Superman/Shazam!: First Thunder #1 Review

A Face in the Crowd
Review by: Tim Sheridan

Writer: Judd Winick
Artist: Joshua Middleton
Letterer: Nick J Napolitano
Assoc Editor: Tom Palmer Jr
Editor: Mike Carlin

And people say there is no fun in DC comics these days.

Well this issue was one of the most fun books I’ve read in a long time. The story isn’t really anything out of the ordinary. In fact, it’s the typical year one heroes meeting story. And it is done in a way that’s not all that different than what we’ve seen before. But it’s Judd Winick’s tone in the script and Joshua Middleton’s outstanding art that really makes this a great comic. We’ve been told that Shazam/Capt Marvel is a character to watch in DC this year, and now we know why.

I should also mention that this story does take place in continuity, at least it seems that way. The wizard Shazam lets us know right away that this is all going down a short time after Superman and Batman appear on the scene.

Winick seems to want to make this series a fresh start for the character, without rehashing his origin. (hey, by the way, whatever happened to the Captain Marvel series Jeff Smith was working on) Dr Sivana, who, last time I checked, was more or less a mad scientist, is now more of a Lex Luthor-esque businessman. (and he’s got Luthor as a nemesis as well). This seemingly works now, and I’m anxious to see how it plays in the long term.
As I mentioned, the story is sort of pedestrian. Bad guys and monsters appear, and they have a magical element to them. Superman and Capt Marvel fight them, and don’t fare so well. So this issue ends with them about to team up.

But there is more at work here than a simple story. This comic made me feel like a little kid again. Maybe it’s the Billy Batson element, as he’s the character to attach yourself to. I don’t know. But the whole tone of the issue is so not serious that you can’t not have fun.

There has been a lot of talk about how the current DC tone is very dark and cynical. Personally, I don’t mind it. But for those of you who want more levity with these characters, here is the perfect book for you.

Middleton’s art is simply amazing. I did not pick up any of his NYX book at Marvel, so I didn’t know what to expect. But I was truly floored by the clarity detail, and care he put into every page. And the art fit the feel of the story just right.

This is not a comic to look at with an analytical eye, it is simply one to be enjoyed.