Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Shazam! #2 Review

The Hell You Say!

Written By: Tim Sheridan
Art By: Clayton Henry, Marcelo Maiolo, Rob Leigh
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 17, 2021

Something weird is going on with the power of Shazam! and now Billy Batson is going to get to the bottom of it..... and I do mean bottom since it seems that one of the big things affecting his transformation and individual powers is that the Rock of Eternity had plunged from the center of the Multiverse into the underworld hellscape and now it's up to Billy and a Titans Academy magical chum named Dane to get to hell and somehow put the Rock back where it belongs. Let's jump into this issue and see how Hell affects our two heroes on their journey. Let's check it out.

So while the prospect of Billy Batson going to hell with the character Dane, who I don't know very well beyond the idea that he's a magical kid, does sound kind of intriguing, the problem that I felt in this issue is that nobody treated hell like it was anything to really worry about and the way that hell was depicted might as well have just been a fiery looking Las Vegas, where Billy Batson and Dane just feel like they wind up in the Lotus Casino from Percy Jackson but instead of keeping them there forever, the place will corrupt you to the point that you can never leave and that's fine and all I guess, but it just feels so familiar from other things and I guess it really needs to rely on that aspect because we're moving so quickly through this story that Dane starts gambling, cheats the house, demons come after both our main kids and Billy somehow is already falling in love with a demon girl who also just happens to be the daughter of the head demon Sulibak, who is chasing our main characters. It's just so quick and feels out of place for how quick it is.

Outside of that aspect we have a new development with Dane and I'm not sure if it's supposed to be really cool or what for how little we knew about the magical student to begin with but this bit just acts as a cliffhanger to put a stop to Billy getting his head ripped off since even being in the proximity of the Rock of Eternity isn't enough for our hero to keep his powers, even when he's able to change into the Mightiest Mortal, which isn't always. This is a weird issue, to a weird series and Billy Batson barely feels like the character you've known from the past and while there's an entertaining aspect to this issue like I said previously, it feels forced and out of nowhere.

All in all, I did really enjoy the art in this issue and think that Shazam in hell is a cool prospect that kind of goes back to when he was taking on the Wizard Shazam's kids, Blaze and Satanus, or even his recent jaunt through the Seven Magicalands with how some of hell was depicted here but the story never feels like it has time to breath or feel organic in its progression because it's not only trying to fix Shazam but also now it seems to progress the characterization of Dane since we're spending so much time in the Titans Academy book just screwing around with Red X instead of exploring the cool characters there. So yeah, while ultimately there is some fun to be had here and the art looks great, the overall feel of the book is something that's rushed and barely comes off like a Shazam book in my mind at all and that's a shame since he is one of my favorite DC Comics characters.  

Bits and Pieces:

While there are things to like in this issue, like the art and the idea of Shazam! fighting a kaiju demon in hell, this issue really just shows me how little we're doing in the Titans Academy book, where this is a spinoff to progress Billy Batson's character and now in this issue, we're using our time to explore Dane's character. While that's fine, this issue really doesn't do much in getting us there naturally and just has things happen, and ultimately, this issue really kind of suffers for it as a whole.


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