I love the DC Comics superhero who is a little boy who shouts “Shazam!” and turns into an adult-size superhero in a red suit. Genuinely, he’s a great classic character who’s had some really sensible tweaks to transform him into a really smart modern found family superhero story for all ages.
I hate that he doesn’t have a name.
We used to call him Captain Marvel, and I accept that this is no longer an option (even though he had it first). But it’s simply not feasible that we call him Shazam. For one, he can’t have a name that forces him to transform every time he says it out loud. For another, Shazam is already the name of the wizard who gave him his powers. But most frustratingly for me, a person who writes about comics — if his name is Shazam, what do I call his sister?
She used to be Mary Marvel, but it isn’t any more, for obvious reasons. If I call her Mary Bromfield nobody knows who I’m talking about. Am I supposed to call her Billy Batson’s sister Mary? Gross!
And so, every time DC Comics writers prep for a new take on Billy Batson, his family, and Shazam — as they did in this week’s Lazarus Planet #4 — I wait with bated breath. Will they end my torment? Will they finally rename Billy Batson’s superhero identity? Only time, and DC’s new Shazam! series will tell.
But in the meantime I really like the way they redid Billy and Mary’s powers in Lazarus Planet.
What else is happening in the pages of our favorite comics? We’ll tell you. Welcome to Monday Funnies, Polygon’s weekly list of the books that our comics editor enjoyed this past week. It’s part society pages of superhero lives, part reading recommendations, part “look at this cool art.” There may be some spoilers. There may not be enough context. But there will be great comics. (And if you missed the last edition, read this.)
Recap time: Some time ago, Billy lost his ability to share his powers with his family. Then the Wizard teamed up with some Greek gods to take over humanity and took Billy’s powers away to do it. Also, in somewhat unrelated events, Wonder Woman’s mom Queen Hippolyta died and ascended to divinity as the goddess of the Amazons.
With the close of the Lazarus Planet event, which saw magic and divinity across Earth go haywire, the Wizard regains his faith in Billy, and Hippolyta gains an equal affection for Mary. Billy still can’t share his powers with her, but he doesn’t need to. Mary has her own sextet of goddesses — Hippolyta included — in her corner. It’s a throwback to the original origins of Mary Marvel, and a great use of Hippolyta, a character who doesn’t otherwise get much play outside of Wonder Woman stories.
Deadpool has fallen in love with a nonbinary mutant scientist with syringes for fingers, and they’re going on cute all-day dates while Deadpool’s new pet — an offspring of the Carnage symbiote that was incubated in his stomach — eats all the assassins trying to kill them. I’m proudly shedding a tear as I say: This is the future liberals want.
I admit I was skeptical of a new Doom Patrol series that leaned the group closer towards uniforms and superheroics, but writer Dennis Culver and artist Chris Burnham have impressed me with their first issue, especially with their attention to including earlier incarnations of the team. And OK, OK, maybe I’m just a sucker for Gerard Way’s run, but it’s just nice to see Lotion the anthropomorphic cat in a motorcycle jacket.
Speaking of futures the liberals want: The mutant chimera who looks like Colossus (Kate Pryde’s ex-fiance) and Illyana Rasputin (Kate Pryde’s long-time queer coded “best friend”) combined has, as many other characters from averted future timelines have, taken up residence in present X-Men continuity. And the first thing that happens is a finally canonically bisexual Kate Pryde walks up to her to say “How YOU doin’?”