Geoff Johns, writer
Dale Eaglesham & Marco Santucci, art
Mike Atiyah, colors
Rob Leigh, letters
In the previous issue, Billy Batson and the Shazam family travel to The Funlands and meet King Kid. He tells them his story and how he came to create The Funlands before he turns on them scattering the family. Darla and Freddy flee to The Wildlands, where they are chased by anthropomorphic beasts because they are human. Pedro and Eugene flee to The Gamelands where they must obtain a million points in a game to gain an opportunity to return to The Funlands. Meanwhile, Shazam and Mary remain in The Funlands. King Kid shows Billy The Below, the place children go when they become adults in The Funlands. In The Below, adults do the work required to keep The Funlands going – Mary is 18!
This book is an adventure story where Billy must protect the magic lands he’s found from being overcome by evil. Problem is, Billy doesn’t know the rules of these new lands and he does not know how to use his powers against the magical powers of King Kid. The tension is elevated since the family is split up with pairs landing in different lands, each with dangers and challenges keeping them from returning. The story beats are simple tropes that have been utilized in children’s stories for decades. While the childish characters feel familiar, their juvenile curiosities makes the story come to life.
The art is easily the highlight of this young adult fantasy tale. The figures, faces, and landscapes are drawn and colored in a mystical and whimsical fashion which bolsters the story. The colors are deep and rich. The tone is soft and dense, which makes the characters come to life. The art is so well sequenced and the panel layouts so well constructed that the exposition isn’t necessary to know what’s happening in the story.
Art = 10/10
Story = 8/10
Overall = 9/10
This is an adventurous and fun story for young teens. The whimsical and playful nature of the visuals makes the story come to life. Our young hero, Billy, has led his family in to an exciting new land; however, will he be able to save them from the hand of King Kid? I can’t wait to see how this story unfolds. I highly recommend this story for younger readers and for fans of Shazam!