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SHAZAM! (2023-) #1 Review

Neil reviews the debut issue of DC Comics’ brand new SHAZAM! series, available now in print and on digital where all good comic books are sold.



Shazam! (2023-) #1 (DC Comics)

Shazam! #1 is written by Mark Waid and published by DC Comics. Artwork and main cover art (left) is by Dan Mora, colours by Alejandro Sanchez and letters by Troy Peteri. Variant covers are by John Timms, Chris Samnee & Matheus Lopes, Doc Shaner, Ariel Colon and Mike Deodato & Trish Mulvihill.

Shazam! #1 is available now, in print and on digital platforms, where all good comic books are sold.


The World’s Finest creators present the World’s Mightiest Mortal in a dazzling solo series! Dinosaurs from space! The Clubhouse of Eternity! Homicidal worms and talking tigers! Atomic robots, alien worlds, mad scientists, sinister curses, and villains from throughout the DC Universe-welcome to the wild adventures of Billy Batson, whose big red alter ego defends the Earth from its weirdest and wildest threats! Want to stop Lex Luthor and The Joker? Call Superman and Batman! International crises? Page Wonder Woman! But when Garguax, Emperor of the Moon, sets his sights on Gorilla City, that’s when you shout “Shazam!” The fan-favorite team of Mark Waid and Dan Mora (Batman/Superman: World’s Finest) brings the magic!


Over the past decade Shazam!, or Captain Marvel to those of us old enough to remember, has been a character who has struggled to maintain a long-running series. Though the character has been ever present in team-up stories and in limited-run books. He’s yet to secure the kind of longevity of other DC heroes. This year, DC has making another attempt to strike whilst fans of the character’s big screen adaptions are craving more from the more kid-friendly hero.

Entrusting the series to Mark Waid and Dan Mora is, for starters, a brilliant idea. Mora has never been more of a hot commodity in comics. His work over at BOOM! is blockbuster stuff. His meteoric rise to comic book royalty is the stuff of legend. With Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II coming to an end it’s great to see him jumping on to another long-term project.

Waid is also hot stuff at DC at the moment. On top of World’s Finest, DC recently confirmed two further series are on the way in the form of Black Label miniseries Superman: The Last Days of Lex Luthor and World’s Finest: Teen Titans.

With Shazam! Waid and Mora are working in sync to open the character up to a new audience. Issue #1 functions as a strong reintroduction for the character. There’s enough backstory and exposition to induct new readers to his history right through the recent Lazarus Planet event. Waid cleverly lays out Shazam’s history whilst laying the groundwork for plenty of potential future conflict.

But Waid also shows real ingenuity with the setup. Rather than simply flashing back to the past, the opening pages of Shazam! #1 kicks off in the middle of a seemingly high stakes adventure in the present day. The sequence, featuring an entire family of T-Rex-like creatures, is a huge opening and thanks to Mora instantly captures the reader. It’s only after this that the adult alter-ego of Billy Batson sits down to recount how he reached this point in his life.

The rest of issue #1 leans in to what readers might expect from a Shazam! book, a mix of teenage high school drama and superhero action. But again Waid is preparing to subvert expectations. As we continue to learn the current circumstances of Billy’s life, Shazam! is preparing for a cliffhanger ending which is more than worthy of bringing me back for the second issue.

Whilst Shazam! is recognisable Mora it feels like he’s flexing his muscles and trying something new. There’s an added layer of realism which takes his artwork a step beyond the more animated look of MMPR/TMNT II. I say that in a good very. There’s an incredible versatility to hit style which is able to lean in to more adult themes when required. I absolutely can’t fault the experimentation as it has resulted in a very classically Shazam! feel to the book.


Waid and Mora are reinventing the Billy Batson character for a new audience. A mix of clever exposition and high stakes action instantly immerse the reader in the Shazam! world. Whilst Mora’s remarkable artwork continues to be an instant sell.



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