Friday, 19 November 2010

Superman / Shazam: The Return of Black Adam

Bulletin brief at just under twenty five minutes, Superman / Shazam: The Return of Black Adam reads like a whizz-bang proof of concept for a gestating series. The short ropes in Superman for visibility, noodling about with Clark's less documented weakness for magic as a springboard for our ostensibly similar hero. This emphasis on the fantastical gives the speculative Captain Marvel show a sense of identity explicitly separate from Superman's sci-fi slanted animated adventures.

Marvel's foe is fun too. Black Adam is a vandal reflection driven insane by access to limitless power and longevity. There's even a whiff of Alan Moore's Kid Marvelman in how Adam's allowed his super identity to completely phase out his mortal state. Despite paying lip-service to Moore's human cataclysm, Superman / Shazam ends up lighter and brighter than recent DC animation.

Captain Marvel's world is whimsical. His powers revolve around ill explained rules presented by a doddering ancient. Supporting players casually transform into animals and enemies fade to dust at the prospect of punishment. This could be the perfect post-Avatar: The Last Airbender vehicle for director Joaquim Dos Santos's 80s anime instincts. Captain Marvel would allow for high impact alley-oop fights whilst underscoring the bruising with a pervasive irreverence and childlike illogic. This could be Dos Santos' Dragon Ball.

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