Written by: Geoff Johns and Marco Santucci
Art by: Dale Eaglesham, Marco Santucci, Scott Kolins, Max Raynor
Colors by: Mike Atiyeh
Letters by: Rob Leigh
Release Date: May 8th, 2019
This issue opens with Black Adam chastising Billy’s opening of the Magiclands to himself. He vows to finally destroy Billy, convincing himself he’s doing the right thing (typical…). We quickly shift to the Funlands as Billy and Mary are still in the grip of King Kid. Without giving away any of the story, things flow across the Magiclands and briefly focus on what is happening to the rest of the Shazam Family. We center on the Wildlands, specifically Tawky Tawny, after checking in with Freddy and Darla. I’m convinced that we’ll come out of this first story-arc with him as a permanent member of the Family. This issue wraps up by showing all the members of the Shazam Family dealing with their current obstacles before returning to Black Adam. His journey is impeded by a newcomer. One who has strong connections to the Shazam Family. Why is this person here and what are his plans?
So this issue had a total of four artists on it. FOUR! Wow, I have rarely seen this many artists on one book that wasn’t an over-sized book of some sort. First up is Marco Santucci formerly of Injustice 2 and Green Lanterns. His Black Adam is fantastic. The details he puts into Adam’s face, especially the close-up of his lips can’t be understated. I love the incorporation of the lightning as well! Definitely would love to see Santucci as the artist of a Black Adam series. Next, is series regular Dale Eaglesham. Do I really need to go on about how I love Eaglesham’s art? He continues to show off his skill in this issue with an opening page of the Funlands. I spent around five minutes look at every detail of that splash page – the rides, the kids, and the prisoners. It must have taken Eaglesham hours to finish this page. I’m also obsessed with Eaglesham’s cover. It just comes across as a mash-up between Shazam and Tron. The colorwork is exceptional as well. Everything pops off the page.
Then, we have one of my absolute favorite artists – Scott Kolins. His pages focus on the Gamelands area of the Magiclands. Kolins has been one of my favorite artists since his days on the Flash with Geoff Johns. His style is hard to describe, but it absolutely works. Simple and gritty, it reminds me of early cel-shading for video games. Our last artist is Max Raynor. I am not familiar with his work at all, but based on what I saw in this issue? I am a huge fan! There’s a slight cartoon feel to his work that fits in with the talking animals of the Wildlands. I would not be opposed to seeing Raynor more on Shazam or other titles!
Now was I a fan of having four artists on one 22-page book? Not particularly. I think that it forces readers to focus too much on the abrupt change instead of just focusing on the story and art. I enjoy each artist separately and would be very favorable to have them all do an issue or two in this title or become the new series regular artist.
Shazam continues to be a great book and I can’t recommend it enough. It is such fun reading, from page 1 to page 22. I look forward to opening it up each month and seeing what adventures are ahead for the Shazam Family. Series like this one really deserves a lot more love. It isn’t a major series and sales make the final decision. So if we want to keep on reading more of the wonderful escapades of Shazam, we need to show it.