Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Review: Curse Of Shazam, part 4

The fourth chapter of Curse of Shazam from JUSTICE LEAGUE #10, begins with the Vasquezes at the kitchen table realising Billy isn't who they thought he was from the child services interview.  It is implied both Vasquezes were also orphans, which is why they became foster parents, and hints when Mary first came to live with them, she had similar troubles to Billy's.

Cut to the boys' bedroom.  Billy sneaks out of the house, and Freddy shadows him. Billy goes to the zoo to talk to a tiger he calls Tawny.  Freddy confronts him about this.  Freddy admits to stealing Billy's wallet, seeing the picture of Tawny in it, as well as a membership card to a family finders website.  Freddy tells Billy he and the others appreciate him decking the Bryer Brothers. Freddy says the Bryers pick on them almost every day.  Billy comments he wishes he could get back at them, and Freddy says he knows where they live.  Billy gets an evil smile as Tawny roars.

Cut to Baghdad.  Sivana, who can now "see" magic, goes to Black Adam's tomb. He is able to read Black Adam was imprisoned there until a being who can destroy him is found, but he can be released with one magic word.  Sivana says "Shazam", there is a massive bolt of lightning, and Black Adam emerges from the tomb demanding to know where the Wizard is.

My thoughts: Another well done chapter.  Gary Frank's art continues to be top notch. I like the interplay between Billy and Freddy, and I can't wait to see what they have planned for the Bryers. I hope it is something worthy of the classic "Dead End Kids", and not something dumb or commonplace (like egging the front door).  We get our first look at Black Adam.  Like the new Capt... er, Shazam, he has a Spectre-like hooded cloak.  His lightning bolt emblem seems to be much more diagonal than Capt... er, Shazam's.  Like Capt... er, Shazam, Black Adam has Wonder Woman style wristbands, a sci-fi style belt, and Greek Olympian type boots.  This is where I might start to worry.  Geoff Johns has a habit of giving the spotlight to  Black Adam, while Captain Marvel remains a background character.  Personally, I would have preferred if Black Adam did not appear in this first arc.  He could easily have been saved for a second or third year arc.  Back in the Fawcett Comics era, Black Adam was just a one-shot character.  It was Ibac who was the evil counterpart to Captain Marvel. It would have been very nice to go that route, just to be different from the Roy Thomas and Jerry Ordway reboots.  But we will see. I give chapter 4 a B-.


CMfan said...

Geoff Johns may be good at constructing a narrative, but in my opinion he's a little over-rated. My problem is he is not writing Billy Batson and Freddy Freeman. These are new characters. Billy and Freddy are not troubled teens, they are not "dead end kids", they are not the characters in "Curse of Shazam". These are fakes. The real characters were published by Fawcett and even by DC pre-1985. The only post-1985 appearances of the real characters were in Alex Ross' "Power Of Hope" and "Justice". That is what I want, not Johns' fakes loosly based on the originals.

Chris said...

It's already been covered that this is a new interpretation of our favourite characters. You can't produce material styled after the pre 1985 versions because that style has no more relevance. They must give a series new life with new ideas to keep it fresh. Almost every DC/ Marvel Hero has gone through this so why should Captain Marvel be any different? Besides, you forgot to mention the Power Of Shazam series which was the closest to homage the original series, while keeping it current with the modern DCU. If you like the old Captain Marvel, then buy the Shazam Archives (That's what I did).

Aside from that, another great issue with extending possibilities for the next few issues. Perhaps when Billy and Freddy go to the Bryers home, the juvenile hijinks will entertain. Johns definitely hit the mark for creating a reason for Billy and Freddy to become closer through an act of pure teenage rebellion.
As for Black Adam finally entering the fray, one could say that he may catalyze the action the series has been lacking thus far. I was so pleased to be wrong about my theory of a Sivana/Adam combo, and loved the costume design of Adam.