I don't think that Mary was turned bad just so she could be more popular (bad to be good). While I do agree that the racier aspects of the image change, especially amongst the stereotypical "comic fanboy" were probably a discussed motivator, I do believe the changeover was presented well. Let's not forget, for whatever reason, Mary was abandoned by Billy and Freddie when she was injured. When she needed her family the most, they weren't there. So, emotionally, she became more pliant to the machinations of the manipulative Black Adam and then Eclipso. It was only with Infinite Crisis, and Darkseid's influence, that Mary became a caricature of evil rather than the emotionally wounded and manipulated bad guy (gal). This just suggests, once again, that DC has no real plans or desire to develop these characters. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that will only continue, as there doesn't seem to be any middle ground as to what fans will accept.
There are those who love the purity and innocence and will not accept change, and those who think the old ways are outdated and foolish. It's just too bad there aren't more middle of the road fans. At least enough to prove to DC that it would be worth trying something different.
How about making them more like a real family?
Billy as Capt. marvel should remain pure, noble, and virtuous. Junior wants to do right, but feels he can never live up to Marvel's expectations, so he becomes a rowdier, more rebellious teenager. And Mary, having been left behind, becomes the black sheep of the family. The good one who fell in with drugs, so to speak, and needs an intervention. After all, comics have proven in the past that the family dynamic can work out well, as with the Fantastic Four. Why it couldn't work out well for the Marvels is beyond me.
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