Friday, March 8, 2024

Shazam! #9 Review


Written by: Mark Waid
Art by: Emanuela Lupacchino
Colors by: Trish Mulvihill
Letters by: Troy Peteri
Cover art by: Dan Mora
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: May 5, 2024

Shazam! #9 puts Billy Batson in hot water when Jack Ryder reveals he knows the secret identity of Shazam. Little does Billy know that Ryder has a secret identity of his own, and he could use the Captain's help.
Is Shazam! #9 Good?

Shazam #9 is a fun, slightly silly, and basic one-and-done story that details the first meeting between The Captain (I still say Major Marvel works better) and The Creeper, both in their civilian and superhero personas.

When last we left "The Captain," he wrapped up a three-way conflict between himself, Black Adam, and an alien race of dinosaurs intent on retrieving one of their own who defected to Earth. After an impassioned plea to Zeus for help, everything was set right, including Billy's house, but Zeus may have made a few alterations to set the stage for future problems.

Now, Bill Batson is astonished to get booked on Jack Ryder's national show to talk about his blog that follows The Captain and, occasionally, Metamorpho. When the segment ends Ryder pulls Billy aside and tricks him into saying the magic words that transform him into The Captain. To put Billy's panic at ease, Ryder reveals he's also the Creeper and he needs The Captain's help to track down an ethereal criminal named Shadow Thief. The Creeper leads The Captain to a passenger train where a delegation of World Economics Leaders is taken hostage by Shadow Thief, so it's up to the world's unlikeliest superhero duo to save the day.

Watch our Shazam! #9 Video Review

What's great about Shazam! #9? Waid delivers a super-quick one-and-done that serves as a serviceable jumping-on point for new readers to get to know The Creeper. The Captain shares equal page space and does most of the work, but The Creeper's personality and modus operandi come through loud and clear. The plot is clear, simple, and a fun little adventure to distract you from the weight of the world.

What's not so great about Shazam! #9? Waid's script suffers in two spots. First, the pacing in the first third to half of the issue drags more than necessary. The interview between Ryder and Billy is meant to show how superficial Ryder is when it comes to manufacturing attention and controversy, but it drags on way too long. At the very least, Ryder's views on creating controversy could have been peppered throughout the dialog to get to the action sooner.

Second, Shadow Thief's defeat and capture were way too quick and easy. If all it took was a super bright light, then Waid didn't really set up why The Creeper reached out to The Captain in the first place. In short, the resolution undercuts the setup.

How's the Art? Of course, I still pine for Dan Mora's exquisite visuals, but Emanuela Lupacchino's art hits the nail on the head in this issue. Creeper's figure work is excellent, the Shadow Thief is creepily presented (as he should be), and Mulvihill's color application is outstanding.

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! #9 is a fun little break from DC's typically morose storytelling for a breezy, one-and-done pairing of The Captain with The Creeper. New readers will find this issue a great jumping-on point to learn about The Creeper, and the art is excellent, but the fight to capture an ethereal villain gets shortchanged in favor of a slow start.


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