Shazam! #1 // Review
For a second time this week, Geoff Johns makes his way from the comic shops and right into the hands of readers. Taking place almost immediately after his New 52 debut, Geoff picks the pieces right back up creating a wholesome tale for readers of all ages. Legendary artist Dale Eaglesham joins Johns on the main story while Mayo “Sen” Naito helps Geoff to deliver a heart warming backup tale starring Mary Marvel. This creative team collectively knock this issue out of the park with the absolute heart behind it’s inception.
Johns’ return to this cast of character feels as though he had never truly left. Bringing back the more light hearted, silver-age tongue and cheek nature to the series adds what was originally missing from Geoff’s first time around. Filled with plenty of nods for the more invested readers while still managing to bring new readers up to speed with what came before adds even more credence to the issue and series as a whole. Johns’ range in storytelling is on full display lately with the dichotomy between Shazam and Doomsday Clock left under the microscope of readers.
As Billy Batson and Freddy Freeman are on a school field trip in the main story when they are met by robbers wearing very familiar masks, reminiscent of another teenage superhero comic scene. Lucky for them, the duo and the rest of their surrogate family are imbued with the powers of Shazam and make light work of the crooks. Later that night the family sits for dinner before setting out to explore the newly introduced, Magiclands. The backup story acts as an origin story for Mary and how she ended up in foster care. Even after the horrible life her parents put her through, she still manages to make the best in life and never let her past jade her future. Even before her powers, Mary was always a hero.
Dale Eaglesham delivers his signature pencils to the series, setting the stage for yet another great comic run under his belt. Whether just the fun moments with the family to the more high stake fast action moments, Eaglesham consistently delivers the kinetic and high paced excitement that this series demands. The artwork of Sen fits the Mary backup like a warm and fuzzy glove, keeping with the light hearted tone while still setting itself apart from the main story and creating another memorable heartwarming tale. Previous collaborator on the last run and current Doomsday Clock artist, Gary Frank even manages to find the time to create this absolutely gorgeous variant cover for the first issue, encapsulating the sheer excitement and heart this character and series bring.
Johns’ love and knowledge for these characters and this universe shine through with every work he puts out and this stands to be no different. This series acts as Johns true return to the ongoing side of DC comics as much as it acts as Shazam’s return as well. As per usual Johns is accompanied by a team of talented artists, bringing another beautiful work into readers hands for years to come. With the theatrical debut right around the corner, this series came right at the nick of time.