Shazam #4 Review
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Dale Eaglesham, Marco Santucci
Cover Artist: Dale Eaglesham & Alex Sinclair
Variant Cover: Jim Lee & Alex Sinclair
Colors: Mike Atiyeh
Letters: Rob Leigh
As Billy Batson and his siblings find themselves in the strange theme-park-like realm of The Funlands, they encounter its ruler, King Kid. With his Wishing Stick, King Kid seeks to make a better world for lost and abandoned children and hates all adults. Something the Shazam family learns the hard way when the jovial monarch learns they can transform into adults, and that Billy’s sister Mary is eighteen!! He captures Mary, and splits up and excises the rest of the family to the other magical realms!! Meanwhile, the family’s foster-parents, the Vasquez, are greeted at their front door by a man claiming to be Billy’s biological father and going to tell Billy, they notice all their children are missing!!
This comic follows up on the fun, joyful and atmospheric tone of the series thus far very effectively! Continuing from where the previous issue left off, this issue further develops the various magic-lands connected to the Rock of Eternity, and it’s very enjoyable seeing these worlds fleshed out! After seeing the more benevolent side of King Kid in the last issue, it’s fascinating seeing his more sinister aspects after learning about the family’s ability to become adults. Seeing the kids interact with one another on a more one-on-one level (Freddy with Darla, Pedro with Eugene) is also very welcome, allowing for character development for all four, something that’s bee somewhat lacking thus far into the series.
The formal introduction to the Wildlands is very nicely done, with pencillers Dale Eaglesham and Marco Santucci both creating a very pleasant, 1950s charm to the Wildlands itself. From the buildings to the fashion, this realm captures the visual aesthetic of a Shazam story in a way no other setting for this series has thus far. The environments the art-team crafts remain one of the high-points of the book, making me wish I could visit each one of these bizarre, colourful realms myself!
The coloring from Michael Atiyeh remains just as perfectly done as the previous issues, capturing the bright warmth of a new day in the opening of the book very effectively. And the switch to darker tones with King Kid aids in creating a more menacing atmosphere to the Funlands than in previous issues.
This book remains one of the most pleasant and wacky titles DC’s publishing, and a great series to check out once the Shazam film hits theatres in a few weeks!