Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Shazam! #5 Review


Written by: Mark Waid
Art by: Dan Mora
Colors by: Alejandro Sánchez
Letters by: Troy Peteri
Cover art by: Dan Mora (cover A)
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: November 7, 2023

Shazam! #5 finds Mary Marvel stepping in to lend the Captain a hand against the Gorilla City denizens, Queen Bee, and Garguax.
Is Shazam! #5 Good?

Yes, Shazam! #5 is a keeper. I continually rail on the idea that every individual comic should have at least one big idea, but Mark Waid's latest issue in the stellar homage to Silver Age storytelling gives you two big ideas for the price of one, and the cliffhanger could be a game changer.

When last we left Billy Batson, aka the Captain, Billy was left drifting in space outside Garguax's protective dome. With Garguax ready to hand over the HyperDrive to Queen Bee and Billy about to turn into a Batson-cicle, all hope was practically gone. Now, Mary Marvel swoops in to save Billy. She uses a neat trick to revive Billy and transform him into the Captain just in time to stop Garguax, Queen Bee, Ted, and his Gorilla cohorts, and the moon from spinning furiously out of control.

Surprisingly, the Marvels figure out what's causing the Captain's erratic behavior. When Billy returns to confront the gods over their inappropriate mind control, the meeting takes a shocking twist.

If you're wondering whether or not the alien T-Rex in a tux makes an appearance, he does, but the appearance is blessedly brief. It's unclear why Waid keeps the T-Rex around except for a mild bit of comic relief. In this issue, the T-Rex does nothing but follow the family and say a few lines of inconsequential dialog.

What's great about Shazam! #5? This comic is silly fun, but it's not "that doesn't make any sense" fun. Waid leans heavily into the Silver Age inspiration of outlandish plot developments, but the flow makes sense, the characters and their dialog are well written, and the big plot reveals are wow moments. This series may not appeal to every reader's sensibility if all you want is grim-dark Batman stories, but it's a welcome change of pace.

What's not so great about Shazam! #5? The only problem is the minor nitpicks. One hero can't stop a moon from spinning without tearing it apart. There's no reason to release Queen Bee when she's clearly dangerous. And the ease with which Billy and his family gain access to the gods without being noticed is hard to swallow. Fortunately, the positives vastly outweigh the negatives, so you can ignore these shortcomings as minor as long as you don't get picky.

How's the art? I don't think Dan Mora knows how to draw a bad panel. This book looks fantastic, from the characters' facial acting to the big action scenes. The comic looks Marvel-ous (*ahem*).

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

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Bits and Pieces:

Shazam! #5 brings Billy's mystery about his erratic superpowers to a head after a wild but thoroughly entertaining battle on the Moon. The Silver Age-inspired story is a welcome respite from DC's typically glum offerings, and Mora's art is the best around.


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