Shazam #4 is published by DC Comics, written by Geoff Johns, with art by Dale Eaglesham and Marco Santucci, colors by Mike Atiyeh, and letters by Rob Leigh.
Having been attacked by King Kid and scattered across the Magiclands, Shazam and his friends must adapt to their new surroundings quickly, before things continue to go from bad to worse. With the story picking up where the last issue left off we find the group separated and lost amidst several of the Magiclands. We get our first looks at the Gamelands and the Wildlands, while also learning more about the Funlands, and the secrets King Kid has. These, with a couple of other brief stops here and there, makes this issue a feel a bit busy, though not in a bad way. The time is well spent both setting up the ongoing plot and introducing elements of the newly visited Magiclands which help make them feel like more than just exotic window dressing for our heroes to adventure in.
Geoff Johns’ writing continues to provide the classic comic book vibe that has been the starring aspect of this book to me. Even though this issue certainly constitutes a lull in the adventure, I find myself completely okay with it since I know the story will speed up in a timely manner, hitting the mark as it has in all other aspects.
The art by Eaglesham and Santucci further provides a beautiful medium for the new locals we are introduced to in this issue. I particularly enjoyed the new character designs in the Wildlands. Their approach reinforces the fact that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to create something memorable, so long as you check all the boxes off when going with a more classic approach.
With all this classic design and storytelling you might worry that all the Magiclands will come across very similar to each other but luckily, this is not the case. Each land stands on its own and is instantly recognizable for what it is. Which will be supremely helpful as the story continues to move between them all in the coming issues.
The perils faced by the various splinter groups of our heroes are as different as the places they find themselves in which I was also very pleased to see. It wouldn’t be unexpected to find each splinter group in roughly the same situation but in a different land. Instead, we find a variety of circumstances and perils our protagonists are facing and I am hopeful that these will lead to several unique and entertaining resolutions.
This well-paced setup story teases a new personality who is about to enter the equation with further knowledge that will help illuminate and possibly change our understanding of the Magiclands as well as the mysteries surrounding them. I find myself looking forward to the next issue of the enchanting book.
With the Shazam movie coming out in two short weeks, anyone who goes from that movie to a comic store and finds themselves picking up this story arc is in for a wonderfully charming bit of classic comic book storytelling. Which I’m sure is exactly what DC has planned.
Shazam #4 is available now wherever comic books are sold.
…finds themselves picking up this story arc is in for a wonderfully charming bit of classic comic book storytelling.