Jeff Smith’s Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil

SHAZAM!SHAZAM! The Monster Society of Evil

Written & Illstrated by: Jeff Smith
Colors by: Steve Hamaker
Publisher: DC

This one has been on the excitement list a long time now. And let me say, right off the bat, the only comic to be as pure fun to read as this one in the last few months was the Darwyn Cooke’s return of the Spirit.

In DC’s dark days this is a ray of light. Smith brings the fun feel of his Bone work to a character who clearly benefits from his touch. In the first issue, we get a quick re-introduction to Billy Batson. In Smith’s version, he is a hard headed, but good orphan who would rather live on the streets than a foster home. He is friends with an elderly homeless man named Talky (Who tries to get Billy to reconsider going to a shelter for kids) and is trying to avoid a rough thug who is after Batson’s spending money. One night, a mysterious stranger leads Billy into the subways, where he meets the old wizard Shazam. Shazam’s time is short, and he determines Billy is just the right kid to pass his powers on to.

He tells Billy to announce the word Shazam-on doing so, Billy is transformed into Captain Marvel. Billy initially uses the power to protect himself from the Thug, and then is brought by Captain Marvel to the beginning of Time to meet the waizard Shazam once again. Any more would be telling.

There is a wonderful playfulness, and interestingly, Smith treats Marvel as a different entity than Billy Batson. Captain Marvel speaks of Billy as an “other”. He has his own personality, though he is linked by the Wizard to Billy, and he clearly sees himself as there to help Billy as well as fight against the tide of evil.

The art is superb. Captain Marvel, with his strong jaw and physique make an ideal fit for Smith’s cartoonish style. Every page is filled with exciting images. The colors by Hamaker enhance the story as the best colors do in a comic book. I am excited to read the next three issues and heartily recommend people pick this one up.

Posted in: Comic Books

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