Buy Now!

Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

Superman/Shazam: First Thunder #4

Superman/Shazam: First Thunder #4

Scheduled to arrive in stores: March 15, 2006

Cover date: February 2006

Writer: Judd Winick
Penciller: Joshua Middleton
Inker: Joshua Middleton

Chapter Four: "Men and Boys! Gods and Thunder!"

Reviewed by: Barry Freiman

Click to enlarge

In Metropolis, Lois Lane tries to figure out how Clark Kent was in Fawcett City when Superman and Captain Marvel were there. Clark insists he was visiting a friend.

Sivana and his assistant wait to hear news from Sivana's strike force.

Seconds before the first of Sivana's troops fires, Billy hears the gun cock and, with one magic word - SHAZAM! - he becomes Captain Marvel and takes out the troops even as they continue to fire on him. When Captain Marvel looks around at the defeated troops, he notices that Billy's best friend Scott has been shot.

Cap rushes Scott into the Emergency Room. He watches as the ER staff work on saving Scott. But it's too late. Scott is dead.

At the Fawcett police station, detectives are interrogating one of the shooters when Captain Marvel breaks in. Cap is out of control with anger and threatens to squash the goon's head if he doesn't tell who put them up to the shooting.

Captain Marvel appears outside Sivana's skyscraper headquarters and smashes the glass walls bordering the penthouse office. Cap wraps his hand around Sivana's neck and lifts the diminutive baddy off the ground. Sivana is choking to death as Captain Marvel tells him he's trying to come up with a reason to let him live. Captain Marvel realizes at the last moment he couldn't live with murdering anyone and throws Sivana down. Sivana arranges ground transportation out of Fawcett.

In Metropolis, Clark Kent gets the news that Captain Marvel went ballistic in Fawcett City at police headquarters and at Sivana's building. Superman finds Captain Marvel moping at the peak of Mount Everest.

Superman wants to know why Cap went nuts and Cap explains how Sivana killed his best friend. Superman is confused until Cap says "Shazam!" and stands revealed as Billy Batson. Superman wants to know who made him Captain Marvel.

Superman confronts the wizard Shazam and wants to know why he would give that much power and accompanying responsibility to a little boy. Shazam tells him that it is Billy's fate to be Captain Marvel and that he could use a friend.

Clark Kent finds Billy in a burnt out walk-up and introduces himself by revealing the Superman costume beneath his shirt.

The End.

2Story - 2: This is the guy who's going to be writing an ongoing Captain Marvel series? Holy Moley!

Months of delays, Eclipso, Sabbac, a solar powered city, Lex Luthor, Bruce Gordon, goo-monsters, a murdered best friend, and a mysterious meta-mercenary. When Captain Marvel's creators would combine disparate concepts, coming up with such memorable inanities as a sentient conquering worm and a talking tiger, the end result was often inspired; when Judd Winick combines everything but the kitchen sink in this mini, you end up with a mish-mash with an ending that makes Superman look like a pedophile. Shame on DC and Winick for letting this book end with an adult sitting on a bed with an unrelated boy - forget we're talking about Superman and Captain Marvel. It's more than a little icky.

Perhaps this will all read better in one sitting in a trade paperback, but I doubt it. Instead, I think I'll just re-read my Limited Collector's Edition tabloid "Superman versus Shazam!". If this story's purpose had been to demonstrate why Captain Marvel belongs on his own Earth-S separate from Superman, then I'd conclude "mission accomplished" - unfortunately, I suspect DC intended the opposite and simply missed the mark.

3Art - 3: The art is fine - just inappropriately dark and moody for a Superman/Captain Marvel team up but then again, the story was needlessly dark and moody too.

3Cover Art - 3: A cover needn't depict actual events in a comic but it should evoke the feel of what happens inside - on the one hand, this cover does just that but it also lends the false impression that Captain Marvel might actually have killed Sivana if not stopped by Superman when Cap's own wisdom stopped him from killing. And that's ultimately the biggest problem you get from putting Captain Marvel and Superman on the same Earth: there's only one star and it ain't Cap.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2006

February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006

Back to the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.

Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2006.