Billy Batson and The Power of Shazam
Shazam and all related characters belong to DC Comics
Fawcett City bustling as usual. The art deco designs of the buildings, a remnant of a bygone era, shining brightly as the sun began to set. As the light began to fade, the street lights flipping on, a young boy in a yellow t-shirt and red jacket, blue jeans, and black sneakers, walked out of his home.
"Thanks for running to the store for me Billy, but hurry because I've got to get this chili done or else everyone's going to start gnawing on the furniture!" A man in his 60's said. He was a bit overweight, and balding but tufts of white hair were on top of his head as well as around the back of it, as he wore a casual outfit of a red shirt and blue jeans.
"I'll hurry Uncle Dudley, don't worry!" One Billy Batson said as he made his way down the street.
"Don't forget, it's the chili beans not lima beans!" Dudley shouted as Billy flashed a thumbs up, and went on his way. The neighborhood was well lit enough that it kept most who would seek to do harm off the streets, which is one reason why Billy loved this neighborhood. Since his parents died when he was five years old, he had been shuffled through so many foster homes, that it would be enough to break some people's spirits. But not Billy Batson, who kept on in the hope that he would find a perfect home, which paid off in the form of one Dudley H. Dudley, or as he was affectionately called by everyone in the neighborhood Uncle Dudley, who ran the local foster home of fourteen year old Billy's latest home town of Fawcett City. He had friends in the neighborhood as well, like Freddy Freeman who lived with his grandfather across the street and was the star pitcher for the local little league team, and the other kids in the home as well like Eugene Choi, Pedro Pena, and Uncle Dudley's granddaughter Darla. All and all Billy felt pretty fortunate compared to most, but he did wish for one thing... To find his twin sister Mary, as both got separated when they entered the Foster system. The only thing he had of hers was a locket that housed a picture of their family.
Billy stopped for a moment and sighed, feeling the locket under his shirt, but dismissed those thoughts and pressed onward. As he walked he saw a man sitting on the sidewalk next to an alley, who wore tattered clothes, the only thing new looking being a tiger stripped t-shirt which was the local football team the Facwett City Tigers and had a head full of red hair and a big red beard. He reached into his pocket. Billy took a glace at the old man, who seemed to be in worse straights than him and his family by a wide margin.
"Uncle Dudley will understand." Billy said, ever having a heart as big as the moon, as he walked up closer and handed the small wad of dollar bills to the old man.
"You need this more than me mister." He said as the old man looked up and smiled.
"God bless you kid." The man said as he took the money, smiling.
"It's just the right thing to do sir, you need it more than me." The boy said as the man chuckled a bit.
"Yeah, guess I do, but that's what happens when you blow your money on a surefire thing." The man said as Billy felt genuine sorrow for the man. Before he could offer him a place to stay for the night, as Dudley often let the homeless camp out in the small backyard of the house, a hand from out of the dimly lit alley shot out and he was grabbed and thrown against a wall.
"Alright kid, yer gonna run somethin' for me or else!" A rather rough looking man said as he held a knife to Billy's throat.
"HELP!" The boy shouted, as the street tough pushed the knife closer to his neck, almost drawing blood.
"Shut up! I can kill ya before anyone gets here!" However, no sooner had he said that than the old man had come around and pushed the thug to the ground with surprising force.
"RUN KID!" The homeless man shouted as thug got to his feet, and Billy bolted down the alley. The thug got up, ready to slice the homeless man in half with his blade but he saw that he had disappeared in almost an instant. However his boiling rage was high and SOMEONE was going to pay. He looked down and saw Billy running and ran straight for him, as he ran he didn't notice the foot prints in the dirt where the homeless man was were not human... But animal.
"Come on kid! The more you run the more it's gonna hurt!" The thug shouted as he ran after his prey, almost closing the distance, as Billy quickly went for an empty subway entrance. Hopping the turnstyle he darted into the empty train car and as the door closed he sighed in relief. As the train went along the tracks it seemed as though it was speeding, faster and faster, as the train car started to shake and rattle.
"Billy Batson... I choose you... As Champion..." An ethereal voice said as Billy found the train car stopping harshly... With the door opening to reveal... A cave. He cautiously stepped outside, almost drawn to by some unknown force... There he saw to his left grotesque statues which seemed heavily cracked. His eyes must have been playing tricks on him as he swore he saw whatever odd writing was below the statues change and shift into English.
"Pride, Envy, Greed, Wrath, Sloth, Gluttony, Injustice." The boy read off the names of the statues.
"The Seven Deadly Enemies of Man, bound in stone but always poised to escape and wreak terrible havoc upon humanity." An old voice said as Billy jumped a bit, seeing an old man who he swore looked familiar sitting on a stone throne with a large fire pit next to him. He sheepishly walked up, the old man eyeing him.
"H-hi there M-mister, I'm Billy Batson." The boy stuttered out, smiling nervously. The old man sat there, craning his head to stare at the boy for several long moments.
"I know who you are, young one. I have been keeping my eye on you for you for some time now." Spoke the old man in a surprisingly powerful voice.
"You have?" Billy asked, an eyebrow arching more in confusion than surprise. The old man nodded his head gravely before sitting straighter in his stone chair and staring a little closer at the young boy.
"Yes, I have. I am known as the Wizard Shazam. I have been the Guardian of the Rock of Eternity and Champion of Eternity from before even mighty Atlantis had sunk and its people adapted to the seas. I hold residence at the Rock of Eternity, to watch vigil over the world and to keep the Seven Deadly Enemies of man from running amok and ravaging it. I have seen humans rise to dizzying heights, only to be struck down. I have seen ages of heroes come and go, until only legends remain of their deeds."
The Wizard told Billy, earning a look of amazement from Billy as, while for most this would seem rather far fetched, Billy could discern that what was happening so far seemed to line up with what the old man was saying.
"For reasons you shall soon come to understand, I must ask that when you address me, not to call me by my name. Though it may seem rude for the moment, I would ask that you simply call me 'Wizard' for now."
"Uhhh…all right Mister Shaza... Wizard sir." Billy hesitantly replied. The Wizard just chuckled.
"Now, I trust you have some questions for me? Let's hear them then, if you please." Shazam said as Billy stepped a little closer to the old wizard.
"Um, what do you need me for Mr. Wizard?" The boy queried.
"I hold a position of power and authority in the cosmic balance and my position must be filled. There must always be a Champion. It is the nature of things and maintains the Balance. However I am getting too tired, too old." The Wizard Shazam said... And Billy, while not traditionally book smart, was smart enough to know where this was going.
"Whoa! Wait a minute! I think you have the wrong guy here!" Said Billy, waving his hands about frantically.
"I did not wish to place this burden on you young one, but things are progressing faster than expected, and we are out of time. Great darkness is on the horizon. I have faced such darkness before, but I can no longer defeat it. I am too weak. Unopposed, it will lay waste to the entire world, with only a care given for power and not the innocents that will stand in its path, giving neither quarter nor mercy. Only you can stop him... my successor." Shazam said as the boy held a look of amazement, but was left speechless. However one question begged to be asked.
"Why me?" Was the only thing Billy could say.
"It has always been you, Billy Batson. You possess the qualities needed to bear my power, my title, and my name. You will possess the Wisdom of Solomon, the Strength of Hercules, the Courage of Achilles, The Power of Zeus, the Stamina of Atlas, and the Speed of Mercury! You will take my role, to be a captain leading the charge against evil! A marvel to those in need! I... wanted to wait until you were older, more prepared…more ready…" The old wizard said, seeming to shrink in on himself as the boy watched on.
"But there is no time. Never enough time. When you are in need, when injustice is before you, when innocents are endangered say my name. Say it with conviction, say it with purpose, say it with all your might! Focus your mind and soul and say it with the strength of thunder itself!" The Wizard said as he began... To fade.
"Wizard?!" Billy asked before the wizard began to completely fade, speaking his final words.
"When the moment comes Billy Batson... Say your name." Came the Wizard's final words. And a flash hit Billy's eyes.
Suddenly Billy found himself back where he was before... Held against a wall with a knife at his throat. The jumbled words of the Wizard echoed in his mind. Despite his fear he focused as hard as he could on the word he was told... And shouted with a voice as loud as thunder...
"SHAZAM!" He cried out as his eyes started to glow bright gold. A bolt of lightning came down and struck him at that very moment. The thug stopped in surprise as a full grown man now stood in the place of the boy he was about to kill.
The man was tall, about 6 feet and 6 inches tall. He also wore a red outfit, with a golden sash around his waste, golden bracers on his forearms, yellow boots, a short cape with gold trim hung from his neck. He also had a lighting bolt symbol on his chest.
"O-okay ya circus reject! I know yer game! All smoke and mirrors! Trying to protect that brat! Well let's see ya magic ya way outta this!" The thug yelled, trying to drive the knife into the man's chest. The knife however broke against him.
"Now that wasn't called for." The costumed man said as the thug backed up in fright.
"Screw this! I'm ain't dealin' with no freaks!" The thug proclaimed as he tried to run. The caped man however flew after him and reached him quite easily, almost in the blink of an eye. He snatched the thug up by the back of his jacket and took him into the air.
"You're going to stop preying on children to do your dirty work right?" The caped marvel asked as he turned the mugger around and looked him square in the eye.
"Yeah sure thing!" The mugger said in a panic as he tried to free himself from the inhumanly strong grip of his captor.
"Good." The flying man said as he was about to fly them to the police station. However the mugger secretly readied his back up... A small hand gun to try and shoot the man's head. However the bullet just bounced off even at close range, with not even a scratch. The flying man didn't seem to notice the bullet at all, until he spoke.
"That wasn't very nice." The caped man said as he then crushed the gun in his hand and flew down in front of the police station with the mugger. An officer was walking outside when he saw the flying man.
"Excuse me Officer... Armstrong." The Man in Red said as he looked at his badge.
"They say confession is good for the soul, well I'd listen to this man." The red clad man said as he showed him the now crushed gun and then flew off.
"Wait! Who are you?!" The officer called out, as the caped man hovered in the air, words echoing in his mind from the old Wizard.
"You will be a captain leading the charge against evil! A marvel to those in need!"
The caped man just smiled as he looked back at the officer below.
"Just call me Captain Marvel! Good night!" He said as he flew into the night sky. As he landed on a tall building overlooking the city and Fawcett City in the distance, the caped man smiled."THIS IS SO AWESOME!" He shouted as he found himself floating by accident. However he quickly realized something.
"Holy Moley I forgot about Uncle Dudley's chili beans!" Shazam said as he flew off for the store.
As he got to the local convenience store, the caped marvel stopped and thought.
"Better change back first... So just focus and..." He said to himself, but as he focused something broke his concentration...
"PUT THE MONEY IN THE BAG!" A man with a gun yelled from inside the store. Captain Shazam scratched his head in thought for a moment, confused.
"Man, there's sure a lot of crime tonight." He said to himself before he rushed inside the store. Entering, he saw a skinny man with a short mohawk, vest denim vest with no shirt, and black jeans and boots, brandishing a gun at the sales clerk. He tapped the robber on the shoulder, who turned and shot him point blank. However, Shazam had his hands up... Though the bullet harmlessly fell off him anyway.
"Huh, so I'm bulletproof!" The caped marvel said as the robber, almost as if to prove he was not bulletproof, tried to shoot him again. This time he was ready and simply stood still, hands on his hips as he smirked at the robber. He quickly grabbed his gun, crushing it before grabbing him by his shirt and throwing him out of the store with a single toss.
"I'd take you to the police station personally, but I'm running late, so I'll just have to let you off with a warning." Captain Marvel said as the robber got up and ran.
"YOU AIN'T HEARD TH' LAST'A STINKY PRINTWHISTLE!" The man yelled as he ran away. The Captain shrugged as he turned to the clerk.
"Probably shouldn't shout his name out, should he?" He said as the clerk stood dumbfounded.
"Anyway, do you have any chili beans?" Marvel asked as the clerk, seemingly snapped out of the amazement.
"Oh! Uh yeah, sure they're in the back." The clerk said as the red clad hero went to the back of the store and grabbed the can. As he came back though, he realized something.
"Oh shoot, I uh... Don't have any cash." Marvel said as he sat the can down and sighed.
"Well thanks anyway." The caped marvel said as he began to walk out, only for the clerk to pick the can up and look at him.
"You know you can have them, I mean kind of a thank you for the whole... Saving me thing?" The clerk said as the good Captain stopped and turned around.
"Well if you won't get in trouble for it." He said as he walked back up to the counter. The clerk chuckled a bit as he handed him the can of beans.
"Oh don't worry, the boss'll be fine with it when he sees the security footage." The clerk said as the caped marvel nodded and walked out.
"Billy! There you are! What took you so long?" Uncle Dudley asked as Billy handed him the beans, chuckling awkwardly.
"Oh just had to stop and help someone." Billy said as Dudley chuckled, knowing that was just like Billy.
"Go on make sure no one's taken a bite out of the couch while I get started." Dudley said as Billy went into the modest living room, seeing Eugene playing video games.
"You guys doing OK in here?" Billy asked the 11 year old boy as he grunted slightly and kept on playing. Billy snorted a bit, fighting back a laugh, as he looked over to see Darla. The seven year old was currently drawing a picture of Superman.
"Doing good over here Darla?" Billy asked the young African-American girl as she smiled almost shoved her picture in his face.
"Uh huh! I'm almost done! I just gotta do the S better! Then I can send it to Superman!" Darla said excitedly as Billy had to wonder about that last bit.
"Uh... Superman huh? Where do you mail stuff to him?" Billy had to ask, but quick as a whip Darla had an answer.
"I mail it to the North Pole silly! He lives there with Santa!" She said as Billy nodded in understanding. He looked over and saw Pedro lifting weights and walked over.
"Need me to spot you?" Billy asked as Pedro stopped and laughed. While his arms were very much muscular, he was a tad husky everywhere else.
"Funny, Billy. You can barely lift Darla without complaining." Pedro said as Billy had to fight back the urge to say a certain word and show him how that's changed. Before long a cry came from the kitchen as something burning was smelled. All the kids looked toward the kitchen and saw a sheepish looking Uncle Dudley walk out.
"So... Who's up for pizza?"
Hey their folks! Captain Marvel here! I bet you had a lot of fun in this first issue! Well I'm here with a Marvel Fact!
Marvel Fact #1: I'm still Billy Batson, but when I turn into Captain Marvel, the Wisdom of Solomon adds a lot more maturity and, well, wisdom! So while I might sound and act the part of a grown up, I'm still regular old Billy underneath!