Much like with this title’s Zero Issue, the story of Shazam takes centre-stage here for a pretty epic final instalment. From perusing the Outhouse and other forums, it seems like I’m the only one who’s been enjoying the Johns/Frank re-imagining of Captain Marvel, but I think it’s been a fun ride and a cool modernisation of a character, who, as much as I love him, has always been a bit cheesy and a bit out of place in the wider DC Universe. This issue featured a whole heap of cool moments and interesting updates of classic Captain Marvel concepts.
First off is the introduction of the new Marvel Family, in which Billy gives a portion of his power to the rest of his foster family. So not only do we get the return of Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr (although Freddy is calling himself King Shazam), but the rest of the kids also get Shazamified, Darla, Eugene, Pedro, all those guys. I like this, it’s a great return of the Family, and you can take it a bit more seriously because there isn’t a Bunny Rabbit in there or Uncle Marvel. I also liked how the various Marvel Family members had different abilities, so Eugene can control machinery and other stuff like that.
Of course, there is still room for some goofiness here, as Tawky Tawny gets involved. I think it’s interesting that Billy can’t empower everyone at once, that when he boosts up the Tiger, the rest of the family lose their powers. In the end, Black Adam is defeated, not through brute force, but by Billy making him revert to his human form, where he realises his mistakes and then does a Last Crusade and crumbles away. Considering how much Johns loves Black Adam (he loves him even more than Sinestro and Captain Cold probably), I doubt this is the last we’ll see of him. And in the end, Doctor Sivana stumbles across another classic Captain Marvel villain… Mister Mind! Oh yes, I love that evil little maggot.
Gary Frank’s art was once again fantastic, I loved the facial expressions of the various characters, and the action was just wonderful to look at. I think he may be my favourite superhero artist.
Overall, this was a strong ending to a story I’ve personally enjoyed, and I think if people re-read it, they will too. In this story, Billy Batson grew into the kind-hearted kid we know him to be, he may have started off as a jerk, but he grew and evolved, thanks to the power of Shazam. Which I think is more interesting than just being innately good. I wonder what’s next for the character? Will he join the Justice League? His own series? Hmm…