Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Trials of Shazam! in DCU: Brave New World #1 (August, 2006)

At the Rock of Eternity, the Spectre and the wizard Shazam did unnatural battle that shattered its setting and unleashed chaos. In Cairo, Egypt, Dr. Fate attempted to capture a creature that had never entered our universe before, given purchase by the erosion of magical safeguards older than mankind. "New York City. Zatanna bravely tries to shut a dimensional warp tear. It was enveloping commuters into a sixth level underworld slave dimension." The Shade battled a centuries dead foe in Madrid, and on, and on.

Captain Marvel Junior was dealing with three Iron Goblins in Prague when his powers gave out, leaving the handicapped Freddy Freeman to be punched through a plate glass window. Mary Marvel was flying over Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with a Fire Harpy when a suddenly powerless Mary Batson began a deadly free fall.

Captain Marvel himself wrangled with a Nordic Ice Giant in Antarctica. A sudden, unexpected power boost saw the World's Mightiest Mortal deliver a blow with such force that the giant's continued life was in doubt. The Big Red Cheese was surprised to catch his own reflection, and see a white bolt of hair now rested upon his head.

"The Trials of Shazam!" was by Judd Winick & Howard Porter. Not a bad set-up, especially if one has decided to convey the bare basics in the preview and save the meat for the mini-series. I heard the book was pretty good, especially by Winick standards, with the unfortunate exception that it wasn't really geared for the starring characters. Seeing as this opened the door for Cry For Justice and the Black Mary of Final Crisis, it's tough not to look back through jaundiced eyes, or dismiss the endeavor altogether. It's a shame Porter didn't continue in this quasi-painted style, as it's probably his best looking work since the early issues of JLA. I assume time was a factor, even though the book ended up taken over by an actual painter in the end.

Brave New World

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