Review – The New Champion of Shazam! #3 – What Lies Below

Comic Books DC This Week
The New Champion of Shazam! variant cover, via DC Comics.

The New Champion of Shazam! – Josie Campbell, Writer; Evan “Doc” Shaner, Artist

Ray – 9/10

Ray: This comic took a month off in October, but it’s now back with the third issue as Mary tries to settle into her new role as the champion of the magic—and it’s not going well. Last issue she was ambushed by a villain who seemed powered by both magic and technology, saw Hoppy stripped of his magic and reverted back to a standard rabbit, and fled from a reporter in the aftermath. And now, even worse—she’s become a meme. Her flight has been captured on video, and toxic trolls are out in force to harass her. This is a little on-the-nose in places, much like She-Hulk was, but with how prominent these online harassers are getting lately, it seems like something that needs to be addressed. And while Mary’s little sister Darla is enthusiastic about the two of them working together as a detective team, Mary is increasingly isolating herself from her family as she sinks into self-doubt.

The mystery. Via DC Comics.

One of the biggest surprises this issue was the return of a major Shazam supporting character from the old days—Dudley, the good-natured con artist who became the unofficial “uncle” of the family. Here he’s a kind homeless man whose friends have been going missing left and right, and he provides Mary with some vital intel before the encampment comes under attack by this issue’s villain. While this new villain is certainly creepy, he feels more like a device to drive up Mary’s anxieties—which leads to an unpleasant explosion when she gets home that sets up the final issue’s plot. As for the mystery of the main villain’s identity, I have to say I saw it coming the second the character showed up. They basically give a villain monologue two pages in. Despite that, Campbell’s characters are still appealingly flawed and the world rich and fascinating. And Shaner’s art continues to be some of the best in the business.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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