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Wednesday, April 24, 2019 

Polygon sugarcoats Geoff Johns' Shazam retcon as only they can

Some time ago, Polygon wrote about the history of the original Golden Age Captain Marvel, Billy Batson, and along the way, they confirm the recent film draws from the work of a most pretentious modern scriptwriter:
The version of the Marvel/Shazam Family we see in Shazam! is taken directly from Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s Shazam! backup stories in 2011’s Justice League comic, recently collected as Shazam!: Origins. Their retelling of Billy Batson’s origin story was built on a lot of Captain Marvel history — but also on an alternate universe version of the Shazam family from the Johns-written Flashpoint event, which closed the book on DC Comics’ Post-Crisis continuity and paved the way for the New 52.
I've already taken note in the past of how disrespectful it was to the original material, all for the sake of allegedly giving Billy Batson more depth, but only makes it worse. If this is what the screenwriters relied on for building their movie, it's honestly insulting to the intellect.
In the newest Shazam stories at DC Comics, Billy doesn’t adventure alone: He shares his power with his five foster siblings, just like in Shazam! the movie. Mary and Freddy are based on the classic characters of Mary Bromfield and Freddy Freeman, while Pedro, Eugene and Darla are more recent creations.

They’re a Shazam family, but just don’t ask them to tell you what their superhero names are, because if they say Shazam out loud they’ll turn back into kids. I’m not joking. This is a real problem for the group, which Johns and Dale Eaglesham are exploring in their current Shazam! ongoing series.

But whether the Captain Marvel family is six foster siblings or a big brother, a little brother, a sister, and a talking tiger, one thing remains true: The real power of Shazam has always been when Billy Batson shares his gifts with the people he cares about.
Well it's a terrible shame Johns doesn't do the same, and he only seems to care about his own self-righteous beliefs as to what he thinks makes the perfect superhero fare. In fact, why is he even still allowed to write the character if he didn't do a good job the last time? Well, don't expect such a crummy site like Polygon to ask the same.

Even the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette offered up a superficial take, saying:
Captain Marvel Gets a New Name. In 2011, DC Comics relaunched all its comics with the New 52 initiative. New 52 was an attempt to simplify decades of complicated comic book history, and Captain Marvel received an updated origin story by writer Geoff Johns, along with an official name change to Shazam.

The new Shazam! film incorporates multiple elements of the back story introduced by Johns. In 2018, DC debuted a new Shazam! comic book, the character's first continuing series in nearly 20 years. Shazam may never again overtake Superman in popularity, but the box office and critical success of the new film should ensure that a whole new generation will know his name.
Honestly, this makes me even less encouraged than ever when I realize a man who played a part in the destruction of superhero comics is being given an undeserved reward. Similarly, I was not happy when I once learned J. Michael Straczynski had some credit to the Thor movie's screenplay. Unsurprisingly, no objective commentary is offered on how downbeat Johns' 2011 update was, much like his past work that was joyless and annoying too.

And if Fawcett's Captain Marvel never reaches the same popularity as Superman again, it'll be because Johns ensured he wouldn't. But then, even Superman hasn't exactly been a big critical/financial success in a long time, no thanks to terrible writers like Johns either.

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