Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Knight Terrors: Shazam! #1 Review



Written by: Mark Waid
Art by: Roger Cruz, Wellington Dias
Colors by: Arif Prianto
Letters by: Troy Peteri
Cover art by: Dan Mora
Cover price: $4.99
Release date: July 11th, 2023

Knight Terrors: Shazam! #1 descends into Mary Marvel's worst worry when she dreams about everyone around her in mortal danger with no way to save them.
Is It Good?

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Knight Terrors: Shazam! #1 is another in a long string of comics within the Knight Terrors event that's not necessary for the main plot of the "event." So, if you're keeping track of which comics you need to buy to figure out what's happening, file this one under "optional."

With that disclaimer out of the way, Mark Waid, Roger Cruz, and Wellington Dias have put together a surprisingly tight, unsettling, psychologically dramatic issue focusing on Mary Marvel. When Mary dreams about her family falling into impossibly lethal situations, she uses the power of Shazam! to save the day, but Black Billy (a transformed Billy Batson who looks too close to Black Adam) foils her saves and slowly uses the power of Shazam! against her to harm rather than help.

Waid clearly lays this issue out as a surreal nightmare, which is a plus. Insomnia makes an appearance to establish at least a tenuous connection to Knight Terrors for a double plus. And Mary's nightmare grows increasingly disturbing as the issue progresses, so you get a genuine sense of danger, despite knowing the scenario isn't real. Triple plus.

Rather than leaning on monsters or scary imagery alone, Waid leans on Mary's obsession with helping others and her insecurities about not being good enough without the power of Shazam! to realize her full potential. Mary's desire to good is overshadowed by her inability to make that good possible, creating nightmares founded just as much in frustration and regret as violence. In other words, Waid is digging into some deep character work in this issue.

How's the art? It's good, but not Dan Mora good. I don't like to dwell on artist comparisons too much, but Dan Mora is a tough act to follow. Still, Wellington and Dias put their best foot forward for a respectable set of visuals.

What's not so great about this issue? On its own, nothing. The downside is the issue's lack of place or purpose in the Knight Terrors event, effectively derailing the momentum from the main title. DC Editorial grossly miscalculated by making Knight Terrors a line-wide event, and the cracks are starting to show.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

Follow @ComicalOpinions on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Bits and Pieces:

Knight Terrors: Shazam! #1 is a grim, dark, psychological nightmare for Mary Marvel that turns her worst fears against her. Waid's writing is in top form, and the art team delivers solid work, but this issue barely has anything to do with Insominia, so file this one under "optional" for Knight Terrors.


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