Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil
Written and Illustrated by Jeff Smith
(YP FIC SMITH)
The book, Shazam, was created by Jeff Smith, the author and illustrator of the popular Bone (YP FIC SMITH) series of graphic novels. In Shazam, Smith has brought back a classic superhero, Mr. Marvel, leaving in some of the kitsch elements but also creating a very human story.
Billy Baston is an orphaned child living alone on the streets of New York City. One night he sees a man who reminds him of his father. By following the man, Billy meets the Wizard. It is the Wizard that connects Billy to Mr. Marvel making it possible for one to turn into the other using the magic word "Shazam!" Mr. Marvel's first task is to defend Billy from a thug who'd steal Billy's money. Later a visit to the wizard brings both good news (Billy has a sister) and trouble when Billy climbs up to a forbidden place. Mr. Marvel, Billy and Mary all have to work together to defeat the new enemy Billy let in.
Billy and Mary are easy to relate to and cheer for. In fact, Mary is my new favorite superhero! I loved how she zipped around everywhere once she had her powers. The plot wasn't very deep--mostly banging heads together and Billy learning to trust himself and those around him. However, since the first book in a series, which I assume this is, has to flesh out all the characters and set-up future stories, I think it was quite well done. The art is luminescent and very clear. The action was easy to see and follow, and the character's faces were full of emotion and personality. All in all, I would say this is a very fun book to read.