Adam Graham's Blog: Christians and Superheroes - Posts Tagged "shazam"

Book Review: Shazam: The Monster Society of Evil

Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil by Jeff Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jeff Smith's take on Captain Marvel in this book manages to do something rare for writers of the Big Red Cheese: Capture the Spirit of one of the Golden Age's best characters.

The art is the best part of the book. I've never seen a better example of art that is so inviting to younger readers to enjoy comics than in this collection. The pictures are so fun and appeal to kids of the twenty-first century the same way the original C.C. Beck art appealed to the kids of the 1940s.

Much of the story is heartfelt and has great ways of showing Billy Batson's kindness. The story is a bit more real about Billy being a homeless waif and his need for family. His love for his sister Mary was very sweet and endearing.

The only downside to the book is even though it's more than 200 pages long, it's a very picture heavy story with a lot of very cool half, full, and two page pieces of art. The problem is that at times, the book seems too small for all that's going. You not only have the titular Monster Society, you have Doctor Sivana, a mystical talking tiger, and Mary Marvel. In that way, the book feels overloaded. In addition, a few of the modern adjustments such as tension over an evil Secretary of Heartland Security (or was he Attorney General, I got confused at the point) seemed to lessen the magic. Thankfully, there was plenty of magic to go around, and this book is still by far, the best representation of Captain Marvel in more than sixty years since the character was cancelled by Fawcett.

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Published on October 20, 2014 18:35 Tags: captain-marvel, shazam

Book Review: Shazam: A Celebration of 75 Years

Shazam! A Celebration of 75 Years Shazam! A Celebration of 75 Years by Bill Parker

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This books collects numerous books through Shazam (Captain Marvel)'s history. The Golden Age section really is a treasure of wonderful firsts and great stories with Captain Marvel's origin story, the first Mary Marvel tale, and the first Marvel family story (with them battling Black Adam in his first appearance.) We also get to see Captain Marvel battle the Earth is a surreal tale, as well as two chapters from the Monster Society of Evil storyline and Captain Marvel taking on the Seven deadly sins. These stories are top notch and some of the best the Golden Age had to offer.

The second section begins with the Superman story, "Make Way for Captain Thunder" which has Supes taking on an alternate universe version of Captain Marvel. Still, don't think it belongs in this collection...Then we see a couple stories from the 1970s Shazam comic, a back up story from World's Finest, and then a Superman/Captain Marvel team up against Black Adam. I like all these fine. They're not quite as much fun as the Golden Age tales, but still pretty good.

Captain Marvel battles Lobo in a somewhat pointless story in L.E.G.I.O.N. #31 and it's okay, but really pointless because of it's sudden stop and start that the reader of this book has no way of knowing about.

Then we have more modern Captain Marvel comics beginning with the Power of Shazam #1 and #2 which set up this run of Captain Marvel and it's not bad. It doesn't have the magic of the earlier runs, but it has some nice moments. It does give, "Yeah, this is a face only a Mother Could Love" (Power of Shazam #33) some context but it's still not a great story. It's kind of dismal and depressing as well as not all that sensitive to ]victims of disfigurement.

O Captain, My Captain (Action Comics #768) features mostly the Marvel family trying to get Superman's help as something has gone wrong, and Superman gets to examine his own impressions of Captain Marvel and of Lois. The story doesn't really feel like it fits in Action Comics modern day, it feels like a modern all ages book and that works both for it and against it.

JSA #48 is a somewhat pointless story that has Billy Batson talking to Stargirl while she fights some things. It's the pointless story in the book.

Shazam: The Monster Society of Evil #2 creates the second issue of the lovely Jeff Smith mini-series which has come closets to capturing the come closest to capturing the pure joy of the original. It's hurt by the fact it's only one part in the mini-series.

The same goes for the new 52 entry, Justice League #21, the issue actually concludes a longer story arc and while it's not bad, it really feels disconnected without the other tales.

Overall, this collection was okay. I was a lot harder on the Shazam: The Greatest Stories Ever Told when it came back even though it had similar stories. Why I feel more generous to this has to do with the fact that the book doesn't claim to collect "the greatest stories," only to celebrate the character's entire history which this book does.

The quality of the stories are mixed because since the Golden Age, comics have really struggled with handling the character properly. In addition, the one shot story that was king in the Golden Age is far rarer in our age of writing comics "for the trades." That's not the book's fault. The Golden Age stuff is pure gold. The rest ranges from "meh" to "okay." That doesn't reflect on the compilers but on how comics, and particularly Shazam comics have been published.

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Published on March 09, 2017 19:16 Tags: captain-marvel, shazam

Book Review: Shazam and the Seven Magic Lands

Shazam and the Seven Magic Lands Shazam and the Seven Magic Lands by Geoff Johns

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the Seven Magic Lands , Billy Batson and his foster siblings return to the Rock of Eternity where their whisked into the seven magic lands and find they've unleashed many dangers on the world that they have to protect the Earth from. Meanwhile, Billy has to deal with teh sudden re-emergence of his father.

This book is epic. Essentially, it collects an entire year...all of Geoff Johns run on the 2018 series and it tells one unified story. It includes visits to Magic Lands, introduces Tawny Tiger, as well as featuring Shazam's biggest bads, while sprinkling in a lot of family drama.

It manages to have fun, provide wacky situations, and have enough action and heart to keep the book engaging. It's rare that I get this entertained by a modern ongoing series, but this oen rings the bell. I heartily reccomend.

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Published on December 25, 2020 23:25 Tags: captain-marvel, dc-comics, shazam

Christians and Superheroes

Adam Graham
I'm a Christian who writes superhero fiction (some parody and some serious.)

On this blog, we'll take a look at:

1) Superhero stories
2) Issues of faith in relation to Superhero stories
3) Writing Superhe
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