THE NEW CHAMPION OF SHAZAM #1 / Script by JOSIE CAMPBELL/ Art and Cover by EVAN “DOC” SHANER/ Letters by BECCA CAREY/ Variant Covers by JOSHUA MIDDLETON, GARY FRANK & BRAD ANDERSON/ Published by DC COMICS
Mary Bromfield is used to being overlooked. She was an unwanted child, who was thrown away and run away from multiple foster homes until she finally found a home and a family. Then she and her siblings became superheroes, thanks to the power of the wizard Shazam and her brother Billy’s wish to share the power he’d been given. But that all came to a close after Billy became sealed in the Rock of Eternity… or so Mary thought.
Now, just as Mary has set out to start a new life at college, the old magic has returned, in the form of a surly talking rabbit. It seems that after a lifetime of being ignored, Mary has been chosen once again to be the new Champion of Shazam. It also seems that something is gunning for Mary and her family, making it all the more important she become the hero she once was.
The New Champion of Shazam is everything a Mary Marvel story should be. It is fun, funny and easily accessible, particularly to those who hadn’t been keeping up on the recent events involving Billy Batson in the Teen Titans book. The focus of Josie Campbell’s script is firmly upon Mary Bromfield and developing her as a likeable protagonist. We get to know Mary in all her excitement and insecurity before the introduction of Hoppy sends the story screwballing out of control.
Evan “Doc” Shaner is one of the most underrated artists working today and I can’t think of anyone better to illustrate a new Shazam series. Shaner’s aesthetic lends itself well to bold, four-color action stories and he gets ample opportunity to draw Mary slugging it out with a supervillain in this first issue. Yet Shaner is also good at depicting the humor of the quieter moments, such as Mary’s slow realization that nobody else can hear her talking rabbit companion.
The New Champion of Shazam is a breath of fresh air in a musty room. This is the kind of book DC Comics should be publishing more of, instead of endless Bat-books and repetitive event comics. If you liked the Shazam! movie and are anxiously awaiting Fury of the Gods, this will do a fine job of tiding you over until then.