In Review: Convergence Shazam #1

This is the best Convergence tie-in, better than the actual series itself.

The cover: The Main cover makes me want to stand up and salute it! It’s a gorgeous shot of the big cheese himself, Captain Marvel, flying against a beautiful mass of clouds colored violet, yellow, and orange. In the distance one can also see Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel, Jr. flying. This is drawn by Evan Shaner and colored by Jordie Bellaire and is one of the best super hero covers I’ve seen. Absolutely recommended! The Variant cover features art by Kurt Schaffenberger, with the captain looking concerned as he’s being consumed by the blackness of the Convergence. This cover, designed by Chip Kidd, is the one I purchased because I love this older art. Overall grades: Both A+

The story: In Fawcett City, Billy Batson stands atop the building from which he broadcasts on WHIZ radio, listening to Telos alert all cities that their champion will fight another city’s champion for that metropolis’s survival. With the speech ended, he looks frustrated into the sky and whispers “Shazam,” but nothing happens. His disappointed face leads to later in the day as he is helping to cover the mayor’s speech to the concerned citizens. One man screams that Captain Marvel has abandoned them, leaving them defenseless. Billy takes the microphone stating the history of the Marvel family and how they may have been out of the city when the dome fell. The man being addressed yells, “It doesn’t matter! In thirty seconds it will all be over! We are the masters of our own destiny! Not some alien!” He then opens his trenchcoat to reveal he’s covered in C4. Before he can detonate himself, he’s pulled off the ground by Bulletman and Bulletgirl, but there’s no time to defuse the bombs. This is a perfect homage and an all new tale of Captain Marvel and all his characters by Jeff Parker. “Return of the Thunder” is the title of this story, and it had me anxiously awaiting the return of Captain Marvel. Before he and his friends regain their powers there’s a nice little mystery they’re involved with, and it leads to the return of his greatest villains living far below the surface of the city. This hits all the right buttons. Parker has been crushing it on Flash Gordon for Dynamite Comics, and this shows he’s strong on other titles from the same time period. Overall grade: A+

The art: This is the best artwork on any Convergence book, including the main title. Evan Shaner has been doing incredible work on Flash Gordon with Jeff Parker, and he is a master rendering the characters of Fawcett City. The second page shows readers what they are in store for visually: flawless cityscapes and perfect looking characters. Page 3 is an amazing splash that has Billy summing up the adventures of the Marvels fighting their infamous villains, with Dr. Sivana having a space all to himself. The villains appear on Page 8 and they are fantastic. Shaner is able to maintain their original comedic look, but draws them so that they are truly terrifying, such as the robotic monster that first grabs hold of them. When Billy says the word, and this is no spoiler ’cause we all know it’s gonna happen, it’s a full page splash that packs all the energy and punch that lightning should bring.  Just when I thought nothing could be worse than his rogues gallery, the final page notches up the danger with the arrival of the Convergence villains he must fight. I can’t wait to see what Shaner has in store in the conclusion. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Jordie Bellaire, also from Dynamite’s Flash Gordon (Have you figured out what other book you should be following?), does an equally sensational job on this book. The pink skies of the Fawcett City are so different from all other Convergence books (THANK YOU!). which then transition to the wonderful colors on Page 2 of the downtown city. The flashback on Page 3 utilizes bright colors to show the heroes in action, but I am in absolute love with the dark colors used on Sivana at the bottom. There’s also some sensational shadow work being done on this book, such as when Freddy is under some trees. My favorite coloring job is on Page 16’s second panel. I love the orange and the stark use of white and blue. It’s stunning. Bellaire is a coloring ace. Overall grade: A+ 

The letters: Scene setting, Telos’ go-to announcement, radio transmissions, opening title and credits, dialogue, sounds, and next issue’s tease are by Saida Temofonte. They look tremendous, plus Temofonte also has some nice hidden treats, such as naming one building “Ordway” after writer and artist Jerry Ordway who’s kept the Captain Marvel torch burning at DC Comics for several decades. Superb. Overall grade: A+

The final line: This is the best Convergence tie-in, better than the actual series itself. Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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