I used to really like the work of writer Geoff Johns. His time on the Wally West Flash, his JSA run, even his Green Lantern work once he stopped pretending Hal Jordan was DC Jesus, was quite good. But of late, his work hasn’t impressed me as much. Maybe he lost something or maybe I’m just tired of it. Regardless, I do give his work a look from time to time.
I mean, maybe his time on Shazam will be worth it for me in the extra-big trade titled Shazam and the Seven Magic Lands.
Billy Batson and his adoptive family of sibling superheroes are getting the hang of what they can do. While exploring the Rock of Eternity, they discover a train station and a map to the Seven Magic Lands, each of which has different qualities that they need to protect since their jobs is basically to protect magic. One land, the Monsterlands, is closed off from the others, but places like the Funlands, the Gamelands, and the Wildlands are still out there for exploring.
Except this might be a bad idea if Black Adam is to be believed. Oh, and Billy’s estranged father CC Batson returns, and Billy’s own conflicting feelings on who is and isn’t his family might make sharing the power a bit more difficult. The Wizard, not as dead as he appeared to be, needs there to be seven magic champions, and so far, Billy has only ensured that there are six. Who will be the seventh?
Then again, the bigger problem is Dr,. Sirvana is now working with Mr. Mind to bring the Monster Society of Evil back. Mind wants to unite the seven worlds into one, one where he would be all-powerful, and he has Billy’s number from the looks of things. With the wizard showing a lot less confidence in Billy’s judgement, his father’s return, Black Adam’s own beliefs that Billy is making things worse, and a handful of lesser baddies in the different magic lands, what would happen if the Monster Society did escape Monsterlands?
And what one monster in there is too monstrous for even Mr Mind to recruit?
So, while not on the same level of past work by Johns that I tended to dig, this one was a step in the right general direction. He seems to have a good grasp on this incarnation of the character once known as Captain Marvel, and much of this story seems to exist to do modern retakes of classic Shazam-related characters like Tawky Tawny and Mr. Mind within the context of this new setting. It’s a fairly light-hearted and creative sort of story using the building blocks of what came before…and that was usually when Johns was at his best anyway. Yeah, the guy absolutely adores Black Adam as a character, but he does use him well here.
So, more work like this from Johns would be more to my liking and less, shall we say, Alan Moore rip-offs.
9 out of 10 merged worlds.