Convergence: Shazam #1

The best parts of DC's Convergence books have been the pages before the dome comes down, when we get to spend time with old friends lost to comic book limbo or altered characterisations. Generally, once the opponent Earth characters come in - the likes of the Flashpoint oafs or Wildstorm no-marks Gen 13  - the fun ceases. 

So I was a bit worried when page one of this Shazam two-parter opened with the Telos broadcast declaring that a fight for the survival of one world will ensue. As it happens, we're hearing a broadcast of the original message - it came seven hours previously and so far, the dome hasn't come down. Billy Batson, Mary Bromfield and Freddie Freeman remain trapped in their regular bodies, with no powers that might enable them to help people in trouble. 

And one man isn't going to put up with it anymore, taking drastic action that brings us a cameo of two superheroes from the Golden Age Fawcett line whose technology-based powers mean they're very much still in the game. 

A mystery leads the teenagers to an encounter with the Monster Society of Evil - Dr Sivana, Mr Atom, Ibac and King Kull. The ensuing fight also involves friends of the Marvel Family Uncle Dudley, Sterling Morris and Mr Tawny. By the end of this issue, everyone has their powers back, the dome is down and representatives from the Gotham By Gaslight universe are invading Fawcett City. 
Jeff Parker writes, Evan 'Doc' Shaner draws and I sit back and enjoy the ride. We're with the Bronze Age Captain Marvel and co, heroes from the Forties enjoying a second chance at life after being frozen in Sivana's Suspendium for decades. Now Mary, Billy and Freddie have had their powers blocked, but they're still a fun bunch to spend time with, following clues like Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. Plus, they're inspirational, good role models for kids of all ages. 

And while Sivana and chums are dastardly, they remain within the bounds of the good old Comics Code Authority - they may have chained up Dudley and Mr Morris for months in a basement, but they've fed them protein drinks and they're looking good. 

Parker shows once again why he's such a terrific asset to DC, giving us a well-structured, pacey script combining character and action, never twisting personalities to produce a dramatic moment. If anyone's going to give us a battle between worlds without letting the event suck the fun out of a reunion with old friends, it's Parker. 
And I can't wait to see how Shaner - Parker's partner on the excellent Flash Gordon series - choreographs next month's encounter, because he does a fantastic job with this opening chapter. He finds a splendid balance between the simplicity of the original CC Beck designs and a more detailed, modem approach. Billy's transformation page, when it comes, is well worth the wait. And just look at Talky Tawny! 
Plus, as a bonus, we get a pin-up page of character designs. 

Another Flash Gordon alumnus, Jordie Bellaire, brings her colour box to proceedings, keeping things lively. Her choices help set the mood and make the already dynamic art pop even further. And letterer Saida Temofonte, usually seen on the DC digital books, has the words looking sharp. 

It's a great issue and even if you're not following the Convergence story, even if you're actively avoiding it, I'd say pick up this comic for classic superheroics with classic characters. 


  1. Actual it's Capt. Marvel vs Gotham by Gaslight.

  2. Ha, slip of the brain, thanks, I shall fix.

  3. I absolutely wish that Parker/Shaner/Bellaire were given a Captain Marvel book to write just like this. How about a 6 issue mini-series.

    Everything about this was an absolute win. Everything.

    I loved Flash Gordon by this team. They need to be put on something as a monthly. Why not this!!


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