Jeff Parker and Evan “Doc” Shaner’s “Convergence: Shazam!” #1 plays by the rules of the crossover but doesn’t let the event overpower characterization or fun. After working together on Dynamite’s delightfully enjoyable “Flash Gordon” series, they’ve brought that same sense of wonder and joy to this story.
Parker and company open the issue with Telos declaring the battle must occur for each city to hope to survive but, following that, this issue focuses on what Captain Marvel and the rest of the Marvel Family mean to their hometown of Fawcett City and what the power of Shazam means to Billy Batson, Mary Bromfield (or Batson) and Freddy Freeman. Frustrated but hopeful, resolute in their willingness to protect the city and completely cooperative with one another, the alter egos of the Marvel Family take over more than half this issue, in which Parker offers sufficiently convincing evidence of the fun inherent in the adventures of these three would-be-superpowered teens.
Of course, Shaner’s whimsical yet meticulously detailed artwork helps power that evidence. Readers familiar with Shaner’s work shouldn’t be surprised by the natural connection between artist and subject. Regardless of familiarity, however, Shaner simply has fun drawing fun characters. Everything from the Shazam mythos — Mr. Atom to Tawky Tawny and Sivana to Uncle Dudley — makes an appearance in “Convergence: SHAZAM” #1, and Shaner handles each one with the exact same tenderness and care. When Billy and the magical lightning complete the circuit, the transformative page simply steals the issue, offering a fresh, creative interpretation of an event that comic readers have seen innumerable times in the last seventy-five years.
Jordie Bellaire colors that scene with dazzling, rich hues and some deep, dark blues to add power and emotion to the scene. Throughout the issue, she adds to Shaner’s upbeat artwork, including shadows and light dimpling as the sun shines through a leafy tree onto Freddy’s face. Shaner and Bellaire collaborate very nicely together, naturally elevating the artwork to works of art. Saida Timofonte’s contributions should not be understated either. She adds clean, crisp lettering to the issue, including wonderful throwback sound effects that fit this tale so smartly.
“Convergence: Shazam!” #1 is another gem in the “Convergence” event. These tie-in issues have been a mixed bag but, so long as that bag continues to allow readers to find wonderfully enjoyable tales like this, I don’t mind some of the other, less memorable tales. For now, readers have a fun, rich, two-issue set filled with fantastic work from Parker, Shaner, Bellaire and Timofonte. If nothing else comes of “Convergence,” at least readers received this fun adventure.