Spinning out the pages of Sheridan's Teen Titans Academy, this SHAZAM mini-series deals with Billy Batson's fritzing powers as the Titans discover the Rock of Eternity has been moved to the Underrealm.
Early in the narrative, all the key components are well established, making this book incredibly accesible for readers even they haven’t been following TTA and Sheridan’s “Future State” stories, which this series is a clear extension of. In “Future State” we see a future in which Billy and SHAZAM are separated, with SHAZAM remaining in the Underworld to prevent invasion by Neron. Because of the nature of the entire “Future State” project, I doubt that is the direct direction we’re headed in here but some manipulation of that story seems inevitable. Sheridan does a good job here of capturing teenage frustration and specifically nods to the notion that Billy has been doing this– as a child– for a very long time. The navigation of the temporal paradox of superhero comics (unaging characters in a constantly contemporary setting) shows the hand a more veteran comics storyteller. Billy’s fear of one day not being able to turn back into a kid is a nice storybeat that could finally herald a true step forward for the character, and that in turn would create a unique avenue for one of DC’s most underused and underexplored characters.
Clayton Henry’s art style is not for everybody but it works well in the context of this story. There is something innocent and unmenacing about this style but with no doubt, the art controls the pacing of the story and gets everything necessary across. They layouts are strong with smooth transitions and everything is improved with the colors of Maiolo. Rob Leigh, who also lettered the previous SHAZAM series from Geoff Johns and a wide array of artists, helps to provide a little consistency to a character that has not been graced with much of that over the past 60 or so years. I’m curious about the design work on the cover, though, and why the SHAZAM Leigh has used over the last serveal years was abandoned for an overly-stylized, difficult to read logo on the front of the book.
Overall, this book is high in potential but will ultimately rely on strong execution in a short amount of time (only 4 issues) to take its place among the great SHAZAM stories over the years. Fans of the character should definitely picks this book up but it isn’t necessary to understand the DC Universe at large right now and isn’t likely to turn a non-fan into a fan.
SHAZAM #1 spins directly out of the pages of Teen Titans Academy and is barrelling towards the fate of Billy Batson seen in FUTURE STATE: SHAZAM. A fun book with promise coming from #DCComics @Iamtimsheridan @claytonhenryart
SHAZAM #1: Power Outage
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 7.5/107.5/10
- Art - 7.5/107.5/10
- Color - 9.5/109.5/10
- Cover Art - 7/107/10
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