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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SHAZAM!, a welcome variation on a superhero origin story, incorporating magic into the story of the World's Mightiest Mortal.
Shazam! Volume 1 is the New 52 retelling of the origin of earth's mightiest mortal, formally known as Captain Marvel, written by Geoff Johns with art by Gary Frank. Shazam began appearing as part of backup stories of DC Comics New 52 flagship title Justice League, and collects the arc from issues; #7-11, 0, 14-16 and 18-21. I was a huge fan of their previous...
Published 7 days ago by Keith

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3.0 out of 5 stars Kid superhero
Billy Batson is a bratty orphan who meets a wizard on the subway, “reasons” his way into superpowers and becomes Shazam, a kind of magical Superman analogue. Black Adam is released from his mystical prison by Dr Sivana and raises the Seven Deadly Sins to destroy Shazam once and for all.

Your reaction to this book depends on how you feel about the...
Published 11 months ago by Sam Quixote


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SHAZAM!, a welcome variation on a superhero origin story, incorporating magic into the story of the World's Mightiest Mortal., 22 Feb. 2015
Shazam! Volume 1 is the New 52 retelling of the origin of earth's mightiest mortal, formally known as Captain Marvel, written by Geoff Johns with art by Gary Frank. Shazam began appearing as part of backup stories of DC Comics New 52 flagship title Justice League, and collects the arc from issues; #7-11, 0, 14-16 and 18-21. I was a huge fan of their previous collaborations; Superman: Secret Origin and Batman: Earth One Volume 1.

First appearing in Whiz Comics #2 (Feb. 1940) and later bought by DC, Captain Marvel was once even more popular than Superman and Batman. Young Billy Batson could speak the magic word; "SHAZAM!" and transform into the powerful hero with powers to rival Superman's. He is sometimes referred to as "The Big Red Cheese", a lighter take on the Man of Steel whose powers are derived from Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury, bestowed onto him by a powerful wizard. In an era when comics were predominately most popular with children, it served to young readers providing a kind of wish fulfillment, the same reason why Robin was introduced as Batman's teen sidekick. Whiz Comics created the idea of young boy saying the magic word and becoming a superhero. Readers and fans latched onto the concept and even Elvis paid homage to the hero with his stage costume. Times have changed but Captain Marvel endured, remaining in the main stream where other magical based heroes were re-imagined during in the Silver Age of comics. Captain Marvel will always be a lasting reminder of a simpler time.

DC Comics have officially renamed Captain Marvel as Shazam as part of their 2011 relaunch; The New 52. For decades, science has ruled the world, but now magic is returning. Beginning from the back up stories of Justice League #7, we are introduced to a teenage Billy Batson, a foster child struggling to remain in a home. It's a character trait that would garner sympathy for the teen but we quickly learn that he's obnoxious, arrogant and a little bit troubled. In this revised origin he's not very likable, which is easier to accept as a conventional type of kid that would be in an adventure story such as this opposed to the rather than the wise beyond his year's radio personality of past iterations. Billy struggles adjusting to his new life, his new home, his foster parents, school and his foster siblings although he begins to become more likable and endearing. The story purposely takes its time developing Billy's character. Most of his early interactions are with his new siblings, they've always played an important part in the character's history. It places more emphasis on the new family dynamic between Billy and the others as well as effectively overhauling the mythology of the character.

Two of Captain Marvel's best know villains are introduced. Dr. Sivana, a mad scientist type of character now depicted as a respected scientist desperate to save his family from an unknown plight. With science having failed him, he turns to magic and specifically the legend of Black Adam, the ancient but evil predecessor to Captain Marvel, the first to be endowed powers by the wizard but corrupted by them. Their connection takes inspiration from Shazam! #28 (1977) in which, Dr. Sivana is directly responsible for the resurrection of Black Adam. In true action adventure story telling style the big villain makes his debut before our hero prompting the wizard to bestow young Billy Batson with similar powers to help stop Black Adam.

After Billy is transformed into the wizard's champion, he's not quite sure what to do with his newly acquired abilities and doesn't fully understand or heed the Wizard's warnings. Instead the self centered man child sets off doing what anyone in his situation would do in this modern day story. He concocts a money making scheme, pulls pranks and wishing to buy beer. It's all short lived as he intervenes in crime after crime which was slightly unbelievable but, the moment I felt that way it was quickly resolved as the characters in the story even made the same point with a swift resolution. One of my favorite aspects of the character is that he's a boy in a man's body. He's naive and when a young woman wants to repay for her rescue her real intentions go right over his head and asks for cash instead. It's a fun and exciting story full of great moments. Despite the method that this story was originally presented it flows greatly and you don't sense the start and end moments as you would in most graphic novels/trade paperbacks. It's a lighthearted take, in a world full of superheroes getting darker, serious and more grounded in reality where their origins are that of circumstance and tragedy. Shazam! fully embraces its magical elements of the character and its world. Justice League #21 was a full issue given to the finale of this incredible story. Black Adam is a fascinating character with a complex but darker origin of his heroic counterpart and there final battle does provide enough action but the end satisfyingly leans more towards an emotionally-driven finale than an action oriented one, fully embracing the concept of family and the idea that it's "not what it should be, but what it can be." A theme that's underlying throughout, that provides one of the best and most memorable moments of the entire story.

A new beginning for a classic character in this one shot stand alone origin tale before Shazam joined the ranks of the Justice League. Backup stories can be hit or miss and a lot of the time they are an unwanted addition, but it's not the case here as the story is so good that it's worthy to get collected in a single edition turned into seamless storytelling of a fantastic story, proving to be one of the best since the New 52 began. It's a fun and exciting, a real change and variation from the adult superheroes we're used to reading. It's not afraid to be a little bit silly and slightly goofy. Embrace this lighthearted and fun story that's rooted in fantasy and magic making it a vastly enjoyable story of the young boy imbued with great powers that's both modern and contemporary that I'm keen to read again soon, it's excellent. SHAZAM!

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars “Billy Batson, you are the most unpleasant boy I’ve ever had the unpleasure of knowing.”, 17 April 2014
By 
Mr. Mice Guy (London, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Shazam! Volume 1 HC (The New 52) (Hardcover)
The backup stories from Justice League issues #7-11, 0, 14-16 and 18-21, are collected as Shazam! Volume 1 HC (The New 52). These all add up to the latest origin story for the latest Captain Marvel. Not as good as Jerry Ordway’s The Power of Shazam, but then, nothing is likely to be. However, this has made a good showing, with excellent artwork and scripting. This Captain Marvel is just Billy in a man’s body – there is no personality change – but the concept of a Marvel Family is the centrepiece of this story, and they even get the tiger in, though not the rabbit (though there is a Hoppy the rabbit featured in the story – we live in hope).

The story itself is pretty linear; cynical orphan Billy is settled in a new foster home; the Wizard Shazam is looking for a new champion; Doctor Sivana is looking for the tomb of Black Adam. It all works out in the end. It brought a tear to my eye. If it wasn’t for the memory of Jerry Ordway’s series, I’d have given it 5 stars.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Kid superhero, 11 Mar. 2014
By 
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Shazam! Volume 1 HC (The New 52) (Hardcover)
Billy Batson is a bratty orphan who meets a wizard on the subway, “reasons” his way into superpowers and becomes Shazam, a kind of magical Superman analogue. Black Adam is released from his mystical prison by Dr Sivana and raises the Seven Deadly Sins to destroy Shazam once and for all.

Your reaction to this book depends on how you feel about the character. Did you like Billy Batson/Captain Marvel before the New 52? If so, you’ll probably hate this version where Billy’s gone from being a kind-hearted kid to a whiny twerp you want to clobber. If, like me, you didn’t care about pre-New 52 Billy Batson, this one won’t offend you outright but, because New 52 Billy Batson is so unlikeable, you’re not going to root for him either.

The story reads a lot like a pilot episode to a CW show. Billy’s foster family is cynically made up of kids from every demographic so it’s like a marketing team constructed the cast. You’ve got a hot white girl who may as well be wearing a badge saying “Billy’s love interest”, a Latino, a black, an Asian, and a disabled kid – together they are the Bizarrely Politically Correct Family! There are two bad guys – Black Adam and the angry rich white guy. The rich dude is, of course, the father of the spoilt kids who beat up Billy’s new brothers and sisters and rants and raves like a cartoon bad guy. “I’m rich, I’m better than everyone, do what I say police officer, blah blah terrible dialogue etc.”.

Black Adam is his usual charming self, smashing everything in sight while sneering at everyone. Though he does take a look at people protesting against the banks, fly into the top of a skyscraper, and throw a banking exec out the window, so he’s not all bad. He does seem to spend a lot of time waiting for Shazam to show up and little else, so his whole story arc is pretty contrived.

Gary Frank’s art is by far the best part of the book. Every page is really well drawn and I loved the stuff in the magic cave but Shazam’s shoes? I don’t know what he was thinking – are those magic glow-in-the-dark plasters? Anyways, this is still a great looking book.

Johns’ script isn’t terrible but it is very basically written as if this is aimed at pre-teens. You can easily follow the story and understand motivations but it still reads as a very dumbed down superhero story in the end. None of the characters are especially memorable or well written and Batson himself remains an obnoxious jerk. As for the wizard himself, he’s written as a complete imbecile. When Batson, a 15 year old rude-boy, can out-reason a millennia-old entity with teenage “wisdom”, you’re doing a disservice to the character and creating a laughably simplistic origin story.

I’ve never read a Shazam book before so I can’t compare it to anything but for what this was, it was fine. It was a decent origin for Shazam that I was never bored with while reading – I didn’t love the characters but Johns’ script keeps things moving quickly and Frank’s art make the book a delight to read. I’m getting a little tired of the notion that for 21st century audiences to “buy” a classic superhero character, you need to revamp them so that they’re “edgy” and “dark” – it’s just too cynical an approach at this point – but Johns has done this to lesser effect elsewhere (like Justice League/Aquaman) and I was expecting Shazam to be a lot worse than it turned out to be.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joyful Magic, 19 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Shazam! Volume 1 HC (The New 52) (Hardcover)
This is some of the most fun you will have reading a comic book. I'm a massive fan of Captain Marvel, and so I was a little worried about what would be done with the character in this modern re-imagining. Thankfully, the more things change, the more they stay the same. My only advice to readers is to stick with it. A lot of readers were put off by the characterisation of Billy Batson at the start of the series, but reading to the end, that effect seems intentional. Character arcs are wonderful things, don't you know?

A few extra notes:
-Some of the pages in the first issue have been reordered from their initial printing. This improves the reading experience immeasurably, and I can't imagine going back to reading it in the originally printed order.
-The back material is very good. I just wish they had used Gary Frank's design for Black Adam as it appears here!
-You do not need to know ANYTHING about the New 52 reboot to be able to enjoy this as a standalone story.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A very promising new start for one of my favorite superheroes., 19 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Shazam! Volume 1 HC (The New 52) (Hardcover)
I was listening to the podcast Fatman on Batman with Kevin Smith and his interview with Geoff Johns about some of his work.
Mostly Batman stuff, but when they start talking about his new Shazam book, the premise alone instantly got me hooked.
And I've figured if I'm gonna buy just one book from the new 52 line, it might as well be Captain Marvel. And sure enough it didn't disappoint. The story is great, the characters were solid and the art is gorgeous. My only problem...more like a nitpick really, they changed the heroes name from Captain Marvel to Shazam. To me Shazam is a phrase word, not a name. So I just simply pretended his name was still Captain Marvel. Pretty sad, I know.

Overall, if your looking to buy any book from the new 52, then this one is a definite winner. Looking forward to Vol. 2.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I don't know if was always this funny, but I loved it, 30 Sept. 2014
I'd never read Shazam before, but thought I'd give him a go, with the New 52 release... What have I missed? I don't know if was always this funny, but I loved it.

Billy Batson, can be a bit of a dick and he carries that as well as his immaturity, (he is only 15), with him, when he transforms into Shazam. I like that, he's very flawed, but tries his best... Bring on Volume 2
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5.0 out of 5 stars Shazam is great, 27 May 2014
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This is a good graphic novel great story. Well written, recreate Shazam with a darker background. Amazing I would recommend this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 23 Mar. 2014
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Best of the reboots by a country mile.
Captain marvel is back!!!
Artwork and story bring the character back up to date.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Starting with a Shazam!, 11 Oct. 2013
By 
Ian Williams "ianw" (Sunderland, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This character has a long but not complicated history. For a start, he wasn't called Shazam but Captain Marvel. Co-created by artist CC Beck for Fawcett Comics, he appeared not long after Superman and became very popular until, some years later, DC sued Fawcett by claiming he was a copy of Superman. This was patently ridiculous but DC still won, Fawcett collapsed and DC took over ownership of the character.

By the time they decided to use him, Marvel had already copyrighted the name 'Captain Marvel' so DC were not allowed to use that name on the cover of any comic featuring the character though the character kept that name. Shazam! is the magic word he used to transform himself from the adolescent Billy Batson into the world's mightiest mortal.

Note the word magic in there. This was already one significant difference between him and Superman. Neither did he have Superman's range of powers. Cap was basically incredibly strong, invulnerable, clever, very fast, and could fly. Basically, like the man of steel himself, Cap was what became accepted as one of an archetype -the super-man. Also different from Superman, his adventures were more naive, cartoony in visual style, and full of charming absurdities like Tawky Tawny the intelligent tiger. He also had a super 'family' who shared his powers to a lesser degree and included Captain Marvel Jnr aka the crippled kid Freddy Freeman, Mary Marvel, and the non-powered Uncle Dudley Marvel.

Heading towards the millennium, DC took the character more seriously as they integrated him into their own continuity -for years he was in a parallel world until the Crisis On Infinite Earths got rid of DC's multiverse.

Now writer Geoff Johns has recreated the character for DC's revised continuity and he has done a very clever and interesting job of it in collaboration with the excellent artist Gary Frank. Somehow Johns has managed to keep much of the mythos of the character while updating it for a modern audience.

Okay. Alter ego Billy Batson is no longer a naive kid who wants to do good but a 15 year old who's been in care and foster homes all his life and has become cynical, manipulative, and out for himself though, under the right circumstances, he can do the right thing. Captain Marvel name is now Shazam after his magic word which was given to him by a wizard (this origin remains virtually unchanged) who looks a bit like a grizzled Australian aborigine rather than the long white haired white man.

Billy is taken in by a decent couple who already have several foster children who he wants nothing to do with. Needless to say, this changes. On getting his powers he uses them to get money for food and beer and also, almost inadvertently, do some good deeds.

Also reborn is his nemesis Black Adam who goes looking for Shazam to extremely violent effect.

I'll skip the details as I don't want to spoil it for you. The content of this graphic novel originally appeared as a series of shorts in the back of the Justice League comic but they don't read like that. What you get is a full blown origin story that touches all the bases, while updating it in an interesting way. Shazam now has his own title and I'm looking forward to the first trade. Extremely promising start and highly recommended.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Mightiest of the New 52, 2 Dec. 2014
The hero once known as Captain Marvel is one that definitely needs more attention. This is a hero that deserves to be mentioned up there with Spider-Man and Batman as a household superhero name. I think that, of all the books in the New 52, Geoff Johns's SHAZAM! is the most exciting, heart-warming and satisfying read of the bunch.

Billy Batson is a bad kid with a good soul. Constantly in and out of orphanages and foster homes, the troublesome teen is unable to be able to settle, even in the company of his kind new foster family and their other 5 adopted children. Despite giving the impression he only cares about himself, Billy still, however reluctantly, gets himself into trouble to protect his new family from bullies. These noble traits get recognised when an ancient evil known as Black Adam is reawakened. Desperate to give the world a hero, the wizard Shazam gives his last breath bestowing his power onto the young Batson, turning him into Earth's Mightiest Mortal - SHAZAM!

This comic is faultless, and I mean that. The pacing, characterisation, visuals and action made me feel more like I was watching a blockbuster film than reading a graphic novel. Johns delivers a story that remains beautifully faithful to the original stories. There are new twists and revisions to fit with the modern continuity of the New 52, while keeping the heart and spirit of the character, showing that just like Superman, he is timeless. One change is the name of our hero. Captain Marvel was his name for the last 3/4 century, but since Marvel comics have their own Captain Marvel, DC must have thought it necessary to rename the character to avoid confusion. All of which is fine. Shazam is a more cheerful, less militaristic name in my opinion.

Gary Frank, ever the genius, delivers comic gold on every page, making the people feel real and the action feel glorious.

Nothing more needs to be said than that this is a superb read from start to finish.
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Shazam! Volume 1 HC (The New 52)
Shazam! Volume 1 HC (The New 52) by Geoff Johns (Hardcover - 8 Oct. 2013)
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