Billy Batson and his family are back in a new ongoing series by Geoff Johns, but what do we call his alter ego?
Written by Geoff Johns
Pencils and Inks by Dale Eaglesham and Mayo “SEN” Naito
Colors by Michael Atiyeh and Mayo “SEN” Naito
Right off the bat, I just want to say that I loved this issue. While I wasn’t a great fan of the SHAZAM! backups Johns did in Justice League during the New 52 era, because I thought it was too dark, there was an obvious course correction with this new ongoing. Johns was clearly having fun with the concept and introducing the world to the new SHAZAM! right along side the rest of his family of heroes.
But what do we call them?
Johns has fun with that, too, noting within the issue that our main hero is having trouble saying his own name lately, a consequence of not having a real plan to rename the hero formerly known as Capt. Marvel. Now that DC Comics has given up on the name entirely (after not being able to use the name to market the hero for decades), just calling him SHAZAM! (the word Billy Batson shouts to become the hero – and change back) is pretty silly. When you add in his foster siblings, each of whom carried the Marvel name in one way or another, you have a bunch of superpowered beings with no name starring in their own book.
Maybe this will lead to a new name for the hero – which would be weird with a movie coming out next year (no, not THAT Captain Marvel!).
I really liked this debut issue, though, as Johns is setting up an interesting dynamic with the young heroes, as they go on a journey to discover the root of their powers. Hopefully, with the SHAZAM! movie coming out early next year, DC Comics gives this book some leeway to grow. At least until we can figure out how to let Billy Batson say his own superhero name.