The New Champion of Shazam #2 review

Last time, Mary Bromfield left Philadelphia for a new beginning as a student at posh university Vassar. Things got complicated when she received the powers of the wizard Shazam, a teleporting talking bunny appeared and she met new supervillain Disaster Master. Then, to cap off a weird day, the terrible news came that foster parents Rosa and Victor Vasquez had vanished. So Mary is back home to look after her foster siblings while searching for her parents. She’s been gone just two days, but the tension is palpable.

There is a spot of brightness when Mary meets the science professor at her new – planned-to-be-temporary – school, Fawcett Community College.

Class is interrupted, though, when Mary decides to investigate a crash on the nearby highway. With one magic word, the World’s Mightiest Mortal appears and finds a motorist being menaced.

A giant lizard isn’t the only opponent Mary faces in the second issue of this four-part mini-series, which manages to be even better than the entertaining opener. And that’s not because Mary’s annoying Vassar roomies are absent, apart from on Evan ‘Doc’ Shaner’s cute cover. It’s for positive reasons, such as writer Josie Campbell’s careful characterisation of Mary’s brothers and sister; a clever opening introducing us to Mary’s hopeless new college; the arrival of the likeable Dr G, who may well be a spin on classic Marvel Family character Georgia Sivana; and the developing mystery of the vanishing Vasquezes. The issue ends with Mary learning that her Mom and Dad aren’t the only people to have been apparently kidnapped from the neighbourhood of late.

A couple of the names rang a bell, so it was off to Wikipedia to look up every last one of them… and what I found was very intriguing.

And after not being totally sold on the new version of Hoppy the Marvel Bunny last time, following his supremely lovable doings this month I’m a big bunny booster.

One question arises from this issue… here’s Hoppy again, after Mary’s brother Eugene bemoans the fact that members of the Vasquez brood no longer share super powers.

And here’s Hoppy last time.

A direct contradiction. Now, I assume Hoppy isn’t dissembling, he seems a good sort, so clarification would be appreciated.

Shaner’s full-colour art is once again a thing of wonder, delightful from start to finish. Intelligence, determination and compassion are etched on her face, the body language always convinces – Mary couldn’t be in better hands. The supporting characters are equally good, I’m especially pleased that Probably Georgia isn’t a hook-nosed crone as in the Golden Age – Dr Sivana had four kids by two different mothers, the stunning Magnificus and Beautia were good, the less conventionally attractive Georgia and Thaddeus were very, very bad… a terrible message.

Becca Carey’s expressive letters are an asset to the comic, which comes from the editorial office of Brittany Holzherr and Jillian Grant

If you’re not reading this coming-of-age mini-series, give it a crack, it’s smart, great-looking and, most of all, huge fun.

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