Shazam No. 3 review: The story of King Kid


The story of the Marvel family’s journey into the Magiclands continues, picking up where we left things off in the Funlands. In this issue, we were not only offered the origin story of the ruler/host of the Funlands, King Kid, but were given a closer look at the extent of his powers and abilities.

Shazam No. 3

Writer: Geoff Johns

Artists: Dale Eaglesham, Marco Santucci, Mayo “Sen” Naito


Among Geoff Johns’ key strengths are his abilities to write characters and build universes. It can often be the case that comic book stories featuring teams place too much focus on the main (or most famous) character. Johns does a great job to ensure this is not the case here. While Billy is certainly viewed as a leader for the family (as he was chosen by the wizard), this issue places particular emphasis on Mary’s role as the voice of reason. It is her scepticism of King Kid and the Funlands that advances the plot and potentially saves everyone from King Kid joining the Marvels as the seventh family member.

However, it is really the Fundlands’ self-proclaimed “host” that is the star of the story. King Kid’s origin story paints a sympathetic figure of a child abused by his parents, which explains why he immediately lashed out at the Marvel family at the mere sight of an ‘adult’. From the flashback sequence and the fight scene, readers were also given some clues about how powerful King Kid really is – with his scepter granting him the ability to conjure a wide variety of objects (including a fully-equipped amusement park) and manipulate energy.

The story finishes with the Marvels being separated by pairs following King Kid’s attack into three of the seven Magiclands: the Funlands, the Gamelands and the Wildlands. This is a great move by Johns, as it gives the reader the chance to explore the Magiclands while getting to know more about each member of the Marvel family without it dragging on for too many issues.


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The choice to feature several artists in this issue worked very well. Distinct art styles can be seen during the main story, flashback sequences and between the different kingdoms. This gives more artists the opportunity to have their work featured in a comic book without the change in style becoming distracting.

Arguably the most striking thing that you’ll notice about this issue is Mike Atiyeh’s clever coloring. During the first portion of the issue, the Funlands are really brought to life by the use of bright colors – giving the immediate impression of the type of amusement park that only a child could dream up. However, as the story progresses, and the Marvel family transform to their superhero alter-egos, the colors become noticeably duller and more muted, following the appearance of ‘adults’ in the Funlands.

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The story picks up nicely from the last issue, and the creative team is doing a great job of adding layers to these characters. It will be interesting to see how the journey through the Magiclands progresses (particularly for character development), as well as the subplots that were introduced in previous issues (including the one involving Billy’s supposed biological father and another dealing with Doctor Sivana and Mr Mind) that were left untouched here.