Each Friday, we'll be letting a different DC.com writer share what they'll be reading over the weekend and why you might want to check it out. Here's this week's suggestion for a perfect Weekend Escape!
A lot has happened to the Shazam family recently. Billy Batson’s trapped in the Rock of Eternity and his foster siblings have lost their powers as a result. But Mary Bromfield is looking forward to the future. Well, her future, specifically. Years of hard work and study have paid off and she’s starting her first semester at Vassar College. But when Billy chooses Mary—and only Mary—as the new champion of Shazam, her life gets more magically, magnificently complicated than she ever could have imagined.
With Mary Bromfield primed to take on a bigger role in next week’s Shazam! Fury of the Gods, it’s the perfect weekend to check out her first solo miniseries. It might be just four issues, but there are thrills, mysteries and an amazingly relatable story packed in these pages. And I haven’t even told you about the talking magic bunny yet!
Let’s find out more about The New Champion of Shazam! as we get ready to go on another Weekend Escape.
Mary and her foster siblings were once superheroes alongside their brother Billy, each one wielding part of the incredible power of Shazam. Unfortunately, Billy is now imprisoned alone inside the Rock of Eternity, leaving the Shazam family powerless. Mary isn’t too bothered by the change of pace, though. She’s ready to begin a new chapter in her life as a normal college student.
When you’re part of the Shazam Family, however, nothing is ever “normal.” Billy chooses her as the new Champion of Shazam, and she’s going to need all of the powers at her disposal to take on a magical new threat that hits close to home.
Let’s Talk Talent:
Writer Josie Campbell and artist Doc Shaner are a dream team. Campbell, the writer of this year’s Legion of Super-Heroes animated film, also has a Mary-centric story in Lazarus Planet: We Once Were Gods. (Read that one after The New Champion of Shazam!.) Mary Bromfield has a long history, and Campbell adeptly distills her many years of adventure into the character’s personality and point of view in only four issues.
Shaner is a cover and interior artist whose work has graced Strange Adventures, Future Quest, The Terrifics and several Silver and Golden Age omnibus collections. His characters are beautifully expressive. Every facial expression in The New Champion of Shazam! is a masterpiece, using just a few lines to easily communicate excitement, nervousness, bewilderment and a devious grin or two. Yes, including the rabbit. Especially the rabbit.
A Few Reasons to Read:
- Meet Mary. If you’ve never spent much time reading about Mary Bromfield, this miniseries has just about everything you need to know about the storied superhero. She’s been a willful foster child, an angry runaway, a loving big sister and a brave superhero. Right now, she’s ready to just be Mary. But fate has other plans, as it usually does. School, family and superhero-ing: Mary suddenly has a lot of weight to carry on her super strong shoulders.
- There’s a mystery to be solved. I adore girl detectives and The New Champion of Shazam! feels a lot like a riddle that only Mary can figure out. The hardworking college student admits she’s not naturally a genius, so it takes legwork and grit to get to the bottom of what’s happening when the people around her go missing.
- It’s the perfect standalone series. Even if you’re not up to speed on what Billy Batson and the Shazam family have been up to, a fresh start for Mary means it’s a fresh start for the reader as well. Campbell and Shaner catch you up quickly on everything you need to know for the story, and Mary’s adventure takes off from there with super-powered action, humor and emotion.
- Hoppy. Did you think I was done talking about the magic rabbit? Of course, I’m not! Billy Batson needs a messenger to get in touch with Mary and he chooses her new roommate’s pet bunny. Hoppy has a personality all his own, with an energy and focus (on carrots specifically) that I admire.
Why It’s Worth Your Time:
The New Champion of Shazam! feels like a natural evolution for Mary Bromfield as a character. She’s no longer a precocious teenager or a sidekick to Shazam, but a young adult who’s capable of standing on her own as a full-fledged superhero. Mary deserves every moment in the spotlight she gets, and this miniseries is just the beginning of her time to shine.
The New Champion of Shazam! by Josie Campbell and Evan “Doc” Shaner will be available as a hardcover collection in May, but Ultra subscribers can read all four issues now on DC UNIVERSE INFINITE.
Kelly Knox writes about all-ages comics and animation for DC.com and her writing can also be seen on IGN, Nerdist and more. Follow her on Twitter at @kelly_knox to talk superheroes, comics and pop culture.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Kelly Knox and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.