Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Batman '66 #29

The penultimate issue of Batman '66 opens with a story featuring second season villain Ma Parker and her clan. The story, be Jeff Parker is sparse, but fairly enjoyable. The art by Dean Haspiel is typical of this series, somewhat rushed looking. Ma Parker has a motherly moment, where she helps Batman rescue two of her kids who can't swim when they fall into a lake after a car crash.  It stands out as a more unique moment.  Overall this story earns a C+.
The second story, a sequel of sorts to the first, features Catwoman. Parker gets more in this story, and overall is better written. Robin and Batgirl are captured by Croc, Grundy, and Killer Moth, who escaped from prison when Ma Parker broke her boys out.  Batman captures Catwoman, but when he finds out from a couple of kids, one of whom is wearing a weird green hood that stands out, about the capture, Catwoman volunteers to assist him in going after the trio. Parker gets in some introspective moments on the Batman-Catwoman relationship as they capture the trio and rescue Robin and Batgirl. For the first time in too long a time, Jonathan Case returns to do the art, and turns in an excellent job.  This story earns a B+, making the total grade for this issue a B.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Review: The Darkseid War - Shazam

So I guess I have to do a review of The Darkseid War: Shazam. As readers of this blog know, I am not a fan of the rebooted New52 Shazam. Frankly, I'm not a fan of the New52, period. The rebooted character has changed more than just his name from Captain Marvel to Shazam.  He's really a different character, to the point I think it would have been better all around, if Geoff Johns took that one extra step, and gave new names to Billy Batson, Dr Sivana, Freddy Freeman, and Mary Batson.  There's not much of a plot in this issue.  It's more or less one giant introduction to the new gods who will now give Billy his power in the wake of Darkseid's death. Why Darkseid's death was able to change Billy's pantheon, I have no idea.  I dropped Justice League -the only title the New52 Shazam appears in- from my pull list a couple months ago because I got tired of seeing this character in a couple panels each issue, just standing in the background and reacting to the main characters, like one of the lesser Bowery Boys.  That, or, he usually plays the role of Cyborg's idiot sidekick.  To paraphrase Green Arrow, "Geoff Johns, you have failed the World's Mightiest Mortal".  So, if this new pantheon is permanent or just for this Darkseid storyline, either way there's not much in this issue.  Written by Steve Orlando, I do give him credit for making Billy Batson the main focus of the story, even if it is just a "meet and greet". He still has the obnoxious New52 personality, which the Wizard Shazam comments on.  Or is his name now Mamaragan, one of the new pantheon, even though "Mamaragan" sound like someone is calling for Nancy Reagan. Apparently Darkseid's father is now one of the pantheon too, Zonuz. Kind of like the upcoming movie. Zonus is good news.  Really, who came up with these names? Ate? Yeah, I went to Burger Clown. Anapel? Is there a pail missing? H'ronmeer?  Come on, that's gotta be from a Three Stooges routine, with the Maha. S'ivaa? What?  All this book lacked was the Snap song "The Power" playing over and over, until the reader is driven insane. And guess what?  The story continues in JL #48, which I won't be buying, because I'm sure Shazam will just stand in the background like Benny Bartlett, and he'll have one line of dialogue directed at Cyborg that will include the word "badass".  The art in this issue is by Scott Kolins, and he does a good job, even if it's a bit generic, and Shazam has a downgraded costume. To contrast this issue with the spectacular Thunderworld Adventures and Convergence Shazam is more than frustrating. This issue earns a D-.