In a suprise fill-in issue, Jeff Loveness and Brandon Peterson take Billy to Gotham to tangle with The Scarecrow. Of course, in Gotham, the Bat is never far away. Don't call it a team-up!
This issue was an unexpected and inexplicable move by DC. The history of Geoff Johns’ SHAZAM series has been littered with inconsistent shipping schedules and while, yes, sales have been in a slow decline, there is nothing to suggest that fans would want a fill-in issue and not be willing to simply wait for the finale to the “Magiclands” arc. Given some other strange moves by the publisher over the past several, tumultuous months, there seems to be definite unrest in Burbank.
That said, this issue, though a technical “throw-away” issue is very well executed. The events take place prior to SHAZAM #1 and focus squarely on the notion that Billy Batson is still very new to superheroing and still figuring things out. Loveness’ exploration of Billy’s psyche is actually something that arguably is lacking in Johns’ run on the book, instead opting for high drama and action rather than development of the character. Loveness’ exploration isn’t necessarily undiscovered country but it has been a while since we really went down this path so it feels fresh at the very least.
Peterson, likewise, was a nice interlude on the art duties. Much of the run to this point has leaned heavily on diverse and stylized art to highlight the otherness of the many Magiclands. Without such restriction, Peterson is free to simply draw and it shows. The book is clean with heavy outlines and highly detailed. If you’ve read my reviews of other books, you’ll know that any artist that can do expressive faces (the Kevin Maguires and Carmen Carneros of the industry) will always get a bump from me and Peterson is no exception.
Although this book wasn’t what I wanted out of SHAZAM #12, it was still a lovely issue worth picking up for fans of the character.
SHAZAM #12 (Loveness, Peterson) is a stand alone fill-in issue that at first feels unwelcome but actually turns out to be a lovely tale in the greater story of Billy Batson.
SHAZAM #12: Unscheduled Interuption
Writing - 9/10
Storyline - 8/10
Art - 8.5/10
Color - 9/10
Cover Art - 8.5/10
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