I have not bought any of this series until today when at my LCS, I did break down and buy this newest issue. The artwork's good; I don't totally hate the costume; for half a second as I flipped thru it, the new Shazam family looked cool.
But I am 100% with you on the character himself. Do we really have to see Billy crying before the big Shazam squad reveal? From all the description you've offered here as well as the prior issues I've perused, there is absolutely no heroic behavior on display by this "Shazam".
He reminds me of the Prime character from Malibu in the 90s, which was a Cap Marvel rip going with the 'he has the kid's mind while in adult super form' premise. It was interesting and palatable because it wasn't the real Captain Marvel. The real Captain Marvel has superhuman wisdom and courage, and embodies the larger-than-life heroic qualities of Hercules, Achilles, Zeus, etc.
DC will 'get it' the day they realize a successful Cap Marvel depiction will echo the great stories of myth and legend, on the scale of Hercules' labors, the Iliad, the Old Testament. Cap fans are classical myth fans.
This "Shazam" is not the real Captain Marvel, and owes more to Prime and as we've come to say "'Big' in tights" which frankly sucks for this historical great hero who was conceived in the WWII 'America's Greatest Generation' era.
Billy Batson would never CRY because he or his loved ones were being threatened, even in his plain Billy form. Who is the target audience for this new "Shazam"? Who would want to be him?
The real Captain Marvel comes from a time when kids had 'moxie', embodies classic heroes and deities from mankind's mythical age, and has a costume based on 19th century military garb. He killed people in his original 1940s serial (a mature brutality echoed in this year's "Man of Steel" film where the boy scout [SPOILER]********snaps General Zod's neck).
Yet while Superman grows up on the big screen, "Shazam" is reduced to a sniveling punk who needs six other "Shazams" to stand up to Geoff Johns' darling, Black Adam. It is an insult to the history of the character.
I regret buying this issue on impulse and pray this version of "Shazam" NEVER makes it to the big screen under Geoff Johns' stewardship.
You modernize the character by - for Billy -exploring what is the 21st century equivalent of 'moxie' and - for Cap - exemplifying a heroic/classical scale and flavor. As you build on it, Cap remains serious and potent while his world and supporting cast reflect whimsy, humor, weirdness, and so forth.
The real Captain Marvel abides, timeless on the Rock of Eternity, awaiting the proper respectful depiction due this great hero who inspired 'America's Greatest Generation' and those since. Hopefully Grant Morrison, Jeff Smith and others will give us a closer realization of the real thing while "Shazam" whimpers off into the sunset.
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