If you've seen the very engaging Zachary Levi-led cinematic version, you know that Billy Batson is not exactly the pure-hearted youth he once was. This comic book dives face first into that modern interpretation as Shazam is all about that hero life but drastically less interested in school or, say, his studies.
Starting off with fighting a gigantic robot rampage in Japan, the titular hero bounces back to Fawcett City and kind of realizes he, as many old aunties used to say, "don't know nothing about nothing." The Japan fight meant not sleeping or doing his homework, which runs him afoul of a substitute teacher who echoes every lampshading argument from Twitter about the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of superheroes. A supporting character gets a refreshingly deep backstory, and development that drives not only their own narrative but also gives room for the lead to shine and grow, despite really not being very smart.
This script by Jeff Loveness is clever, skillful, humorous, and genuine. The visual storytelling of Brandon Peterson, Mike Atiyeh, and Rob Leigh is really good with the patience and pacing in showing character moments of surprise and comprehension for the hero in question. This issue doesn't skimp on the big scale action scenes (although, in retrospect, there was a suspicious number of giant robots rampaging through cities without a clear explanation) but has real heart at its core.
This is an effective done-in-one that really digs into the modern core of the character. RATING: BUY.
After a night battling robots across the globe, Billy Batson finds out not everyone loves superheroes when one of his teachers unleashes a lecture on the ethics of unchecked power and privilege. It'll take more than just the wisdom of Solomon for the teen hero to figure this one out.
Hannibal Tabu is a writer, journalist, DJ, poet and designer living in south Los Angeles with his wife and children. He's a winner of the 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt, winner of the 2018-2019 Cultural Trailblazer award from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, his weekly comic book review column THE BUY PILE can be found on iHeartRadio's Nerd-O-Rama podcast, his reviews can be found on BleedingCool.com, and more information can be found at his website, www.hannibaltabu.com.
Plus, get free weekly web comics on the Operative Network at http://bit.ly/combatshaman.