'Shazam!' What Are the Seven Deadly Sins?

With Shazam! in theaters now, fans are starting to wonder what elements of the movie have deep roots in the comics and which things were created for the screen. One of the elements of the story with the longest history -- both in comics and outside of them -- is the presence of the Seven Deadly Sins in the film. Also called the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man, the sins first appeared in Shazam's second-ever appearance back in 1940. They were personifications of the seven deadly sins of religious and mythological tales, that had been trapped in statue form and placed at the Rock of Eternity by the wizard Shazam.

In the comics, the statues have been featured at the Rock of Eternity for decades (although in the original Fawcett stories and most other versions, the Seven Sins were "censored" in keeping with 1940s standards, identified as the "Seven Deadly Enemies of Man" and including Pride, Envy, Greed, Hatred, Laziness, Selfishness, and Injustice among their ranks). In the film, we see them and they are almost immediately freed to wreak havoc on the world and provide power to Dr. Thaddeus Sivana -- but in the comics, they almost never come out to play. There is, though, a comic book backstory to the idea of them tempting people telepathically.

When the Spectre destroyed the Rock of Eternity and killed the wizard Shazam, the Sins were released. When the Rock was rebuilt, the Sins were again captured, although they tried and torment the hero Shazam -- then known as Captain Marvel -- as he could hear their thoughts, and they are implied to have caused trouble at a full moon. In the post-Flashpoint continuity, the Sins are the mortal enemies of Pandora, who freed them when she opened her box. The box -- which looks like a golden, bejeweled skull -- actually appeared in live action on the Constantine TV series, although the Sins did not.

There was no specific reference to Pandora freeing the sins when the wizard ran down the details of the Rock of Eternity with Billy Batson in the movie, although given the limited time he had to give Billy an overview of the whole "champion" thing, that may be a byproduct of time more than anything else. It seems unlikely -- but not impossible -- that the Trinity of Sin could appear in a future DC movie, be it a Shazam! sequel or something else supernatural. That grouping included the Phantom Stranger (who, in that version of the mythology, was revealed to be a version of Judas Iscariot) and The Question, now given supernatural powers and purpose, rather than the street-level, fedora-wearing Objectivist that he was in his most popular stories.

Grazer will appear again in It Chapter Two, out in theaters on September 6. Shazam is now in theaters; Joker arrives on October 4, Birds of Prey on February 7, 2020, Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5, 2020, and The Batman on June 25, 2021.

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