Shazam! is a series that sprung out of the 2019 hit movie, and over the course of delays and gaps in the schedule, it’s reached its twelfth issue today. In this issue, Jeff Loveness takes over as guest writer with Brandon Peterson and their story focuses on the fact that Billy Batson has a lame rogues gallery. What’s a hero to do when he has no one to fight but alligators in business suits? One option is to head over to Gotham to do some patrolling. This has “bad idea” written all over, it but in a good way!
This is a fun issue that leans into Billy’s desire to be a great hero even when facing some rather lame villains. Loveness makes this a fun done-in-one that’s pure escapism with a nice underlining point to the adventure. Basically, Shazam needs to learn a little something about picking battles and staying in your lane. It’s also fun to get a Batman appearance and a lesson for Billy to chew on. By the end of the issue, a bad guy is vanquished, some superhero commentary is utilized well, and the tale wraps with Billy learning something. It’s fun and the comic book commentary is appreciated.
The art by Peterson, with colors by Mike Atiyeh and letters by Rob Leigh, really pops. There’s almost a cel-shaded look to book that makes the colors even more vibrant. Even when Shazam patrols outside a Gotham warehouse at night, there’s a yellow edge to the character that lifts him off the page. It gives the book a positive feel that’s perfect for those who want a bubblegum fun tale and an ideal look for the younger readers. Peterson gets to flex with a full-page splash of Batman, some great close-ups on Batman’s villain, and the bulbous muscles of Shazam shine through nicely as well.
Faults in this issue are few and far between, but they do exist. The transition from Billy’s turf to Gotham is a jerky switch, and the shot of Billy coming to a conclusion is slightly confusing. It took a second for me to gather what he was smiling about. This issue isn’t part of the larger story being told and may throw dedicated readers off a tad, but it’s downright fun so it deserves a pass on that.
This is without a doubt a fun one-shot style tale. Pick this up to get some positive escapism in your life. A strong contender for the most fun you’ll have with superhero comics this week.