Sunday, April 27, 2008

"Just Didn't Get That Lightning Bolt For Me"

I wish I could think of something really nice to say about the DC Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil limited series; I really do. 'Cause I'm a fan of Jeff Smith's Bone books. But I'm afraid the best thing I can say is that I won this entire four issue series cheap on an eBay auction because I really don't think I would have bought any issues past No.1 had I not.

I found no feel of the original big red cheese anywhere in the scripts. The magic that Bill Parker,C.C. Beck(and later, Otto Binder) created, simply wasn't there. In fact, the whole thing made me feel much like the disapointment I got after reading John Byrne's DC mini-series some 20 years ago, The Man of Steel, whereas he re-wrote "Superman's" history. That was one of those series where the company wanted to update a character and make him relavent to the audience of the time, and ended up letting someone batardize him into their own image.

S!TMSOE wasn't "quite" as bad as that, but over-all, I was very let-down by it. Smith reverted the original age of Billy Batson by a good three years making him not much more than a toddler when he received the "Shazam" powers, and the supporting cast was redone. And, I know it's not the 1940's anymore and certain types of stories just won't work today, but honestly, the original Captain Marvel should have been left to history and not revived by DC Comics in the first place due to their lengthly lawsuit with Fawcett (a good 13 years until Fawcett finally got tired and "gave up") save for reprinting the original material. Over the years since DC's had Cap', they've tried everything from using C.C.Beck to win back over the original (and new) readership of the character, to making him a more serious (and even at time, sinister) type of hero. I'm sorry...but their current attempt of doing something new with him just didn't get it for me. I'm straining to give the series a "B", and that's out of respect for both Captain Marvel as well as Jeff Smith.


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