COMIC REVIEW: Justice League: Darkseid War: Shazam #1 | FanboysInc

COMIC REVIEW: Justice League: Darkseid War: Shazam #1

By Buddy Beaudoin

Writer: Steve Orlando

Artists: Scott Kolins, Romulo Fajardo Jr., Steve Wands


DC Comics

Following the events of “Justice League #45” and the end of the Darkseid War, several of the members of the Justice League gain godlike powers. I’m telling you this because they left that part out of the beginning of this book. So, what do you give the godlike boy that has everything? I guess an all-new set of godlike powers, and a journey through time and space to try to explain to him what all of that means.

Justice League - Darkseid War - Shazam #1 (2016) - Page 3

Here’s the thing, they kind of don’t. We get to Billy in the middle of an argument among the new gods, and Billy’s ever childish dialog, taking place in Billy’s head. What follows is an episode of Quantum Leap masquerading as Scrooged, as Billy is transported from realm to realm visiting a handful of gods along the way, each with a new vague message. After all is said and done, it’s very unclear as to what Shazam’s new power set looks like, but one of them definitely includes fire, I think.

Justice League - Darkseid War - Shazam #1 (2016) - Page 5

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This is a really great example of what a really amazing Shazam story could look like, if the dialog and art were more cohesive. If each time Billy was transported to another planet, there was some Avatar like scene that included Billy learning of a new ability, that would have been great. By the time we get to the end of the book, it’s very unclear what’s actually transpiring. Billy steps into the final world, The Source, to meet up with Wizard who is fighting off Yuga Khan, the Father of Darkseid. Here’s another amazing opportunity missed in this story. Yuga Khan boasts of his abilities and promises to wreak such havoc on Earth that people will be broken down into oil to run his warships. That could have been awesome, if in “Justice League #46”, Yuga Khan makes it to Earth giving the creative team on JL a massive power battle. Instead, Shazam defeats Yuga Khan single-handedly, somehow, using lightning. After spending the entire book with the new gods telling Billy of the power bestowed upon him, we get old hat Shazam lightning to deal the fatal blow on Yuga Khan in a disappointing end.


As a whole, this book is inconsistent. The art on some pages is very well done. We get these great landscape pieces of a new god’s face, complete with depth and intricate detail. Unfortunately, those pages are few and far between. What the majority of this book looks like is muted tones over uneven line work. It’s hard to say for sure what the direction was here, but it fails right down to the lettering. Each new god has their own style of dialog bubble. We’ve seen DC and plenty of other creators do that before, to give a reference point to who is speaking, but the font choices and bubble design here are not great. Some of the font looks like fancied up Times New Roman. I would expect the god of fire and death to have some really heavy looking font that weighs down the page and inspires dreams of turning it up to 11, but what we get is a font resembling handwriting on a word bubble resembling a torn Post-It.

I have to wonder what this story would have looked like in different hands. The ideas here are so cool, but so poorly executed. As all the other Darkseid War one-shots, this book promises a continuation in “Justice League #46”. Hopefully, they can pull something out of this one.

Justice League - Darkseid War - Shazam #1 (2016) - Page 18

The “Best There Is”: An epic idea for a story. Shazam with an all-new power set, transported from god to god until culminating at a boss battle with the father of the baddest dude in the DC universe. These ideas are huge and could have carried so much weight coming out of a one-shot series and back into a DC staple like Justice League.

The “Not Very Nice”: For everything that was set up here, there’s a lack of execution on behalf of the creative team. The work is inconsistent on all fronts, and makes for vague storytelling. The lettering is distracting to its mission, leaving me feeling like I’m at times reading a harshly worded grocery list more than the ruining words of a fire god.

FBI Score: 5 out of 10. “Justice League: The Darkseid War: Shazam #1″ fails to deliver. The redeeming qualities in the story are overlooked by the lack of direction in the storytelling and the inconsistencies in the art direction. Seeing a Shazam with an all-new power set would have been something to behold, but it looks like we’re going to have to wait until “Justice League #46” to see a payoff on that.

Buddy Beaudoin

Buddy Beaudoin is a writer and independent comic creator from Upstate, NY. He's a fan of tea, spacey music, and a nice pair of slacks. He LOVES comics. Batman, Swamp Thing, and Jonah Hex are some favorites, but he's also a pretty big fan of the indies. Should you ever need him, walk outside and yell his name loudly...

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