ACW #623 – Shazam!

Action Comics Weekly #623 (Shazam!)
“My Week in Valhalla, Chapter One”
Writers – Roy & Dann Thomas
Pencils – Rick Stasi
Inks – Rick Magyar
Letters – Jean Simek
Colors – Nansi Hoolahan
Editor – Mike Gold

Welcome to the second SHOWCASE Presents feature of Action Comics Weekly!  If you recall, a few months back we had a four-part Catwoman serial under that branding… and today, we begin a four-part Captain Marvel Shazam! one.  Ugh, I hate that they don’t call him Captain Marvel anymore.  I still will be during our discussion.

Anyhoo, if you wanna take a look at some of what got Billy here (in this continuity), you can check out the four-part Shazam!  The New Beginning mini-series we discussed here wayyy back in 2016.  Just click the cover, and you shall be delivered!

Let’s get right into it!

We open with Billy Batson waking up.  While he goes about hi morning rituals, a radio broadcast plays… it’s reported that the police are in the middle of a “Mexican Standoff” with some armored car thieves… and so, our young man says that magic word.  We head across San Francisco, only to find the standoff is still a’happening.

One of the baddies presses his pistol against the head of a civilian.  A split-second before he can pull the trigger, however, Captain Marvel slips his hand between the piece and the face.  This causes the gun to backfire, killing the would-be shooter.

Cap doesn’t take this turn of events all that well.  A news reporter attempts to get a word with the hero, but he isn’t able to put into words what just went down.  He flies off to his Uncle Dudley’s apartment and “Billies down” before sharing his story.

Just then, a phone rings.  It’s his boss from WHIZ-TV, Elvira Thickert… and I tell ya what, this woman looks like an Elvira Thickert.  She also kinda looks like the woman from the Bonkers Candy commercials, if you remember those.  Anyhoo, she wants him to look into the gang that attempted to pull the armored car heist.  She claims they were a part of the Neo-Nazi group called the “Sons of Valhalla”.  Billy’s gotta head into the slums and have himself a chat with Dawn, the newly dead guy’s daughter.

Dawn tells Billy a bit about her family.  Her father joined up with the “Sons” after losing his farm.  The organization convinced him that he only lost his farm because of a “worldwide Jewish plot”.  Ay yai yai.  Anyhoo, now her brother Duane’s gotten wrapped up with the group… and will be attending a Sons of Valhalla Summer Camp in a few days.

They continue chatting, when news of the day’s events are played on the television.  Captain Marvel is briefly seen… to which, Dawn chucks a lamp through the screen.  Good job, now ya got nothing!  Billy, with a tear in his eye, promises to help her.

This… was okay.

Something I don’t get about the Showcase Presents (which, as a descriptor, is missing from this story) features is… these are supposed to be stories to whet the readers appetite in hopes that an ongoing title will follow… right?  Least that’s how I’ve been taking it.  Maybe that’s just the way Showcase used to be… I dunno.

Reason I say this is… you’d figure if that was the case, the creative teams would come out “guns blazing” with more of a bombastic and memorable story.  I mean, I’ve read this feature before… a couple of times, and darned if I could tell ya a thing about it.  Heck, I just read this chapter a few minutes ago, and I’m sorta struggling!

Not to say this was bad, because it wasn’t… it’s just, outside that dude’s gun backfiring, it wasn’t all that memorable.  Hopefully in the coming weeks this one will pick up.

Tomorrow: After three weeks, the return of Deadman!

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