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READ MY LIBRARY ENTRY 30: Legion Toys, DC Nation and New 52 SHAZAM!

Max drops some dollars on a major action figure purchase and geeks out. Also, he takes a look at Cartoon Network’s DC Nation programming block on the rare Saturday morning he didn’t sleep in. Last but not least is Max’s favorite DC hero re-imagined for DC’s New 52, Captain Marvel SHAZAM!

Super-Fly Comics & Games’ plucky sidekick Max Lake has embarked on a journey to read his collection of DC & other comics! Join Max each week every Friday as he takes on his Library! Titles reviewed by this blog do not necessarily reflect what the store has in stock, but you can always email the store to special order something that you’ve seen here at superflycomics@gmail.com. You can also call Super-Fly at (937) 767-1445 or just ask someone at the store next time you’re there for special orders. You can read past entries of the blog here. Any questions or comments for Max should be sent to maxdlake@gmail.com or feel free to comment in the comments section below. Check out @maxdlake to follow Max on Twitter. The things Max writes do not necessarily reflect the views of Super-Fly Comics & Games, and Super-Fly Comics & Games is not responsible for what Max says—especially anything that bugs you.

 

Written on 3/24/12

Well, it’s been a busy time!  We’re back from Canada with our new comics and figures as well as several fond memories of spending time with Maureen’s family.  We got back Wednesday, on March 21st but we’ve been hopping ever since.  Maureen has been getting ready to go back to school while I have been lining up work and learning things about WordPress to make this blog as well executed as possible.  It’s kind of ridiculous that the blog still hasn’t gone up as I write this, but I really want to make sure I can get everything to work the way I’d like it to and that will require just a touch more research.  Plus, some of the scans we’ve done are a little rough.  I’m undecided if I want to try to redo them OR just touch them up and let my readers deal with it.  I mean, some of these books are hard to scan correctly!  But I’m sure I could do a little better too.

The weekend’s been cool so far, as I was able to finally pull the trigger on a major purchase I’ve been saving up for and planning for a while:  Mattel’s DC Universe Classics 12 figure set of the Legion of Super Heroes.  I didn’t have quite enough for it yet, but Maureen decided to help me as they are only getting rarer and more expensive on Ebay.  We ordered it late last night/this morning, so I don’t expect it to be here until later in the week.  But I am excited!!!  It has twelve figures of the Legion of Super Heroes, who are the super heroes of the 31st century who Superboy time traveled to adventure with, plus a Proty figure—Proty being the Legion’s amorphous blob sidekick—and a 24 karat gold Legion flight ring.  It wasn’t cheap, but it will certainly be a worthy addition to the Library!

Another cool thing about the weekend was that I was able to get up early enough this morning to watch DC Nation, Cartoon Network’s programming block of DC animation featuring the Green Lantern Animated Series, which is done in 3D CGI and features the adventures of Green Lanterns Hal Jordan and Kilowog lost in space.  The other part of DC Nation is Young Justice done in classic hand drawn animation style featuring the young heroes of the DCU interacting with the Justice League and their enemies. Rounding out the hour are a couple of animated DC shorts featuring various, often lesser known characters, usually in humorous takes.  This week, DC Comics revealed there are upcoming shorts featuring Animal Man and the Doom Patrol!  Wow!  I remember just musing how Animal Man didn’t have an animated appearance yet, while the lesser known B’wana Beast had appeared on two DC cartoons so far, so it’s cool WB Animation is doing something to rectify that.  Shorts this week and last week included a Plastic Man short; a Claymation short featuring children doing the voices of Superman, Batman and Robin, Catwoman and the Joker; Super Best Friends Forever featuring Supergirl, Batgirl and Wondergirl; and a MAD short featuring Captain Marvel/Shazam.  Pretty good stuff all around!

DC Nation on Cartoon Network

DC Nation now owns my Saturday mornings—at least the ones I don’t sleep in on. On those mornings the DVR saves the day!

While I’m still lukewarm on how Green Lantern the Animated Series looks with its CGI, I’m starting to like it a little more.  Young Justice on the other hand is “must see TV” for my wife and I, and both of us are surprised that this is supposed to be a kid’s show with everything they pack in every week.  Sure there’s lots of great super antics and teamwork, but there’s a lot bubbling beneath the surface of the characters: loss, secrets, betrayal, insecurities deception… Pretty deep stuff for a kid’s show!  At any rate, it was a Saturday morning well spent!

Somewhere in the past week between getting home and watching cartoons this morning, I found a way to do a lot of spring cleaning, and make it to Super-Fly to pick up Justice League #7.  Now I haven’t read Justice League past #4, though I now own all the issues.  However, I had to pick up #7 to find out how Geoff Johns and Gary Frank were depicting the “New 52” version of my favorite DC character: Captain Marvel, who from now on will be known as “Shazam” in their backup feature “Curse of Shazam” appearing in Justice League every month starting with #7.

New 52 Shazam

It's the New 52 Shazam! You'd better not call him Captain Marvel anymore (or Marvel Comics will call their lawyers!)

Now I can understand DC’s reasoning in changing Cap’s name to Shazam.  They don’t own the rights to the “Captain Marvel” name for one—Marvel does.  For two, because they don’t own the Captain Marvel name, everything Captain Marvel has appeared in has been labeled “Shazam” so everyone who doesn’t know comics as intimately as I do already thinks his name is Shazam.  So it makes sense.  What I don’t understand is how the character can be called “Shazam” and his magic transformation word that changes him from teenage Billy Batson to grown up Captain Marve, er, Shazam, is “Shazam!”  How would he introduce himself to other heroes?  Or anyone?

(Imagine if you will Superman running into Shazam for the first time…)

Superman: Why there’s a new super hero here who saved the day!  What’s your name, friend?

Shazam: Er, my name is Shazam.

(THUNDERCLAP AND LIGHTING!) BOOM! (Billy Batson stands where Shazam once was)

Billy Batson: Er, I’m Billy, but I’m also Shazam!

(THUNDERCLAP AND LIGHTING!) BOOM! (Shazam now replaces Billy)

Superman: Huh!

Shazam: I better not say my name again…

Now I’m sure Geoff Johns will figure a way out to resolve this, but he doesn’t at all in Justice League #7, where the first part of “Curse of Shazam” appears.  That said, here are some thoughts on that first Shazam story…

It’s….alright.  It’s different, totally different, and I can see how a lot of fans will be ticked off.  I had a friend clue me into a couple things before I read it which I kinda resented as I wanted to go in free of preconceptions, but overall it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story, and by the time this is published, the Shazam backup may very well be over, so I’m not worried about spoilers, though as always, consider yourself warned.  Things are different in that the hero and villain are almost polar opposites of how they’ve appeared previously.  Whereas Doctor Sivana has always been an old crone of a man reliant on his brains to win the day, in the New 52 DCnU, Sivana is PUMPED (or on steroids) and younger looking.  His glasses, sadly, are normal glasses and nowhere near the round goofy spectacles of old.  Billy Batson, once sweet and kind, is now kind of a jerk.  However, the story does introduce the characters, or teases the concept of the characters of the wizard Shazam, Doctor Sivana, Black Adam, Billy Batson, and the super hero Shazam—and it’s a pretty short story!  The last couple pages are more “preview of things to come” pages making them disconnect from the rest of the story, but they convey the obvious: Billy will become Shazam, a hero of magic.  So it’s different, but I kinda liked it—so far anyway.  I just hope he doesn’t wear that stupid hood all the time!

Despite getting time to read the Shazam backup, I haven’t had much of a chance between spring cleaning and everything else to sit down and do some reading of The Aquaman Archives Volume 1.  I was able to start the introduction in Canada, but that was it.  Here’s hoping I can make some time soon.

NOTES FROM NOW (9/9/12): I have to say that my doubts about Johns’ and Frank’s interpretation of the Shazam mythos were unfounded, as they have been doing a slow build to Billy’s accession to his super hero role, establishing Sivana and his scheme, and introducing Black Adam.  It’s really different, and the “Shazam Family” is shaping up quite differently than I’m used to (though anyone who read Flashpoint already has experienced it).  However, it’s all really well done.  I’m impressed.  I’m also excited, as recent news from the convention season reports that Shazam will be a new member of the Justice League in its second year.  Very cool.  Now I just need to catch up in my Justice League reading, so I can read about the actual League and not just Shazam and get to the Superman & Wonder Woman smooch that the media is crowing about and see how the stage will be set for this new take on the hero formerly known as Captain Marvel.

Since I just finished up looking at Animal Man, I should add that there have been a couple Animal Man shorts on DC Nation that have aired.  They have been hilarious, taking a look at the lighter side of the character.   DC Nation also did a profile on the character in a little short feature during commercials.  Hopefully, we’ll see more animated Animal Man in the not too distant future!

Past entries of the Read My Library Blog

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