Justice League #0
Justice League #0
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Gary Frank

It would appear that Geoff Johns wasn't so keen on the idea of Zero month, as both of his stories thus far, although could be construed as origins, take place within the present continuity of the narrative he was already weaving. This is a more than welcome development in Justice League, as having spent about 6 issues on the team's origins, I don't think anyone was in a hurry to return to that well.

Justice League #0 gives the titular characters a month off in order to focus on Billy Batson and the world of Shazam! Material that had been occupying the title's back-up feature, with the promise that the story would collide with the Justice League's in the coming year. Again, I don't think anyone will really mind this shift in focus, as the Shazam! back up feature has been consistently top notch, brought down only in the odd pacing necessitated by it's brevity in each issue.

After several months of waiting, Billy Batson finally comes face to face with the Wizard Formerly Known as Shazam (a title I'm coining here and really hope will catch on, lend a hand eh?). At first unimpressed by this new prospective champion, The WFKS is eager to send Billy back to his normal life. However, Billy has a couple of hard truths to lay on the Wizard.

It is a testament to Johns' skill that this new brash, chip on his shoulder take on Billy Batson has become interesting rather than abrasive as it so easily could have. It's obvious that Billy is a good kid at heart who has had to put on a very thick skin against the cruel world he was abandoned into. Following Billy's encounter with the WFKS, is a fun riff on the young person tests new super powers trope, as we can see that Billy Batson is desperately in need of a Great Power, Great Responsibility gut check if Shazam is ever going to live up to his true potential. Given that Black Adam is on the way, I can guess that moment is coming very, very soon.

Gary Frank has just been killing it on the back-up feature, and his prowess when unleashed on the full page count is all the more impressive. Frank's pencils more than do justice to the power and majesty of Shazam! in his first new 52 appearance. Frank also displays an impressive ability to convey body language. Shazam's movements and posture are that of a 15 year old boy inside an adult's body, a hard distinction to convey with static imagery, but Frank is more than up to the task. I know he is hard at work on Batman Earth 1 Volume 2, but I am dying to see Gary Frank on a monthly book again.

Justice League #0 is a fun break from the main narrative, that nicely speeds along the enjoyable but lagging back up feature. With Shazam set to join the team in the coming months, this issue acts as a nice primer to get readers excited for his induction into the League.

Grade: B+

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