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After running it as a backup feature for a dozen issues, writer Geoff Johns has chosen the Zero issue of this title to bring SHAZAM front and center as the main story. While this version of the old Fawcett characters is miles away from every previous version, I have to admit I find it enjoyable reading. I was never a huge fan of the light-hearted original anyway, and here we have a more modern and darker take on the idea of giving a boy not only super-powers but a man’s body to use them. As the wizard in the story realizes, he’s run out of time to find a really good boy, and will have to settle for this one, who has mere elements of good among some pretty bad habits and personality traits. What this new “hero” chooses to do with his powers is both sad and funny at the same time. The art by Gary Frank is terrific, as always.

There’s a backup about Pandora and The Question which I don’t quite get, but maybe I’m not reading the right other books. The art by Ethan Van Sciver is quite excellent.

For this one, writer Paul Levitz has decided to tell a fairly typical Legion story, early in their history, but in my opinion not a jumping-on point for new readers or even an origin story. Of course, he’s just retold the Legion origin in another miniseries. Here we have lots of Legionnaires in the mix, and not much explanation of what they’re all doing on Colu, other than the usual: fighting crime. There is one interesting element for longtime DC fans: the crime is the opening of a sealed vault containing the technology of the first Brainiac, the one who plagued our time’s Superman as one of his toughest foes. And the reveal at the end is good, too. The art by Scott Kolins is fine, though a little too cartoony in a stylized way for my taste, at least on this book.

Both are recommended.

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