Lazarus Planet: Revenge of the Gods #2 review

The assault on Earth masterminded by the mad god Hera continues, with giants attacking occupied buildings in Philadelphia. Billy Batson calls down the magical lightning to become the hero Shazam (Captain Marvel!) but doesn’t find saving the day simple.

Happily, sister Shazam (Mary Marvel!) appears and takes over while Billy heads off to find out who’s behind the assaults.

The glowing figure advises him to go to Washington DC where an unnamed woman will be his ‘guide between worlds’. On the bus to the capital, Billy meets a different mystery person.

Their ride ends prematurely when mythic beasts attack the vehicle.

Turning back into Shazam (Captain Marvel!), Billy meets his guide – Yara Flor, the latest heroine to go by the name Wonder Girl…

… and she’s a right cow to him. Seriously, she’s been in the superhero game about a fortnight while Billy’s been at it a good while longer. She doesn’t know this, but why be so quick to judge? And when they get to Olympus via Yara’s ability to move between the godly and mortal realms, someone else decides to dump on him – the ancient wizard who gave him his powers.

Poor Billy, he tries so hard. It’s almost as if writer G Willow Wilson isn’t a fan. I mean, why does she make him take a bus to Philadelphia, the guy can fly? And that’s after having Billy freak out at the sight of giants – he’s fought big beasts plenty of times.

The treatment of the Big Red Cheese apart, I enjoyed this issue a lot. Even Yara isn’t entirely unbeatable, I quite enjoy her brand of hack-slash action as she takes down Classical critters. Which isn’t to deny I’d rather have Mary co-star – she’s smart, she’s strong, I mean, just look at her as drawn by one of this issue’s two artists, Cian Tormey.

Their dynamic is much more fun that that between Billy and Yara… let’s hope Mary gets a big role next time.

It’s great to see Billy try to tap into the generally ignored Wisdom of Solomon, although here he doesn’t even have the wisdom of a regular teenager, forgetting Solomon comes only as part of the Shazam package. Thank goodness, then, for glowing golden women… this one is likely Hippolyte, and if not I’d guess Aphrodite, she has form.

I had hoped that when the enigma in the anorak turned up again – he was also in last week’s Wonder Woman – we’d learn their identity. No such luck, though their dialogue indicates they’ve been to hell and don’t consider themselves mortal. Also, they call Billy ‘little brother’… Black Adam in a rare good mood, maybe? This being comics, we don’t even have the clue of a male or female voice, darn! Oh, hang on…

In mythology Hercules had a run-in with Orthros, though I don’t think that was in hell. Then again, it’s legends, and legends change. And the ‘H’ in ‘Shazam’ standing for Hercules, that could make Billy his ‘little brother’.

There’s no doubting the excellent artwork, with Tormey handling the Philadelphia and Olympus scenes, and Emanuela Lupacchino bringing the Washington DC action. Tormey’s Billy is great, there’s a lovely boyishness to the body language, while his Shazam is magnificent (there’s a bit of a Kevin Maguire feel at times). The moment Billy first calls down the magic lightning is gorgeous, thanks to Tormey’s composition and the colour effects of Jordie Bellaire, whose work is typically terrific throughout. And again, Mary Marvel, wow! The book ends on a brilliantly dramatic story beat, which Tormey perfectly nails.

As for Lupacchino, her facility for females pays off big time with Yara Flor, her power and grace is there to see. Lupacchino is also marvellous at the scary monsters and super creeps, as the encounter Maybe-Hercules has with Orthros shows. The only note I’d give her as Back Seat Editor is to draw Billy-as-Shazam a little older – he looks about 20.

Pat Brosseau’s lettering is splendid, clear and accurate with plenty of dropped-in Shazam logos when the magic word is heard. Extra points if Brosseau is behind the clever sound effect placement on the splash page, which he likely is.

Anyone else get a Dark Knight Returns vice from Guillem March’s cover? The lightning bolt reminds me of the first issue while the dynamic poses are a tad like the famous pin-up image of Bats and Carrie Kelly.

Ignore most of those cover credits, they’re repeated from the first issue, which had a back-up strip. Duh.

Despite a couple of scripting bumps, I liked this issue loads, it’s big, breezy, daft DC goodness.

10 thoughts on “Lazarus Planet: Revenge of the Gods #2 review

  1. Let’s see:
    Orthrus guarded Geryon’s cattle which was Heracles’ 10th labour.

    Billy Batson is the Wizard Shazam’s champion. That used to mean something. Aside of Grant Morrison’s “Thunderworld”, few writers seem to understand that Billy is the Captain, the senior officer, and the others aren’t quite to his rank. Otherwise, he really is just a kid in muscle suit a la S.T.R.I.P.E.

    Mary Marvel’s claim to fame shouldn’t be that she’s smarter than Billy. Certainly there are things she can display to make her stand-out without diminishing Billy at the same time?

    Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the kind words, and the Hercules clarification. The comic book Herc has been pretty problematic in modern day Wonder Woman, I hope this turns out to be a refreshed version. The mystery figure seems to slim to be Unbound.

      I do miss smart Captain Marvel.


  2. I’ve not read this but are those Frost Giants from Jason Aaron’s Thor run in wigs? Moonlighting at DC after villaining at Marvel, who’da think it?
    Wow, isn’t Yara just *the best* in this extract? Not at all completely obnoxious and arrogant for no good reason, right? RIGHT? Bwa-ha-ha! Why is this new Wonder Girl (uh oh, now I’m on her kill list for calling her Wonder Girl!) often written as an arse? Ill-mannered self-loving schmuck with a bigger chip on her shoulder than Mr Potatohead, is that supposed to be attractive. Guy Gardner was written they way he was *on purpose*, the writers of Yara Flor don’t seem to notice she’s a boor. Yay for Yara?
    It is funny how writers can’t seem to get Captain Marvel (Shazam Shazbot!) or his mythology right now. The Wizard HAS to be a malevolent jerk because God forbid he be anything other, he can’t be an Obi-Wan or a Yoda figure he has to be as traduced as Professor X (it’s as if Glinda the Good Witch was portrayed as a Bitch). Billy Batson/Captain Marvel can’t be a good-hearted fellow or even a loveable powerful benign goofball and Mary Marvel can’t be sweet, capable, and look up to the older Big Red Cheese. Nope he has to be dumb and not-so-good at being a superhero (the Wisdom of Solomon? Whassat?) and Mary has to be – to an extent – the clichéd toughgirl whilst also being superintelligent because female characters in this time of “diversity” have to be written almost always…the same way. WOO-HOO? Doesn’t seem diverse to me, sounds a bit um sexist and narrow-minded but what do I know!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great thoughts too! DC seemed so sure Yara Flaw, sorry, Flor would be a massive hit, and sideline Diana, but quickly saw that wasn’t the case, despite gorgeous art on her min- (intended as ongoing) series. And yet they haven’t dialled down her obnoxiousness.

      I’ve not read the Aaron Thor behind the first few issues, it’s so not for me.


  3. Except for a bad Captain Marvel characterization, this is very well drawn and written. Too bad it’s a pointless and arbitrary set of circumstances. It also feels l ike another DC Event that will have no consequences.

    And I love Yera Flaw. She makes Emma Frost look cuddly. I also see her as the hero version of Punchline, a character the editors love and can’t grasp no one can stand her.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Whoops! I read this issue without realizing I should have read Wonder Woman first! I’ll have to rectify that. Although I can’t say I have a lot of enthusiasm for this storyline, so maybe I won’t. It feels like it’s running in place, and by the time we get to the end of it, nothing will have mattered.

    I was also peeved that we didn’t get any more information on the guy in the hood. And like you, I’ve no idea why Billy didn’t just fly to DC.

    Nice art all around, though.

    But to be perfectly honest, my favorite moment was in the back-up: The coming of the Kangaliers! Amazon cavalry on kangas! I love it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I skip parts of Events and crossovers that go into books I have zero interest in so I intentionally skipped Wonder Woman and guess what? It didn’t appear to impact the mini at all. I also skipped the backup. Nu-Nubia bores me to tears. She’s just so earnest and perfect it makes my teeth hurt.


    2. Oh, I do love a good kanga ride.

      Not reading Wonder Woman first can’t have hurt, given the Mary story there apparently hadn’t happened by the time we reached this comic. I must say, though, I’m thrilled Mary has her own patrons back.


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