Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review: Curse Of Shazam, part 13

The final chapter of Curse Of Shazam in JUSTICE LEAGUE #21 begins with the seven deadly sins finding their host: Mr Bryer.  They posses him and he turns into a giant satanic beast.  Sivana, meanwhile, is experiencing the effects of magic on his un-enchanted body, as he becomes more troll like in appearance.  Cut to Black Adam with Capt... er, Shazam and the other kids. Adam tells them the seven deadly sins will burn the city to cinders, and only he can save it, if Billy surrenders his magic to him.  Upon Adam threatening to kill Freddy, Mary and the others, Capt... er, Shazam agrees, but then Francesca, via a reflection in a puddle, reminds him of the Wizard's words. He yells "Shazam!", but instead of surrendering the power to Adam, he has enchanted the other kids, creating The Shazam Family. 

 All six tackle Adam, as he fights back.  Capt... er, Shazam, tells the others to evacuate the streets, while he will take care of Black Adam.  There is a showdown between the two, as the others evacuate the city.  Mary is able to take on Bryer in his demon form.  Back at the showdown, Tawny stalks Adam, but he swats the tiger away., Shazam reveals he has a kinship to the tiger, as visiting him at the zoo with his parents is one of his cherished memories, and considers Tawny family.  He quickly enchants Tawny, turning him into a battle cat, but he did the spell incorrectly, causing him and the other members of the Shazam Family to weaken as their enchantments fade.  Soon, the Family is back to their normal selves, as Adam and Capt... er, Shazam fight to a standstill.  He transforms back into Billy, and cons Adam into reverting back to his mortal self.  Within seconds, he ages hundreds of years, and dies.  Billy transforms back into his enchanted form, as the seven deadly sins leave Bryer, now able to roam free without a host upon Black Adam's death.  Bryer is humiliated one more time, as he stand naked in front of a crowd. Everyone cheers the new Champion of Magic.  It's Christmas morning, and Billy decides to stay with his new family at the Vasquez house.  Then a epilogue of Sivana, somewhere in New York, completely troll like in appearance, discovering  a talking worm who calls himself Mr Mind.

The final chapter was fairly good, much better than some of the previous chapters.  As predicted, the whole Shazam Family was brought in very quickly.  Not just Mary and Freddy, but the other three kids as well, which siphons the spotlight off  Capt... er, Shazam, and underscores he needs a team to defeat the enemy.  None of the Shazam Family's names were revealed, except for Freddy, who called himself "King Shazam". My guess his hair would turn black in the enchanted form, as a nod to Elvis, who had light brown hair naturally, and dyed it black when he became famous, did not happen.  Rather, King Shazam has long, Thor-like blond hair.  The epilogue is a certain lead in to an on going series, but none is planned at the moment.  Chapter 13 earns a B.

On the other hand, Curse Of Shazam in its entirety earns a C-.  It has some good moments, a couple good concepts, but often falls back on the same shtick that has prevented the DC version of the Captain Marvel character from soaring back to his Golden Age Fawcett greatness.  Many of the changes Johns made to the essentials of the characters are pointless, as they are not the problem.  The problem is keeping the character pigeon holed in a "Big in tights" mentality, albeit now with a slight Harry Potter twist to it.  Adding the three new kids only dilutes Billy even more.  Geoff Johns has a legion of fans who will blindly follow him wherever he leads.  They may insure the new "Shazam" is somewhat successful.  But to really get Captain Marvel back to his full glory, the only solution to me seems to be to bring in Alex Ross, perhaps with an assist by Mark Waid or Paul Dini, to give us the character as he was in the Justice miniseries.


Gernot said...

I've heard some people were disappointed in the way they defeated Black Adam (I won't spoil things here), but the BIGGEST complaint I get is how bad Billy is in the nu52. Is he getting to be a better person finally? I HOPE so. I enjoyed the Showcase Shazam! Volume, and want to like THIS one, too. :)

Great review! :)594

Shazamaholic said...

Gernot, the TPB edition collecting the series will be released Oct 1. At the end Billy does seem to show that deep down he has a heart of gold. If you enjoy the classic DC Shazam from the 1970s (the stories published in the Showcase volume), "Curse" is the total opposite.

Chris said...

I thought the series was a perfect modernization of the character.

Alot of people claim the idea that Billy's attitude is so sour, but that was predicated on the first issues of the Curse. If people actually READ IT IN ITS ENTIRETY, they would have seen that it is probably the most realistic interpretation for a boy with under his circumstances. Also, this version of Billy is actually older than all other incarnations of the character, being 15. When you read the ENTIRE STORY, the good parts of him actually outweigh the negatives.
Shazam has already appeared in other arcs of the NEW 52, currently being the Trinity War Crossover and Constantine. I always felt that he belonged more to a more Constantine-esc style fo modern day.
The Curse of Shazam earns a B+ to me. It's considered the only true new beginning for the DC character in the New 52 and succeeded in introducing Shazam to a new generations. My little cousins now ask me all kinds of things about Captain Marvel(Yes, I trained them to call him that) since he's appeared in video games/ comics and cartoons more often.

BTW Freddy's "King Shazam" title, is a direct reference to his Kingdom Come(Ross, Waid) incarnation "King Marvel". Any REAL Captain Marvel fan would have known that

Dog Guy said...

You were way to kind. Curse of Shazam is a flat out F. Goeff Johns knows nothing about these characters. Horrible. Only good thing was Gary Frank's artwork.

Anonymous said...

So Billy Batson is now a complete asshole for no other reason than some deluded ideal that cynical brats are relatable. And now their are about 5 different characters all as powerful as Superman and half as mature running around.

You let us Shazam fans down Johns.

Dan said...

What are you talking about? Curse of Shazam was fantastic. Who cares if they've changed a lot of stuff? Billy's a much better and more dynamic character now, and the family's great.

ars somnium et opis said...

Curse of Shazam was utter trash. Johns is an overrated writer, and he has zero respect for Captain Marvel, so therefore I have zero respect for him.