Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Injustice: Ground Zero #12 - A Review

Things were looking bad for Harley and her gang when Black Adam showed up. Then Billy Batson got his gag off and transformed into Shazam! Will The Big Red Cheese be ready to forgive and forget his alter ego's kidnapping at the hands of The Bombshell Buffoon? Or has Harley just traded one world of hurt for another?

It's a fact few people remember these days, but originally Captain Marvel was an independent personality from Billy Batson. In modern times, the magic of Shazam usually transforms Billy into an idealized adult version of himself but originally the two just traded places.

I mention this because I know Geoff Johns played with the difficulties posed by Billy Batson perusing young love in the pages of JSA (Jay Garrick caught the glances exchanged between Shazam and Stargirl and put two and two together.) Yet to the best of my knowledge this is the first time anyone has played with the idea of Captain Marvel looking for love independent of his alter ego.

Okay, calling what exists between Harley and Shazam "love" is a bit of a stretch. Yet the relationship between them  s an amusing and surprisingly sweet one. And kudos to Brian Buccellato and Christopher Sebela for finally establishing that Harley Quinn - for all her other sins - isn't a pedophile by clarifying that - in this world at least - Captain Marvel and Billy are different people. I also like the reasoning Shazam gives for staying on Team Superman in spite of his misgivings over The Regime's mission.

As great as all the artists on Injustice: Ground Zero have been, I think this particular pairing of creative talents may be the best overall. Granting, I'm a bit biased, having been a fan of Daniel Sampere since his work on Batgirl, yet there's a clarity to his character designs that appears smooth and streamlined even in scenes where the line work should clutter the finished art, as in the scenes of Harley and Shazam chatting in the rain, Juan Albarran's inks and J. Nanjan's colors partner up to provide the perfect finish to an amazing issue.

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