Shazam #8 – Geoff Johns, Writer; Scott Kolins, Artist; Michael Atiyeh, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: With Shazam #8, this series seems to be back on track after a massive series of delays, and all the better as it’s the closest we’ve gotten to vintage Geoff Johns in a long time. An ambitious, mythology-driven take that still keeps the property’s focus on found family, it’s approaching the end of its first main arc and has split its team of heroes among multiple worlds.
Pedro and Eugene are stuck in an odd fantasy world with the Wizard Shazam himself, while Billy is stranded in the Darklands with a mysterious, skeletal “Ghost of Heroes” who may or may not be trying to lead him to his death. Scott Kolins fills in on art this issue, and the veteran penciller impresses with just how dramatically he shifts the art style for each segment. Some are fantastical, while some are downright horrific. Hanging over the story are the mystery of who the final member of the Shazam family is supposed to be – and of the true intentions of Billy’s father, apparently returned from jail.
With the heroes split and their foster parents – now in the know about their kids’ superpowers – trying to handle their absence, Billy’s long-lost father gets lost in the shuffle and that leaves him vulnerable to the villains. The odd alliance of Black Adam, Dr. Sivana, and Mister Mind is surprisingly funny for a deadly group of rogues, as it’s very clear none of them actually like each other and they can barely cooperate long enough to snatch a powerless human.
Billy eventually returns to the main world just in time to save his dad, leading to a shocking cliffhanger that may reveal the final member of the family – if everything is as it appears to be. It’s impressive just how much Johns juggles in this story, although Mary still has virtually nothing to do and it almost feels deliberate at this point. But her role as the odd person out might make more sense after this conclusion. Hopefully this book stays on schedule, because it’s one of DC’s most interesting.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.