Saturday, January 03, 2009


I finished reading the first three issues of Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! yesterday and was impressed with the depth of which the title can be used. While a passing glance at DC’s Captain Marvel may give the appearance of the characters as a mere reflection of the Superman archetype, even a quick read puts this stereotype to the gallows.

A Quick Synopsis
Billy Batson is an orphan boy living on the streets. He is a good kid and it is his strength of character and resilience that catches the eye of the wizard, Shazam, who promptly leads Billy to the wizards lair atop his glorious mountain. There the wizards introduces the magic of his name to the boy, enabling Billy to merely utter the name and transform into the physically powerful and emotionally childlike Captain Marvel.

Once given the powerful secret of Shazam, Billy finds his long lost orphaned sister, who is also given the secret. Together they fight against the evils of the world.

And How is This Christian, Exactly?
BILLY BATSON AND THE MAGIC OF SHAZAM is an allegory to Christianity. The hands-off, and very intelligent wizard represents God, and the incarnation of Captain Marvel stands as the Christ figure. In their childhood forms, Billy and Mary are representative of the chosen apostles or perhaps the ordinary person who does extraordinary things while still struggling against a harsh world.

Captain Marvel is specifically drawn to fight against Black Adam, the wizard’s first prodigy who fell from grace and now commands the powers of the seven deadly evils (pride, greed, selfishness, laziness, hatred, envy and injustice). He represents, in a very real way, our Satan character.

Just like THE LORD OF THE RINGS and THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA use Christian themes to tell their stories, BILLY BATSON AND THE MAGIC OF SHAZAM does the same. Unlike many religious titles and comic books, SHAZAM is not trite or heavy-handed. Author/illustrator, Mike Kunkel, allows the characters to drive the story. It’s a great read, one of Johnny DC’s (DC Comics’ kid imprint) top titles.

For those kids wanting a solid superhero story, an engaging good-versus-evil tale, a way to experience a great adventure through the eyes of a child hero, this is it. For those who want to enhance their own Christian beliefs using quality literature then there is story aplenty to explore, although it is not necessary to apply those religious connections to enjoy the story. It stands on it’s own merits.

Click here to view the preview at Newsarama.

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