Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Dale Eaglesham & Scott Kolins
Colorist: Michael Atiyeh
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Rating: 8/10 Tawky Tawnys In Dapper Suits
It’s that magical time again where we have another new issue of SHAZAM to look forward to! Geoff Johns’ New 52 issues on the Big Red Cheese were awesome and he keeps it going here in this run. When I first picked up this new run on SHAZAM, I was pleasantly surprised by how it feels like it picks up where Johns left off in New 52. This series has been nothing but pure magic and with this issue alluding to the big reveal of a new member in the Shazam family, I just hope they have enough room at the dinner table. Warning! We are entering the Spoilerlands.
The last issue gave us a big shock (figuratively, but hey that’s funny since SHAZAM shocks people) when Mary revealed to her foster parents that she was Ms. Marvel. We pick up with Billy practically cornered into confessing along with informing Victor and Rosa that the rest of their kids are superheroes as well. Victor is absolutely stoked while Rosa remains in shock from watching Billy turn into SHAZAM (also figuratively).
As much as Billy and Mary would love to lay out their origin stories for their parents, their siblings are in trouble, so while Mary gets help, Billy reluctantly has to bail on reuniting with his biological dad. Chasing after the trail his siblings leave behind. he might find one foot in the grave as he enters the Darklands!
He’s More Than Good.
Tawky Tawny is great! We’ve been seeing him pop up in the last couple of issues lately and unlike his New 52 counterpart that lived in a zoo, this one is anthropomorphic and lives in the Wildlands. I guess it could be considered the Zootopia of the Magiclands. Tawny is in trouble for liking the idea of being chummy with humans so when a couple of kiddos find their way to the animal’s neck of the woods, they punish Tawny by trying to make him eat them. Tawny is a cool cat though and helps them out before making their way to the Darklands before Billy arrives.
The Magic Council Of Creators
Say his name, and you know his power flows through this book. Geoff Johns is a champion of bringing magic to the books he writes and SHAZAM couldn’t be better right now without him. Balancing essentially six main characters with such different personalities while giving them all the time in the spotlight in this series is a Herculean feat itself. With this issue having more of its dialogue focusing more on Tawny and Billy though, it was very enjoyable. Tawny is such a gentleman (gentle-tiger?) to his new friends while Billy has to make some tough choices while remaining reassuring. I felt like Geoff Johns really did a great job handling the reactions for Rosa and Victor in this, giving you a good balance of shock and awe.
While Johns may be a champion of magic, he didn’t need to share his power with the rest of the crew on this as they are all champions in their own right. Eaglesham and Kolins are laying down spells of artistry like no other in this. These two nailed it with the expressions on everyone’s faces. The whole scene playing out of Billy coming home having to reveal his secret is fantastic. Seeing his face go from nervousness to reluctance to then acceptance while in his transformed SHAZAM body is awesome and the faces from Rosa and Victor, who is jumping in joyous surprise is wonderful. But people making faces is an easy spell for Eaglesham and Kolins. The real magic is the facial expressions that they give to the many animals featured in the Wildlands. Let’s just say, you are getting more of an idea of the emotion of these characters compared to 2019’s The Lion King. Round all this out with Atiyeh’s colors to help things pop and you got something truly special.
Holy moly Rob Leigh! The lettering job on this book was top-notch as Leigh helped elevate Johns’ writing to really get the most important emphasis across in each moment. It really helps you appreciate the voices for the characters that come to life with this. Leigh weaves his magic letters masterfully through the artists’ work on this issue and the sound effects he makes while both standing out enough to read but fitting perfectly with the colorist's work on lightning and explosions is something to see.
SHAZA-Oh It’s Over?
These issues come and go so quickly for me with them being so good. With Doomsday Clock reaching its final hour, this is the only book of John’s going that I got left. I hope that he continues with SHAZAM as it’s pure fun. I was a little bummed that I let the solicit for this one get to me as we didn’t really get that newest SHAZAM family member. Tawny has been in the last couple of issues so far and no one new was introduced. There was also one moment in the story where Freddy and Darla mention that their color is fading but I couldn’t really notice the change from Atiyeh. That could just be my color blindness not picking up the subtlety. Regardless, I look forward to the next issue as we get some good suspense to end the issue on and leave us guessing. If you ever wondered what the wisdom of Solomon might do for you, it would suggest picking up this monthly (sort of monthly) series and enjoy every page.