As Billy Batson and the rest of the Shazam Family are about to learn as they cross over into the Darklands, the Magiclands aren’t all fun and games! In a world filled with all kinds of frightful creatures and haunts, nothing will compare to the horrors of Billy’s own internalized fears.
SHAZAM #8is a perfectly enjoyable comic that suffers the pitfalls of massive delays. In an of itself, the story is an entertaining romp through a revamped concept of the SHAZAM family and the lore that surrounds them. There is nothing particularly poignant or groundbreaking happening here and the pacing is a little on the slow side but all in all, it’s not a bad book. Unfortunately, the expectations coupled with the potential buzz of the box office feature leave this book wanting in general. The hopes to excite a new generation about the character have fizzled, leaving only die-hard fans showing even a modicum of interest in the book, which is, quite frankly, a damn shame.
Kolins takes the reins as the sole artist for this issue (with Atiyeh providing colors where applicable) and manages to turn in some of the best work of his career. A polarizing artist, for certain, the detail and style Kolins injects into the Darklands is a perfect blend of macabre and cartooning that simply works wonders in keeping the tone from spiraling darker than a SHAZAM narrative has any business venturing into. He does great work with his characters in this issue, a frequent knock on his work. His Black Adam oozes arrogance. His Mr. Mind actually feels menacing. A solid job all around and well complimented by Atiyeh’s colors.
In regards to the plot, the story finally reveals the Seventh Champion to be Billy’s recently returned father, linking to the Captain Marvel Sr. gravestone seen in the previous issue in the Deadlands. Johns seems to be at work constructing a sense of legacy for the SHAZAM mythos and perhaps we will see more from the deceased former champions in the future. It would certainly make for an interesting addition to the lore, although much of the series thus far seems overly focused on looking backwards and spends very little time looking ahead. This arc is very much an establishing arc, similar to Johns’ previous “Green Lantern: Secret Origins” arc that preceded the “Blackest Night” epic. Beyond that potential, this story hits on all the familiar beats. Black Adam is a pawn in the greater scheme of Mr. Mind’s plan, Sivana is the vehicle for executing said plan, etc. etc. Everything works on a surface level but I am still awaiting that surface getting scratched through to reveal something more grand.
After a myriad of delays, SHAZAM #8(Johns, Kolins, Atiyeh, Leigh) continues to chug along with the expansion and revision of the SHAZAM lore by revealing the Seventh Champion.
SHAZAM #8: Holy Moley.
Writing - 8/10
Storyline - 7.5/10
Art - 8/10
Color - 8/10
Cover Art - 9/10
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