Shazam #5 Review
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Dale Eaglesham, Marco Santucci, Scott Kolins, Max Raynor
Cover Artist: Dale Eaglesham & Mike Atiyeh
Variant Cover: Jim Lee & Alex Sinclair
Colors: Mike Atiyeh
Letters: Rob Leigh
Previously in Shazam…
After finding themselves within the bizarre Funlands, the Shazam siblings were treated to a feast courtesy of the Funlands ruler, King Kid. But the king held a dark secret, as upon learning that Mary was turning eighteen, he captured her, and upon seeing Billy Batson transform into Shazam, his hatred of adults took hold, and he snagged Shazam as well, separating the two from Darla & Freddie (cast into the Wildlands) and Eugene and Pedro (who landed in the Gamelands). All of this, while recurrent Shazam-foe Black Adam was revealed to be following the family, having made his way into the Rock of Eternity…
As Black Adam begins to make his way towards Shazam, having tracked him into the Funlands, the mystically-endowed Billy and his de-powered sister Mary are put to work in the furnaces beneath the Funlands by King Kid. The mad monarch having enslaved all the children who turned eighteen (and thus became adults) after arriving in the Funlands themselves. As Billy attempts to free Mary, Freddie and Darla deal with the madness of the sentient-animal-ruled Wildlands, and Eugene and Pedro try to win their way out of the Gamelands…
Opinions on Story & Art:
This issue juggles a lot of different plot threads, and for the most part, it succeeds. Having split up the Shazam family across the various Magiclands, several subplots open up for each group, and new characters and their plots are also introduced. And adding Black Adam to the proceedings, while ominous and enjoyable to me as a fan of Teth-Adam, makes the book feel very busy and crowded. I will say that throwing Eugene and Pedro into the Gamelands was a very smart move on Geoff Johns’s part, allowing for some growth for the two members of the Shazam family who are the least fleshed out at this point. Though Eugene’s backstory feels a bit simplistic.
The art on this issue has me very conflicted. The pages drawn by Dale Eaglesham and Marco Santucci are excellent as always, however, adding another two pencillers to the proceeding with Scott Kolins and Max Raynor makes the book feel very visually jarring. When I reached the pages these two drew, I was unfortunately taken out of the story with the vast contrast in their art-styles. And while Raynor’s pages worked reasonably well, I admit to being annoyed by Scot Kolins rendering of the Gamelands. I’ve never been a fan of his art, and while there’s nothing technically wrong with said pages, I still felt put off by the sharp-yet-flat stylings of Kolins’s pencils. I do have to commend colorist Mike Atiyeh for his ability to switch between all these varying art-styles without missing a beat. It does mitigate the disjointed visuals a little bit.