GRAPHIC NOVEL
SHAZAM!
The Monster Society of Evil (Hardback)

Author: Jeff Smith
Artist: Jeff Smith
Titan Books
RRP: 24.99, US $29.99, Cdn $36.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 84576 389 3
ISBN-10: 1 84576 389 0
Available 21 December 2007


When young orphan Billy Batson follows a mysterious stranger onto the subway, he never imagines he's entering a strange world of powerful wizards, talking tigers, kid-eating monsters, giant robots, political intrigue and mysterious villains. But Billy encounters all that and more when the wizard gives him a magic word that transforms him into the world's mightiest mortal. But even with super powers, Billy still has to make his way in a grown up world. Can Billy find his long lost sister Mary or foil the evil schemes of Dr. Sivana? Does he have any hope of defeating Mr. Mind and his Monster Society of Evil?...

SHAZAM!: The Monster Society of Evil sees Jeff Smith taking the characters from the SHAZAM! universe and reinventing them for a more modern audience. I have to admit to never having been a huge SHAZAM! fan in the past, I always thought that Captain Marvel was a poor man's Superman, but this collection really grabbed my imagination.

So what's the story? Well, one of Earth's most powerful superheroes is secretly a young boy able to transform himself into a magical hero by uttering the word "SHAZAM!" and this tale takes us back to the stories roots to explain how a young boy managed to receive his magic powers.

Young Billy Batson meets a mysterious wizard and is imbued with incredible powers. He is able to turn himself into a mighty hero with the wisdom of Solomon (S), strength of Hercules (H), stamina of Atlas (A), power of Zeus (Z), courage of Achilles (A) and speed of Mercury (M) - which is where the word SHAZAM! comes from. But when the Monster Society of Evil strike, and giant robots threaten the city, will even this amazing array of abilities be able to save the world?

This hardback edition collects the 4-issue mini-series, and really does the tale justice. Great paper stock is used and you also get a dust jacket which unfolds to reproduce a large poster (a quarter of which was originally printed on the back of each comic book version - so that when placed together they would make up a much bigger work of art) as well as all four images from the original comic covers. Fans also get extras in the way of a sketchbook and production journals that help to give a little background on this new tale.

While the price tag might seem a little on the steep, it's well worth every penny.

Pete Boomer

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