The penultimate chapter of Curse Of Shazam in JUSTICE LEAGUE #20 starts where the previous chapter left off, with Black Adam holding Billy by the mouth. Adam berates Billy a little, then through some magic lightning connecting their eyes, Billy gets to see the real origin of Black Adam. Both the boy Aman and his uncle are at the Council of Eternity at the Rock of Eternity. It is revealed each member of the council chose a mortal to be their champion. The main wizard, who now reveals that his name is indeed Shazam, chose Aman, but the boy asks that the Wizard save his injured uncle. Shazam tells them both to speak his name, and both will be his champions, as Aman sharing the power with his uncle saved him. They do, and both go on to free their people from the evil of Ibac. But then the uncle wants to become more aggressive in dealing with evil, but Aman refuses, saying how the Wizard wants this to be an era of mercy. It is revealed the uncle's name is Adam, and the next time the two speak the magic word, at the moment of the transformation Adam kills his nephew, absorbing the full power for himself. Billy now knows what kind of a man Black Adam is. Now Adam wants to kill Billy and absorb his power as well, but the other four kids ram into Adam with a truck, knocking Billy free, allowing him to transform back into Capt... er, Shazam. Capt...er, Shazam snarls he will not run from Adam anymore, but Adam has Mary and Freddy by their throats, and is stepping on the other three.
The new twist on Adam's origin is part rehashing Captain Marvel Junior's classic origin and part setting a precedent for the Flashpoint concept of multiple people becoming the champion, which I bet will be part of the conclusion having all six kids unite to form a more powerful version of Capt... er Shazam in order to defeat Adam (also recalling the Wizard's comment to Billy that his family will be his greatest power). We'll see if I'm right, as the conclusion to this story is next month. Chapter 12 earns a C.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Friday, April 19, 2013
Written and drawn by Roger Langridge, the lead story casts Popeye is a supporting role, with Barney Google the focus of the story, playing opposite Wimpy and Castor. Once again, Langridge is very light on humor and heavy on dialogue. His art seems to favor Barney Google, while the Thimble Theatre characters are more crude. The back up story could have been 3 or 4 pages, but is padded to 7. Overall, issue 12 earns a C.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
This chapter seemed like a filler, its only purpose to recap the origin of Black Adam. But there are significant changes. No more Teth-Adam, the inclusion of Ibac, and a council of wizards. On a side note, the lead Justice League story deals with Superman and Wonder Woman invading Kandaq to free some hostages. Johns uses this to give a brief history of the fictional country, and introduces a terrorist group named Sons of Adam. Once Curse Of Shazam wraps up after two more chapters, Capt... er, Shazam, is expected to join the Justice League, so this is setting up the next story arc. Chapter 11 earns a C.
Saturday, March 23, 2013
Issue number 11 features the return of Bluto, who comes to town as a magician with a vaudeville troupe. He threatens to steal Olive Oyl, and in fact makes her disappear during his act. Popeye rescues her as Wimpy and his ventriloquist dummy scares Bluto out of town. A top notch script by Langridge that turns up the humor. In fact there are a couple laugh out loud moments, I think a first for the IDW series. Musacchia returns to do the art, and its even better than the previous issue. Issue 11 earns a strong A.
Thursday, March 21, 2013
This is a decent chapter. Gary Frank's art, as usual, is great. The script is better this time, as we get to see more character drama and conflict. Billy questions himself and considers if it would be best for the power to go to someone more competent. The only negative aspect is the presence of Darla, Pedro and Eugene. It's kind of pointless for them to be there as they muddle the picture. As they all descend the stairs to the subway station, I get the bad feeling we may either get the "Captain Planet" aspect of Flashpoint's "Captain Thunder" character, or we will get instant Shazam Family, with Freddy as Kid Shazam, Mary as Shazam Girl, and the other three as Lt. Shazams. This chapter earns a B.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
While we wait for the new pope to be elected, we should also take some time to appreciate the past. I find papal history fascinating. Some of my favorites are the early modern popes, from the time photography was invented.
Pius IX (reigned 1846 to 1878) was the first pope to be photographed. He also changed the United States' status from a missionary territory, creating American dioceses and archdioceses.
Leo XIII (reigned 1879 to 1903) was the first pope to be filmed with a motion picture camera, and the first pope to have his voice recorded. He is also the oldest pope so far, living to be 93 years old. It's a shame his cause for canonization has not been advanced yet.
Pius X (reigned 1903 to 1914) is the most recent pope to be declared a saint. He is also the most recent pope known to perform miracles while he was alive (there are several documented cases where he healed crippled and dying children). A very holy man. We could use another pope like Pius X.
Benedict XV (reigned 1914 to 1922) had a noble and regal look to him.
Pius XI (reigned 1922 - 1939) was pope while America was going from the silent movie era to the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Pius XII (reigned 1939 to 1958) has been, over the last couple decades, slanderously vilified for being a Nazi sympathiser. This is false, revisionist history as the facts show Pius XII did all he could to save Jews from the Holocaust (certainly more than Franklin Roosevelt ever did), and many Jewish leaders of the day, such as Golda Meir, praised Pius XII.
Paul VI (reigned 1963 to 1978), with his Grinch-like eyebrows, had perhaps the worst pontificate of the 20th Century. Under him, the Vatican II council went from discussing how the Church should deal with the modern world, to the Church submitting to the modern world. The Missal of John XXIII was replaced only a few years after being promulgated, for the casual and humanist centered Novus Ordo. Priestly vocations dropped dramatically, while a vast number of clergy renounced their ministries. The clergy sex abuse scandal and alleged cover up hit its peak during his pontificate. Jesus Christ promised the gates of hell will never prevail against the Church, but it came awfully close during Paul VI's pontificate. His cause for sainthood should be put on indefinite hold.
John Paul I (reigned 1978) had one of the shortest pontificates in history. However I have very vivid memories of him, as his pontificate happened when I was a child. I remember being quite sad when he died because I really liked him.
John Paul II (reigned 1978 to 2005) was the superstar pope. He had the tough task of beginning the process of undoing all the damage caused during Paul VI's reign, while building his own legacy as the pope who travelled to the people.
And of course Benedict XVI (reigned 2005 to 2013), who is considered to be the most brilliant theologian of the last 300 years.