SHAZAM! ORIGINS: A couple of months ago, when the new Shazam! series began, I remarked that Justice League #0 was the only post-Flashpoint appearance of the character (no longer known as Captain Marvel) that I knew of. What I said was true, but the first issue of the new series made it clear that I obviously had missed something. The recent tpb collects everything a new reader needs to know to enjoy the new series. Issue #0 wasn’t even the character’s first appearance. The tpb collects stories from Justice League #7-11, 0, 14-16 and 18-20. This updating of the legend (by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank) is like no Captain Marvel (when he was known as Captain Marvel) you have read before.
It is unclear whether Johns is using the “Seven Deadly Sins” of Catholic dogma or the “Seven Deadly Enemies of Man” of the comics. Only five of them are named [Pride, Envy, Greed, Wrath (replacing Hatred) and Sloth (replacing Laziness)]. That leaves Gluttony and Lust (or Selfishness and Injustice) unaccounted for. All seven are visually depicted, but the one who looks like Gluttony to me is identified as Greed. No mention whatsoever is made of Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles or Mercury. I can’t really fault DC for dropping the name Captain Marvel (not in the movies, anyway). Just yesterday I overheard a co-worker discussing a “Marvel movie” she could remember the name of. Turns out it was Aquaman.
Honestly, after the demise of Fawcett comics, I think there have been very few successful attempts to bring Captain Marvel/SHAZAM! into the mainstream DCU. I really liked Jerry Ordway’s version, and Johns’, while quite different, is my favorite other than that.
I read The Grim Knight #1, which is a part of The Batman Who Laughs miniseries (somehow), written by Scott Snyder (and, again, I assume James Tynion IV) and drawn by Eduardo Risso. Risso's art goes a long way toward helping this issue out, but unfortunately, most of it is done in his painted style which he used a lot in his Vertigo autobiography of Paul Dini. In my opinion, his line work goes much further than his painted material. Still, this Batman comic felt important; I will be interested to see if the Batman Who Laughs becomes just another Joker. I can't imagine how mad the Joker would be to find out he had a rival for Batman's love.
Weirdly, Sensei, your post reminds me of watching Gotham last night. My wife and I are a little behind, and are catching up, and, in general, we really enjoy Gotham. And we're reallu enjoying this run in particular, since the show is wrapping things up.
But in this particular episode one of the bits was that Jeremiah Valeska (in full Joker mode) was re-creating the murder of Bruce's parents, and it was obviously supposed to be a suspensful scene, full of emotional import. and ...
I discovered I was bored.
Yes, Bruce Wayne's parents were killed. Bruce responds with a lifelong career as a vigilante. OK, good -- I like Batman comics. But can we move on from the murder, please? Anyone still obsessing over that (looking at you, Bruce) isn't in his right mind. I want Batman to be someone I can admire, not someone who stropped growing emotionally at age 8 and is still obsessed by events that happened in that year. Yes, it's a powerful motivator. But anything other than that is an unhealthy obsession that makes my teeth itch.
Point is, I don't want to read any more about the death of the Waynes. Frank Miller added the pearls, which are a terrific symbol-cum-metaphor, but nothing worthwhile has been added since. Honest, I never want to see that scene again. I've seen it way too many time already, and nothing since the '80s has added to my appreciation of it -- in fact, most recent scenes have the opposite effect, as they irritate/bore me. (Same with Spider-Man's origin.)
Also, I'm tired of the Joker. So much so, that I read as little of "The Batman Who Laughs" as I can
I do recognize the twist on TBWL -- he's the Batman, plus he's the Joker. That's like, twice-Joker, or something. But isn't the original still around? And hasn't he proved to be Batman's equal all by his lonesome? To paraphrase you, Sensei, I don't see what this new "Joker" adds that we haven't already seen from the original -- and wouldnt't the original put an end to this pretender, or die trying?
Anyway, as to what I'm reading, it's a lot of 1940s-50s Blue Beetle. God help me. But I'm also reading EC Archives: Piracy, and it's awesome. The stories tend to be repetitive (just like EC's Aces High), but the artwork is astonishing. I noticed Wally Wood and Reed Crandall doing some of the best work of their careers, and that's saying something. I honestly wish I read this when I was younger, and my vision was better. I know I'm missing a lot. But what I do see is stunning.
I also bought MINI-COMICS MIX TAPE, a numbered ultra-cutely packaged bag of " 8 risographed comics by @docpop! " and gave read a bit as yet.