Genre: Superhero Comics
Series: New 52 Shazam!
Publisher: DC Comics (October 1, 2013)
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I’ve never been a Captain Marvel fan (even when I was a kid back in the Funky 70s and Shazam comics were on the same rack as Superman), so I wasn’t hyped about this revamped New 52 version. My eleven year old son, however, was excited, ordered it from the local library, devoured it when it arrived, immediately thereafter declared that it was cool, and instructed me that I should give it a try.
Well, now that I’m done reading it, I’m glad my son gave me that advice, because I really enjoyed this Shazam. It is different though. Specifically, Billy Batson.
Now, in this story, Billy is sort of a brat; he has reasons for being a belligerent jerk though: living in foster care, dealing with the lose of his family. All of these events giving him a decidedly pessimistic view of life. And so when a subway riding wizard whisks him away for consideration to receive mystic powers, it seemed weird that this kid could ever become the do-gooder Shazam, but he does for various reasons, saying the magic words and transforming into the hero known as the “Big Red Cheese.”
Naturally, our disgruntled orphan immediately puts his powers to use for good — his good, I mean, getting some money to buy things he probably shouldn’t have and playing pranks on some local bullies. But the fun and games cease when Black Adam is released from a mystical prison by Dr Sivana, raises the Seven Deadly Sins, and sets out to destroy Shazam once and for all!
Will you love this Shazam story?
It probably will depend on how you feel about the pre-New 52 Shazam. Did you like the kind-hearted Billy Batson, who was a bit awkward but always tried to do the right thing? If so, the New 52 Billy might not be your thing. But if you didn’t have any strong feelings about Billy/Shazam, then you might not be bothered by Johns turning him into a negative, whiny, and belligerent kid, who still has a good heart hiding under all that angst.
As for me, I really liked this comic collection. Geoff Johns’ story is very entertaining, if different; Gary Frank’s art is excellent, even if our superhero’s boots take a bit of getting use to; and this new Shazam is good stuff.
There really is only problem with this book: no more New 52 Shazam! to read after this one. Something that really sucks for me and my son, at least.