Monday, September 22, 2008

Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #2

Billy Batson and the Magic of SHAZAM #2
Story and Art by Mike Kunkel
Lettering by Steve Wands
Published by DC Comics

After a delay, the second issue of "Billy Batson and the Magic of SHAZAM" finally came out, and just like the premiere issue, I could not wait to get a hold of it. It backtracks a little with the story of Billy being chosen by the wizard, Shazam, and became the World's Mightiest Mortal. It also explains that Billy was not, in fact, the first to have been chosen. That privilege belonged to a young man named Theo Adam. Though the Wizard soon realized that Theo Adam was not the champion he first thought he was and was exiled. Now, Theo Adam has returned as an emo/goth teenager with no knowledge of the word that transformed him into the Wizard's former champion. And boy is he pissed. Eventually Theo Adam learns of Billy's secret identity and quickly bullies young Billy and tries to force the magic word out of him.

Later, Billy confronts Shazam about Theo Adam and the Wizard tells of his past heir and the mistake he made. Soon Shazam discovers that something even worse has occurred: the Seven Deadly Sins are gone and have allied with Theo Adam.

Kunkel keeps the pages busy on this issues, almost a little too busy. Some pages have up to fifteen panels and it almost seems as if he is cramming too much, and I would hate to see younger readers confused. Though that slight fault is easily outweighed at the sheer brilliance of it all. Once again, Kunkel's art tells the story so well, half the time you don't need words. The way he works some panels almost in the way of animation is just astounding. His use of facial expressions rivals that of Kevin Maguire.

The story delves more into the Shazam mythos but doesn't weight the reader down with almost seventy years of continuity. It all feels fresh and new, almost as if Kunkel had created the Captain and his story himself instead of weaving his own spin on it all. I am a huge supporter of comics for kids and this title is the best one out there for ages eight and up. Hopefully, Kunkel has worked out the kinks and we will see this title on a more regular schedule.

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