The Marvel is a version of the DC Comics superhero Captain Marvel, who comes from an alternate DC universe known as Absolute DC . Because Marvel Comics owns the rights to advertise the name "Captain Marvel" for their superhero of the same name, DC had to advertise the character under the name "Shazam", which is the name of the wizard who gave the DC hero his power AND the magic word the hero envokes to change between his human and superhuman forms; because the Absolute version of this character is simply "The Marvel", advertising his name doesn't infringe on Marvel Comics' trademark.
Issue 10: Absolute CaptiveEdit
The planet Earth is one of the most culturally- and genealogically-diverse communities in the universe, even though they have yet to develop a sufficient level of technology that allows them to be recognized as a sovereign system to other inhabited planets. The genetic diversity among the living beings of this planet deviated in the early stages of it's evolution with the introduction of extra-terrestrial nanotechnology constructed by a member of the universe's advanced sapient species, the Oans. The nanotechnology spread throughout the genes of animals, plantlife, and humans across the Earth until the dawn of civilization; the technology itself remains in a small group of beings, but their influence inadvertently dictated the genesis of a new breed of creatures with physical and mental abilities others do not possess. These metahumans became the bedrock of humankind's concepts of magic, mythology, gods, and religion. In modern times, these metahumans, born with their abilities, keep their true natures hidden from a distrusting public, but some of them use their “magic” as entertainers to those who believed that their powers were merely faked.
Back in the ancient days, a cabal of metahumans, known together as the Lords of Order and Chaos, united to ensure the prosperity of mundane humans. One of the wizards who serve the Lords was entrusted to possess the essences of the 6 highest members, and this being, known by the title SHAZAM (an acronym for the Lords who gave him these powers), used his abilities to travel the planet and bring swift justice to evil-doers. However, as the years passed, SHAZAM was plagued with self-doubt in his duties, and he sought an audience with his superiors to determine a successor to his powers. When he walked into the innermost sanctum of their headquarters, the wizard found that the other Lords were reveling in the rape, torture, and murders of the evil beings that he himself had captured to face justice! Distraught over this, he broke into the chamber that contains the inter-dimensional prison that contains the villains that would be tortured next and released them all! The world was plagued with these devils, but SHAZAM felt that they still had a right to life and dignity. He left the Lords of Order and Chaos and concealed his powers and presence in the guise of a normal human.
Years later, the being formerly known as SHAZAM was a farmer, a husband, and the father of two children when the other servants of the Lords caught up with him; their battle caused a massive landslide that slew the wizard's family and he was captured. Convicted of freeing the beings that plagued Earth with their ill ways, the severely-weakened Lords, who neared their unavoidable collapse, sentenced SHAZAM to banishment from the afterlife until all evil beings have been eliminated from the Earth. Rendered immortal and unable to rejoin his wife and children in the afterlife, the wizard continued his mission. But the war between good and evil is not one that can be won or lost, it is a force that is always kept in balance. The Lords of Order and Chaos understood this, and so SHAZAM's immortality was preserved. However, as he aged, his body became too weak to use his powers, so now he needs an avatar to wield them and continue this mission in his stead.
In the decade of 2000 AD, the wizard, secluded in an unknown region, sent forth his power in a bolt of lightning, which struck Billy Batson, a young child from St. Louis, Missouri. The lightning left him with a scar across his chest that was shaped like a lightning bold, and the power he was infused with also implanted the permanent memory of the word SHAZAM. If Billy even so much as thinks of the word, he is transformed into an adult with all the powers of the wizard at his prime. Billy's parents were religious fanatics who disowned their son for “practicing witch-craft” and so now Billy must complete the mission that he was unwillingly given to be stripped of this power. Communing with his “captor”, the wizard telepathically, Billy is now a vicious, murderous superhuman who calls himself “The Marvel”.
- In the Absolute DC universe, the magic users of Earth are more like the mutants from Marvel Comics (like the X-Men). There are born with the capability to control reality, though it takes training to determine how they can control it and their individual effects. For example, the sorceress known as Zatanna Zatara can cause any effect, but she must first pronounce the desired effect backwards.
- Going with the Marvel mutants analogy, think of the Lords of Order and Chaos as Apocalypse and the Clan Akkaba.
- The six Lords who gave SHAZAM his powers were Solomon (telepathic powers and levitation), Heracles (enhanced strength/stamina/senses), Achilles (enhanced durability and accelerated healing), Zeus (energy manipulation), Athena (high intelligence), and Mercury (enhanced speed/reflexes/agility).
- The dimensional prison used by the Lords, and the jailbreak caused by the wizard, inspired the Greek legend of Pandora's Box.
- The concept of demons was inspired by evolved forms of animal and plant life, most of which comprising the evil-doers faced by the Lords of Order and Chaos.
- The Lords exhausted all resources, and themselves, in taking back Earth from the freed villains, which led to their downfall.
- SHAZAM and his unwilling avatar Billy both are contemptible of each other, but they know they need each other to gain their freedom from the mission.
- St. Louis stands in place of the fictional Fawcett City.
- Billy was abandoned by his parents because of his powers, so now he just wanders and wears whatever he can find (and whatever can still fit him when he changes into The Marvel).
- When he activates the transformation, Billy absorbs whatever form of energy is nearby (lightning being the best fuel for his powers); the more energy he absorbs, the better.
- When he transforms, he grows older based on how much energy he absorbs during the transformation.
- The lightning scar glows and then dims as he extends his power, and when he runs out, he changes back to normal.
- If the Marvel uses the word when transformed, he absorbs even more power from nearby sources. If he overloads, however, he'll expend his powers faster.
- The author of Absolute DC writes, "As I conceptualized The Marvel's design in my head, it came to me that the voluminous black hair and beard look like a storm cloud that the lightning scar is emanating from."
- He further writes, "I am not the first to come up with Billy Batson as an African-American, and I came up with the powers of SHAZAM being a kind of curse before I've heard of the New 52 story 'The Curse of Shazam!'"
- The first villains The Marvel faces is a version of the Monster Society of Evil.
- The Marvel's immense power and willingness to kill his enemies brings him into conflict with the Superman, whose electromagnetism-based powers can be disrupted by The Marvel's ability to absorb energy.