Shazam: Monster Society of Evil

by Jeff Smith

Publisher: DC Comics

Format: Hardcover, full color, $29.99

ISBN: 9781401214661

Reviewed by: School Library Journal


The creator of "Bone" (Scholastic/Graphix) has successfully remade a popular comic serial originally published in the 1940s. Young Billy Batson is a homeless orphan who is also a "host" for Captain Marvel. Unfortunately, the boy's impulsive behavior almost leads to the destruction of the human race at the hands of Mr. Mind and the Monster Society of Evil. This comic's bright colors and young protagonists will appeal to children, but the sophisticated themes should make it just as interesting to teens. A sly comment on contemporary politics comes in the form of Dr. Sivana, the U.S. Attorney General who is also a corrupt war profiteer. Billy also manipulates a mercenary media network called "SNN" to help him expose Dr. Sivana. Additionally, the situations of Billy and his sister are sobering: Billy lives in an abandoned building and is subject to regular attacks from adults, and Mary lives with a cruel foster parent. The excellent illustrations were drawn with confident, graceful lines, in rich colors. Striking full-page illustrations punctuate dramatic scenes, and each chapter begins with a title page styled after a vintage movie poster. Smith’s trademark humor, depth, and artistic talent shine through, making this a worthy companion to "Bone." –Lisa Goldstein, Brooklyn Public Library, NY