(++Warning: this review contains mild spoilers for SHAZAM #9++)
Though its been plagued by delays and frequent shifts in art teams, few titles have been as consistently fun and enjoyable as SHAZAM! has this past year. That all comes to a head in the latest issue, a story that will have consequences for this title, and possibly the entire DC Universe.
Geoff Johns, Marco Santucci, Scott Kolins, Dale Eaglesham, Mike Aityeh, and Rob Leigh put all the pieces in place for an explosive confrontation.
Billy Batson has found the final member of the SHAZAM family and given him his power- his biological father, CC Batson. Though the wizard tells him he has to choose between his siblings and his father, Billy shows why he’s the champion, and perhaps the greatest champion to hold the Power of SHAZAM! by choosing both! And it’s a good thing too, because Black Adam, Mister Mind and Sivana are ready to destroy them all…
At first glance, this story may seem like just putting the pieces on the board for the rest of the story arc. However, Johns writes a climax to Billy’s character arc, showing how much the character has grown since his re-introduction in the early days of the New 52. He’s become a much more mature, and compassionate person, and that directs the story just as much as the evil forces rallying against him. It’s not a perfect issue (with some pacing issues in particular), but it’s fun and drives the story forward in a great way.
We run into another jam issue for the line art, but thankfully it’s not distracting and doesn’t work to the issues detriment. Atiyeh’s colors are a big part of that, tying the issue together thematically really well. Each of the three pencillers get their own moment to shine, and they’re able to depict the action, emotional beats, and big reveals all extremely well. Santucci does the lion’s share of the issue, and it’s worth calling out that his fight between Billy, CC and Adam is executed nearly perfectly.
This is one of DC’s most consistent and fun series, and I’m excited to see what Johns and company have in store next.
SHAZAM! #9 is available now from DC Comics.