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Billy Batson and the Magic of SHAZAM! #2

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Billy Batson and the Magic of SHAZAM! #2

Credits

  • Words: Mike Kunkel
  • Art: Mike Kunkel
  • Inks: Mike Kunkel
  • Colors: Mike Kunkel
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.25
  • Release Date: Sep 17, 2008

Theo Adam is free from limbo and has targeted Billy to relearn the secret word that will transform him into Black Adam!

You ever read something that makes you smile? Something that causes you to grin from ear to ear because it’s just so nice and sweet in the best way possible? Yeah, that’s what Mike Kunkel is doing here.

14 year-old Theo Adam may have lost his powers but he sees Billy Batson as his ticket to getting them back. When Billy arrives at school he finds a new "exchange student" sitting in on the class in order to learn more about American schools. It doesn’t take long, though, for Theo to reveal his true aims and Billy finds it harder and harder to get away from Theo and turn into Captain Marvel. Billy, however, is about to find that Theo isn’t the only problem he’s facing. Things are about to get harder… a lot harder…

I am not going to knock the "grown up" version of Black Adam that appears in the mainstream DC Universe comics but there is something just really fun with this depiction of little Theo Adam as a punk teenager and certainly this is a depiction that a lot of kids will be more familiar with. Somehow Kunkel manages to make Theo threatening to Billy but without making him scary or violent. Theo’s ways of trying to make Billy reveal the magic word are childish and impish but spot-on for the target age group here (and if some adults get a chuckle out of the idea of using a fire hose to flood the school then good for them). The banter between Billy and his sister Mary is also charming, funny, and probably familiar to any child who has a younger sibling – male or female. Kunkel has made Mary a zippy but extremely bright little girl and it is hard not to love her antics. If there is one slight complaint to this story, it is that it is a very dense read. For an all-ages comic some younger readers might find it a long go to read through this. Of course, then that is just a good excuse to get an adult to sit down with them to share the joys of helping with reading.

Amazingly, Kunkel is handling all the art duties on this title himself as well and as he is credited on the first page: "Pictures, Words and Heart". It is that last word that is the key – Kunkel puts his heart and soul into his art here and it shows. The style is cartoony and exaggerated but wonderfully expressive and with a real artistic quality to the images that render them timeless. There is a feeling that someone could have picked this comic up thirty years ago and admired the art and yet pick the same comic up thirty years from now and marvel at the art.

All ages is a perfect description for this title. It will entertain a child but also awaken the kid still inside each one of us. There is fun and a gentle sense of adventure, characters that are good without being goody-goody or like artificial sweeteners and characters who are bad without being horrors. There is something beautiful, smart, and fun on the stands for kids of all ages and the name is Billy Batson and the Magic of SHAZAM!

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