Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Shazam! #3 Review


Written by: Mark Waid
Art by: Dan Mora
Colors by: Alejandro Sánchez
Letters by: Troy Peteri
Cover art by: Dan Mora
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: September 5, 2023

Shazam! #3 finds Billy Batson struggling to keep his Captain persona hidden while the gods behind his person decide to make a more active role in the Captain's daily life.
Is Shazam! #3 Good?

That's right. The "big bad" behind all of Billy Batson's troubles are the very gods who gave him his power in the first place. Why? In a nutshell, the Captain is not representing the gods well enough. Well, if you're going to pick a villain with a relatable motivation, that's a new one.

When last we left Billy Batson (many months ago due to an ill-conceived hiatus to make room for Knight Terrors), Billy Batson's control over the powers of Shazam slipped more without a root cause. Now, we learn the gods who give Billy his power are taking turns controlling the Captain to push him to represent the gods in a manor befitting of their statures. In other words, the Captain is pushed to act more like Zeus or Atlas or Mercury, depending on who is in control at the time.

Meanwhile, the Space T-Rex is still waiting for Billy to come home to fill out his paperwork (it's a long story).

More than any previous issue, Shazam! #3 shows Dan Waid is fully leaning into the Silver Age wackiness of classic Shazam! stories by presenting characters and situations that are just a little too bizarre to match the modern DC tone of storytelling. That's not a bad things at all as modern comics could use a little more wacky fun, but it is a tonal inconsistency with the rest of DC's lineup that will take some getting used to.

What's great about Shazam! #3? In a nutshell, the issue is fun. Waid's central premise makes sense, even if it is based on the Olympian gods acting like brats. Billy's heroics are amazing, and the struggle he feels with the Captain's instability is palpable. As a bonus, the little bits of humor land perfectly.

What's not s great about Shazam! #3? Waid's premise makes sense, but the direction isn't clear. It feels like Billy/Captain is going with the flow, and the gods are simply taking turns taking the Captain for a test drive, but there's no sense of a plan or end-game from the gods. Leaning on the Silver Age tone is a pleasant change of pace for now, but tone only takes you so far.

As a side note, this title's pause to accommodate Knight Terrors was a brutally shortsighted mistake and a momentum killer. If you have dig deep to remember what happened in the last issue due to the hiatus, DC screwed up.

How's the art? Dan Mora's art is fantastic (naturally), but Mora's style is almost too sharp and too developed for Waid's Silver Age tone. It's like have Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro show up in an episode of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. You're not sure is you should think "that's cool!" or "Huh?"

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

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Bits and Pieces:

Shazam! #3 leans even further into the Silver Age wackiness with eclectic characters and clarity surrounding who is behind the Captain's bizarre outbursts. Waid's reveal makes sense, even in a silly Silver Age way, and Dan Mora's art is exquisite, but the villain doesn't seem to have a plan (yet), and Mora's exquisite art sometimes seems out of place with the Silver Age tone.


1 comment:

  1. i think this book is already way overrated!