Shazam #4 is published by DC Comics, written by Mark Waid, art by Dan Mora, colors by Alejandro Sanchez, and letters by Troy Peteri. The Captain has been caught in the middle between two warring races, but it might be the gods controlling his powers that lead to his downfall.
This issue has escalated a crazy comic series even further, taking the young boy-turned-superhero into space and putting him in the middle of an intergalactic conflict. There are multiple angles to the story, with so many sides involved. There are the gorillas who have sent the Captain into space but have not told him everything he needs to know. Then there is the empire on the moon, with politics of its own. Thirdly, the Gods and their games are having huge repercussions on Earth. Then there is the Captain, as well as his family, who are caught up in something much bigger.
Despite all of those, the plot is smooth and well-structured. At the forefront of this whole series is the humor. It’s always trying to put a smile on your face and always succeeds. It instantly breaks away from what could be expected as the gamesmanship from all sides starts to unravel.
The storytelling is extensive within Shazam #4, with so much happening in a short amount of time. The race on the moon was only introduced at the end of the last issue, with the gorillas a few pages before that. But by the end of this issue, a whole war has unfolded. The pace is fast but still allows for long speeches and verbal conflicts.
The characters in this issue are fantastic, expanding the cast of the comic whilst keeping it easy to manage. There are the heads of each army, plus the Gods and the Shazam family. For so much of this chapter, Billy is merely caught in the middle, unable to influence the events of the book because he is being influenced himself. The actions of the gods are hysterical, behaving like petty children for much of the book. For ancient beings, they can get sucked into the same misconceptions that the mortals do. The other characters around Shazam are larger than life and utterly bizarre. A great combination of ridiculous humor and grandiose posturing makes every scenario unpredictable.
The art brilliantly captures the incredulity of the characters and the settings. Many of the characters are bulky and muscular. The aliens are broad and lacking necks. The gorillas are, well, gorillas. Shazam and the gods are idyllic. It makes the characters prominent and, more importantly, is a terrific sense of scale for when the protagonist suddenly becomes a small boy. The battle erupts suddenly and is a chaotic, brilliant explosion of carnage. Mora’s art is energetic even when figures are standing still. The facial expressions can be intensely dramatic and hilarious, conveying outrage beautifully.
The colors are notably bright for much of the comic. Light bounces off costumes and surfaces so much that the panels are close to white. The depth in the shades is phenomenal. But there are almost moments, for example, at the Rock of Eternity, where the shades are much darker due to there not being a recognized light source. The lettering is dynamic, with several custom word balloons and fonts.
Shazam #4 is a whirlwind of chaos and fun. Each issue of this series brings a different set of circumstances that serve as possibilities to be messed with even further by the gods. Every time a Shazam book is opened, the adventure has evolved completely. This is the second part of the situation with the gorillas, but it is entirely fresh and a new set of surroundings. All that happens around a main plot thread that has run through the comic from the start. This is a creative team that excels at making exciting comics that all ages can enjoy.
Shazam #4 is available where comics are sold.
Shazam #4 is a whirlwind of chaos and fun. This is the second part of the situation with the gorillas, but it is entirely fresh and a new set of surroundings.