Wrecking Shangri-La

Madame Xanadu #20

Our flashback to Britain’s earliest history continues, through the eyes of Nimue, the future Madame Xanadu. The Romans have invaded, and Morgana is amusing herself by meddling in human affairs, in more ways than one. Nimue generally disapproves of everything she does, because that’s what she seems to do best. The sisters meet up with a young Merlin, who’s better at fortunetelling than Nimue is, and Morgana tries to destroy Camelot before it’s even begun.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Really just wildly not thrilled with this particular story — it sure makes Nimue sound like the original Miss Disapproval. She’s always sticking her nose in Morgana’s business and whining about whatever she’s doing. And I’m getting a bit frustrated that we’ve got a whole huge storyarc stuffed inside another storyarc. Can we please finish up one storyarc at a time?

Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #13

Billy and Mary Batson are visiting the museum for a school field trip — complicated by the fact that Captain Marvel is supposed to make an appearance, so Billy has to somehow get away from his teacher and classmates so he can make the switch. Complicating things even more: Theo Adam, the amnesiac alter-ego of Black Adam, is in attendance, and he is suspicious of why Billy and Mary seem strangely familiar to him. And complicating things even more than that: a kid named Freddy Freeman who’s stuck in a wheelchair because Captain Marvel wasn’t able to keep his apartment building from collapsing, so he hates the Marvels. What’s it all lead to? Even more complications.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Mike Norton is the new artist on this one, and his style is really wonderful. As for the story, it’s great fun. We get the introduction of Freddy Freeman, we get a nice new storyline featuring crazy Theo Adam, we get Captain Marvel checking to see if his fly is open, we get Mary getting stuck inside a giant hourglass. It’s crazy and chaotic and an excellent read.

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