May 2nd marks the debut of Mark Waid and Dan Mora’s highly-anticipated Shazam! series, part of the Dawn of DC initiative.
Messrs. Waid and Mora are well-known for their outstanding work on Batman/Superman: World’s Finest and look to be bringing that same sense of wonder, action and adventure to The World’s Mightiest Mortal in his latest ongoing adventures.
Did you read #1, say “Holy moley, that was good!” and now wish you could drink tea with alien dinosaurs?
Share your spoiler-filled, magical thoughts on the first issue below and…please, don’t hog the Squirdlax Biscuits.
I’m reading it right now, but had to stop a few pages in to come here and say The Captain having tea with dinos from space?!?! I love Mark Waid . And Dan Mora’s art as ever is beyond exceptional. I’m with this series till the end.
I have some slight concerns about the last page, but my main takeaway is that Dan Mora may just be a modern day Byrne, Perez, Garcia-Lopez etc. Whatever DC character he draws, he seems to immediately crack the code on their definitive look!
I’d been looking forward to this one! My big takeaway from issue #1 is that Waid is trying to find a way to carve classic Captain Marvel stories into the Modern Shazam setting. He sets this up in multiple ways: First, it’s revealed that “Captain” has become Billy’s new superhero name due to a joke. You can even spot comments referring to him as “Captain Marvel” in the chat section of Billy’s fancast. Speaking of which, making Billy the host of a fancast is pretty much the modern equivalent of being a radio reporter which Billy was for Whiz Radio back in the Golden Age. I also couldn’t help but notice that Freddy Freeman is looking a bit different in this issue, and not just because of Dan Mora’s beautiful artwork. Freddy’s hair color has changed from blonde to black, just as it was back in the day. He was also rocking the kind of scarf he perpetually wore back in the Golden Age. Finally, there was also the little tid-bit of information that Billy and his foster family live in Fawcett City- now a suburb of Philadelphia (admittedly, though, this could have been established in Johns’ run which I haven’t finished). What all this tells me is that Waid wants to tell classic Captain Marvel stories without completely overturning what came before. This issue sets up the new status quo to do so. It also felt like a classic Fawcett Comics story in a lot of ways. The opening scenes with the dinosaur family from space really channels the kind of absurd, childlike fun that Captain Marvel stories were known for back in the day. It was the kind of scene I wanted from this comic and I hope there’s much more to come!
Some other stray thoughts: I liked Billy’s trophy room. I noticed the head of Mister Atom, a batarang that is likely a tribute to Freddy’s from the movie, and a framed photo of the cover for World’s Finest #3 (1941). There are some other things I could speculate on, but… Anyone else notice any significance to those trophies? Golden Age villains Captain Nazi and Arson Fiend were name-dropped in the comments of Billy’s fancast which was cool. The shadowy figures plotting behind Billy’s back appeared to be Zeus and the Wizard Shazam (…maybe Solomon, but… probably the Wizard). If the gods are unhappy with how Billy is using his powers they could mettle with them since the gods are the source of Billy’s powers. That’s what I figure is happening by the end.
All in all, this was a frame setting issue so it didn’t knock me off my feet, but I really like the frame it’s setting because I really like classic Captain Marvel comics. Can’t wait for more!
I just hope dc can find good code names for billy batson and related characters. Always possible to go back to the pre flashpoint code name of captain marvel. It is normal for dc and marvel to have a few characters with the same code name. In the case of captain marvel, it was marvel that wanted its own captain marvel and the same code name was actually intentional. The 2 companies also have common public domain characters like zeus and hercules, horror characters like frankenstein.
I think it’s a viable theory – or at least, it’s one that cannot be ruled out at this point. If Waid is aiming for misdirection where he wants us to think that it’s Zeus and Solomon affecting him, but they’re not, it’s possible. After all, Waid did say that we’ll be seeing Mr. Mind in the series.
I’ve just been lazy. Reacting to Shazam issues is more time consuming than reacting to other comics because there are usually Fawcett references to research, and, despite the fact I love doing it, I just haven’t had the motivation recently. I’ve still really enjoyed the series so far (including the Knight Terrors tie-ins). I’m not sure why Freddy suddenly became blonde again in issue #3, but it’s been great!
I did not know that Mark Waid was taking over Shazam!. I thought I’d read issue #1 on DCUI before taking out a print subscription. I was pretty sure I’d love it, but I wanted to make sure before committing for a whole year. As soon as the SPACE DINOSAURS OFFERED HIM TEA I had that second tab open and my credit card ready! There are so many good things I have to say about the first issue.