The minute DC announced the one-shot issues for The Infected, I knew immediately that the one I had to read more than the others was The Infected: King Shazam. I mean, how twisted could the Batman Who Laughs get to go after a kid? On one hand very twisted, on the other hand brilliant because we’ve already seen what it looks like when you put The World’s Finest against this powerhouse. He gave them one hell of a fight, and had no problem messing with their sense of moral at the same time.
When it comes to a book like this, it is important to know where you stand if you aren’t someone fully caught up on current events. Fortunately, there wasn’t too much you needed to know inorder to get into this story. At most you just needed to know that Billy was targeted, infected, and had himself a round with Batman and Superman. What came next would have been anyone’s guess. This one-shot throws us straight into the life of one dark metal infected Billy Batson. Now for me, this was my first experience with Billy infected, and it was quite chilling. It catches you off guard to see this kid who is so consumed by his worst impulses and need to make his words strike like needles. This change really made you question who was really going to take notice of something wrong.
While we saw the worst that could come out of Billy, it was a whole different beast to see what kind of madness could be unleashed when he powered up into Shazam. From there this story jumps into adding clarity to what this infected Shazam is after. He wants to form a new family. It makes sense that this would be the next step for him. Done with his own family, done with heroes he would have once considered family. He would of course look to others who see the world the same way he now does. The numerous battles this gets Shazam into with Gods was thrilling. Not always will you see him this action-ready, or even relentless. I actually enjoyed this side to him because someone is being bold enough to show us what it looks like when there is no holding back.
With that said, it will probably only be the end which you find issue with. Only because you could have seen where this was headed before the issue even began. They try to lead us on this big mission, when the answer to what Billy was looking for was right in front of him the whole time. The good thing is that the journey was exciting enough to overlook the destination. And even then, you still do want to see what will come of Billy figuring out the kind of family he needed by his side.
One of the big sells for this one-shot was having Joe Bennett as the penciler. The minute I saw his name, as well as Hi-Fi on colors, I knew that there was no way that the interior work was going to disappoint. Particularly when Bennett is the kind of penciler who does not skip a beat in his renderings. As someone used to action-packed stories, he was right in his element with Shazam going battle to battle with gods who would give most heroes a run for their money. I loved that every hit had impact, every attack from Shazam was also both sinister and surgical. You looked for a certain level of brutality from him, and this art team delivered. They also delivered in making Shazam electrifying too. Hi-Fi held nothing back when letting those sparks fly from his chest bolt, his hands, and even his eyes which were void of humanity. The intensity was there from the minute he transformed, and it never left till the end. The same could also be said for the gloomy atmosphere which seemed to follow him to all corners of the world.