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After a disastrous outing as Shazam, Mary is the laughingstock of the internet. Will she ever be taken seriously? Now it’s up to her to ignore the haters and help those who really need her. The missing-persons problem in Philly has only gotten worse, and our hero is running out of time to find the culprit behind it!
ComicBook.comThis penultimate issue of New Champion of Shazam! is absolutely, undoubtedly incredible. As Mary further investigates the mysterious disappearances surrounding her life, readers get treated to unexpected cameos, genuinely inspired artistic decisions, and a riveting story involving the Shazam! family. Josie Campbell and Doc Shaner work together in perfect harmony, crafting a thoughtful and gorgeous book that is sure to become an instant classic. I can not overstate how perfect this issue is.
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The Comicbook DispatchThe New Champion of Shazam! #3 continues Mary’s story with some good character moments, another epic battle with a great villain and gorgeous artwork from Evan “Doc” Shaner.
Geek DadThis comic took a month off in October, but it’s now back with the third issue as Mary tries to settle into her new role as the champion of the magic—and it’s not going well. Last issue she was ambushed by a villain who seemed powered by both magic and technology, saw Hoppy stripped of his magic and reverted back to a standard rabbit, and fled from a reporter in the aftermath. And now, even worse—she’s become a meme. Her flight has been captured on video, and toxic trolls are out in force to harass her. This is a little on-the-nose in places, much like She-Hulk was, but with how prominent these online harassers are getting lately, it seems like something that needs to be addressed. And while Mary’s little sister Darla is enthusiastic about the two of them working together as a detective team, Mary is increasingly isolating herself from her family as she sinks into self-doubt. One of the biggest surprises this issue was the return of a major Shazam supporting character from the old days—Dudley, the good-natured con artist who became the unofficial “uncle” of the family. Here he’s a kind homeless man whose friends have been going missing left and right, and he provides Mary with some vital intel before the encampment comes under attack by this issue’s villain. While this new villain is certainly creepy, he feels more like a device to drive up Mary’s anxieties—which leads to an unpleasant explosion when she gets home that sets up the final issue’s plot. As for the mystery of the main villain’s identity, I have to say I saw it coming the second the character showed up. They basically give a villain monologue two pages in. Despite that, Campbell’s characters are still appealingly flawed and the world rich and fascinating. And Shaner’s art continues to be some of the best in the business.
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Lyles Movie FilesJosie Campbell is a promising comic book writer. That’s why it was a little frustrating to see Campbell fall into the modern crutch of writers of women characters complaining about social media outrage. Mary Marvel predates the Internet so gripes about her as a legitimate character so there’s no need for Campbell to waste time addressing those trolls. Once that’s accomplished, Campbell can focus on the engaging story she’s developed. Mary is trying to track down the missing people around the community college including her foster parents while navigating her foster siblings. Just like with Hoppy, Campbell brings another beloved longtime Marvel family member into the mix. It’s clear Campbell had a deep affinity for the Marvel family. The mini-mystery is set up well as Campbell reveals just enough heading to the final issue next month. Evan “Doc” Shaner’s art is so perfectly suited for Mary’s world. Shaner packs so much emotion into his pages and has a great sense of staging action scenes. Beyond the needless statement to the trolls, this was another enjoyable issue and worth checking out for Mary Marvel fans.
You Don't Read ComicsCampbell and Shaner make The New Champion of Shazam! work on a very social level that keeps Mary close to the reader throughout the action. It would be all too easy to let the action sweep everything away in a more traditional superhero comic. There have been so many instances of young superheroes coming-of-age in comics over the decades, but Campbell and Shaner manage to keep everything feeling so specific to Mary. Its quite an accomplishment.
RazorfineThe issue also offers another run-in between Mary and one of these soldiers, this one who has the ability to turn someone's worst thoughts against them. Mary, now a popular meme who everyone has an opinion about, has more than enough to brew over which eventually boils over leading to a confrontation with her foster sister leading to some rash action and setting up the mini-series' final issue.
Weird Science DC ComicsThere are some great developments in this issue, I just really wish that there was more time to really flesh out what's going on in this mini-series because everything just comes to a head here simply because it had to. That being said though, the art was great and we get some great callbacks to old Captain Marvel lore, not to mention the villain who uses his words to hurt people.