More than anything else, Billy wants to meet his dad, but he has to rescue his siblings who are stranded in the Magiclands. Is there any way he can do both? Find out in Shazam! #8.
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Scott Kolins
Colorist: Michael Atiyeh
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Editor: Mike Cotton
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 27, 2019
Previously in Shazam!: Billy and his siblings are scattered among the various Magiclands, all part of an elaborate plot by Dr. Sivana and Mr. Mind. Eugene and Pedro are in the Gamelands attempting to get out when the Wizard finds them and gets them to the Wozenderlands, a blend of Wonderland and Oz. Billy and Mary have found their way home, and the break the news to Victor and Rosa that they, and the rest of the kids, are actually superheroes. In the Wildlands, Freddy and Darla are thrown into a tiger pit where they are saved by Tawky Tawny, who thinks he can find a portal that will send them home. Instead, they end up in the Darklands.
IT’S ALL ABOUT FAMILY
Shazam! #8 opens in the Wozenderlands where Pedro and Eugene are trying to explain their story to the White Rabbit. It’s a clever excuse for reminding us what the heck is going on, which is a complicated tangle in the Magiclands. Their powers don’t work here, and that’s an excuse for the Wizard to tell us there is a disturbance in Billy Batson’s heart, and Billy is, of course, the chosen one who is the leader of the Seven Champions. Seven, of course, is a nice magical number, but the Shazam Family only numbers six….
Billy and Mary ended up at home briefly before Billy ran off again to track down his other siblings. Now Victor and Rosa are left to make lame excuses for why Billy’s father cannot see him. They feel bad as Mr. Batson leaves, but Dr. Sivana and Black Adam watch his dejected departure with great interest.
Billy is in the Darklands, a black and white world of endless cemeteries, skulls, bats, and spiderwebs. He meets the Ghost of Champions, a skeletal figure wearing a version of the Shazam costume, who offers to help him find Freddy and Darla…if he does a favor in return. The Ghost just wants to come back to the land of the living. He hints that Billy’s father could die this day. That gets Billy’s attention, as well as the attention of the ghost of Captain Marvel, Sr. and a whole family of ghosts who advise Billy to get to the bell tower and scold the troublesome ghost. Billy gets to the tower and brings Freddy and Darla home along with Tawky Tawny, which is a bit of a surprise for Victor and Rosa.
Dr. Sivana’s plan involves Mr. Batson, figuring that with him in their hands, Billy will do their bidding. Black Adam turns on him, as villains are wont to do, only to find that Sivana’s powers have been increased thanks to Mr. Mind. Black Adam tries to warn him about Mr. Mind, only to find out that this is all part of the caterpillar’s plan to free his Monster Society. Black Adam still does not want to go along with them, but they offer to bring his wife and children back from the dead and give him minions.
As Black Adam talks to Mr. Batson and tries to get him to come with him, Dr. Sivana and Mr. Mind head off on their own for the next part of their plan. Billy arrive on the scene just in time to punch Black Adam and rescue his dad. Before then can talk, Black Adam comes flying back. In the midst of the fight, Black Adam’s gang grabs Mr. Batson and flies up in the air with the intent of dropping him to his death.
SEVERAL NICE MOMENTS
I think the art of Shazam! #8 is solid. There’s a lot of line work which is good for adding shadows and emotion to characters, but it also gives the superheroes the look of having muscles on their muscles. To me it can be too much of a thing. That said, it’s really lovely for bringing a lot of depth and detail to the backgrounds. There’s a gorgeous double page spread early on showcasing each of the kids in a panel depicting one of the Magiclands, and that level of detail really brings out the highlights of those lands.
I also really love the Darklands, which look like Halloween and old black and white horror movies had a baby. It is a bit over the top? Yes, but it looks awesome. There’s a double page spread of this that I could keep looking at for ages. It has so many cool things in it. The ghostly/skeletal Shazam! Family in the Darklands is also quite clever.
BOTTOM LINE: AN ALL-AROUND GOOD FAMILY STORY
When it comes right down to it, the theme of Shazam! #8 is all about family, whether by birth or by choice. I like that the plot is finally starting to feel cohesive, that our romp through the Magiclands actually has a point. It’s also fun finally touching base with the villains again and getting a sense of what they’re up to.
Saving his family, saving the Magiclands, and maybe even saving the world.