Minor spoilers ahead.
The epic final battle between Shazam and Black Adam happens here, and it's a whole issue, not just a back-up! Can Shazam, and friends, take down the centuries old Black Adam?
It's a breath of fresh air to see this story fill up a whole issue. I've been wanting to see a whole Shazam issue for quite some time now, and I was not disappointed. This is a character I really think would work well in his own on-going series. This whole issue contains one, large, epic fight scene not only between Billy and Black Adam, but Billy's friends also get involved. The action is satisfying, and you'll find yourself really cheering on Billy as he fights Black Adam and learns how to manage his new-found powers. We learn a bit more about what his magic can do here, and I, for one, finally feel on the same page as everyone else when it comes to Shazam knowledge.
Here comes the spoilerish part.
This issue is really the birth of the whole Marvel Family... or Shazam Family. I found myself loving Mary "Marvel," as a character. She's headstrong, tough, and willing to go right into battle. I love her costume design which is incredibly close to her Pre-52 design. There's a little flair here and there, but her costume makes me feel at home because it's so familiar.
Back to the non-spoilers... Gary Frank kills it on this book. There were numerous times where I was at a loss for words and I just drooled over the pages. While there are numerous splash pages that are outstanding, by far, my favorite panel is Shazam and the Marvel family all attacking Black Adam at the same time. There's a lot going on here, but Frank's art is clear and crisp, and I love the way the negative space has electrical bolts flying out of the action. A bit later we are treated to another fantastic scene of Shazam and Black Adam, in mid air, about to exchange punches. While there may be a bit over-usage of splash pages here, they all look so beautiful and they all convey such emotion and story, just within a singular panel. In addition, Brad Anderson does a great job on color. It's subtle and fits with Frank's art well. We can't leave out the colorist. They can make or break the art sometimes.
I'm not too keen on this story taking over the whole JUSTICE LEAGUE book. This is something that should stand out on its own; however, there's no real place for it. This is something I'd recommend in trade, as a whole. The Shazam story is solid and this makes for a much better read in a collection.
I'm not incredibly keen with how Black Adam is handled at the very end. I'll try to remain spoiler free. I like the dialogue between Black Adam and Billy, but Adam's defeat was a bit of a bummer. It was a tad flat for me.
I want Billy, and friends, to have their own on-going series... as long as Johns is writing it and Frank is drawing it. While this isn't a JUSTICE LEAGUE issue, per se, and I wasn't too pleased with how Black Adam was handled at the end of the issue, everything else about this issue was an A+. Gary Frank really does something special here with his art. Even if you haven't been reading JUSTICE LEAGUE, at all, I'd still say go pick this one up. Sure, you'd be a bit confused with what's going on, but you'll have a good understanding of the story and its characters by the end of the issue.