Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review: Convergence: Shazam #1

I thought Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewart's Thunderworld Adventures was going to be a tough act to follow. I thought Jeff Parker, with his hit-or-miss writing on Batman '66 would turn in an okay, but not excellent script.  I thought there was no way Convergence: Shazam could come close to equalling Thunderworld Adventures. I was wrong! Convergence: Shazam has, indeed, equaled Thunderworld.  Jeff Parker and Evan "Doc" Shaner hit a home run. You have to understand, as a Captain Marvel fan, it's just so unusual to have two superb Shazam products back to back, and ironically... or perhaps subconsciously prophetic... without Black Adam in the spotlight.  This really hasn't happened since the 1970s.  But we got it now.  Thunderworld Adventures and Convergence: Shazam.
Parker turned in a brilliant script. He wrote all the characters' personalities perfectly, and completely in line with each character.  The plot has to do with a dome covering Fawcett City, preventing Billy, Freddy, and Mary from transforming into the Marvel Family for one year.  Two comments: One, there is a difference between this comic's continuity and Thunderworld. This comic is set on the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths Earth-S, where Billy first became Captain Marvel in the 1940s, and after some time, along with the entire cast of characters, was trapped by Sivana in Suspendium for decades.  Parker does a masterful job recapping that bit of history in the story.  Thunderworld, on the other hand, is set on the post-Flashpoint Earth 5, which keeps the entire original Fawcett continuity timeline, but transplants it to the modern day.  Second, the only mistake I noticed is Parker refers to Fawcett City.  The pre-COIE Earth-S had no Fawcett City.  Billy and the others live in New York City (the term "Fawcett City" was first used in COIE).

The story works in some of Captain Marvel's greatest foes, and there are scores of cameos and Easter Eggs.  The art by Evan "Doc" Shaner is excellent, and unlike Cameron Stewart, who captured the C.C. Beck flavor while still making it very modern looking, Shaner's art has a more authentic Golden Age look to it. I can't wait to see what's in store for issue 2 when the Gotham By Gaslight version of Batman comes to Earth-S.  Supposedly, after the Mulitversity and Convergence events, DC continuity will be tweaked (editorial:  I hate the "New 52", so they could scrap that continuity all together as far as I'm concerned), and I am hoping Thunderworld Adventures will get picked up as an on-going series, featuring the Earth 5 Marvel Family... and Parker and Shaner would be a great team to launch it.  And between Thunderworld and Convergence: Shazam I hope Toby Emmerich, Dwayne Johnson and the powers-that-be at New Line Cinema are paying close attention on how to properly bring the World's Mightiest Mortal to life on the silver screen. As for Convergence: Shazam #1, it earns an A+.

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