Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mauro Cascioli Does the Art on TRIALS OF SHAZAM #10

With issue #10 of TRIALS OF SHAZAM, Mauro Cascioli provides both the interior and cover art. The question is this... is he a permanent replacement for Howard Porter (as permanent as 2 remaining issues can be) or is he simply giving Porter some breathing room to finish up the last two issues of this long, drawn-out (pun intended) story?

Porter has been the shining star of TRIALS OF SHAZAM, an ill-conceived updating/continuation/adultification of the Marvel Family mythos. Judd Winick's story provides little excitement as Freddy Freeman tries to prove himself worthy of the title of Shazam. Winick's Freeman is bland. I can't imagine that even the fans who claim to enjoy this story can find Freddy very appealing. He is a one-dimensional character who, incredibly, is out-shone by the equally bland villainess of the tale.

Perhaps that is about to change as Cascioli's cover conveys a sense of real menace to Freddy's opposite number, Sabina. Cascioli's cover of Sabina has eschewed Porter's suburban Mean Girls persona of the character into one that looks genuinely frightening. And that's an unfortunate criticism of Porter's work as there wasn't anything truly scary in TRIALS OF SHAZAM up to this point (well, other than the trampling over of the Marvel Family cast of characters).

If Winick's intent was to Vertigo-ify the Marvel Family mythos with monsters and goblins, Porter's artwork seemed to work against that. It seems like Cascioli may bring that unease to the series.

That's not to say that I'm hoping for that. I would prefer nothing better than for TRIALS OF SHAZAM to fade away like a bad dream in the light of day. Because really, the Marvel Family were born to be bright, shining stars ... super-heroes ... not characters who could give John Constantine a run for his money.

The solicitation of TRIALS OF SHAZAM #11 will reveal if Howard Porter is coming back to the title. I don't know what caused the long delay between issues, perhaps he couldn't find inspiration in Winick's script or maybe he misjudged how long it would take him to complete each issue but if it is illness or personal problems, I certainly hope that Mr. Porter recovers.

Written by Judd Winick; Art and Cover by Mauro Cascioli

Sabina and Freddy race to find the hidden Mercury…as this test is about gaining his speed ability! And if Sabina finds him first, she'll be equal to Freddy in the ultimate Trials for Shazam's power!

DC Universe 32pg. Color $2.99 US

On Sale November 28, 2007

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I happen to like Freddy in this. The problem is that delays have been killing this book, so you end up not caring for any of the characters.