The Power of Shazam

power of shazam graphic novel cover
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Art: 9/10

Captain Marvel is back to what made him great


Comic Info

Comic Name:  The Power of Shazam

Publisher:  DC Comics

Writer:  Jerry Ordway

Artist:  Jerry Ordway

Release Date:  1994


Power of Shazam Trade Paperback

Clarence Charles Batson, his wife Marilyn, and Theo Adam on an archeological dig for Dr. Sivana uncover the tomb of Shazam. When Theo betrays the Batsons, the son Billy is left an orphan in Fawcett City and their daughter Mary secretly becomes a ward of the state. When Billy is led into the subways by a mysterious stranger, the Wizard known as Shazam gives him the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury in the body of an adult. Naming himself Captain Marvel, Billy must stop Theo Adam and uncover the secrets of his parents death…but Theo Adam has discovered a secret power too and can toe-to-toe with Billy as Black Adam!

Written and illustrated by Jerry Ordway, The Power of Shazam was DC’s attempt at a Captain Marvel relaunch in the early ’90s. A Shazam series in the late ’80s failed to reinvent the character and the final purchase of all of Fawcett’s assets allowed a relaunch closer to the original Fawcett Comics origins.

I love Captain Marvel (aka Shazam) and remember watching the show when I was little. First apppearing in Whiz Comics #2 (February 1940), the character didn’t ever reach his early popularity even when acquired by DC in the ’70s. Here, Ordway manages to pull together both the past and modernize it in a way that makes The Power of Shazam a great looking book and a fun read.


Power of Shazam Hardback Edition

I really enjoy the modernized Captain Marvel story. Ordway tightened the story by bringing together a lot of the aspects of the original comics into one concise story that still leaves plenty of room for exploration. Captain Marvel was always very cartoony but the dream of kids who read comic books. He was a kid, treated as an adult, and who got to play in the big leagues with other heroes like Superman and Batman…and Ordway captures this perfectly.

Ordway also puts a lot into the art of The Power of Shazam. It has a real classic feel to it, but how the graphic novel is put together, it really feels big and epic also. The character has so much history and this collection really feels like the first time that DC really put the effort into giving the Big Red Cheese his due by simply not rehashing the golden days of Captain Marvel or just turning him into a standard superhero comic.

The Power of Shazam is a good read and leads into a fun series. The Power of Shazam comic series kicked off in 1995 and ran for forty-eight issues, a 1,000,000 issue, and an annual (plus a resurrected The Blackest Night issue in 2010). If you read this collection you’re probably going to want to go after the following series since the story does leave a lot of open ends…I just wish that The Power of Shazam series would be collected.

Related Links:

Shazam! (2019)

Shazam!  The Monster Society of Evil

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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