The Curse of Shazam:
DC Has No Idea What To Do With Him
He's not Captain Marvel.
That's the only thing that I can say upon looking at this image, run in the New York Post this morning. It's our first look at the re-introduction of the Shazam! concept into the DC Universe and it's... a little more Shazzan than Shazam, a lot more Black Adam than Captain Marvel and somehow it's still Billy Batson.
Except now Geoff Johns and Gary Frank have transformed Billy into a "...feisty teen" instead of the plucky brave adolescent he has traditionally -- and admittedly in the 21st century somewhat awkwardly -- been.
He has "...a new origin, a new cowl, a lightning bolt on his chest, and a penchant for making electrical appliances explode." In this incarnation, the hero now known simply as Shazam (Trademarkable! Movie adaptable!) will be a lot different than he has been before. “His place in the world will be far more rooted in fantasy and magic than it ever was before,” Johns said.
Debuting as a back-up feature in Justice League #7, The Curse of Shazam will have huge ramifications for that super-team in the year ahead.
That's all well and good, I guess, and for some simple business reasons (much as I don't like it), DC really can't be touting a character called Captain Marvel in hopes of gaining traction for parent company Warner. The concept had to be retooled.
But... this is just more of the same that most of DC's New 52 books have been doing, and a lot more at odds with the character's background than the other relaunches. The original Captain Marvel was a whimsical strip full of adventure and action yet able to appeal to a wide age range. This redo feels like it will have action, but no whimsy, and written to appeal to ... well, Geoff Johns and the people who tell him how great he is -- another concept that continues to narrow the focus of the industry on fewer and fewer people.
That's my cranky Monday reaction. I'll be the first to get on a soapbox and rave about Johns' take on Aquaman (so far, anyway). This could be like that. I just find it hard to believe right now.