By Jeff Loveness, Brandon Peterson and Mike Atiyeh
Shazam has been a long burning story for Geoff Johns that has dated back a couple of years now. The delays have hampered the book, but it’s always a very good read when it hits shelves. This week, however, we get an issue written by guest writer Jeff Loveness. I’m a Loveness fan, he is a fellow Cyclops lover, and I’ve loved his Nova mini-series. It also doesn’t hurt to have Brandon Peterson doing the art for the issue either.
This is a standalone issue, which is why Jeff Loveness is on writing duties. One of the best things about this book is it’s premise. Shazam really doesn’t have many well known rogues or villains. Loveness utilizes only Freddy and Billy out of the Marvel family for this issue, which is fine. Their banter is always fun on the page and Loveness allows them to play off of each other well. There is another team up this issue as well. Billy goes to Gotham and has a run in with the Scarecrow. On paper, this seems like an easy win for Shazam. In reality, the Scarecrow is underrated and can do a lot of damage to a hero not expecting it. Loveness highlights this fairly quickly in the interactions between Shazam and Scarecrow. We are so used to Batman and all his safety nets, that we don’t think much of a tussle with the Scarecrow. An unsuspecting and naïve hero like Shazaam is not as prepared. It is nice to see Shazam work with Batman. He hardly seems to team up with many people in the DC universe anymore. Loveness filled in admirably for Johns on this series.
The pencils this issue are handled by Brandon Peterson with colors by Mike Atiyeh. Peterson’s pencils are amazing. His style is realistic, clean and precise. From the opening page, when a crocodile shows up in a business suit, you’re drawn into the art. Peterson also draws one of the creepiest scarecrows you’re likely to see in comics. As you flip through the book, you’ll be treated to page after page of epicness. From Batman breaking through a window to the first appearance of the Scarecrow everything just looks perfect. The colors by Mike Atiyeh will also WOW you. Atiyeh builds on Peterson’s pencils with colors that seem to match perfectly. Atiyeh colors the first few pages brightly, and vibrant. The second Shazam hits Gotham, the color palette dulls and gets darker, which is great. Peterson and Atiyeh just seem to mesh wonderfully and make the art on this book outstanding.
Shazam #12 is not a throw away stand alone issue. This is a book that sheds some insight and adds some character to Billy. Jeff Loveness reels us in with his words and Peterson and Atiyeh amaze us with the art. This is an issue that shouldn’t be missed.