Friday, April 19, 2013

Review: Popeye #12

POPEYE #12 features the very first crossover between Popeye and Barney Google.  The story begins with Google, Toar, and Castor Oyl playing cards.  Castor wins Google's race horse and enlists Popeye to be the trainer.  Google gets Wimpy to find him another horse to race, but Wimpy ends up bringing him a cow.  At the big race, the hooded figure who sold Wimpy the cow, dumps marbles on the track, causing the cow and horse to slip and stumble, with Popeye and Google being tossed onto the other's steed.  Popeye, now on the cow and losing to Google, decides to jump off the cow, lift it up and run to the finish line.  However the judges disqualify Popeye, and announce Google the winner, when the hooded figure is revealed to be Google's ex-wife.  The second story is a sentimental filler of Popeye writing a letter to Swee'pea's real mother explaining how, when he took Swee'pea to a fair, Swee'pea wandered into a fight tent, and with some help from Popeye, beat Bersurka Mazurker to win the cash prize.

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

Review: Curse Of Shazam, part 11

Chapter 11 of Curse Of Shazam in JUSTICE LEAGUE #19 opens with the six kids getting on the subway, which is deserted due to the city being evacuated.  The power goes out on the subway car as Billy tries to will it to take them to the Rock of Eternity.  Then the mysterious Francesca, from a few chapters back, appears to Billy through Eugene's ipad.  She tells Billy how he can get to the Rock: he can open a portal to it anywhere as long as he is underground and enchanted.  She then tells Billy the story of Black Adam.  She tells him they are linked to each other like family.  Oddly, Mary was able to hear the word "family", even though Billy is the only one who can see and hear Francesca.  As she recaps the origin of Black Adam, we learn his real name is Aman, and he was a boy, in ancient times in the country of Kandaq, when his parents were killed and he was dragged off by Ibac and his army to be a slave.  The boy is eventually found by his uncle, and they attempt an escape from Ibac, but the uncle is wounded, and a bolt of lightning then transports the boy Aman to the Rock of Eternity, where a council of seven wizards (including the last surviving wizard who gave Billy the power) await him.  Billy cuts Francesca off, realizing Black Adam is really a boy like him.  He runs off to talk to Black Adam, confident he now understands where Black Adam's coming from and he can reason with him.  Billy approaches Black Adam, telling him he is the new champion and he understands why Black Adam is lashing out at others, that he's only trying to hide how scared he really is.  Predictably, Black Adam grabs Billy by the mouth, and tells the stupid kid he doesn't know anything.  Looks like curtains for Billy.

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.