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Thursday, 22 June 2017

Shazam! 25 - Isis debuts, and Billy begins a Bicentennial program

After a few issues that consisted entirely of reprints, Shazam! returns to having new material with issue 25 (Sept/Oct 76), and becomes the flagship of the DC-TV line, four books that tied in to current tv shows. One of the other shows, Isis, was abut to launch into its own book, and the character makes her comics debut in this issue as well.

Denny O'Neil and Dick Giordano give Captain Marvel a small role in the Isis tale that opens this issue, but primarily it serves as an introduction to the heroine. Her origin and supporting cast are kept very close to that of the tv show.

We meet school teacher Andrea Thomas and her supporting cast, Rick Mason, another teacher, and a student, Cindy Lee. Cindy gets trapped by falling bricks during a demolition, and Andrea calls on the spirit of the goddess Isis, which changes her, Shazam-style, and gives her spell casting powers.

Isis saves Cindy, and then Captain Marvel shows up. He wonders who Isis really is. She doesn't tell him, but does think about her origin, which is given in brief. While part of an archaeological dig in Egypt Andrea came across a scroll and an amulet, which had belonged to the female pharaoh Hatshepsut. Wearing the amulet and calling on Isis imbues her with power. But then, we had already seen that happen.

Rick and Cindy then get kidnapped, and  Isis rescues them, saving the bad guys as well when their car goes over a cliff. The story ends with Isis requesting readers to follow her into her own book, which debuted shortly after. I did. In fact, Isis was the reason I picked up this issue of Shazam! when it came out, the first issue of this book I bought.

The back-up story is by Bridwell and Scahffenberger, and launches a multi-part story.

Billy Batson is beginning a series of broadcasts for the Bicentennial celebrations in the US, celebrations which Sivana is determined to disrupt.  There is a brief bit in which Sivana captures Billy and tries to kill him, though it's easy enough to remove his gag on the broken wood and turn into Captain Marvel.

Sivana gets away, and promises more attacks in various cities across the country. Billy wonders how he will manage to deal with these. Conveniently, Sterling Morris gets the idea to send Billy across the country as well.

The story continues in the next issue.

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