The Monster Society of Evil is free and they’re led by… Billy Batson’s dad? Your Major Spoilers review of Shazam #13 from DC Comics awaits!
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Dale Eaglesham
Colorist: Michael Atiyeh
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Editor: Mike Cotton
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: July 21, 2020
Previously in Shazam: Revealing his devious plans, Mr. Mind attacks Billy Batson and the entire Shazam family! Pushed to the limit by a fierce battle against both Black Adam and the Monster Society, can Shazam turn the tide and save himself and his adopted family of friends and fellow heroes?
THE SINS OF THE (MIND-CONTROLLED) FATHER
Last time around, Billy Batson shared the power of Shazam with his long-missing father, transforming him into the seventh magical champion. Unfortunately, dad is under the control of Mister Mind, making the wicked worm incredibly powerful and allowing him to lead the Monster Society of Evil into battle. Shazam and his siblings fight vailiantly, but their opponents prove to be too strong, with each of them being overpowered. Dr. Sivana captures Billy’s foster-parents, while Mister Mind cruelly explains to him exactly WHERE Papa Batson has been: Committing petty crimes while not caring a whit about his abandoned kids. Using the power, Mind summons a magical volume from the Wizard’s library and forces Shazam to read it aloud. As the Seven Magic Lands merge into one, Billy desperately reads one final spell… and disappears!
THE SEVEN LANDS WILL BECOME ONE
Honestly, the Magic Lands storyline has been a little bit overwhelming to me, showing off the “Rainbow Spectrum of Lanterns” problem that occasionally crops up in the works of Geoff Johns, but this issue is more coherent for me than some of the previous. The personal connections (and personal attacks) make the plot hit home for Billy Batson and for the readers, and Dale Eaglesham’s art is pretty incredible. I’m quite enamored of his redesign of Mister Atom, but every page is solid adventure cartooning. I also like the cleverness of Billy in the final page of the issue, leading up to a final page cliffhanger that’s not only exciting, it makes my head hurt sympathetically.
BOTTOM LINE: THAT FINAL PAGE!
I haven’t always found this run enjoyable, but Shazam #13 hits a sweet spot for me, with excellent art that never forgets to focus on the emotional moments (Billy Batson’s crushed expression upon hearing abou this father’s disdain is heart-breaking), putting together an exciting issue that earns a better-than-average 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. Even if the next issue flies entirely off the rails, this chapter makes for a really good read.
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Still a LOT of villains and a lot going on, but the personal betrayal focuses this story a little bit better for me, and the art is stellar.