Shazam #15 – Jeff Loveness, Writer; Brandon Peterson, Artist; Michael Atiyeh, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: Jeff Loveness’ run on this title is only two issues before the book ends. That’s a shame, because from those two issues it seems like he has a really good handle on Billy and his network. This issue focuses on Shazam and his alter ego as they grapple with the question of whether heroes are actually making a difference. After a battle with a giant robot in Japan, Shazam flies back home just in time for school and is barely awake when he goes toe to toe with Ms. Ayes, a hard-nosed sub who challenges his statement that they should be learning more about the “Big things” like superheroes. That sends Billy on a mission to prove that heroes are making a difference, and after a brief interaction with Aquaman, he finds himself at the site of a raging apartment fire – with an unexpected familiar face helping to evacuate the residents.
One of the best things about the entire Shazam mythos is the way it’s always a kid trying to pretend to be an adult, which is why the interactions with him and Ms. Ayes while he’s in his Shazam guise are so interesting. He gets to see her as an everyday hero making a difference on one of the worst days of her life, while she gets to see him as less of an icon from afar and more of a person trying to help people as best he can. I do think some of her talking points are a bit warmed-over – Batman does help the little people in Gotham, and there’s no mental health funding that’s going to cure the Joker – but it’s a clever story that does a good job of humanizing everyone involved. While most of the run has been a big cosmic story in the classic Geoff Johns fashion, these two done-in-ones have done an excellent job of showing us a day in the life of Shazam. I just hope the Shazam family doesn’t stay MIA as long as they did since their last solo series.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.