The New Champion of Shazam # 1
Writer – Josie Campbell
Artist – Evan “Doc” Shaner
I was at Eide’s Entertainment recently to take a look in the back issue bins for a few Reverse Flash comics for a friend from home. Before I went to the lower level of the store, I took a walk past the new releases. I was able to grab the last copy of The Deadliest Bouquet #1 for another friend. I also decided to pick up The New Champion of Shazam #1 as well. Before I pack up these comics and send them in the mail, I decided to check New Champ out.
Mary Bromfield starts a new journey, away from her close-knit family. She is starting her first year at Vassar College. She attends freshman orientation with her roommates. She looks in her purse and discovers her roomies’ bunny, Hoppy in there. The furry creature has an urgent message from Billy Batson to Mary– she must become the New Champion of Shazam! Will she undertake this additional responsibility or will she reject her adopted brother’s offer?
The beautiful cover art by “Doc” Shaner drew me towards picking this comic book up in the first place. The other reason was because of the strong female superheroine lead of this story. I was interested to see why Mary was chosen as the new Champion of Shazam. This first issue explains why and shows her misgivings about taking up the mantle of a hero once again. After losing the Power of Shazam, she focused her attention on her studies and was accepted to her dream school. She wants a fresh start and an opportunity to figure out who she really is versus how others perceive her, much like every young adult thrust into the world at that age. I can relate with Mary because I went to the University of Pittsburgh, a four-hour drive from my hometown. I wanted to prove to myself and my family I could make it on my own. Both Mary and I wanted to be self-sufficient. Mary is not selfish for not wanting to take on the mantle of Shazam. She knows she can’t juggle both being a hero and being a college student. That all changes when she gets bad news about her foster parents from the police.
Captain Marvel/Shazam was known as the Big Red Cheese because of the fun and wholesome stories he was featured in during the 1940s and 1950s. This first issue has a Golden Age feel to it –thanks in part to the introduction of Hoppy and his interactions with Mary and the interior art, once again credited to “Doc” Shaner. The villain of the story – Disaster Master – has an old school bad guy feel to him and is very reminiscent of Doctor Sivana, one of Captain Marvel’s rogues.
If you have been missing the Marvel family and are looking forward to the release of Shazam 2, this mini-series will help fill that void and prepare you for the family’s return to the big screen later in the year.
Next Issue – Mary is back home in the City of Brotherly Love, and she’s feeling nothing but hate! Not only did she have to leave her dream school, but now she’s the caretaker of her siblings and a city that is skeptical about the new hero in town. Everyone wants a piece of Shazam, and super-powered misfits are lining up to take her on! When her world is falling apart, can our hero keep it together? In Stores September 6th, 2022.