WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Shazam! #7 by Geoff Johns, Dale Eaglesham, Scott Kolins, Mike Atiyeh and Rob Leigh, on sale now.
The Shazam Family is scattered across the fantastical, magical lands connected to the Rock of Eternity and in mortal danger. Billy Batson and his adopted sister Mary Bromfield find themselves suddenly back home in Philadelphia, with Billy rocked by the surprise return of his long-lost, biological father. As Billy's foster parents begin to ask about the whereabouts of the rest of their missing children, Mary transforms into her adult superhero form before them, revealing that she has secretly become a superhero.
The latest issue of Shazam! doubles down on this cliffhanger ending by having Billy follow suit and transform into the magical DC Comics superhero before his foster parents, joining Mary in her super-powered confession. Initially waiting outside the suburban Philadelphia home with his father, Billy explains away the magical lightning bolt that struck the house as the result of a lightning rod before running back into his home without his father to transform himself.
The idea of Billy being a foster child is one that was largely introduced with the New 52 relaunch of the character by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, with the revised origin story remaining completely intact as the DC Universe has transitioned into the DC Rebirth era. Since the rebooted origins, the current ongoing series began approximately one year after Billy shared his powers with the rest of his foster siblings, operating in Philadelphia and across the globe while maintaining their secret identities, including from their unsuspecting parents.
With that revised origin in mind, Billy has never really had to worry about keeping much of a secret identity from his family before because, for decades of previous comic book continuity, the only family he had was his long-lost sister Mary, his best friend Freddie Freeman and his doddering, old Uncle Dudley. In pre-Flashpoint continuity, Billy's biological parents had been killed when they discovered ancient secrets linked to the wizard Shazam and Black Adam, with latter depictions placing him in the care of his evil uncle Thaddeus Sivana before being cast out on the street and transforming into the wizard's champion.
With Sivana and Mister Mind working together to infiltrate the Rock of Eternity and unlock its secrets for themselves, Billy and Mary's reveal of their secret identities could put the young superheroes in further jeopardy, especially as the full background of Billy's biological father -- including whether or not his claims are true and if he's actually a trustworthy figure -- are still shrouded in mystery. The recent film had explored the consequences of Sivana discovering Billy's secret identity by putting the rest of his family in danger, and the current reveal could foreshadow a similar fate for the comic book characters.
Johns' take on Shazam, both during the New 52 and DC Rebirth, have revolved largely around themes of family, including trusting one's secrets with them as the bonds deepen. In facing his biological father once again, Billy Batson has begun to question the concept of family, even a year after entrusting his adopted siblings with his secrets and powers. However, in a flash of lightning, Billy has demonstrated that he still values his foster parents while his biological father is apparently still in the dark that his son is a real-life superhero. However, with more and more people learning about Billy's deepest secret, the Shazam Family may be in for a rude awakening once they inevitably reunite.