Since there’s a brand new trailer for the Shazam! movie that has everyone all excited and since it’s been nearly two months since the first issue came out, I’ve decided to come back and take a look at the series in its second issue. You might remember that I reviewed the first issue last year. And if you don’t remember that, here’s a handy link.
Go ahead and read that one first. I can wait.
Ready? Okay then.
The good news is that Shazam! is still as strong a read in its second issue as it was its first. The story this time sees The Shazam Family – the six foster kids who call upon the forces of magic to fight crime in Philadelphia – deciding to explore the magical train station that seems to travel to other realities from their base of operations in The Rock of Eternity. After consulting a map listing such locations as “The Wildlands” and “The Gamelands,” the kids decide to take the train to The Funlands. Faster than you can say Narnia, they’re in a theme-park that makes Disney World look like a seedy rest-stop with a petting zoo.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, the kids’ foster parents, Rosa and Victor Vasquez are coping with the sudden arrival of a man claiming to be Billy Batson’s birth father. This throws them for a loop even before they discover their children are missing. Finally, in a medical clinic somewhere, Dr. Sivana and Mr. Mind plan strategy even as they take the first steps toward securing what they need on their path to power.
This brings us to the one flaw with Shazam #2! – it’s nowhere near as accessible to new readers as the first issue. While Shazam! #1 did a fantastic job of introducing the kids and showcasing their powers for new readers, this issue doesn’t give us much explanation for who Dr. Sivana is. Of course you already know this if you know your comics history or read the 2013 Shazam! mini-series (short answer – he’s a mad scientist trying to steal the secrets of magic for himself) but it’s very strange that Geoff Johns didn’t bother to explain this for the new readers this series is presumably meant to attract. It’s doubly strange given that we do learn more of Mr. Mind’s origins!
Thankfully, the artwork more than makes up for this minor flaw in the story. Marco Santucci takes over for Dale Eaglesham this month and proves more than equal to the task of filling his shoes. The amount of detail worked into this issue is truly astonishing. There’s a number of wonderful little visual gags worked into the crowd scenes of The Funlands and half the fun of the issue involves looking through everything, like a Where’s Waldo? book. The color art, once again by Mike Atiyeh, is as brilliant and eye-catching as ever.
In the end, while it assumes a bit to much of the reader, Shazam! #2 is still a solid issue of a good series that perfectly captures the childlike spirit of the classic Captain Marvel comics. If you like your comics fun, your artwork bold and there’s an inner child within you who still dreams of being a superhero, Shazam! is a must read.
Shazam! #2 releases on January 23, 2019!
Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.