Billy Batson takes center stage in this issue as he unleashes the awesome power of Shazam in a special origin story!
Also featuring the not-to-be-missed origin of Pandora and the next seeds of TRINITY WAR!
Black Adam has returned.
Billy Batson makes his way through the labyrinthine halls of the Rock of Eternity. The place seems deserted, though the boy hears the echoes of whispered voices.
“It’s just a boy.”
“What’s he look like?”
“The lad looks awfully small to me! He’ll never break the curse! Send him back already!”
Another voice, a more commanding voice, beckons him onward, deeper into the temple. He passes unimaginable marvels. Behind one door, an indoor snowstorm, memories of a childhood snowman. Down a hall, illusive specters of the Seven Deadly Sins of Man.
And at the end of the hall, six empty thrones, with an impossibly ancient man seated in the seventh. He is the last of the Council of Wizards, and the Keeper of the greatest magical fortress in all existence, the Rock of Eternity.
The Wizard seeks a mystical warrior who is pure good, but the boy his magic has summoned is far from pure.
Billy Batson doesn’t believe that a purely good person exists. “People are horrible. They disappoint you. They let you down. I’ve spent my life learning that... You’re searching for something that doesn’t really exist. That’s why you’ve never found it.”
Time runs short for the Wizard. Black Adam has already been freed from imprisonment. He searches the boy’s mind for the embers of good, seeking even a glimmer of hope.
And though Billy Batson is not the warrior of pure good he sought, the Wizard does see potential in him. He teaches the boy the word that will summon his magics. The word that when spoken with purpose, with belief, with good intentions, will transform him into his greatest potential.
Billy Batson inherits the Wizard’s chair on the Council of Eternity, and with it, the Power of the Living Lightning. He will be able to travel through the sky as lightning does, to fight with the strength of a demigod.
And he will have to fight, to stop Black Adam from awakening the Seven Deadly Sins of Man. Black Adam will stop at nothing to become absolute ruler of all magic.
As the Wizard passes from this world, he declares Billy Batson magic’s champion. Billy Batson is now Shazam!
Billy Batson returns from the Rock of Eternity, now in possession of the Power of the Living Lightning. And as his first act as magic’s champion, Billy Batson pays a visit to the Bryers’ house. With his magnificent strength, he lifts the Bryers’ car into the air before casually crumpling it hood first into the ground.
He and Freddy then try to use his now adult appearance to buy beer, but Billy feels a bit conspicuous in cloak and magic armor. He also has a hard time interacting with electrical objects, causing them to explode with living magic.
As it grows late, the criminal element of Philadelphia makes itself known. Freddy and Billy witness a mugging, and Billy decides to intervene. He swats the criminal aside, but his strength is greater than he realizes, and the man goes flying into the side of a nearby car.
The woman he saved is incredibly grateful, and she asks if there is any way she can thank him. Freddy suggests that Billy should ask for some cash, and the woman awkwardly hands him a twenty dollar bill.
As the woman shouts her thanks, the boys walk away to celebrate their newfound source of income.
“I know what I’m dealing with now. I know what this box is and I know what it can do.
“I was a frightened and manipulated girl when I opened it the last time. Not anymore. I’m going to right my perceived wrongs and I’m going to erase the evils I unknowingly unleashed.
“My name is Pandora, and for the first time since I was sentenced by the Council of Eternity I have hope.”
With the Box once again in her possession, Pandora feels confident that she can open it once more and undo her great sin. Yet try as she might, the Box refuses to open. Frustrated, she tries firing her gun at it. The bullet merely ricochets off its surface, grazing her cheek.
Behind her, the world erupts with the Living Lightning. The Wizard appears before her, using the last of his power to bring her this message.
“The Council was foolish... Wrong. Our judgements were... Poor.
“The other two of the Trinity of Sin deserved their punishment, but you... You did not, Pandora. You were just a young woman... Who was curious.
“I am sorry.”
He tells her that it is far too late to put back the evils once contained within the Box. “You cannot imprison what has already been unleashed,” he says, “yet there is still great power contained...
“Only the strongest of heart or the darkest can open the box and claim its power...”
With another flash of living lightning, the Wizard is gone. Though Pandora begs to know the identity of the one who can open the Box, no answer comes.
In Hub City, the desperate search for the mayor’s daughter comes to an end when an unknown vigilante saves her from kidnapper John Dandy. The only clue to the hero’s identity is a simple piece of paper, adorned with a question mark and pinned to the perp.
Poverty. Wealth. Make-up. Dirt. The man with the hat and the girl with the guns. It’s all connected. It’s all a web. They hold the answers.