Shazam 2 - The comic history of the Olympian Gods

Injustice: Gods Among Us art
(Image credit: DC)

Shazam!: Fury of the Gods is all about the relationship between the Shazam Family and the Greek and Roman gods and heroes who give them their powers - some of whom have played significant comic book roles in the DC Universe.

Helen Mirren's Hespera leads her fellow Daughters of Atlas in trying to reclaim the aspects of their divinity that were bestowed on the Shazam Family by the Wizard when he first gave Billy Batson his powers. Hespera is joined by Lucy Liu's Kalypso and Rachel Zegler's Anthea, all of whom, though based on characters from mythology, are original to DC lore with no real connection to comic books.

However, the Greek and Roman pantheons do have a place in DC lore similar to that of Thor and the Asgardian gods in the Marvel Universe - including a direct connection between the titan Atlas (as in the father of the Daughters of Atlas) and Superman.

In terms of the Greek and Roman gods, both have DC comic book histories. The six Immortal Elders who grant Shazam his magic word acronym are all based on gods and heroes from mythology:

  • S - the wisdom of Solomon 
  • H - the strength of Hercules 
  • A - the stamina of Atlas 
  • Z - the power of Zeus 
  • A - the courage of Achilles 
  • M - the speed of Mercury

Notice that Atlas himself is in there - undoubtedly part of the motivation for the Daughters of Atlas in the film.

(Image credit: DC)

And of course mythical Olympians such as Zeus, Hera, Artemis, and Ares have all had an ongoing presence in the Wonder Woman mythos, with Ares appearing as the villain of the first Wonder Woman movie.

While the Daughters of Atlas are an original concept for the movie, Atlas does have a comic book counterpart in the DC Universe, one who is mostly associated with Superman.

The mythical version of Atlas, who holds the heavens on his shoulders, first appeared in 1944's Superman #28 in a story where Superman and Hercules each had to hold up the heavens themselves. This beat was somewhat repeated in Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's now classic All-Star Superman.

But there's also another Atlas in the DC Universe, one with a connection to the original mythical Titan, and with Superman. That version of Atlas, created by Jack Kirby in 1975's First Issue Special #1, was an ancient warrior who aimed to be the greatest hero on Earth.

(Image credit: DC)

In the 2006 story Superman: The Coming of Atlas, the mighty gladiator was brought forth from the ancient past into the present day by General Sam Lane (Lois Lane's dad, who hates Superman) to fight the Man of Steel in Metropolis.

It's the original Titan Atlas who seems to be the father of Shazam!: Fury of the Gods' Daughters of Atlas. But the fact that multiple incarnations of this mythological figure have such a strong historical connection to Superman is an interesting tidbit of DC lore.

Will the Daughters of Atlas make it into comics now that they've been brought to screen by DC Studios? Time will tell, but with a new Shazam! comic title launching in June, there could be a perfect opportunity on the horizon.

Learn the history of the Shazam Family themselves before seeing Shazam!: Fury of the Gods.

For more on Shazam! Fury of the Gods, be sure to check out our spoilery deep dives:

George Marston

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)