Review: SHAZAM #2
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Tim Sheridan
Artist: Clayton Henry
Colours: Marcelo Maiolo
Letters: Rob Leigh
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Shazam #2: Hell is full of temptations and distractions as Billy Batson searches for the missing Rock of Eternity, alongside his guide from Teen Titans Academy, the mystical and mysterious Dane. Earth’s Mightiest Mortal must face demons and would-be kings of the underworld. But even with the power of Shazam, Billy finds himself outwitted and outmatched, until Dane reveals a secret that will change his relationship with Billy and the new Teen Titans Academy forever.
Last issue introduced us to a new character, Dane. who was a bit of a mystery. All we really knew about Dane is that he was being mentored by Raven and had the ability to open a portal to Hell. In Shazam #2, we start to get a sense of who he actually is. When he and Billy are faced by a powerful demon named Sulibak, Dane makes this declaration: “I am Nevermore, son of the Underlord, heir to the Dark Realm and all it’s hellish conquests”.
It’s unclear who exactly he’s the son of, but it sounds as if it’s one of DC’s analogues of the devil, possibly Satan, Lord Satanus, or Neron. I think Lucifer is unlikely, as DC has distanced the Sandman Universe characters from the main DCU. However, his angelic wings do imply that his father is a fallen angel. In any case, it appears that Dane’s father is a major player in Hell. This would explain why Raven would have taken a particular interest in him, given that her father is the demon Trigon.
Another interesting character is Sulibak’s daughter Amoreena. This demoness appears to be teenage, or the daemonic equivalent of teenage. She appears to be sympathetic to Billy, and there seems to be some mutual attraction between the pair. I don’t know if she will show up past the end of this series, but the idea of a romance between her and Billy is an interesting possibility that I wouldn’t mind seeing Tim Sheridan pick up on in in Teen Titans Academy.
I find Sheridan’s depiction of Hell an interesting interpretation. Brought to life through the fantastic art of Clayton Henry, this Hell looks a lot like Las Vegas. It seems appropriate that Hell should resemble the City of Sin. It’s interesting that Dane seems right at home here, while Billy is very much out of his element. It was amusing to see Billy ordering a Shirley Temple at a bar where he has the option of any drink he desires.
Billy’s powers are still acting up. For much of the story, he tries unsuccessfully to transform to Shazam. Eventually he manages to do so, giving him the upper hand against his opponents, but his powers give out at a crucial moment, leaving him helpless against Sulibak. But he’s close to the Rock of Eternity, so hopefully he is close to solving the problem with his powers.
This is proving to be a very much different adventure than he faced in Geoff Johns’ Shazam series. Instead of being surrounded by the who Shazam family and multiple villains, Billy is tackling a simpler story that isn’t juggling too much at once. Where Johns was trying to force the entire Shazam mythos into a single storyline, Sheridan has more wisely decided on a more streamlined approach, which I feel better suits the character. I would love to see Sheridan tackle a Shazam ongoing series.
My only complain is that this is only a four issue miniseries. I’m having too much fun reading this for it to be half over already.
Shazam #2 is another fantastic issue from Tim Sheridan and Clayton Henry. This is not the kind of story I expected to see in a Shazam title, but it’s proving to be great fun. I look forward to seeing Billy’s story continue in the coming issues and in Teen Titans Academy.