Written by: Geoff Johns
Art by: Dale Eaglesham, Mike Atiyeh, Rob Leigh
Edited by: Brad Cunningham and Andrea Shea
Published by: DC Comics
What it’s about…
The superstar team of writer Geoff Johns and artist Dale Eaglesham reunite to launch the first all-new SHAZAM! monthly title set in the DC Universe in almost 20 years! (What took you guys so long?!)
The teenager turned super-hero Billy Batson struggles to balance school and superheroes! (Guess which one is more fun?) But when Shazam unlocks a shocking secret deep within the Rock of Eternity, it challenges everything he knows about the worlds of magic and his family’s future as its champions! Also, witness the bizarre team-up of Dr. Sivana and Mr. Mind as they set off to build a society all their own! Don’t miss the start of an epic run in the making as “Shazam and the Seven Realms” begins!
Backup story art by Mayo “SEN” Naito.
What I thought about it…
As a massive fan of Jerry Ordway’s Power of Shazam series from the ’90s, I did not expect to like the new Shazam series from DC. From the little I had seen of the new book written by Geoff Johns, I thought it the new book looked too much like the upcoming live-action movie. Which to me meant Billy Batson and friends would lose of the magic and nostalgia of the Ordway series. But as I read Shazam! #1, a thought hit me: this book is good, like really good!!
These days, Shazam #1 is as good as comic books get. The first issue has the perfect balance of the old and the new. Billy is a little older, but he’s still that wonderful kid I remember. He’s even living a normal life with nice foster parents and friends in his fellow foster kids Freddy Freeman and Mary. But if you are new to Captain Mar… err Shazam, don’t worry. In the first issue of the series, Geoff reintroduces readers to the Rock of Eternity and the mythology surrounding it.
Johns also retells the classic origin of how Billy Batson came to possess the power of Shazam. It’s at this point that Geoff then delivers one of the best scenes in the book when a group of robbers wearing Justice League masks attempts to rob The Museum of The American Revolution who Billy and Freddy are visiting on a school field trip. Within moments, the Shazam family springs into action as their super-powered counterparts and save the day.
The action here, however, takes a backseat as John’s crafts very different personalities for each of the children, and the banter between them is classic Shazam stuff. Later on, we see the kids at home having dinner with their foster parents, and the entire scene is just pure magic. From the dad’s reaction upon hearing of the holdup to the kids’ excitement over having lasagna for dinner, all of it was wonderful stuff.
But Geoff John’s writing is elevated by Dale Eaglesham’s beautiful artwork and Mike Atiyeh’s fantastic colors, which blend in perfectly with John’s story. I have loved Eaglesham’s art since his early 2000’s run on Batman: Gotham Knights, so it’s nice to see him back on a top DC book.
His art in Shazam! #1 leaps of the page, whether it’s an action scene or an abandoned subway station. And whenever the kids transform into their heroic counterparts, you never lose sight of who is who thanks to Eaglesham’s facial expressions. I should also mention he draws the most regal Mary Marvel I have ever seen.
In the end, Shazam! #1 is a book that will satisfy new and longtime fans alike. It has everything I enjoyed before, and plenty of new stuff to excite an old reader like me. But perhaps most important of all, Geoff Johns and Dale Eaglesham have crafted a solid first issue that introduces new readers to the most important aspect of any Shazam comic: family.
Shazam! #1 score: A