Warning: SPOILERS for The Infected: King Shazam
The birth of the evil King Shazam is promising all kinds of carnage for Batman and Superman, the heroes trying to track him down. But the corrupted Billy Batson isn't just embracing darkness by destroying iconic gods of DC's universe -- he just took down Thor, the god of thunder, too.
For any comic fans who missed the moment Shazam turned into a supervillain, it's all part of a growing plot by the Batman Who Laughs, a twisted parallel Earth Bruce Wayne. Billy Batson is just one of several DC heroes turning evil to form the Darker Knight's army, but wasted no time in showing that he could kick Superman's ass all too easily. And now Billy is making up for lost time, seeking out every demigod he can find to pound them into the dirt. And that includes Marvel's most famous Asgardian, as well.
This one-sided result is obviously going to be controversial for Marvel fans, since the effectiveness of 'magic' against an Asgardian is unclear, at best. In the world of Marvel movies, Thor is arguably less mystically empowered than his comic book counterpart (just one more way the MCU Thor can't compare to the comics). In the movies, Thor and the Asgardians are more or less alien beings mistaken as gods. Stronger than humans, with technology far beyond Earth's... but neither divine nor magic. The Thor of comics, on the other hand, is a true warrior god possessed of greater essence than mortals, like Ares, Zeus, or Hercules. But when King Shazam comes calling, that doesn't help him one bit.
Some comic book readers will be surprised to learn that Thor exists in DC's Universe, too, but he was introduced by Jack Kirby years before Marvel followed suit (with the rest of the Norse pantheon eventually following). And lest anyone assume the DC version of the god of thunder is less powerful, when John Byrne brought Thor into the epic Jack Kirby's Fourth World saga in 1997 he distinguished him from even the iconic New Gods like Darkseid. As a remnant of the Old Gods, Thor was revered as a champion on his own level. But even he has proven no match for the true magic channeled by Shazam.
Who knows: maybe Thor put up a valiant effort before the King Shazam comic showed his helpless defeat. Maybe the fight would go differently if it was a Marvel writer penning the action (obviously). But the fight simply confirms what many comic book fans, if they're being honest, already know to be true. Thor may summon the lightning thanks to Mjolnir in his hand... but Shazam is the chosen champion of the lightning, commanding it with a spoken word. Odin's son never stood a chance.
To see this fight for yourself, be sure to pick up an issue of The Infected: King Shazam. Giving Billy Batson his own story before joining the Batman Who Laughs for the epic Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen showdown, the issue's full credits and plot synopsis can be found below:
- THE INFECTED: KING SHAZAM
- Written by: Sina Grace
- Art by: Joe Bennett, Belardino Brabo, Matt Santorelli
- Cover Art by: David Marquez
- Billy Batson is a good kid. He helps his friends, loves his family, and tries to do the right thing. But Billy is about to have a run-in with the most dangerous serial killer in existence, and the Batman Who Laughs wants Billy to be bad. Spinning out of the events of Batman/Superman and "Year of the Villain," it's the tale of a hero whose soul has been turned black, and who has something to prove to the old guard. Buckle in for Shazam's journey to punch a bunch of so-called "gods" in the face and show the establishment exactly what the future looks like...
The Infected: King Shazam is available now from your local comic book shop.