Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Shazam! #3 (2021) Review

Sympathy For The Devil's Son

Written By: Tim Sheridan
Art By: Clayton Henry, Marcelo Maiolo, Rob Leigh
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 21, 2021

Billy Batson's quest to find and return the Rock of Eternity to the center of the Multiverse continues this issue, but I'm not sure Billy has really thought about how he's going to achieve his goal..... You know, since the Rock is in hell and because of that Billy's powers as Shazam! aren't really working as they should and I doubt just simple good intentions are going to get the job done.  Maybe though, with the revelation that Billy's friend Dane, who came along on this quest is actually the son of Satan called Nevermore... Well, maybe Dane's got the juice to see Billy's plans to fruition.  Let's check it out.

For our story this issue we see Billy and Dane just get away from their former pursuer, Sulibak only to run into a new foe, who Billy knows all too well from the Underworld Unleased story from the '90s, Neron, but for whatever reason Billy without the wisdom of Solomon to smack him in the back of the head when he has bad ideas just decides that even though Neron is one of the worst of the worst, Dane and him should allow Neron to be their guide to the Rock of Eternity...... and guess what, Neron screws them over. Surprise, surprise.

This is a weird issue where Billy's powers don't work and his attitude feels weird about it, while Dane just discovered the type of powers he has and doesn't seem too excited or all that interested in them either, which in my mind should make up the majority of the issue but instead we just get Billy constantly reminding us that Neron's a bad dude and I'm left screaming at the page about what's up with the Rock of Eternity's power since it's all screwed up but half of the Rock itself is actually from Hell and I want to know what that means in the long run.  By the end, though we get an interesting cliffhanger which I hope answers some continuity questions I have with how Shazam's powers work and a Future State connection that I feared had been left behind.

All in all, I love the art in this issue and dig all the designs of the characters we have featured here, but the story just feels kind of limp and lifeless overall and none of the characters feel like they have any real emotions about their situations and beyond Billy's knowledge of Neron, there's nothing that really feels like there's any real connection between this book and what's come before and I'm still left wondering what happened to the rest of the Shazam! Family since Mary and Freddy are the only ones who are ever mentioned and even with that mention, the idea of Freddy dying and Billy needing the power of Shazam! to save him still feels like a weird move where Freddy will always have to be a Captain Marvel Jr. type to make sure he's not on the verge of death... We're getting closer to things that we saw in Future State and while I haven't really been enjoying this mini-series I do hope that we see some sort of divergence from that timeline here because Billy doesn't deserve the future we saw him have before and if we do get that by the end, then maybe all of this was worth it.

Bits and Pieces:

It's funny, I'll never stop wanting a Shazam! book and am angry every time one ends but I guess it's a case of "Be careful what you wish for" because while I currently have one, it's not something I'm really invested in and each issue feels like it's only using Captain Marvel buzz words because nothing really feels like it's fleshed out and the characters feel off and that continues here but thankfully we have an interesting cliffhanger and some amazing art throughout... I just wish the rest of the book felt as strong as these elements.


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