Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Shazam! #12 Comic Review

  • Written by: Josie Campbell

  • Art by: Mike Norton, Emanuela Lupacchino

  • Colors by: Trish Mulvihill

  • Letters by: Troy Peteri

  • Cover art by: Dan Mora

  • Cover price: $3.99

  • Release date: June 4, 2024

Shazam #12 shines a spotlight on Billy's recent memory gaps, leading to an emotional gut punch that threatens to end all of reality.

Is Shazam #12 Good?

In Shazam #11, Billy's joyful news about getting adopted turned from fear, when the Social Services interviewer had to be kept away from a cauldron of Man-Bat monsters attacking their house, to shock, when his biological mother showed up to contest the adoption.

In Shazam #12, Billy doesn't remember what happens next because we never see it. Realizing the Captain is developing into a separate consciousness, Billy heads to the Rock of Eternity to demand the truth.

Somehow, Billy knew the Captain would be at the Rock as a separate being, and they began to argue over what was happening. The Captain explains the Rock of Eternity is leaking, and he's kept certain bits of information away from Billy to protect him. when Billy demands answers, the Captain refuses. Billy storms off, determined to get the answers on his own.

Billy sneaks out to visit his biological mother, assuming the heart of what the Captain is hiding centers on her. Mary and Freddy catch Billy sneaking out and decide to help rather than turn him in.

When Billy arrives at this mother's new home, the emotional strain manifests in more magic leaking from the Rock. The leaks cause more monsters, such as the Man-Bat things from the last issue, to appear. Darla and the rest of the family head to the Rock of Eternity to find the Captain trapped in a prison made of rock.

The Captain explained the Rock of Eternity is connected to Billy's emotions, so he hid certain information from Billy to prevent the Rock from reacting. If the leaks expand too much, they could shatter all dimensions and reality itself.

Billy's visit with his mother goes haywire when she reveals that she has a young son with her new husband and she's a much better mother now. The revelation that his mother could be there for his half-brother but not for him causes Billy to snap, unleashing waves of dimension-breaking magic to flow from the Rock of Eternity.

Realizing what's happening, Billy calls on the power of Shazam to do the one thing that will save reality - untether the Rock of Eternity from reality. With a super punch, the Captain knocks the Rock far away, disappearing with it.

"Whew! That's a lot. Did Josie Campbell ever explain how Billy and the Captain separated?" you might wonder. Yes, sorta. Receiving an extra dose of wisdom from Solomon somehow created a rift between Billy and the Captain, causing the two to separate. It doesn't make a lot of sense, but that's probably all the explanation we're going to get.

What's great about Shazam! #12? Once Billy begins the journey to see his mother, switching back and forth between the escalating emotional turmoil and the Rock's dissolution, the issue gathers momentum like a runaway train. The plot is structured to keep you guessing until the last minute about the big secret, so when it hits, it hits hard, especially if you have an understanding of Billy's past.

What's not so great about Shazam! #12? The little plot holes that lack an adequate explanation continue to stick and threaten to grow, just like the magical leak in the Rock of Eternity.

Why would an extra dose of wisdom separate Billy from the Captain?

How is the Rock tethered to Billy's emotions such that emotional upheaval creates damage? It's never done that before.

The Captain is strong but not that strong, so how was he able to "punch away" the Rock of Eternity when it exists outside our dimension?

Where are the gods, and why aren't they doing anything to stop what's happening?

Individually, these are small questions, but they keep stacking up, leaving you with a bad taste in your mouth about Campbell's ability to think things through. "It's just comics" never has been nor will be an acceptable answer.

How's the Art? Emanuela Lupacchino gets an assist from Mike Norton on pencils/inks and the net effect is an improvement over the previous issue. Last time, Lupacchino struggled with perspective and line of sight, so adding Norton to the mix seems to have straightened those issues out for an overall cleaner and more visually coherent issue.

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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Final Thoughts

Shazam #12 sends readers on an emotional rollercoaster as Billy uncovers secrets kept to protect him, which could destroy all reality if he learns the truth. Campbell successfully crafts a script with momentum and emotional stakes, albeit riddled with plot holes, and the art is a noticeable improvement over the previous issue.


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1 comment:

  1. In the past, I used to love collecting comics like this, but I haven't had the time to do that for a long connections game time.