Shazam Beat the X-Men to a World-Changing Victory by 40 Years

The X-Men recently created their own metal, changing the course of the entire galaxy… and yet Shazam not only beat them to the punch, but did so decades ago. With his unique set of powers, Shazam has abilities far and beyond other mortals, and in 1979’s World’s Finest Comics #257, he created his own element: Marvelium. The metal is so strong and so durable that nothing can penetrate it, and it later helps Shazam overcome a seemingly invincible foe.


Comics are replete with any number of imaginary metals; in the Marvel Universe, the two best known are adamantium and vibranium, but recently the X-Men were able to forge a new one: Mysterium. This element, forged from the White Room at the outskirts of creation, has created a great deal of interest and controversy. The new wonder element jump-started the galactic economy, ending a galaxy-swallowing period of war, and even has anti-magic properties. Yet over in the DC Universe, a place chock-full of imaginary elements, Shazam got there first, creating a metal that not even ghosts can penetrate.

Shazam’s Invented Element Is a Huge Accomplishment

shazam invents a metal

Related: Shazam Corrects a Major Fan Error About His Powers

In the story titled “The Invincible Man” – written by E. Nelson Bridwell and drawn by Don Newton – Shazam is confronted by the titular being, who not only lives up to his name but also knows Shazam is Billy Batson. Indeed, his new foe even knows Shazam derives his powers from the Rock of Eternity. The Invincible Man escapes, and Shazam takes off to discover who might be behind the mysterious menace. Shazam visits Doctor Sivana, who, along with a hibernating Mister Mind, is locked in a cell made of Marvelium, an element Shazam created himself. A jail guard reveals Sivana created a formula that would allow him to walk through walls, but the Marvelium still stopped him. Shazam then reveals that it is so dense and strong that not even a ghost can get through, and it can even block Black Adam’s mystic lightning. Later, the Invincible Man is revealed to be a creation of Mister Mind, who Mind was controlling while hibernating. Armed with this knowledge, Shazam traps the Invincible Man/Mister Mind in a prison made of Marvelium, which negates his power source.

Shazam Reveals a Forgotten Superhero Cliché

shazam metal material

Marvelium is far from the first imaginary element to appear in Shazam’s corner of the DC Universe. In the character’s pre-Crisis history, he and his allies were caught in a trap made of Suspendium, created by Doctor Sivana, which put them all in a state of hibernation for nearly 20 years. Sivana created another element, a “living metal” called Sivanium, which he then tried to use against Shazam. The fact that Shazam and his villains were creating their own elements back in 1979 – and yet this twist has been a major part of recent X-Men comics and even Tony Stark’s MCU story – shows he was decades ahead of Marvel’s mutants.

A key plot point in Iron Man 2 and X-Men‘s latest comic era, it turns out superheroes inventing elements is an incredibly old cliché. It’s down to fans whether this makes more recent examples lazy, or a fun return to a classic superhero concept. Either way, while often seen as one of the goofiest heroes, it turns out Shazam did in the 1970s what it took the X-Men until 2020 to accomplish.

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