Billy Batson finally gets the power of Shazam in Justice League #0!
Justice League #0
Upon entering the Rock of Eternity, Billy Batson is confronted by The Wizard, an impossibly ancient man who has been looking for someone to take his place defending Earth from magical threats. As the last surviving member of a Council once made up of the most powerful magic-users on Earth, the Wizard is being targeted by Black Adam, the last person the group chose as their champion, who also happened to kill everyone else. After proving that Billy is not pure of heart, and therefore not the person he has been seeking, Billy points out that after thousands of years of searching the Wizard should have learned that no one is pure of heart, but what matters is that you try. Pressed for time, the Wizard agrees and gifts Billy his power. With a single word, Billy transforms into a superhero, and immediately decides to strike it rich.
So, after what seems like an eternity, Billy Batson finally meets the Wizard and gets his powers. And yet, it still doesn’t feel like enough. I don’t know what I was expecting from this, the first full issue of the story. Maybe the start of the throw-down with Black Adam? It just feels like, after reading this thing for six or so months, it’s just now starting. Everything before was just set-up. While I may just have to make my peace with the snail’s pace of the thing, I can only hope that the fight between Billy and Adam will be just as long and involved, and not a blip surrounded by the domestics of Billy’s situation.
What most interests me is the stuff they may or may not have changed. At no point in this issue or any other is the power of SHAZAM attributed to the gods and wise men of antiquity. No mention of Zeus or Hercules or Solomon. From the origin story of Black Adam, it almost seems like the Council of Wizards has taken the place of the gods, each one granting some of their power to their champion. For that matter, the Wizard is not called Shazam anywhere in here. It’s the magic word Billy uses, but again, we don’t know if that is meant to be his name or not, as with the Freddy Freeman reboot. From a marketing stand-point, it would make sense, as the whole Captain “Marvel” thing has caused trouble in the past, and all toys and such featuring the character are already labeled SHAZAM.
And again, another change would aid this, as it seems now that Billy has to be thinking “good thoughts” or be focused when he says “Shazam” to transform. Meaning that he can now say his name and not get zapped.
This issue kind of throws out my theory that Billy would need all of his family member to summon the Captain, as in the FLASHPOINT world. Now I’m wondering what role they will play in the story. Will Mary and Freddy get their own independent powers? If so, will the new members as well? Or are they all just supporting cast now, Jimmy Olsens and Lois Lanes for Billy to watch over in secret?
The back-up story continues the tale of Pandora, which has threaded between JUSTICE LEAGUE and DC’s Free Comic Book Day book. Now that she has reacquired THE Box, the one that released all the evils things in the world (perhaps it was the Seven Deadly Sins, or Enemies of Man in this version?), she finds she can’t open it again to free the most powerful spirit, traditionally Hope. The Wizard appears and tells her that she needs to find someone whose heart is pure, either good or evil, it doesn’t matter, to do so. And once again we are alerted to the upcoming Trinity War, which seems now to refer to the Trinity of Sin (Pandora, The Phantom Stranger and The Question), and not Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman like we/I thought.
Again, if you read the Free Comic Book Day book, this back up doesn’t really give you anything new. It just reminds you who the players are and what’s going on.
On the art side, both Gary Frank and Ethan Van Sciver kick butt, and make this a fun comic to look at, if only an okay read.
I’m a little annoyed that now, after multiple issues of Billy being a punk, we are now looking forward to multiple issues of Billy being a punk with superpowers. Again, I’m sure that once Black Adam shows up, he’ll straighten out and hero-up. Now we play the waiting game.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Finally, what should have happened in Chapter One happens||This thing is moving at a snail’s pace|
More Justice League @ acomicbookblog.com/tag/justice-league