Following the events of Lazaraus Planet a new era for Earth's Mightiest Moral enters the Dawn of DC and era of magic in a new series.
Dinosaurs from space! The Clubhouse of Eternity! Homicidal worms and talking tigers! Atomic robots, alien worlds, mad scientists, sinister curses, and villains from throughout the DC Universe—welcome to the wild adventures of Billy Batson, whose big red alter ego defends the Earth from its weirdest and wildest threats! Want to stop Lex Luthor and The Joker? Call Superman and Batman! International crises? Page Wonder Woman! But when Garguax, Emperor of the Moon, sets his sights on Gorilla City, that’s when you shout “Shazam!”
Shazam #1 spins out of the events of Lazarus Planet: Revenge Of The Gods, as legendary writer Mark Waid and artist Dan Mora take the reigns of Billy Batson and his alter ego Shazam, now the sole conduit for the Wizard’s powers of Shazam.
Waid drops readers right into the action on page one, quickly establishing the new direction for Shazam as handling some of the more offbeat threats to the DCU and not the typical supervillains one might expect. He then goes on to give readers, old and new, a recap of Billy’s origin, how he received his powers, where they come from, and a glimpse of The Rock of Eternity, which the Wizard has entrusted to Billy and his alter ego. Instead of making the Rock of Eternity, the center of all space and time, a drab and boring place, Billy has turned it into one of the coolest bases around with a trophy room, bowling alley, and other various pieces of entertainment equipment to help him train his superhero abilities.
Waid wastes little time addressing the elephant in the Rock of Eternity room: the fact that can no longer share his abilities with his brothers and sisters, as established by Geoff Johns in the previous ongoing series. This twist in the new workings of magic is most evident when Freddie Freeman arrives to remind him that Billy will be late for school but is considering poking around to see if he can reestablish his connection to his former alter ego. While the rest of the family has been depowered, at least for now, Mary still has access to her powers as she is endowed by a separate set of Goddesses of Greek Mythology following the conclusion of Lazarus Planet: Revenge Of The Gods.
Once the Shazam side of Billy is established, Waid reminds readers that when he is not in his Shazam identity, Billy is just a normal teenage boy, which while it allows him to be more of himself, though not as strong and graceful. It is also here that Talky Tawny is introduced as the foster home’s house manager and Billy gets a modern spin on his classic job of working for the Fawcett City paper, running a fancast detailing Shazam’s latest adventures and news.
The issue ends with a very un-Shazam-like moment which seems to be precipitated by two of the gods who are displeased with Billy as choice as the Wizard’s Champion establishing the conflict for the first arc of the series.
Dan Mora’s art along with Alejandro Sánchez’s colors are perfect for this new era of Shazam blending both classic and modern aspects in what is sure to be a defining time for the character. Mora captures both the serious and comedic facial aspects of Billy and Shazam that one would expect from a hero who is really a kid in a grown ups body. Mora also does an outstanding job of including various easter eggs in the background of the Rock of Eternity panels and throughout the book.
Overall, the series is off to a solid start and has the potential to be on par with Jerry Ordway’s classic Power Of Shazam series from the ’90s.
Shazam #1 is off to an exciting start and is bursting with potential to give readers a classic Shazam story along with modern updates that stay true to not only the character's long history while setting Billy and his alter ego to be a major player in the new era of the DCU that he deserves.
Waid and Mora bring lightning and thunder to Shazam and what promises to be a wild and crazy ride.
Shazam! #1: A New Era For The Big Red Cheese
- Writing - 10/1010/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 9/109/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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