cap and all his family got their origins tweaked again (still accounting for Captain Marvel's brief Justice League membership right after Legends, as well as few appearances in Superman titles like Action Comics Annual #4 and in the War of the Gods), with the whole Marvel Family coming back starting with the Power of Shazam! Graphic Novel by Jerry Ordway, and then the 48 issue series that brought Cap back a little towards his Fawcett roots (mostly notably by placing Billy Batson in his own fictional city...Fawcett City, as well as reviving a few old villains like Captain Nazi, Mr. Mind, Mr. Atom, Ibac and more!). 

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