The New Champion of Shazam! #2 – Josie Campbell, Writer; Evan “Doc” Shaner, Artist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: With only four issues, I was wondering just how this book was going to pull off its story. Now, after this second issue it seems clear—it’s essentially treating each issue as a chapter and a completely different vibe. The first issue was all about Mary leaving home, starting at Vassar, and trying to put her past behind her only to abruptly be given the Shazam powers and a talking rabbit to guide her. But at the end of the issue, she learned her foster parents had gone missing. Now she has to run back home to look after her remaining siblings, switch from Vassar to Fawcett Community College, and try to reconnect with her family. Tensions are high since the Vasquezes disappeared, with Pedro becoming increasingly embittered and Eugene falling in with a toxic crowd at his early-college classes. It’s a much more downbeat issue than the first, and pulls Mary into many of the patterns I was hoping to see her escape.
That isn’t to say it’s not a great issue, though. Doc Shaner’s art is brilliant as always, and the bonding between Mary and Hoppy is hilarious. Although Hoppy’s nature is kind of ambiguous so far, he’s a great new character. Last issue pitted Mary against a ruthless villain who had been upgraded, and another threat shows up this issue—a kaiju that seems to be controlled by an outside force. These Silver-Age inspired threats provide great visuals, but it seems like there’s a much more modern threat looming in the background—one that delivers a devastating blow to Mary by the end of the issue and may be preying on magic itself. The ending reveals a mystery looming in the background, and a reset for the subject of the third issue as well. This is a highly ambitious comic, one that’s apparently been in the works for a long time, and so far the hard work these creators have put into it is paying off.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
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