Review – Shazam Fury of the Gods Special: Shazamily Matters #1 – Meet the Marvels

Comic Books DC This Week
Shazamily Matters #1 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Shazam: Fury of the Gods Special – Shazamily Matters #1 – Zachary Levi/DJ Cotrona/Colleen Doran, Faithe Herman/Amanda Deibert, DJ Cotrona/Tim Seeley, David F. Sanders/Scott Kolins, Ross Butler/Josh Trujillo, Grace Caroline Currey, Adam Brody/Kenny Porter, Henry Gayden, Writers; Freddie Williams II, Erica Henderson, Jorge Corona, Scott Kolins, Andrew Drilon, Damian Fulton, Mike Norton, Scott Godlewski, Artists; Andrew Dalhouse, Sarah Stern, John Kalisz, Nick Filardi, Allen Passalaqua, Alex Guimaraes, Colorists

Ray – 8.5/10

Ray: One of the oddest projects to come out of DC in a while, this oversized anthology celebrates the upcoming release of the second Shazam! Movie with eight stories, most of which are written or co-written by members of the cast or creative team. Some established DC writers are along for the right. But how do the stories stack up quality-wise?

Credits. Via DC Comics.

First up is “Door to Death,” by Levi, Cotrona, and Doran with Williams II on art. The Shazam Family is having a movie night in the Rock of Eternity, when they decide to pass and explore some of the locked doors the Wizard left behind instead. They find themselves in some sort of Greek-inspired fantasy kingdom—only for it to take a dark turn when it turns out to be Hades’ kingdom. A battle against Cerebus and an army of zombies ensues, with the characters beating a hasty retreat. A fun, chaotic, fast-paced tale.

Movie night. Via DC Comics.

Faithe Herman—the only kid actor to co-write here—works with Deibert and Henderson on “Darla’s Keepers.” The doors seem to be playing a big role in this comic, with Darla working on an art project and wandering through a door. The youngest Shazam finds herself in an odd technicolor wonderland filled with funny creatures—and some glitter snakes who do NOT appreciate her presence. This is a great story for kids, and the real highlight is Henderson’s quirky and colorful art style.

Cotrona teams with Tim Seeley and Jorge Corona on “The Big Game.” Pedro is one of the more out-of-focus members of the Shazam family, so it was nice to see him take the spotlight. While the rest of the family is occupied, Pedro just wants to watch the baseball playoffs—but his reception is terrible in the Rock of Eternity. So he wanders through doors in search of better reception, only to stumble into a world filled with warriors who have their own epic game, and another with a wish-granter who has no idea what baseball is. This one reads a lot like a classic silver-age story.

The whole family stars in “Crocodile Catastrophe,” co-written by director David F. Sandberg and artist Scott Kolins. Another classic wacky Shazam story, this finds the characters opening the door to a crocodile world—which seems fine, until a year later, when a group of evil croc magicians invade their world with arcane scepters and curse the Shazam family. First their powers go haywire, then they get devolved into primal monsters, with only Billy left standing. This is the most chaotic story so far, with a bizarre twist-ending cliffhanger.

Ross Butler and Josh Trujillo team with Andrew Drilon to give Eugene his spotlight in “Time Out.” Eugene is another character who rarely gets the focus, and this story from his perspective makes me think the character might be on the spectrum. He struggles with relating to other people, especially his practical-minded mother, and prefers to lose himself in his virtual world. It’s an interesting tale that largely avoids dialogue and instead shows us how Eugene views the world through visual cues.

Grace Carolina Currey and Damian Fulton write “Darla’s Birthday,” focusing on Mary. It’s no secret that I’m not a huge fan of how Mary is typically characterized in this new era of Shazam, with her largely being forced into the role of “the responsible one.” That being said, this story—which finds her trying to find the perfect gift for her little sister—is a lot of fun. Things get chaotic towards the end with a baby dinosaur nabbing the gift, but overall this tale is more heartfelt and less stuffed than most of the others, similar to Eugene’s tale.

Adam Brody and Kenny Porter team with Mike Norton on “Dogtown and Blue Boy,” and this has to be the best story in the volume. It’s just a delightful tale of Freddy rescuing a dog from a criminal, bonding with it, and learning just how hard being a dog owner is—especially when you’re a superhero with a new arch-nemesis. An old man who helps Freddy learn how to work with a dog but seems to be kind of clueless about everything else is a lot of fun too. This is the story that feels the most like a classic all-ages Shazam tale from the Ordway era.

Finally, Henry Gayden—the writer of the films—pairs with Scott Godlewski on “Leadership Qualities.” This is a direct lead-in to the movie, with Billy struggling to figure out how to be a leader. He tries a little too hard, winds up alienating and annoying people, and eventually decides to take action in a way to better himself before he starts to work with others. This is much more serious than the other stories, and surprisingly reveals something major about one of the heroes before it’s reflected in the movie.

Overall, there is a lot of new talent here, but most of the stories worked very well and added some nice flourishes to the characters.

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

GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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