Comic Vine Review

Comments

Justice League #0 - Shazam!; Questions Review

5

It's time for the new SHAZAM to take over the spotlight as we find out whether or not Billy Batson will be worthy of the power.

The Good

If you've been enjoying the Billy Batson/Shazam back ups by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, you're in for a treat. This entire issue is dedicated to Billy's meeting with the Wizard.

What we know so far is this New 52 version of Billy Batson is a departure from the previous interpretations. Billy was always seen as an innocent and wholesome kid that gains the power of Shazam. This Billy is not so wholesome. He has an attitude and no problem talking things out with his fists. He's doesn't seem as if he'd be the perfect worthy candidate of the power but that's what makes this interesting.

As we get further into the New 52, I'm finding myself strangely becoming more accepting of the changes that are happening. This isn't the Billy Batson I know but I sure do want to see what he's going to do. Assuming he becomes Shazam, that is. (You'll have to read to find out).

There's also the threat of Black Adam. And let's not forget that the Wizard was there to issue the sentencing when the Trinity of Sin was judged in the New 52 FCBD issue. That means a possible connection to Pandora, Phantom Stranger and the Question. There is also a back up here featuring Pandora so it's all coming together.

The other great thing is the fact that this main feature is all Gary Frank artwork. It's also nice to see kids looking like actual kids. Too many times kids are drawn like miniature adults. Brad Anderson's colors really make the scenes work and you can almost feel the magic in the air.

That's another thing, while we do have the little magic corner of the New 52 DCU, some of the conversation made here is setting up an interesting stage.

The Bad

Billy Batson as a street punk wiseass is almost cliché but it does offer a new approach to Captain Marvel (or Shazam as we need to get used to). You can imagine what this Billy could be like with that kind of power. There's been mention that Shazam will be joining the Justice League so hopefully things will smooth out quickly.

The backup with Pandora felt a little weird here even though the Wizard was involved. We'll have to see if Shazam is involved with the Trinity of Sin at all in the future.

A minor complaint is the fact that this is a zero issue. In theory this should take place before JUSTICE LEAGUE #1. Clearly that is not the case. But we get a great Shazam story so I'm willing to overlook this.

The Verdict

It's time for Shazam to finally arrive. Geoff Johns and Gary Frank deliver a full size story showing the next step of Billy Batson and his [possible] connection to the power of Shazam. This zero issue might not fit chronologically before JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 but if we are to see more of Shazam in the coming months, this can be easily overlooked. This isn't going to be the Shazam (Captain Marvel) we knew from before but that's what makes this interesting. The New 52 is the time to experiment and make tweaks and that's what we're getting. This is the beginning of a new chapter for the character and I can't wait to see what's going to happen next. Johns and Frank are definitely putting the magic into this issue.

43 Comments
Posted by theTimeStreamer

the way he reacted to gaining powers feel real. like what a kid would do. i hope they dont really get beer though.

Posted by kennybaese

What does Van Sciver draw in the issue? The backup?

I'm picking this up later today and I can't wait. I generally don't care about the magic stuff in superhero comics, but the Johns/Frank backups in Justice League have been so good up until this point that I'm completely on board.

Posted by SmashBrawler

I loved this issue, and I'm glad they explained how does the whole "Shazam" thing work now that there's no Captain Marvel

Posted by zackattack529

i liked the issue, but this issue just makes me want a Shazam solo series even MORE! and now after this we only get back ups. :(

and i didnt like the ending with the trinity prelude or whatever, now theyre finnaly hyping up The Question..but i dont like the reveal. so i gave this issue a 4/5

Posted by pspin

Pandora seems interesting. Shazam seems cool too.

Posted by G-Man

@kennyshat: Yes, Van Sciver on the back up.

Staff
Edited by Reignmaker

@theTimeStreamer: IKR!

Overall a solid addition to the Shazam story. Personally I feel like the changes to Billy have been necessary. I always thought Shazam (Captain Marvel) was way too similar to Superman in look and powers. This story continues to distinguish him as his own unique character in a modern way that's effective.

Meh, I don't like that we don't call him Captain Marvel anymore. Gotta hate it when real-world legal garbage gets in the way and alters the story.

Posted by jwalser3

Amazing issue!

Posted by Outside_85

And now I am going to ask why the other 12 issues of JL haven't been even close to this good?

"SHAZAM! And I stole the show!"

Posted by NuclearLife

I really like Captain Marvel, but I didn't want to buy all the JL issues to read the back-ups. Glad he gets a solo (kind of) issue. Hopefully this will lead to a more steady appearance for Billy, and maybe get his own series when DC makes another cut in a few months.

Posted by RedOwl_1

Very good issue, I can totally relate to Billy at this point, what he said about "pure good" people is like my life in a dialogue :P

Posted by Zeeguy91
@NuclearLife said:

I really like Captain Marvel, but I didn't want to buy all the JL issues to read the back-ups. Glad he gets a solo (kind of) issue. Hopefully this will lead to a more steady appearance for Billy, and maybe get his own series when DC makes another cut in a few months.

Actually, I think (almost certain actually) that he's going to be joining the Justice League. So we'll be seeing a lot of him.
Posted by neiliusprime

I really have been enjoying the Shazam back up stories in JL. I like how Batson is a punk, but knows whats worth fighting for. He may be a juvenile, but he stands up for people who can't stand up for themselves. (yeah its cliche, but its written well)

Posted by longbowhunter

Hope this and all the back ups get collected in trade. I dropped JL at issue #6 but really wanna read the Shazam story.

Posted by Onemoreposter

Well, no more wisdom of Solomon for Billy I guess.

I feel very meh about all of this. No more wizard. No more captain marvel. Vic Sage is magic. The Phantom Stranger is Judas.

Meh on all of it.

Posted by RedX9

@Onemoreposter: Its meh if you're holding on to the ideas of the old DCU which most people are. we have to remember why DC did the renumbering to begin with: to have fresh ideas for older characters. Yeah, these tales are different but its far from bad. if anything this issue deserves a 5 out of 5. really good issue overall and great artwork.

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

BILLY!!!!!!!!!!!!
I loved the back up so far.

Posted by jointron33

Moronic writing apologists, if this is a full on reboot, then why not use the excuse and crap over Batman? Make Alfred a black mechanic, Dick a french cook, Jason a ballerina, Tim a self hating Black comedian, Barbara a grisled bar tender, and Damian a hipster.

Posted by They Killed Cap!

I think I am going to miss the innocent billy

Posted by ltbrd

though I do like the fact that they were smart enough to make Billy act like what a troubled kid (though good at heart) would do after receiving such power I did feel the issue was a let down when it came to Shazam's re-design. I understand the explanation behind it (he's at his "full potential") but just his overall look is ridiculous. Its everything we hated about out of proportion 90's character design and at the same time it just doesn't really make sense. If it had been that Billy got the power of the entire Council then I could somewhat live with it because that bear guy was jacked (and so was one of the women as I recall). But it was clearly stated he only took the Wizard's place and powers (which begs the question.....pun intended.....who inherited the others powers? were they locked away when they died? were they absorbed by Black Adam?).

given the fact that they are clearly going to emphasize Shazam's connection and potential control of lightning much more, its a bit disappointing that they would keep his more Superman-inspired powers and not turn him into a pure magic caster. since we've seen nothing of a Doctor Fate in the new 52 continuity I think that would have been a cool role for Billy to fill as Shazam (I haven't been reading Justice League Dark or Demon Knights recently so please correct me if Doctor Fate has shown up in either title) and made him a unique addition to the Justice League, as a pure magical character is something the team is lacking. They could have still aged him to an adult, given him an athletic/toned physique to mimic the look of the Wizard in his prime with a bit more bulk like the bear guy, and the updated costume. But giving him the other superhuman abilities seems like a bit of a waste in establishing an entirely new Shazam (not that the idea would be entirely new as previously Captain Marvel became just Marvel when the Wizard died following Infinite Crisis and Marvel began using more magic than just superhuman abilities). It makes sense that Black Adam would be unchanged as the entire Council was responsible for his creation in trying to create a supreme champion of magic. But as only one member of the Council was responsible for Billy's transformation into Shazam it makes more sense his powers would be more like the Wizard than they would be like Black Adam's.

also, it could bring the Harry Potter generation into mainstream comics. I know most will groan at the idea of catering to new audiences, but the fact is the Captain Marvel/Shazam story has a lot of connections to that kind of story with the idea of a young boy being thrust into a magical world he never knew existed. By making him fill more of a Doctor Fate role rather than a "Superman with magic" role it taps into that for DC to gain new readership. It would also work in following Billy as he learns the many spells the Wizard alluded to as well as the "seven spells of Shazam" that Pandora mentioned in the FCBD issue (though they may be the same thing I would guess the Wizard knew more than 7 spells).

plus, it could make for a really cool initial team-up of Superman and Shazam in order to take on Black Adam. Superman would have trouble with him alone as Adam is just as strong as Superman but has the advantage of being powered by magic and his attacks having a magical addition to them (the same advantage pre-new 52 Captain Marvel had when fighting Superman and will probably have in this version as well) and Shazam would have trouble with him because Adam is physically more powerful and would be highly resistant to magic due to the nature of his creation. So only by working together could they take down such a threat (thus also making Black Adam a much more credible threat in the new 52, reminiscent of World War III, and not just another villain that either Superman or Shazam could tackle on their own) and its that interaction with Superman that nets him a spot on the Justice League.

overall I do like the many changes they made to the world of Captain Marvel as well as going back to the original concept of the Wizard dying after giving Billy his powers (and correct me if I'm wrong but I think the three voices were also a part of really early Captain Marvel lore for a bit but I admit I was never a big CM fan) but I just wish DC hadn't continued the Superman-clone aspect of the character even if they did give him some power tweaks. Had they played up the pure magical angle more and made him a powerful wizard instead of just a powerful being I think I could get behind the new 52 Shazam completely.

Posted by D_Knight

Who said this doesnt take place before Justice League #1?

Was there anything to say that this didnt take place before JL #1?

The back ups featuring Billy do start in issue 7, but I dont think I saw any details that point out when the Billy's story is taking place in relation to when the Justice League stories were going on. I may have missed it though.

Posted by Dernman
@ltbrd: Yeah I the Superman clone aspect was one of my disappointments also. Dr Fate is in the 52 but on Earth 2 and Tim Hunter would have made the perfect Harry Potter but they ruined that in JL Dark. Though I get what you were saying with going further in changes and I agree. I think it hinted on something like him giving his family powers also because he is the source like the other Shazam was to his family. 
Posted by SmashBrawler

@D_Knight said:

Who said this doesnt take place before Justice League #1?

Was there anything to say that this didnt take place before JL #1?

The back ups featuring Billy do start in issue 7, but I dont think I saw any details that point out when the Billy's story is taking place in relation to when the Justice League stories were going on. I may have missed it though.

Well, Pandora stole the Box from the Black Room during the FCBD issue, which took place in the present. The main story and the back-up in this issue took place at the same time, since the Wizard was dying when he sent his message to Pandora. So, the FCBD issue and JL 0 took place around the same time, which is the present

Posted by sentryman555

The artwork on Shazam is, for me, right at the top for DC artists. I love the detail put into the facial expressions of Billy/shazam.

Posted by BlackArmor

@Outside_85 said:

And now I am going to ask why the other 12 issues of JL haven't been even close to this good?

"SHAZAM! And I stole the show!"

Seriously! The last 3 books Johns with the words Justice League on them have been amazing, I can't even begin to understand why the rest of them haven't been up to the standard

Posted by TheEvilHero

Loved the issue personally. I felt the gods needed to be mentioned, or at least a new explanation to the term, "SHAZAM". I don't feel this should've taken place before issue #1, otherwise Billy'd be 20. Gave it a 5 myself, but I'm biased been using the word, "SHAZAM", since high school.

Posted by Zoch81

I thought this was very good issue the one thing really did like was how distinguish Shazam powers with being more magical focused still has demi god strength but also has magical lightning and spells hes more like a wizard which helps him being more just Superman clone also the art was good overall I thought this very good issue.

Posted by JairamGanpat

Shazam kinda looks like he's Tebowing on the last page lmao

Posted by DrEgonSpengler

Wow a Justice League title with absolutly none of the league in it. Call it Shazam next time.

Posted by G-Man
Staff
Posted by DrEgonSpengler

I understand that Shazam is going to be a part of the league, however the whole point of the Justice League is that it is team based book, not a solo book. Thanks for showing me the picture though.

Posted by toptom

the last page of the main story was great! i really laught heartily,gary frank is a great great artist.

Posted by Reignmaker

@DrEgonSpengler: Showing the buildup of a future-team member doesn't detract from the team aspect of the book. It'll just help you appreciate and understand where Shazam is coming from when he joins the league. Guess we'll have to agree to disagree on that point. Anyways, the art was good, and the story was good...not very many titles that I've seen can say yes to both of those.

Posted by Whitedog

Just read this, loved it, as I did the build-up.

It made me laugh a lot too, I love the idea of what Billy wants to do with his powers first as he's fifteen I thought it was really funny and most likely true to life...

Most of all it left me wanting more. If Shazam gets his own title eventually I will be on board if it retains the quality it's had so far.

Posted by That60sGuy

@Outside_85 said:

And now I am going to ask why the other 12 issues of JL haven't been even close to this good?

"SHAZAM! And I stole the show!"

This

Posted by komikboy

@ltbrd: mmm... and when (if) doctor fate reintroduced into dc52 what will happend then? i'm sorry, but i think u're mistaken shazam as magic champion with great magician (or sorcerer/wizard). I think, Geoff want to tell that billy/shazam is being a defender of two world, rather as great magician. There are already a bunch of great magic user in JLA dark... even more a better magician then billy suppose to be, so why they don't become the magic champion? that's the question, i think... and also by changing the very core concept of captain marvel to pure magician isn't really elevate him into "more" intresthing character. don't get me wrong. i agree that as magic champion or "the world mightiest mortal", billy should be able to used more (or at least tapping into more) magic spell or skill, but i personally doesn't want him change into dr fate or zattara, as i don't want him to become superman clone, neither. so the question is what made shazam unique, right? i guessed we just have to wait and see.

oh yeah... dc version of harry potter is Tim Hunter, who being said to become world greatest magician. tim hunter is exist in dc52 eventhough (now) he being told to let go all his magic power. by making billy into another great wizard will only overlapping tim hunter or other magic user character (i think).

Posted by Perfect 10

@ltbrd:

But it was clearly stated he only took the Wizard's place and powers (which begs the question.....pun intended.....who inherited the others powers? were they locked away when they died? were they absorbed by Black Adam?).

great question. let's hope DC is smart enough to catch that. in the story the wizard just said that Black Adam killed them all. did he take their powers when he killed them? if so billy is in some serious trouble. it would be cool if they were sealed away and then billy's siblings could get powers and we can have Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr. along with the Shazam team we saw in Flashpoint. One of the alternate covers teases that team with the tiger and all. cant wait for this story to play out

Posted by modunhanul

This issue is awesome. I hope they make Shazam's own series. Not back ups.

Edited by ArtisticNeedham

Even though this was a full issue this time and not a back up story, it still felt way too short. I want more. MORE!

Personally I liked Billy's portrayal here better than previous issues, sort of. He shows that he isn't a jerk just because he is young, but because of how life has treated him and how others have treated him. But hopefuly the whole power/responsibility thing will fix his bad attitude soon. Show him that he now has the power to fix things and is no longer powerless.

I know its just Billy's skewed perspective, but the whole thing about there not being any good people alive on Earth was sort of a bummer. I like to think of myself as a good man.

Posted by Booster_Bronze

Laughed out loud at the mugger scene right after Billy got his powers.

Is it just me, or did the wizard look like an elderly Jimmy Hendrix to anyone else?

And the cover too! It looks like Shazam was doing his best impression of a World War II era anti-Japanese propaganda caricature with the face he's making!

Posted by SimonM7

I thought the toy you guys had featured on this site a while back looked hilariously douchy on accident, but this cover also depicts Shazam as just the biggest asshole ever. What a crazily punchable face.

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

Oh my god I loved this ISSUE!!! Loved every bit of it  and the last  page-----

Posted by Azrael66

LOVED the bit about the Trinity of Sin.

Epic.