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Justice League #21 - Shazam! Conclusion Review

4

A whole issue of Black Adam and Shazam duking it out! It's the conclusion to the Shazam back ups.

Minor spoilers ahead.

The Good

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.

The Bad

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.

The Verdict

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.

40 Comments
Posted by theTimeStreamer

this was such a disappointment. litteraly everything in this issue is a rip-off of previous captain marvel stories.

Edited by dondave

This issue was Amazing

Online
Edited by Smart_Dork_Dude

I've been keeping up with this on Scans Daily as I am still a major fan of the Marvel Family and their corner of the DC universe and have stuck with them through all the crap DC has put them through. Given how much DC has dumped on them in the past, that takes a TRUE fan to put up with all that. So despite my misgivings on Billy Batson's personality, which have become less and less as this story has gone on I must admit, I find the ending of this issue to be incredibly awesome!!!!

I hope DC doesn't screw it up, but given how they've treated the Shazam titles over the years, yeah I'm not holding my breath for that.

Also on a somewhat unrelated note, I SO wish Freddy still had the Elvis hair!!!! I mean that was Freddy's thing! He had become a tribute to Elvis thus causing things to come full circle as Elvis paid tribute to Captain Marvel Jr with his stage costumes and even his hair style was modeled after CMJr's!!!!!!!

Edited by JLDoom

I really, really liked this issue, it was a great ending to an already great story.

BTW am I the only one who thought this whole story felt like a possible Captain Marvel/Shazam movie? Even Black Adam dying fits the classic trope of supervillains dying in comic book movies.

Edited by Jonny_Anonymous

this was such a disappointment. litteraly everything in this issue is a rip-off of previous captain marvel stories.

@dondave said:

This issue was Amazing

LOL

Online
Posted by k4tzm4n

A whole issue of Black Adam and Shazam duking it out! It's the conclusion to the Shazam back ups.

Do I smell an issue made for 'Best Battles?'

Staff
Posted by inferiorego

@k4tzm4n said:

A whole issue of Black Adam and Shazam duking it out! It's the conclusion to the Shazam back ups.

Do I smell an issue made for 'Best Battles?'

yes

Staff
Edited by MadeinBangladesh

I have been loving the backstories. This is gonna be great! I am 100% this will make the Battles of the week article!

Posted by SandMan_

No more Black Adam??

Posted by Nahuel

Haven't read it yet, I just came here to say that the Shazam reboot has been the best stuff of the entire New 52! (alongside with Batman)

So HELL YEAH! for an entire issue of Shazam!

Posted by Ms. Omega

Just finished reading this and I loved the hell out of it its nice to see the whole Shazam Family fighting together.

Posted by ULTRAstarkiller

So the Justice League wasn't in this story at all?

Posted by manwithoutshame

You're kidding right? The Shazam backups are so much better than the regular Justice League story. I would have quit buying around issue 6 if they weren't included.

Posted by JLDoom

@ultrastarkiller said:

So the Justice League wasn't in this story at all?

Well, JL 0 didn't feature the Justice League either...

Personally I'm glad they went this route because this was a fantastic finale that definitely deserved a whole issue to be told.

Posted by Icarusflies

@sandman_ said:

No more Black Adam??

It's weird because Black Adam does appear on some Trinity War covers if I'm not mistaken.

Moderator
Posted by Mara

Best issue of Justice League. No doubt.

Edited by SoA

i felt like the ending with black adam could have been better . or a bit more original. i did like the shazam family bit . i just hope they get better aliases/codenames . also the ending was great showing two more capt marvel (shazam) classic villains

Posted by evilvegeta74

@k4tzm4n said:

A whole issue of Black Adam and Shazam duking it out! It's the conclusion to the Shazam back ups.

Do I smell an issue made for 'Best Battles?'

Do it!, Missed out on 3 Thors vs Gorr last week too!

Posted by lolzstastic

WTF?????

Weren't they giving Black Adam a villains month issue??

So WTF was this???

Posted by Crazy_Wilhelm

@sandman_ said:

No more Black Adam??

It's weird because Black Adam does appear on some Trinity War covers if I'm not mistaken.

I reckon the character in question will undoubtedly return somehow. It's magic.

Posted by batmannflash

great issue! We should have a Shazam series!!

also, it was nice to see Billy developing into the Billy we all know and love

Posted by DadaHyena

What's next? The Ultimate Showdown with Mr. Banjo!

Posted by spinningbirdcake

@icarusflies said:

@sandman_ said:

No more Black Adam??

It's weird because Black Adam does appear on some Trinity War covers if I'm not mistaken.

I reckon the character in question will undoubtedly return somehow. It's magic.

If I remember right I believe he's even being featured for villains month. Not sure which Justice League title he's a part of.

I thought the issue was fantastic. I think having Billy not punch Black Adam into defeat was a great way to have him win.

Posted by MartianManhunterIsBetterThanCyborg
Edited by noj

@lolzstastic: Black Adam has a villains month issue in Justice League 7.4. Im guessing in the issue we will more than likely see either an expanded origin or how exactly he survived the events of this issue. Good thing we wont have to wait too long to see more of Black Adam!

Posted by KnightofSteel

Justice League not in sight, and this issue -- with an all Shazam story -- is probably one of the best issues to date. Just awesome! The battles are epic and Johns is doing everything right in terms of capturing the beloved Shazam legacy. And wow... Gary Frank's art is top notch here. If there ever is going to be a new ongoing Shazam series I hope Frank is on it.

Posted by JohnnyGat

This was all I could think about when that scene with the Giant Monster appears in... this looks like a job for the Power Rangers Shazam

Posted by ovidkid

what portions of the SHAZAM powers did Mary and Freddy get because Predo got the strength of Hercules Darla speed of Mercury Eugene the wisdom of Solomon

Posted by feargalr

I liked it.. Wasn't crazy about how Billy beat Black Adam, I kinda think Adam should have seen that coming or something.. but yeah it was good.

Posted by Blue_Lantern_Franko

Am I the only one who has not cared for this back up story?... :/ first JL issue I have not picked up since the relaunch.

Posted by cloudzackvincent

good issue... but i am confused about why his powers struggled failing when he put the spell on Yawny

Posted by kennybaese

I really liked the Shazam backups in the book before I dropped it in favor of buying trade. I think they announced that they'd be collecting these into a Shazam trade as well, so I'm definitely going to have to pick it up.

Edited by ArtisticNeedham

@g_man @inferioregoAnyone know if these SHAZAM backup stories will be all put into one collective book?

Posted by Manute117

Huge fan and very biassed on Shazam. Looking forward to own book .

Posted by The Stegman

good issue... but i am confused about why his powers struggled failing when he put the spell on Yawny

Well Black Adam said he used it incorrectly, my guess is he strained his power. The case used to be, whenever someone in the Marvel family used their powers the others would get weaker as the power is spread to the new user.

Posted by AWeekInGeekdom

Loved the issue but the ending was eerily similar to the "Return of Black Adam" short film released a couple years back.

This won't really be the end for the character since he was featured in the FCBD edition from last year in that big splash fighting... plus in the Trinity War images and a "Forever Evil" issue.

Posted by Jake Fury
Posted by ArtisticNeedham
Posted by Raw_Material

Really enjoyed this issue and Geoff Johns wrote the conclusion for Shazam! The art done was really impressive too and I loved looking at the new Shazam look-a-likes. If had I were to rate this one I'll give it 4.5 stars.