New artist Mike Norton debuts with this issue, as this title hits its stride.
While not my all-time favorite BB&TMOS artist (that honor goes to the one-shot Stephan DeStefano in issue #6...his art looks like a cross between CC Beck and Robert Crumb, and it worked splendidly...would love to seem him back one day) Norton comes in a solid second place, even ahead of the mini-series' Jeff Smith.
While still having an animated quality to it, Norton's work isn't nearly as cartoonish (in the negative sense) as Bryan Vaugns or Mike Kunkle, and is a little slicker and more polished than Jeff Smith. My one gripe about it is he seems to draw wrists and ankles freakishly thin. One other minor gripe is he replaced CM's button flap jacket with a yellow (or gold) border of the flap. I would like to see the return to a single button flap (not the multiple buttons Kunkle and Vaugns drew).
Storywise, Art Baltazar and Franco are really hitting thier stride. While taking an all-ages approach, similar to Jeff Smith, they wisely abandoned the pre-school style stories Kunkle had penned. This issue introduces us to Freddy Freeman, a wheelchair-bound kid, the result of a previous issue's building collapse cause by Firebug. Freddy blames Captain Marvel for not saving him, and he unwittingly helps teenage Adam Black regain his powers as Black Adam.
At this point, I would say BB&TMOS is about as good, if not slightly better than POWER OF SHAZAM was after it "jumped the shark" with issue 12. But the difference is, BB&TMOS is just getting started, and will only get better.
If any CM fans have not been reading this book, I strongly urge them to give it a chance. Get issue 6, and pick up the current issue 13 for starters. This could very well be the only on-going SHAZAM series we get for the foreseeable future, so we might as well enjoy it.
Considering the mess the official CM continuity is currently in, I wouldn't be surprised if BB&TMOS is simply moved to the proper DCU without any fanfare.
While still not my idea of the "definitive" Captain Marvel (that's still the original Fawcett version by Otto Binder & CC Beck - and later at DC by E. Nelson Bridwell, as well as Alex Ross' take in JUSTICE and POWER OF HOPE), BB&TMOS has become very enjoyable and a valid interpretation.
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