Shazam #3 is published by DC Comics, written by Mark Waid, art by Dan Mora, colors by Alejandro Sánchez, and letters by Troy Peteri. The Gods controlling Billy Batson continue to try and meddle with him, but he has to actually turn into The Captain first.
The issue has escalated whilst still keeping the same parameters. The revelation over the scale of the interference from the gods has gradually been revealed, but the culprit has never been a secret. Therefore, the mystery comes from what they will cause him to do once he transforms into The Captain. But the gods also have more mysteries and plans involving Billy. Plans that include his family, penning him in and attacking him from multiple angles. For much of the comic, the pacing is slow, but there is a feeling of anticipation underneath it. Billy is determined not to change into Captain, as he is unable to control it. All the while, the gods need him so they can toy with him further. It allows for some normality in Billy’s life, presenting the side of him that wants to help people but can’t when he isn’t all-powerful.
Waid has brilliantly structured Shazam #3, as the next half of the issue is pure chaos. The comic can be ridiculously adventurous, with a particular love of anthropomorphized animals featured in the series. It sends Billy on an unexpected mission that is fraught with potential danger, and there is a resounding feeling that it’s a bad idea. But through a combination of not wanting to say no and a general curiosity, it begins anyway. The unpredictability of this series when it matters is excellent. The writer can hold off when you think the villains are going to make a move or suddenly throw a curveball that changes the face of the whole comic.
Shazam #3 has some exceptional characters and dialogue. At the centre of the whole issue is Billy, who is such a fascinating character. It isn’t that he doesn’t have access to his powers. Instead, he just doesn’t trust himself with them. So, for many pages, the issue tries to find out what Billy is like without his larger, more powerful self. His life is being observed and narrated by spiteful, bored Gods who want to teach him a lesson.
The conversation between the gods is revealing, as it becomes clear that even they don’t agree on how to proceed. Some have a desire to keep the humans safe, while others are purely out for fun and revenge. It has also become evident that each of Shazam’s outbursts has been due to an individual god’s influence. When he has shown pride or hotheadedness, it is the unique personality of the deity as opposed to a collective effort. This adds to the unpredictability of the story, as it leaves uncertainty over what The Captain’s next outburst will look like.
The art is fantastic. The levels in which the issue elevates in craziness lead to a remarkable spectrum that Mora handles superbly. When the Captain does appear, he has that square jaw and broad shoulders that represent a classic DC superhero, but he has goofy facial expressions to match the youthful attitude that this protagonist has, almost exclusively among the other major heroes. The book has Gods, dinosaurs, tigers, and more, which are hilariously placed within domestic settings. Alongside all of that are schoolboys and suburbia. The facial expressions are amazing, especially from the younger kids when chaos erupts. That is all altered in the final part of the issue, where a classic DC location takes The Captain completely out of his comfort zone. It is utterly stunning and filled with life.
The colors are awesome. The most prominent and notable part of the colors in this issue is that the most vibrant tone by far is the red of either Billy or The Captain. It’s bright and eye-catching, whereas the other shades are allowed to be muted and more natural. The lettering is extremely clear and effortless to read.
Shazam #3 features a little bit of everything. Anything that makes the character and world of Shazam brilliant is represented in this comic. The heroism and willingness to do good by Billy, with that sense of right and wrong instilled at a young age. The family unit and the friendship within that home, with the dialogue that fits a bunch of kids that have also experienced a lot of magic and superpowers. There are glimpses of action, although that is the crux of the issue. And the boundless amount of fun that is contained within these pages. What could be considered silly is actually just not believing any storyline to be off-limits and beyond possibility, and it makes the series a blast to read.
Shazam #3 is available where comics are sold.
Shazam #3 features a little bit of everything. What could be considered silly is actually just not believing any storyline to be off-limits and beyond possibility, and it makes the series a blast to read.