Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Trials of Shazam!

I'll be the first to tell you... I was never a huge fan of Captain Marvel. Sure, I knew who the guy was, what his powers were, and that kind of thing, but he was never a huge draw for me. I mean Aquaman was founding member of the Justice League of America for gosh sakes! Captain Marvel wasn't even on the team!

Like I said, I knew about the Captain and his family, Mary Marvel, and Captain Marvel Junior, along with Uncle Dudley and talking tigers. It was later I found the history behind the character. How he was created by a different company and was sued by the company that now owns the rights to him. DC Comics lawyers said that Captain Marvel was too similar to Superman and thus was copyright infringement. DC lost. Now the the Captain Marvel Family makes their home at DC and rather than fighting against Superman, he's carving his own niche in the DC Universe.

First off, this is one limited series that really has fans worked up. Reviews have not been favorable at all, most not liking the story thus far. I say the end of the series has been spoiled by the end of Infinite Crisis where we saw the new Captains Marvel. All that was left was the hows, which I think the series is attempting to supply.

It seems Billy Batson has now taken up residence in the Rock of Eternity to caretake the seven deadly sins, as the wizard Shazam did before him. Mary Batson has been left without powers and has suffered grave injuries, placing her in a coma. Freddy Freeman is still alive, and without the powers of Shazam. This is the story of how he regains his powers.

The artwork is by Howard Porter, who was the artist who started out the last, greatest version of the Justice League, the JLA. This time he puts a new spin on the work by giving it a painted look. Much different than Alex Ross though... It still appears like pencilled artwork, but with a brush's fine touch.

The story is somewhat predictable, in that Freddy (the former Captain Marvel Junior) needs to visit the gods who make up the Power of Shazam (Solomon, Hercules, Achilles, Zeus, Atlas, and Mercury) and earn their powers from them. We learn that if Freddy doesn't regain the power, then it will be given to another family, setting up the adversary of the story. What family she's from and her true motivations are unknown, and that's ok - there are 12 issues to the series.

It's an enjoyable trip through what is the new state of magic in the DC Universe... Editorial have talked about setting new rules for magic, but we haven't seen much yet. Again, there are 12 issues. :)

Recommended reading.

Marvel Family Trivia: The Marvel Family had a very famous fan, a young fella by the name of Elvis Presley. His favorite was Captain Marvel Jr. and now you can see where the inspiration for his costumes in the 70's comes from!
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