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Shazam & the Monster Society of Evil TP Paperback – Mar 10 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics (March 10 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401209742
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401209742
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 0.5 x 25.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #196,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Captain Marvel returns in a new incarnation, aimed at a younger audience, by Smith, the award-winning creator of Bone. Billy Batson, a young orphan living in a condemned building, follows a mysterious figure into the subway one day and is taken to a wizard who tells him that just by speaking one word—Shazam!—he can transform into the superpowered Captain Marvel. His brand-new ability arrives none too soon, because talking alligators and giant robots are showing up all over the city. Unfortunately, Billy has just learned something else—he has a sister who is not content to wait on the sidelines while Billy gets to save the world. Smith brings to this project his considerable talent in creating comics that are as fun for children as they are for adults. The art is brightly colored and engaging, and the young characters at the center of the story are adorable. Unfortunately, the heavy-handed political allegory takes away from the charm somewhat. Longtime fans of the series may be dismayed by the radical changes to the continuity. Newcomers, however, will find plenty to be entertained by in Smith's lively reinvention.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"Smith recasts the Captain Marvel origin story in a kid-friendly sci-fi/fantasy vein, making boy hero Billy Batson into an urchin on the verge of becoming another Harry Potter. Slick, bright, emotional and witty, The Monster Society of Evil is everything super hero comics should be. Grade: A-."

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Format: Hardcover
Jeff Smith reimagines Captain Marvel’s origins, drawing not only from the Fawcett canon, but also from more incongruous sources such as Middle-Eastern myths and popular physics. These many inspirations are largely ornamental and do not crowd out a story which reads like an urban fairytale. The writer/artist does not presume our prior acquaintance with the characters; while we do get the sense that the events take place in a world which extends beyond the story’s purview, the plot is cleanly contained within the book’s 206 pages. Smith’s retelling is therefore eminently accessible, vibrant with character and raw energy.

Despite the tale’s light-hearted, child-friendly tone, Smith manages to throw some strong emotional punches. Captain Marvel’s struggle is not primarily with the cosmic but rather with the mundane; it is the day-to-day troubles of Billy Batson’s life on the streets which stir up the most pathos.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 24 reviews
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
A Captain Marvel for all to enjoy. Epic tribute from Jeff Smith. Nov. 16 2007
By Michael F. Hopkins - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
(From an extended feature, copyright 2007 Michael F. Hopkins)

This is an excellent time for Captain Marvel. Buoyed by the
stalwart work of Jerry Ordway throughout the 1990s, one
of Comicdom's elder characters is currently enjoying some
prime treatment from an array of top notch talents, from the
current TRIALS OF SHAZAM from Judd Winick, to the superb
one-shot SHAZAM: POWER OF HOPE from Paul Dini and Alex
Ross. The one many have been waiting for, the Sequential
saga from the pioneering author of BONE, is finally here.
Jeff Smith's SHAZAM: THE MONSTER SOCIETY OF EVIL is now
assembled in one highly impressive volume from DC Comics,
its oversized pages full of the wide-eyed wonder and
satiric wit which has distinguished the finest Captain Marvel
adventures across the decades.

In fact, the character's daring and whimsy has never been
handled better than here, in this cavalcade of thrills and
charm, magic galore and perils deeply rooted in the current
day. One look at Smith's rendition of Sivana, a holder of
high office mouthing self-serving platitudes borne dead
from the political cesspools of post-2001 Americana, and
you begin to feel the unique genius of this tale. Balance
this with his Billy Batson and Captain Marvel, as much a
wry nod to Alan Moore's MARVELMAN (No small miracle here)
as they are incisive hat tips to author Otto Binder and
artist C.C. Beck, and you perceive the achingly humorous
and meticulously wise work which Smith has wrought.

If that's not enough, try the outrageously effective
re-working of Mary Marvel as a precocious child grounded
in sheer nerve, linking the child in us all to teach this
generation what's at stake (check her final confrontation
with Sivana, if you doubt). As for Talky Tawny, the creator
of BONE's roguish tiger Rocque Ja brings an exceptional
take to one of the most revered characters of the entire
Captain Marvel mythos. As jocular as ever, Tawny bears a
whole new dignity and impact which further distinguishes
this tale as a standout epic.

Don't worry about fitting this tale into continuity (Which
one?). SHAZAM: THE MONSTER SOCIETY OF EVIL is a whopping
great storybook, filled with good vs. evil, monsters big
and small, and a colorful, hearty compassion which reaches
out to all willing to read this tale on its own merits.

Turn the fawcett on, and drink deep.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Jeff Smith's take on Shazam! gets a lot right. Oct. 13 2011
By T.M. Finney - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The magic of Shazam was always that a kid, with one magic word, could become a superhero. Jeff Smith recognized that and made the story about a young Billy Batson. In this version, Smith takes his ques not only from the original comic, but also from Harry Potter, and plays up Billy's homeless orphan roots, and builds sympathy for a good kid living a hard-luck life whose life is changed for the better by wizardry.

Smith, whose art remains crisp, clean and clear throughout, is at his best early on when he riffs off Otto Binder and C.C. Beck's origin tale. I loved the mysterious elements of the story when I was a kid, and Smith captures them perfectly while adding his own little touches here and there, and when Billy finally says the magic word and becomes Captain Marvel for the first time, even if, like me, you've seen it many times before, it is a glorious moment.

Like the Golden Age stories, Billy's and the good Captain's personalities are different. Billy, like his Hogwart's counterpart, is a bit mischievous in an adventurous sense, and not always mindful of his elder's warnings, which of course, leads to trouble. However, he is also streetwise, brave, caring and capable in his own right when dealing with the non-magical portions of his "reality." Captain Marvel, on the other hand, is the steadfast and faithful adult guardian capable of incredible feats of super-heroic daring, but he is also a bit naive and so new to the modern world that he's never even had the pleasure of eating a hotdog.

However, while Smith's take on Billy, Captain Marvel and Shazam were simply modern takes on the originals, many of the supporting characters get completely reworked. For instance, Mary Marvel is changed from a teen-ager, slightly older than Billy, to a smaller and younger kid sister. Also, unlike Billy, who becomes the adult Captain Marvel, Mary remains the same age when she transforms into her magical counterpart and retains her own cute and spunky personality.

Another Golden Age character, Mr. Tawky Tawny, a talking tiger with a penchant for wearing suit and ties, is changed into a shape-shifting magical guardian who looks after Billy. He doesn't quite have the charm of the original, but I imagine this iteration is more in keeping with the times.

Where I think Smith comes up short is in his take on the villains. Dr. Sivana, who was a weird and wonderful mad scientist in the Golden Age stories, becomes a less than impressive evil government bureaucrat whose motivations are less than clear. Also, the titular Monster Society is just some randomly weird monsters who run around attacking people at the behest of the mysterious Mr. Mind. While I will leave it to the reader to discover Smith's take on Mr. Mind and his origins, the final struggle felt a bit rushed and its conclusion a tad unsatisfying.

All in all, however, this is the kind comic book that I wish there were move of these days. I can imagine younger kids, boys and girls, reading this with a sense of whimsy and wonder, but like Harry Potter, older readers can enjoy it too.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I really liked it July 23 2014
By Kurt A. Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This graphic novel puts together the entire story-arc presented in SHAZAM!: THE MONSTER SOCIETY OF EVIL 1-4, retelling the story of Billy Batson and the origin of Captain Marvel. Billy Batson is a homeless boy, on the mean streets of New York City. But, when he rides a fantastic train he meets a wizard named Shazam, and he unleashes the power of Captain Marvel. But, when Billy’s curiosity gets to be too much for him, and he travels beyond the beginning of the universe, he unleashes a power from beyond time. Can Billy and Marvel overcome the mysterious Monster Society of Evil? Read and find out.

I must admit to being somewhat ignorant of the Golden Age Captain Marvel, and as such, I cannot discuss how this Marvel is different than that one. But, what I can discuss is what I think about this here book. Well, I must admit that I really liked it. Too many modern comics are too adult, focusing on politics or the political issue de jour, whereas this graphic novel tells a great adventure story that is sure to please any young fan of superhero stories. Heck, I loved it myself.

Now, there are some problems with the story – the relationship of Billy and Marvel is rather strange. But, in spite of that I did think that it was a fun and highly entertaining story. I loved this book, and highly recommend it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A lovely tribute to a treasured memory. Feb. 2 2014
By Phillip Stewart - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
What a pleasant surprise this story is. A comic book story that can be shared with children (What a concept!!) yet does't talk down to them. A story adults can enjoy yet has an air of innocence about it. Leave it to Jeff Smith to capture just the right tone in this terrific Captain Marvel (You say Shazam, I say tomato) story. Mr. Smith's artwork strikes just the right tone for this story. There is just enough realism to give the story a little (but not too much) edge, while maintaining some of the cartoon like sweetness of his Bone characters.
The story is the basic origin story written in a way that I find refreshing. Captain Marvel was always intended to be more innocent and less dark than the other Superhero characters, and this story captures that sweetness without being cloying in any way. The art perfectly matches the story here, I could see this comic coming out in my youth (I'm sixty now) and this is a very big point for me. I read all the time about what will be the future of comics, how do you compete with all the other things vying for young peoples' time? How about more comics aimed at the younger audience? Not dumbed down, but kid friendly. Mr. Smith seems to have found just the right balance of storytelling and humor for a broad audience. He has never failed to entertain me, and I wouldn't be afraid of a youngster getting a look at it. In fact, I would encourage it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Young Man Does Good! Oct. 2 2013
By "Average" Joe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A great original story of Billy Batson and how he becomes the "Mightiest Marvel", and the mystery of who is Mr. Mind, and what is the Monster Society?! The art is a throwback to the Sunday Serials which brings the nostalgia, the writing is wonderful, overall it's one of my favorite reads of one of my favorite DC characters!


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