Monday, July 13, 2009

Super-Powered Comics: Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil

One of my goals when I originally started this blog was to not only focus on the superhero in every form of fiction, but also to focus on the superhero as portrayed by independent creators. The usual Marvel and DC talents are often great, true talents, but they get enough focus in my humble opinion.

So my first stop on my look at independent talent is... Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil.

Yes, it’s a DC book, but its creator is far from a mainstream name. Or, perhaps he is a mainstream name, considering the sales of the Scholastic re-releases of his seminal indy comic, Bone.

Inspired by the forties-era serial of the same name, The Monster Society of Evil shortens the original tale and combines it with Captain Marvel’s origin. But Dr. Sivana, the talking gators, giant robots, and Mister Mind remain.

While somewhat short on traditional Captain Marvel action, Shazam! still gives us solid story that looks at Billy and Mary Batson in a new light. Recurring allies Mary Marvel (in a fascinating new form) and Mr. Tawky Tawny (also revised for realism) make appearances, and both serve as stalwart allies as Billy searches for a way to save the city from Mister Mind’s malicious plot.

As anyone who has seen Bone would know, the art is absolutely gorgeous. Smith is a master of his craft, able to combine realism and animation styles in to a style absolutely perfect for Captain Marvel and company.

This series was overlooked for any number of reasons when it was originally released. But now that an affordable trade paperback edition is now available, no one has an excuse to pass up one of the finest super-powered limited series of the last few years.

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