SHAZAM #1 BY GEOFF JOHNS, DALE EAGLESHAM AND MIKE ATIYEH
Plot
Characterization
Art
Summary
SHAZAM #1 is an absolute delight. It’s a nice, light story which is incredibly reverent to the character. Geoff Johns clearly loves Shazam, and it shows. Dale Eaglesham evokes Norman Rockwell in his art to portray this touching story. It looks truly beautiful.
98 %
Heartwarming Fun

Billy Batson and his family finally return in SHAZAM #1. The characters have been largely absent from the main DC Universe since the final days of the New 52. Writer Geoff Johns makes sure, however, that their return is as glorious as possible. Johns crafts a truly sweet, delightful premiere issue of this new ongoing series.

It’s chock full of heartwarming family moments, as well as fun, lighthearted superhero action. It’s all I could ask for in a Shazam book. It also works as a beautiful follow-up to Johns’ Shazam story arc from the pages of the New 52 JUSTICE LEAGUE book. Artist Dale Eaglesham creates some meticulously detailed art. He evokes a Norman Rockwell-type quality with his art, which fits perfectly for a light family superhero book. Billy Batson fans should not miss SHAZAM #1!

Family Fun in SHAZAM #1

The last time we saw Billy Batson, he was an angry, rebellious foster kid who stumbled upon the wizard Shazam. The wizard granted Billy his powers, turning him into a superhero who shared the wizard’s name. As Shazam, Billy learned how to share his powers with his foster family, turning them into the Shazam family. They used their powers to defeat Black Adam, and all became closer as a result. SHAZAM #1 opens with a retelling of Billy’s origins before showing Billy in the present day, on a field trip to the Museum of the American Revolution in his native Philadelphia, along with his foster brother Freddy. Freddy, the family goofball, cracks jokes while Billy intently listens to the docent giving the museum tour. Suddenly, a bunch of robbers dressed in cheap superhero masks storm the gallery.

SHAZAM #1
SHAZAM #1 page 5. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Billy transforms into Shazam, and, before long, his family follows suit. There, the family all display their own unique powers while making quick work of the criminals. All the while, they lovingly bicker about who gets to be the leader and what their team name is. Later, they return to their foster home, where they have a nice family dinner celebrating the one-year anniversary of Billy moving in to the house. Later, the family travels to the wizard’s old tunnels, where they make a startling discovery. What do they discover? And what mysterious visitor shows up at their foster home? Pick up SHAZAM #1 to find out!

A Heartwarming Story in SHAZAM #1

SHAZAM #1 proves that Geoff Johns clearly has great reverence for the former Captain Marvel. This issue highlights, to me, the greatest aspects of the Shazam family. For one, they should act more lighthearted than other superheroes, and their adventures should be less grim. It’s nice to have a superhero story that doesn’t have huge, earth-shattering battles or dark subject matter. Not that there’s anything wrong with those, but it’s refreshing to have just a nice, old-fashioned feel-good superhero book. That’s exactly what SHAZAM #1 is.

The opening crime-fighting scene felt like something out of a decades-old comic, but that’s a good thing for these characters. They should feel old-fashioned. After all, they’re all children. They may look like adults when they’re powered up, but it still feels weird to see kids tied up in some dark, gritty story. Another aspect of the story which I really loved was the family dynamic. It feels pleasing to see the kids all gather around their dinner table and talk about their days. John writes the issue in such a way that you can truly see how each character loves one another. When they all go to the wizard’s old lair, Darla, one of Billy’s foster sisters, points out that they’re all family and Billy smiles and agrees with her. It’s little moments like that which make this issue genuinely heartwarming.

Rockwell-esque Art in SHAZAM #1

Dale Eaglesham’s art seriously evokes the works of Norman Rockwell, who pained covers for the SATURDAY EVENING POST magazine in the Forties and the Fifties. His art usually revolves around either lighthearted, comedic everyday scenes or more touching familial scenes. His art was — and still is — incredibly relatable to people all over. Eaglesham definitely seems to have gotten some inspiration from Rockwell for this book. It makes sense since Shazam and his family evoke the same messages as Rockwell did in his art.

SHAZAM #1
SHAZAM #1 page 6. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Much like Rockwell, Eaglesham adds some incredible detail to his art, both in the foreground and background and with the main characters as well as various background characters. One page that truly exemplifies this is when Shazam makes his first appearance in the issue. Shazam has a playful look on his face as he taunts the criminals. Meanwhile, the characters all around him react to the stunning transformation. Billy’s teacher’s hair stands on end from the static electricity, while he looks on in stunned disbelief. His classmate crouches to the ground and looks at Shazam with slack-jawed amazement. Meanwhile, Freddy stands in the background, smirking knowingly. The art itself tells its own story. You don’t need any dialogue to add to it. It’s truly stunning.

Final Thoughts: SHAZAM #1

SHAZAM #1 is well worth the wait. We may have been without the Shazam family for years, but their triumphant return makes that all worthwhile. If you love the character, you must pick up this issue!

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