Thursday, May 28, 2015

"Shazam" Convergence Review, part 1

After having been out of the comic book market for a month and a half due to my trip to the medieval combat world championships (my documentary of the USA Knights is coming soon) so I finally got a chance to catch up on the whole "Convergence" thing happening with DC Comics and the role of the original Captain Marvel in it.

It started, if you will, with the "Multiversity" event, a storyline in which the different universes of the "New 52" were explored, some being developments of "Elseworlds" concepts from years ago, some being brand new interpretations of DC characters and superhero tropes, and one being a new interpretation of the classic hero and his word from Fawcett Comics.

As regular readers of this blog know, the original Captain Marvel was acquired by DC Comics in 1972 and his stories began pretty much where they left off, with an explanation of how the Big Red Cheese, Junior, Mary, the Sivanas, and most of the other back-up characters had been trapped in a vessel of "suspendium" for 20 years. DC also explained that these characters existed on "Earth S," a parallel Earth in which the regular DC characters did not exist. After the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" of 1986, all the alternate universes were combined into one, and some major characters, including the Big Red Cheese, were "rebooted" and given slightly different interpretations.

Then the New 52 hit in 2012, and DC rebooted their entire universe and every character in it. They established that there are 52 alternate universes and implied that there was an "Earth 5" that appeared to be a copy of Earth S (5 = S, get it?).  It was stated publicly, however, that Earth 5 was not Earth S and that we would find out, someday, what it was.

What it was was revealed in the Multiversity one-shot "Thunderworld." This was a fun, entertaining romp written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Cameron Stewart that introduced the world of Earth 5, in which the Marvel Family, with the help of Tawny, Uncle, and the Lieutenant Marvels defended Fawcett City from the Sivana Family and the Monster Society, as Dr. Sivana captured the Rock of Eternity and stole enough suspendium with the help of alternate-universe Sivanas to create an 8th day of the week. It was a brilliant combination of the hokey ficto-science and adventure of the classic Fawcett stories with multi-cosmic and, frankly, disturbing elements of Multiverse.

In "Thunderworld," the re-interpretations of certain classic elements (The Lieutenant Marvels now included Uncle and Tawny and were a uniformed, rocket-packed, sci-fi-weapon-bearing squadron, and Billy used a cell phone with his updated backpack broadcasting equipment) were handled lightly and not out of character with what one might expect from an organic progression of the characters from the 1940's. Dr. Sivana's motivations were consistent with the character, making him the perfect character to begin to explore the evil implications of a multiverse. The conclusion gave us a perfectly satisfactory twist and a closing that was consistent with anything Otto Binder ever wrote. The whole story was applauded by the great majority of fans of the World's Mightiest Mortal, and we all wanted to see more.

So when "Convergence" was announced, we waited with bated breath to see how it would turn out...

No comments: