Convergence: Shazam #1 Review

Written by: Jeff Parker

Art by: Evan Shaner

Publisher: DC Comics

Convergence: Shazam was one of the Convergence tie ins I’ve been genuinely excited to read. Captain Marvel has been criminally underused in the new 52, with still no solo series in sight we’ve only had the (admittedly brilliant) Multiversity tie in to hold us over this year. With Convergence however, we have another chance to revisit a classic incarnation of the fan beloved character, and for the most part Parker and Shaner deliver a solid comic that manages to capture the Golden Age appeal of the character.

What immediately caught my attention in this issue was the gorgeous art by Evan Shaner, I don’t know why I haven’t seen his art before as it captures exactly what I love about traditional superhero comics. It’s definitely done with a very 40s era golden age style, with streamlined character designs that look bold, striking and are incredibly expressive, as well as a very vintage themed city. The smoky city at night and cavernous underground feel like they’re ripped straight from classic Whiz comics. There’s a splash page early on in the book encapsulating the story of the Marvels that demonstrates Shaner’s understanding of the material, it’s a fantastic looking page that packs in so much history while simultaneously looking iconic and stylish. To me the book is worth a look based on the art alone, it’s the sort of style I think of when I think “DC Comics” and the sort of pop art style I wish they’d do more of.

Parker’s script is likewise soaked in nostalgia, but interestingly has a little bit more of a contemporary edge. There’s of course the traditional superhero epics that again hark back to the days of yore, including the always hilarious call of “holy smokes!” from the main cast. With all the Convergence stuff however there’s a more modern, darker edge to the story at times, including a suicide bomber at the start. This stuff isn’t bad, and in fact it works well as a juxtaposition between the innocence of comics of the past with those of today, but it makes the opening feel pretty slow, especially since most of it gets dropped whenever the actual plot gets going aside from the odd reference. The ending of the comic suggests that the Convergence stuff will have more relevance next issue, but as of now I think it got too much page time considering it only had a slight impact on the plot (with the Marvels not being able to use their powers) and I had much more fun with Parker’s handling of some classic villains and mad-cap plans and explanations that feel simultaneously silly and so much fun.

Overall though, this is a pretty solid comic. I feel that some of the comic gets held back by the Convergence tie-ins and would rather have had a stand-alone elseworld type story, but as it stands this is a really stylish and fun story that Captain Marvel fans or fans of golden age comics in general should definitely check out.