Shazam! Thundercrack

DC Comics. Feb. 2023. 160p. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781779505026.
Gr 3-7–Mercado writes and illustrates this graphic novel that canonically takes place in the same universe as the movie Shazam! The comic opens with scenes that overlap with scenes from the first movie, but then moves into a new subplot wherein Billy plays high school football and, with the helpful advice of his foster father, Victor, learns to value teamwork and accountability to others. Foster brother Freddy becomes the team mascot to tag along, resulting in some humorous scenes of him interacting with the cheerleaders (sadly, the book’s female characters are largely one-dimensional background players). Of course, this is a superhero comic, so Billy’s alter-ego Shazam must make an appearance and save the day when a rival football team’s coach and players develop dangerous powers thanks to Sivana Industries experiments. The art is entertaining and clearly conveys action, with bright coloring and a caricature-esque style.
VERDICT While the plot and character arc are simple, fans of the “Shazam!” movie franchise will enjoy this expansion of the first movie, making this a solid gateway into DC graphic novels.

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