SHAZAM! #4

93%
93%
Thoughtful

Shazam #4 continues strongly into this story arc. It’s spread out, but not so far that we cannot keep track of it. I do like that the parents are actually worried about the missing kids and I love the final reveal. This is a good, solid, thoroughly enjoyable book.

  • Writing
    9
  • Art
    10
  • Coloring
    9
  • User Ratings (0 Votes)
    0

Dispersed throughout the Magiclands, things are looking tough for the Shazam Family. First stop – The Wildlands. What is in store for Darla and Freddy? Major Spoilers reviews SHAZAM! #4 from DC Comics.

Shazam #4 ReviewSHAZAM! #4

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Dale Eaglesham & Marco Santucci
Colorist: Mike Atiyeh
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: March 27, 2019

Previously in Shazam!: Billy and his brothers and sisters were guests of King Kid in The Funlands, feasting on all kinds of food, candy, and cake. King Kid tells his sad story, and how he now only wants to bring fun to more kids. But he now wants something more – he wants to be included as the seventh champion. Mary and Billy are both skeptical of him. King Kid reveals that most of the Magiclands were nearly destroyed by Mr. Mind and his monsters. When Mary tries to talk her family into going home, it comes out that she’s nearly eighteen and things take a dramatic turn. King Kid’s clown minions attack, and she, Darla, and Freddy are dragged away. The other three assume their heroic forms – which are adults – and King Kid turns on them too.

A JOURNEY TO MORE MAGICLANDS

If you were curious about the other Magiclands, never fear! Shazam! #4 opens on a beautiful day in The Wildlands. We see someone getting up, and it isn’t until a few panels in that we realize he’s a tiger. An anthropomorphic tiger, that is. He gets up and gets dressed in a checked suit and fedora, and out he goes into the bustling city – more on this when I discuss the art, but for now imagine a big city circa the 1930’s. The word on the street is that there has been another human sighting – which has to be a hoax, as the humans are extinct. The tiger is suddenly ambushed and accused of having forbidden literature – “How to Step Eating Your Friends.” A few pages in and we already know a lot about The Wildlands, and they are fascinating.

Cut to Darla and Freddy, who are in a lush forest, surrounded by three animalian police armed with nets and truncheons. Darla cries out, “Kitty!” and runs over to hug the one that is a cat. We get it; she loves animals, but at six feet tall and armed, this seems just a little too enthusiastic on her part. She and Freddy start running, to no avail, and are caught, and they cannot transform.

Meanwhile, in The Funlands, King Kid has captured Billy and explains he’s expelled four of his siblings. But he can show him where Mary is. King Kid has had bad experiences at the hands of adults. He has wished never to become one, but he cannot stop the other kids who arrive from growing up. This is convenient, because his magic stick alone cannot keep The Funlands going, so when kids turn eighteen they basically become his slaves. To be fair, it is an interesting twist on the concept of child labor.

Freddy and Darla are locked up in a public cage where the citizens of The Wildlands look at them in awe and fear. Darla remains clueless about how they’re reacting. And a mother rabbit tells her little boy that with any luck, the nasty humans will be fed to the tigers. Briefly we check in on The Earthlands, where at the Vasquez foster home, the police have been called. Mr. Batson feels this may have been his fault, and then we get the conflicting story. Did Billy run away from home, or did he get lost and was never able to find his father?

But we have one more location and two more siblings. Eugene and Pedro are in The Gamelands, where everyone has a score floating above them, and where the two of them have no I.D. They’re accosted by law enforcement (not police, but “referees”) and immediately lose points for arguing with them. Eugene decides they should run (with loss of more points), and finally they find an information booth. To get back to The Funlands will take a million points, which basically means beating the Gamemaster.

And who should show up at the Rock of Eternity but an old nemesis!

SO MUCH LIFE!

The Magiclands in Shazam! #4 are really pretty wild, but the art brings then to life so thoroughly that we can buy into them. A lot of this is through the attention to detail. The Wildlands are distinct, and everything we see serves a purpose in strongly establishing the setting. I place it as looking like a city in the 1930’s. Inside we see this in the old-fashioned alarm clock, the font on the book cover, the furniture, the lamp, etc. And it’s awesome to see the tiger going through his mantra about not eating others as he brushes his teeth. I’ve already accepted what this place is like, so when he steps out onto the stoop and we see the city around him, packed full of animals and bursting with activity, I’m there. The detail continues in the clothes, the hats, the vehicles, the signage. It’s terrific.

The Funlands have taken a darker turn, what with the slave pits. This is another incredible splash, but the details I really like here are the facial expressions, especially Billy’s as he understands what’s going on.

BOTTOM LINE: WELL-EXECUTED AND THOUGHTFUL

Shazam #4 continues strongly into this story arc. It’s spread out, but not so far that we cannot keep track of it. I do like that the parents are actually worried about the missing kids and I love the final reveal. This is a good, solid, thoroughly enjoyable book.

Share.

About Author

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.

Leave A Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.