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!

Making friends is tough, no matter how you slice it, but it can be downright impossible when you're a teenager with the power to literally transform into an adult superhero. Billy Batson's abilities have certainly come in handy in the past—he's got just about the best possible cover a superhero can have—but they can also be a huge pain. Take, for instance, the fact that even as a fully empowered, adult Shazam, Billy still functionally has the mind and life experience of a kid. As you can imagine, this can cause some problems—problems that you can experience first-hand in the classic four-issue miniseries, Superman/Shazam!: First Thunder, which chronicles the trials and tribulations of Clark and Billy's first meeting.

The Premise:

Everybody has to start somewhere, even superheroes. Superman and Shazam may have started publication in the real world pretty close to one another, but it took years for them to actually meet one another on the page, and decades for anyone to retroactively tell the story of what that must have actually been like for them. First Thunder is a tight, easily read miniseries that explores this idea head-on with a story that’s set in the "second age" of heroes—a point in the DC Universe’s timeline where Superman is newly active and other major DC staples like Wonder Woman and the Flash have yet to really come on the scene. Thankfully, however, a trip to Fawcett City introduces Superman to a newly empowered Shazam and the two strike up a friendship.

But as you might imagine, it's pretty tough to make friends when you're trying to keep your real identity a secret and one of you happens to be a teenager disguised as an adult. Things rapidly fall apart when Superman begins to question Shazam's competency as a hero. At least, until he learns the truth.

Let’s Talk Talent:

First Thunder comes to us from two all-stars in the DC Universe, Judd Winick and Joshua Middleton. Chances are, if you're a Batman fan, you'll be instantly familiar with Winick's writing—he brought us classics like Under the Red Hood, which saw the return of Jason Todd. But Winick's writing also shaped other parts of Gotham during the '00s, with stories in Detective Comics and solo series like Batwing, Catwoman and Superman/Batman. His snappy, relatable dialogue and fresh spins on familiar characters make his work a touchstone for the DCU and First Thunder is no exception. It may not be a Gotham story, but the heart of Winick's charming, emotional writing still shines through!

Meanwhile, Joshua Middleton is most famous these days for working on covers—you can find his absolutely stunning art on issues of Aquaman, for example. So, you can imagine what a treat it is to have a full miniseries with him on the interiors. First Thunder has a uniquely graphic style that sets it apart and gives it a sort of classic vibe, which if you ask me, is pretty appropriate for two of the most classic superheroes around.

A Few Reasons to Read:

  • Are you looking for a great introduction to Shazam as you prepare to go see Fury of the Gods in theaters? Look no further! This story really sums up every part of Billy Batson, from the struggles of being a teenager with so much power, to the well intentioned (but often messy) attempts at doing the right thing, even when it would really be so much easier (and more fun) to do the selfish thing.
  • Looking for a quick read? Look no further! Clocking in at only four issues, First Thunder is the ideal Weekend Escape—a self-contained story you can get through in about an hour!
  • Yes, I know Shazam is DC’s big screen superhero of the hour right now, but did you see Black Adam? That movie’s villain, Sabbac, also makes a noteworthy appearance here, if you’re curious what the comic book version is like.
  • We won't spoil anything here, but First Thunder also happens to contain one of the most famous Superman/Shazam interactions of all time—something that arguably defines their entire friendship and connection in just a couple of speech balloons. If you're a fan of either (or both!) of them, First Thunder is an absolute must read, no matter how familiar you may be with their stories

Why It’s Worth Your Time:

There really is nothing quite like a great miniseries. While we certainly love ongoing epics about our favorite heroes, sometimes it's also just ridiculously satisfying to pick up a trade or a tiny stack of single issues and know that this is all we're going to need to get the full picture. First Thunder serves not only as a perfect introduction to both Superman and Shazam, but a beautiful, poignant and frequently funny look into what makes the two heroes tick. Winick's writing and Middleton's art make for the perfect blend of substance and style. What more could you ask for?

Superman/Shazam!: First Thunder by Judd Winick and Joshua Middleton is available in a deluxe edition collection and can be read in full on DC UNIVERSE INFINITE.

Mason Downey writes about comics, movies and superhero history for DC.com. Look for more of his work on GameSpot, IGN and Polygon and follow him on Twitter at @rustypolished.

NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Mason Downey and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.