Time for a visit to Earth-S, home of Fawcett Comics’ legendary hero, Captain Marvel! (This is one that I’ve been looking forward to…) Your Major Spoilers review of Convergence: Shazam #1 awaits!
Previously in Convergence: Shazam: A chance encounter with a strange old man left Billy Batson with the ability to channel the abilities of legendary elders: The wisdom of Solomon! The strength of Hercules! The stamina of Atlas! The power of Zeus! The courage of Achilles! The speed of Mercury! By saying the magic word SHAZAM, he transforms into Captain Marvel, world’s mightiest mortal!
Or at least, he used to… a year ago. This is a tale of Pre-Crisis Earth-S.
SOME NOSTALGIA, I’M GOOD WITH
This issue opens AFTER the announcement by Telos, but strangely, the dome over Fawcett City has not come down. Worse, the population of the city is starting to panic at his insistence that they must fight to survive, fearing that their hero has abandoned them. (In a clever bit of narrative, this story is shown to take place AFTER the Marvels were trapped in the Suspendium dome by Sivana, which means AFTER the book was relaunched at DC in 1973.) Weirdly, though the Marvel Family has been depowered, Bulletman and Bulletgirl are shown to be still super (presumably thanks to the artificial nature of their powers, a plot-point that hasn’t been consistently applied across all Convergence books) and save the assembled people of Fawcett from a despondent suicide bomber, before Uncle Dudley and WHIZ Radio boss man Mr. Morris sneak off together, acting very suspiciously…
SAY IT WITH ME: SHAZAM!
Powers or no powers, the trio of Billy, Mary and Freddy heroically follow their “friends” into the subways, only to find that they’re actually Doctor Sivana and IBAC in disguise! The entire Monster Society of Evil is in attendance (or at least most of the non-terribly racist ones), leading to jeopardy for the Marvel kids… until IBAC accidentally says his name and reveals that the magic is back! Doc Shaner’s art in this whole issue is utterly wonderful, from the echoes of C.C. Beck in young Billy Batson, to a slightly more authentically tigery Talky Tawny all the way through to the full-page lightning-bolt transformation sequence. After mopping up the M.S.E., the Marvels return to the surface to find the city under attack by Victorian airships (from the world of ‘Gotham By Gaslight.’)
THE BOTTOM LINE: A REALLY CHARMING ISSUE
Most of this issue (like most of the more successful Convergence books thus far) doesn’t focus too much on the overarching premise, instead re-introducing the denizens of Fawcett City and reminding us why these were the stars of the best-selling comic book series of all time. Convergence: Shazam #1 is a loving tribute to comics past that still feels fresh and modern and makes me want to see this creative team on a full-scale classic Captain Marvel revival, earning a very impressive 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. Even if you’re not reading Convergence, I recommend taking a look at this comic, it is GORGEOUS.