Comic Book Review: Trials of Shazam #7

Winick’s Trials of Shazam has been a huge miss here at The Revolution. I have been completely and totally unimpressed with the effort that Winick has turned out on this title. This story has been slow, uninteresting, shallow and a bit cheesy. Is there a chance that Trials of Shazam #7 will make me change my opinion about this story? Probably not, but lets hope for the best and do this review for Trials of Shazam #7.

Creative Team
Writer: Judd Winick
Artist: Howard Porter

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with a young Sabina de la Croix at breakfast while her parents speak cryptically about how they need to fit in and that they have to be careful. Suddenly, Sabina’s parents disappear in a massive burst of lightning.

We then cut to Sabina and Freddy brawling outside the prison. We see Hercules telling Zareb that he gave half of his power to Sabina and the other half to Freddy. That Hercules could only give Freddy the power by summoning the strength in the form of contest. That if Freddy wins he gets all the power. If Sabina wins then she gets it.

We flashback to Sabina in high school. Sabina tells another girl to back off her boyfriend and leave him alone. (I smell a cat fight!) Sabina then punches the girl with a death charm and the girl disintegrates into rubble.

We see a henchman telling a blue demon about Sabina and her powers. That Sabina doesn’t even know that she has powers. The blue demon is stunned that Marius and Becca had a child in the form of Sabina who survived their destruction.

We then see that the blue demon has Sabina captive. The blue demon’s assistant says that Sabina was sired by a demon necromancer and a meta sorceress so he thinks that Sabina is a Fury. The blue demon tells his assistant to extract the memories of all who know Sabina and know of her. Then kill all the witnesses to the incident at the high school. That Sabina is dead to the world and belongs to them now.

We shift back to Sabina and Freddy brawling. Freddy thinks how someone trained Sabina to fight much better than him.

We then shift to six months ago. We see the blue demon being told by his assistant that since the Book of Magic has been rewritten that they are in a volatile state and that many missions have been authorized in an attempt to seize control where the opportunity presents itself. The assistant says that nine in the “Line of Succession” have been killed. That there is only one heir to Merlin left who can take the power of Shazam. Sabina. Evidently, Sabina was the one who killed the other nine.

We hop back to Sabina and Freddy still fighting. Then, through the power of Achilles, Freddy gets the upper hand on Sabina. Unfortunately, Sabina then turns tail and teleports away from the scene.

Hercules walks over and tells Freddy that he has passed the test and earned Hercules’ strength. However, since Freddy let Sabina escape, that Freddy only has half of Hercules’ power while Sabina has the other half.

We cut to a skinny man with all these wires hooked into his body. He is Atlas and he is holding up the world and saves the planet one moment at a time. Sabina then enters the room and tells Atlas that he has something that she needs.

Comments
The Good: Thank god for Howard Porter’s artwork so that I will be able to follow The Revolution’s Rule of Positivity. I enjoyed Porter’s art on this issue. Porter has been pretty much the only entertaining and enjoyable aspect of Trials of Shazam. I dig Porter’s unique look and think that it brings a nice distinctive flair to this title.

The Bad: Trials of Shazam #7 was another slow, plodding and rather boring read. This entire story is rather shallow and decidedly average. Winick has completely failed to engage me in what he is trying to create in Trials of Shazam. I find Winick’s new world of Magic to be incredibly lackluster and dull. Winick had a change to truly re-energize the long neglected world of Shazam and has totally wasted this opportunity.

Trials of Shazam offers the reader nothing more than a rather generic brawl between Freddy and Sabina resulting in the painfully predictable result of Freddy and Sabina each retaining half of Hercules’ power. That is about it. The story is pretty skimpy as Winick fails to give the reader much to chew on in this issue.

Trials of Shazam #7 centers on the villain of this story: Sabina. And, unfortunately, Sabina is a lackluster villain and does not have the charisma to carry this issue. And that is entirely due to the fact that Winick has failed to perform any character work on Sabina. Sabina has a generic villainous personality. She is an underdeveloped and shallow character. Sabina simply fails to engage my interest in any fashion whatsoever.

And getting more background on her amazingly enough failed to make her character more developed or interesting. The background scenes were anemic. Winick gave just the bare minimum possible by giving the reader a rather cursory view of who Sabina is and why she is doing what she is doing. Winick could have used this issue to really flesh out Sabina’s character and make her a more deeper and attractive villain. This issue was a wasted opportunity to turn a lame villain into something a bit more appealing.

And the lack of character work extends beyond just the villain of this story. It also includes our hero. Freddy’s character is still one-dimensional and lacking anything that would be confused with a personality. Initially, I wasn’t thrilled when I heard that Winick would be replacing Billy with Freddy as the new Captain Marvel.

However, I got a little more intrigued by this move would at least allow both Billy and Freddy to evolve as characters. Unfortunately, Winick has even failed in the most basic goal of this mini-series. Winick has performed virtually no character development on Freddy. Ghost Rider might be the only other comic book on the market that has a more vanilla and generic protagonist than Freddy Freeman. I’m just not too sure which character, Johnny Blaze or Freddy Freeman has received less effort to try and create some type of distinct and intriguing personality. Honestly, Freddy is about as interesting as a blank white wall.

Overall: Trials of Shazam #7 was another in a string of disappointing reads. Winick has managed to put forth a decidedly pedestrian effort on this title. The dialogue is stiff and generic. The character development is practically non-existent. And this new world of Magic fails to engage my interest at all and comes across too cheesy from my taste. I certainly wouldn’t recommend wasting your money on this title.

2 Comments

  1. This is an interesting post. You have very strong insight to what a comic needs to be successful. I will use your criteria to start judging what I see in the future.

    Kristen

  2. I’m waiting for the graphic novel/collections to come out to read them. I want to read them all at once… and I don’t have a comic shop within 100 miles of me, too.

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