Absolute DC Part 2: Justice Like Lightning by Red-Rum-18
Somewhere in a city in the Middle East, a raging apartment fire threatened to consume innocent people trapped inside. Just as it seemed all hope was lost, a mighty hero in white and gold swooped in to save the families. The Marvel was once a name associated with rage and violence, but now one called upon when speaking of heroism… and redemption. The Marvel, a wizard also known as Usud-Adam, summoned torrential rains to quench the fires and champion the day! The Marvel flew off as the people of his protectorate cheered and thanked him. Usud-Adam was once the master of Billy Batson, a young man forced to serve him as a slayer of evil, once forced to be called The Marvel. But now Adam has taken the mantle for himself to redeem his sin and the young life he ruined, whom he freed when Adam realized the gravity of his choice. Once he was alone in an alley, the new Marvel shouted SHAZAM!, the magic word that invokes his transformation into and from his Marvel form, and became his civilian guise: Adam Faruuk, a retired old man. On his way home that night, a woman ran passed him with something bundled in her arms, pursued by several black-hooded assailants. With no time to change into The Marvel, Adam followed the thugs into an alley where they had the woman cornered. Adam took out his cane and attacked the thugs to defend her, but one of them stabbed Adam in the side and they made off what she was sheltering… a baby! At the woman’s apartment, the police were already there to cordon it off, revealing that the thugs killed the baby’s parents and that the woman was the baby’s aunt, who tried to get away with the infant boy to protect him. The police brought in the woman and Adam to the hospital for patching up and questioning by the police. Overhearing her questioning with his superhuman hearing, Adam got a description of the knife used on him and realized it was a ceremonial knife used by a cult… a cult that his old masters, The Lords of Order and Chaos, once defeated. After getting his wounds tended to, and drawing himself a picture of the knife, Adam Faruuk began investigating wherever in the city the cultists could have gotten them, en masse, until he came across a modern blacksmith shop. The head blacksmith claimed that he made knives for a man who ordered about 15 of them and provided the schematics for the knife’s design. He didn’t ask what they were for, just took the money and did the commission. Adam lied and said he was mugged using a similar-looking knife, and this convinced the blacksmith to give Adam the address of the man he made them for. The address given, which The Marvel flew to, was a temple landmark in the middle of the city. Upon further investigation, Marvel discovered the ancient markings of the cult of Neronius, a demon sorcerer. In the central chamber, the cult performed an elaborate ritual before Neronius himself, who had been freed from his imprisonment for quite some time, with the infant placed on an altar. Proclaiming that the infant shall be his heir, Neronius had his minions drag out an innocent woman for him to sacrifice, completing the ritual to fuse a fraction of Neronius’ power to the child. The Marvel busted into the chamber to disrupt the proceedings, saving the woman and child. They escaped as The Marvel did battle with Neronius, which ended with Neronius being fried with lightning blasts beyond recognition. Now safe, the infant was reunited with his aunt and the Marvel imprisoned the weakened Neronius within the Pandoran Cask back at his old temple in Lebanon. Meanwhile, with the cultist who stabbed Adam in his mortal form, he pulled back his hood to reveal himself to us as Jake Johnson, holding a sliver of the crystalline matrix he excised from Adam’s body with the knife. He then called his boss, William McIntyre, to let him know he got it.