Geoff Johns is back on Shazam, one of the many DC characters he’s been able to effectively reinvent, bringing his own interpretation to the masses. In this modern era where the phrase “Captain Marvel” conjures images of Brie Larsen, John’s needed to distance his version from the original Captain Marvel.
I regard them as two variants on the same theme; kind of like the 1978 version of Battlestar Galactica and the more recent version. The original is the parent, while the modern version is the now-grown child. It’s okay to enjoy them both. If John’s continues to elevate the new one version while building on the roots of the original, it’s a win-win.
The issue opens with a mercifully brief recap of the origin of Shazam, followed by him and his Marvel family foiling a good, old fashioned museum robbery. All that’s missing is Uncle Dudley. Really; even Hoppy the Marvel Bunny makes an appearance this issue, and it’s not just a cheeky cameo.
What follows is Billy and his foster family – his actual super-power, according to Johns – exploring the Rock of Eternity, discovering magic lands that may open all-new possibilities for the good Captain and his kin. Meanwhile, is reality, new developments take place that may drastically alter Billy’s status among his foster family. There is also a back-up feature focusing on Mary, laying the groundwork for her own origin.
Dale Eaglesham’s artwork is clearly a far cry from that of earlier Captain Marvel illustrators, such as C.C. Beck or Kurt Schaffenberger. It’s closer to Jerry Ordway’s, but seemingly with a touch of Neal Adams as well. It reinforces if you came looking for the original Captain Marvel, he ain't here. And for the first time, I don’t have a problem with that.