Shazam!

83%
83%
A Wild Adventure

The Law of Conservation of Characters suggests that the villains we meet in Shazam! #2 will be at the center of things. I like the energy and enthusiasm we have here, and the ongoing sense of innocence – that these kids aren’t so jaded and cynical that they expect problems around every corner. The villains are classic, and interesting and I am curious to see what they’re up to.

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  • Art
    9
  • Coloring
    8
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Billy Batson and his siblings have found The Station which leads to different destinations in the Magiclands! Which train are they going to take?

Shazam! #2 ReviewSHAZAM! #2

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Marco Santucci
Colorist: Mike Atiyeh
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 23, 2019

Previously in Shazam!: Billy Batson has found family at the foster home they share. Billy and Freddy’s school field trip to a museum is interrupted by thieves intent on pulling a heist, and boy, are they surprised when the Shazam family shows up and takes them out. That’s an exciting day for the kids, but it’s not over yet – after dinner, they head down to the Rock of Eternity, where Eugene has found a new room – The Station, which looks like a subway station, but the map claims the trains go to different destinations in The Magiclands! And back at the foster home, Billy Batson’s father arrives and asks to see  him.

A MAJOR DISTRACTION AND A MAJOR THREAT

Shazam! #2 begins right after the end of last issue. Billy Batson’s father is at the foster home, while his parents call to find out anything they can about this man, and why they were not given any notice of the visit. Billy has finally adjusted to living with them, and they don’t want to lose him, but they also realize they can’t keep Billy apart from his dad. They go up to get him, and find that none of the kids are there.

Of course, we know where they are – at the Rock of Eternity, looking over the map of the Magiclands and debating where to go first, or, in the case of Mary, whether to go anywhere at all. Freddy wants to put it up to a vote. Eugene wants to go to “The Gamelands,” while Darla is enticed by “The Wildlands.” Billy recalls that he found the Rock of Eternity from a subway, and feels this must be connected. No one is too tempted by “The Darklands” or “The Monsterlands.”

Freddy finds the train headed for “The Funlands,” and talks the others into going there. This is all part of the Rock of Eternity, where Billy got his powers. Things have been working out so far. And if they get into trouble, they can turn into superheroes. The Funlands it is! There is a jolt of magical energy and the train speeds off.

Meanwhile, Dr. Sivana is registering as a patient at a medical clinic. He carries a large book with him – The Encyclopedia of Magical Monsters. He opens this in the waiting room, and asks about the mad poet, and is apparently hearing information in his head. That information, oddly enough, is coming from a green caterpillar.

At the subway stop for The Funlands, the kids race upstairs where they are welcomed by a small, friendly clown, who doesn’t have a name, and who doesn’t have the time to give them any information. That might seem suspicious to those of us who are older and more skeptical by nature, but these are The Funlands,  the world’s greatest amusement park. And then we see it, wall-to-wall kids, towering roller coasters, confetti, balloons – the works. Billy wants to pair up and explore for two hours. Mary, with her college entrance exams coming up, does the adulting and asks where do they think all these kids came from and how they got there. She compromises on one hour of exploring before they meet back up.

Dr. Sivana gets in to see the doctor who chats with his briefly. Then the caterpillar tells him they need “the tongue of a medicine man” for whatever spell they’re planning. In the struggle, the large book falls to the floor, open to the page for Mr. (Maxivermis) Mind, the caterpillar. This, by the way, is a very clever way to fill us in on who he is, not to mention just how powerful and dangerous he is. (This is especially good for anyone such as myself who does not have a lot of depth of experience with the Marvel Family.)

Back in The Funlands, much fun is being had – riding rides, eating ridiculous amounts of candy. Then Billy and Freddy see something odd – some people are shouting “Happy Birthday!” and running after a young man with a birthday cake. He seems adamant that he does not want it. Could it possibly have something to do with the “18” on top of the cake? But then there is even more excitement as a train is coming in, and someone new is arriving. He spots Billy and calls him by name before introducing himself as King Kid, ruler of The Funlands…and the missing seventh champion of the family!

LIFE – FROM REAL TO SURREAL

The art in Shazam! #2 is solid right from the start, where the foster parents are going through a range of emotions dealing with the arrival of Billy’s father. I like the glimpses we have of the kids’ rooms, too. They’re just partial views, but each has their own distinctive flavors of childhood.

At the Station at the Rock of Eternity, we see enough of the old-fashioned style trains to refresh our memories from last time. I really like the look of things here, and the details such as wild animals depicted on the walls around the train for The Wildlands. The magical energy surrounding the train is cool, and I like that they arrive in The Funlands through the mouth of a giant face, like an amusement park ride. The Funlands themselves are almost overwhelming. It is packed with kids, and the attractions are jammed in, almost appearing impossibly close. And all the kids are grinning. It gives the impression of unrelenting fun. And, if you look closely, there are a lot of kids who look like they’re dressed not in current styles – overalls, cloth caps, sweater vests, letter jackets. It is mostly among the boys – and there are many more of them than there are girls, who mostly seem to be wearing dresses and have hair ribbons.

The contrast between The Funlands and the Dr. Sivana/Mr. Mind scenes are stark. For a caterpillar, Mr. Mind looks every millimeter a villain. We get a good portrait of him in the scene from the pages of the book, with the added thrill that silhouetted against it, we see Dr. Sivana going after the doctor’s tongue, nicely horrifying without having to be graphic.

BOTTOM LINE: OFF ON A WILD ADVENTURE?

The Law of Conservation of Characters suggests that the villains we meet in Shazam! #2 will be at the center of things. I like the energy and enthusiasm we have here, and the ongoing sense of innocence – that these kids aren’t so jaded and cynical that they expect problems around every corner. The villains are classic, and interesting and I am curious to see what they’re up to.


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By day, she’s a mild-mannered bureaucrat and Ms. Know-It-All. By night, she’s a dance teacher and RPG player (although admittedly not on the same nights). On the weekends, she may be found judging Magic, playing Guild Wars 2 (badly), or following other creative pursuits. Holy Lack of Copious Free Time, Batman! While she’s always wished she had teleportation as her superpower, she suspects that super-speed would be much more practical because then she’d have time to finish up those steampunk costumes she’s also working on.

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