Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Shazam! #4 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: October 3, 2023

Shazam! #4 continues the Captain's misuided adventures on the Moon when he learns what the Apes of Simian Island were really after from Garguax, the emperor of the Moon. But is Garguax really the person in charge?
Is Shazam! #4 Good?

Shazam #4 is silly, kooky, Silver Age-inspired fun. Once in a while, you just have to let go of the grim, serious, life-or-death drama that seems to permeate every DC comic these days, and let the adventure go crazy. Will some readers say, "That's silly. It doesn't feel grounded or realistic." They would be correct, but comics are fiction. It doesn't have to be grounded.

When last we left the Captain (I still think Major Marvel would be a better upgrade), he flew to the Moon on behalf of the Apes of Simian Island because he was told the enigmatic character on the Moon was using Ape-purchased tech to build a nuclear missile that could be used against Earth.

Now, the Captain learns the enigmatic man on the Moon, Garguax isn't building a missile at all. Instead, he's building a warp drive at the behest of his true love, Zzazzala aka Queen Bee. Zeus sees an opportunity for mind control to dust off his flirting skills when he feasts his eyes on Queen Bee's beauty, Solomon breaks the gods' hold over Freddy's mind to seek help, and the Apes launch an attack on the Moon when they grow impatient.

Yes, the T-rex in a tux is still hanging around until the paperwork is done.

Simply on that description alone, you should pick up that this issue is weird, wild, and wacky. Admittedly, weird, wild, and wacky is not going to be everyone's cup of tea if you're expecting Shazam to deal with Superman-type threats. However, this isn't Superman, and Waid is going out of his way to ensure the adventures and challenges the Captain faces truly set the Captain apart from Superman, in tone and atmosphere.

What's great about Shazam! #4? Yes, the plot is silly, but it's FUN. Even in its silliness, the plot flows smoothly, the character moments (both serious and non-serious) land, and the cliffhanger ends the issue in a thriller.

What's not so great about Shazam! #4? The T-Rex in a tux gag was cute at first, but the gag has overstayed its welcome. Waid risks turning a surreal joke into an albatross if he doesn't do something with it or get rid of it.

How's the art? Dan Mora can't miss. Mora's lines are super clean, his anatomy presentation and dynamic figure work are the best around, and his action choreography and facial acting have a personality that speaks volumes.

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! #4 is a weird, wiley, wacky issue that's tons of fun but takes itself seriously enough to deliver an exciting adventure. Waid's homage to Silver Age storytelling is on-point, and Mora's art is perfect.


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