"Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam" Animated Short Talkback (Spoilers)

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James Harvey

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From the creative forces behind the DC Universe Animated Original Movie line, DC Showcase puts the spotlight on favorite characters from throughout the annals of DC Comics in fascinating, short-form tales sure to entertain longtime and new fans alike. DC Showcase Presents...Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam!

DC Showcase: Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam
Release Date: November 9th, 2010

Producer: Bruce Timm
Written by: Michael Jelenic
Directed by: Joaquim Dos Santos

Synopsis: Chosen the world’s protector against the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man – pride, envy, greed, hatred, selfishness, laziness and injustice – young Billy Batson accepts his destiny as Captain Marvel. Battling alongside Superman against nefarious Black Adam, Billy soon discovers the challenge super heroes ultimately face: is it revenge or justice?

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Please post all discussions and comments about the Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam animated short in this thread! Please discuss the other aspects of the home video release of Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam in the proper talkback, as linked below.

Related Threads:
-Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam Blu-ray/DVD Talkback (Spoilers)
-Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam Animated Short Review (Spoilers)
-DC Showcase: Green Arrow Animated Short Talkback (Spoilers)
-DC Showcase: Jonah Hex Animated Short Talkback (Spoilers)
-DC Showcase: The Spectre Animated Short Talkback (Spoilers)
-Batman: The Brave and The Bold "The Power of Shazam!" Talkback (Spoilers)
-Justice League Unlimited "Clash" Talkback (Spoilers)
-Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics Feature Talkback (Spoilers)

Note: Remember, this talkback thread is for discussion of the animated short only. If you wish to talk about the home video release, please click on the appropriate link (s) above. We appreciate and encourage discussion, but please keep your posts civil, relevant and insightful. Please do not post any improper or inflammatory material, as we will issue warnings if we believe it necessary. And remember to keep the discussion ON-TOPIC!
 

Ed Liu

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Maxie Zeus has taken a swing at the DVD: "DC Showcase Animated Original Shorts": Ants in Your Pants



It's not as bad as the splash makes it sound.
 

Edgar

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...ordered it online and, like usual, it arrived a day before release. Only watched the Shazam short and re-watched Green Arrow so far. I didn't notice anything particularly different about the GA short aside from the add of sub-titles. I'm sure if it was supplemented as rumored, it didn't interfere with the story or pacing.

...about Superman/Shazam!: Visually, right on par with the Green Arrow short (no surprise since it's the same character design team of Bourassa, Moore, and Dos Santos ...hoping this is a good sign of things-to-come on Young Justice) ...story was great for the time length. Nice pace and great action.

Voice casting was a "give-and-take". They re-cast Newbern and O'Connell (as Supes and Marvel, respectively) from the "Clash" eppy of JLU ...which was fine. Though, while the casting of Vosloo (of The Mummy) was perfect for Black Adam, I felt the voice for Billy Batson (Zach Callison) sounded far to young to match the character design.

Anyway, I enjoyed it overall and didn't mind the "bang-for-buck" factor. Hope you all enjoy it at least as much as I and I hope this isn't the last DC Animated Short (seems like the only venue to showcase DC's much-loved second-stringers).

I look forward to reading comments from the rest of the TZ community :)
 

Astrolupine

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I certainly hope this isn't the last Showcase collection either... this for $20 is more of a bargain than the 2-disc editions of the main features.
(And I'm not all that interested in those discs' extras myself, sorry.)
 

James Harvey

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Warner Home Video has released a new interview with director Joaquim Dos Santos - along with new images, clips and press releases - promoting today's release of Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam to home video. Click here to view the new content at The World's Finest. A review of Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam is also available at The WF DVD Report.
 

BigFatHairyDeal

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The short was okay. It was a tad longer than a JLU episode, but basically felt like a more action-driven and less plot-oriented episode. Liked the interaction between Clark and Billy. I would've liked a little more between Cap and Supes. I'm extremely glad it wasn't a Cap vs. Supes thing. Black Adam seemed to be better in battle than either of the heroes, for better or for worse.
 

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Remember that great "Shazam!" moment in the old Filmation televison series where we see and hear Billy Batson say the Wizard's name with a commanding echo followed by thunder, lightning, smoke, and his transformation into Captain Marvel?

Well, it's nowhere to be seen in this feature.

Which is unfortunate, because that could have helped me like this Showcase short more.

Let's just say I was a bit disappointed. As many times as Billy says the word to transform, they used some other clever way to do it -- two of which are never actually seen or heard.

Anyway, as a whole, it's not a bad feature, and I still recommend seeing it, but I'd rank it lower than The Spectre and Green Arrow shorts.
 

the greenman

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I'm a minor Capn Marvel fan. Back in the day when I was a huge comic collector I bought a bunch of random books of his. I got into his history and mythos, and being a Savage Dragon fan at the time, I appreciated his wild unpredictable rogues gallery.

This short an okay entry. The action, direction/storyboarding, and designs were great. Script wise, it felt a lot like the STAS episode In Brightest Day that introduced Green Lantern. Here we have Black Adam in lieu of Sinestro. Tawky was surprising, and it wouldv'e been nice to give a shout out to another villian. I definitely don't think it was as good as Spectre which just seems to be the best of the series so far.
 

DerekPowers

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My reaction when it was over was "Meh".

Wasnt bad, but nothing to talk about.

The problem is the lack of characterization, emotion, and storytelling.

I don't know why Superman was even in it. I feel it prevented them from really exploring Captain Marvel's universe.

Plus, I've said it before and I'll say it again: They just haven't done Superman right since STAS. I think George Newborn is a terrible voice for Superman, and the way he's written here is very flat and 2-dimensional. In STAS Superman was written as a smart character, who often defeated enemies and got out of tough situations using brains and intelligence, while here, as in most of his animated incarnations since STAS, he solves EVERYTHING using force, and that's the problem. Plus, compared to his STAS counterpart, who had loads of personality and character, here he has no personality and seems rather brainless, because he's never shown actually using his brain.

The whole "Be Good Billy" thing was corny. I'd rather they had that point reflected in the actual storytelling, instead of just empty words to remind you Superman is suppose to be "good". Eh, it felt really soul-less.

The one thing this had going for it was beautiful animation, great designs, great staging and fight choreography, which has become the norm for the DCU dtvs. It doesnt fail to impress on that level, and I feel they keep making progress in that regard. I just wish more time would be spent on story and character and emotion. How many times can we watch two flying men punch eachother through buildings for 20 minutes?? They need to study what made BTAS and STAS great, and start emulating that more. Its as if they think all we want is cool fights, as if they think its not cool to do anything else. This short seems to scream "Look how 'cool' and 'cutting edge' we are because we know how to do big fights". What they dont seem to realize is that if the cool fights aren't anchored by strong characters, storytelling, and emotion, they fail to please on almost every level. You seen one, you seen em all, no matter how well animated and staged they are.

Here's how I rank the shorts:

Jonah Hex
Green Arrow
Captain Marvel
Spectre
 
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JTMarsh

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Just watched it. Thought it was pretty decent, but I would have preferred a 60-70 minute full on adaptaiton of "Superman/Shazam: First Thunder". At a little over 20 minutes it basically feels like the pilot for a Shazam/Captain Marvel series (which sadly probably won't happen for another 100 years) with Superman as the extra-special guest star brought in to help the new guy get off to a good start. I would have also liked to have seen the punks get their comeuppance rather than leave us with the Thunderbolt.

Voice acting was fine all around.

About Superman using his brains less after his solo series... well there were two eps of Justice League where he got to. It was Superman, not Batman, who figured out what was going on in the GL ep "In Blackest Night", and "Hereafter Part 2" was basically all about Superman using his wits to survive a desolute future. Just saying. ;)
 
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theRedDeath

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Just saw it. I thought it was very good, but while the action was excellent (It's okay if Superman is challenged/beaten physically because that makes us sympathize with the character. It's only when he jobs to Deus Ex Machina's like Kryptonite that it's cheap) the actual dialogue however could have used a lot more finesse.

One of the challenges of writing Superman, that Captain Marvel shares, is the core of his character is his unrelenting determination to do good and exemplify the potential virtue within us all. In the hands of a heavy-handed writer that kind of profound sentiment can come off as superficial or too corny to believe, and I think this short suffered from that kind of problem. Both with Superman/Clark's lessons for Billy, and when the wizard Shazam was explaining why Billy was chosen, the dialogue was a little stiff and uninspired.

Other than that though the short was animated very well, had great action, Superman looked great, and it was nice to hear George Newbern back as the voice of Superman.

---
 

Bat-Fan Beyond

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Remember that great "Shazam!" moment in the old Filmation televison series where we see and hear Billy Batson say the Wizard's name with a commanding echo followed by thunder, lightning, smoke, and his transformation into Captain Marvel?

Well, it's nowhere to be seen in this feature.

Which is unfortunate, because that could have helped me like this Showcase short more.

Let's just say I was a bit disappointed. As many times as Billy says the word to transform, they used some other clever way to do it -- two of which are never actually seen or heard.

Anyway, as a whole, it's not a bad feature, and I still recommend seeing it, but I'd rank it lower than The Spectre and Green Arrow shorts.

Just quoting myself here, because I wanted to reiterate adamantly about how with as many times Billy changes into Captain Marvel in this short, it is not once done in any dynamic fashion, but instead is done in repeated attempt to be clever. To me, the transformation into Captain Marvel is an essential part of what makes him appealing and it's what pumps me up even more than Superman opening his shirt and exposing his "S" or Batman putting on his cowl. The only onscreen transformation that possibly comes close to being as cool as "SHAZAM!" is the classic Linda Carter spin into Wonder Woman or David/Bruce Banner's very different metamorphosis into The Incredible Hulk. But Captain Marvel has them beat with that one magic word and the effect that should accompany it. It's the most affective prelude to any boy's wish fulfillment. And it's not to be seen here, which is unfortunate, because even in the Justice League episode "Clash" we get it twice, but sadly only when Capt. Marvel is changing back into Billy.

It's just too many missed opportunities here for one of the greatest transformation sequences in comic book history to be seen on screen again. Oh well, I guess there's always those crappy Filmation productions, but at least they had that part right.

Well anyway, after watching this Superman/Shazam! short for the third time, I still enjoyed it somewhat, but I've come to the conclusion that it is my least favorite of the four Showcase shorts we've seen so far. And that's not only because my beloved transformation scene was lacking; I just think it was weaker all around than the others.

1. The Spectre
2. Green Arrow
3. Jonah Hex
4. Superman/Shazam
 
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NBM05

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Just quoting myself here, because I wanted to reiterate adamantly about how with as many times Billy changes into Captain Marvel in this short, it is not once done in any dynamic fashion, but instead is done in repeated attempt to be clever. To me, the transformation into Captain Marvel is an essential part of what makes him appealing and it's what pumps me up even more than Superman opening his shirt and exposing his "S" or Batman putting on his cowl. The only onscreen transformation that possibly comes close to being as cool as "SHAZAM!" is the classic Linda Carter spin into Wonder Woman or David/Bruce Banner's very different metamorphosis into The Incredible Hulk. But Captain Marvel has them beat with that one magic word and the effect that should accompany it. It's the most affective prelude to any boy's wish fulfillment. And it's not to be seen here, which is unfortunate, because even in the Justice League episode "Clash" we get it twice, but sadly only when Capt. Marvel is changing back into Billy.

It's just too many missed opportunities here for one of the greatest transformation sequences in comic book history to be seen on screen again. Oh well, I guess there's always those crappy Filmation productions, but at least they had that part right.

Well anyway, after watching this Superman/Shazam! short for the third time, I still enjoyed it somewhat, but I've come to the conclusion that it is my least favorite of the four Showcase shorts we've seen so far. And that's not only because my beloved transformation scene was lacking; I just think it was weaker all around than the others.

1. The Spectre
2. Green Arrow
3. Jonah Hex
4. Superman/Shazam


It's always interesting to see the different opinions people have, and it points out how difficult it must be for creators to try to please large audiences (which is why they're probably best served simply trying to please themselves and finding a following of people who like what they do).

I personally found absolutely nothing wrong with the way (or number of times) Billy transformed in the short. As for some of the tranformations being used as a source of amusement--the one where he was flying and said "Shazam" played out organically and was amusing, so I found no fault with it. Some people actually really liked it.

You rank The Specter as the best of these, but like Derekpowers, I rank it the worst (although our lists differ quite a bit after that).

My ranking would be:

Superman/Shazam
Green Arrow
Jonah Hex
The Specter

I could very easily put Green Arrow at the top, though, with Superman/Shazam second. To me, Green Arrow and Superman/Shazam are easily at the top of the list. Superman/Shazam had a great look, great animation, and great action, with a fun story. Green Arrow was all around great with a surprisingly good story (I just wish it was longer). I liked Jonah Hex quite a bit, and also liked The Specter, but while I thought the style of the Specter was really interesting, I found the story pretty basic and unengaging. There's really no threat or suspense. The unstoppable Specter's just dishing out vengeance with no chance of being stopped and no real surprises.

Overall, I like the Showcase shorts a lot, and I hope they keep making them, attaching them to other releases, then collecting them. I'll keep buying if they do.
 

Bat-Fan Beyond

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I personally found absolutely nothing wrong with the way (or number of times) Billy transformed in the short. As for some of the tranformations being used as a source of amusement--the one where he was flying and said "Shazam" played out organically and was amusing, so I found no fault with it. Some people actually really liked it.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I have no problem with any of the clever ways Billy Batson transforms, or the number of them, I just wish there had been at least one moment, as I said, done in that famous iconic way where Billy stands straight up and says "SHAZAM!" with a commanding echo followed by thunder, lightning, and smoke, transforming him into the World's Mightiest Mortal: Captain Marvel!

Just once, that's all.
 

ABrown

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i'm extremely glad it wasn't a cap vs. Supes thing. Black adam seemed to be better in battle than either of the heroes, for better or for worse.

Completely disagree with you there. I much would've preferred seeing Cap vs Sups. I loved the JLU episode where they fought. And I loved their battle in Superman/Batman:public Enemies as well.

my reaction when it was over was "meh". Wasnt bad, but nothing to talk about. The problem is the lack of characterization, emotion, and storytelling. I don't know why superman was even in it. I feel it prevented them from really exploring captain marvel's universe.

Took the word right out of my mouth. "Meh" is exactly what I was thinking as well. I also was thinking to my self "why is Superman even in this?"

plus, i've said it before and i'll say it again: They just haven't done superman right since stas. I think george newborn is a terrible voice for superman

Gonna have to disagree with you on that one. I loved George Newbern as Superman. Especially when he had to portray Superman as P'd off about something.

just watched it. Thought it was pretty decent, but i would have preferred a 60-70 minute full on adaptaiton of "superman/shazam: First thunder". At a little over 20 minutes it basically feels like the pilot for a shazam/captain marvel series

I agree. This felt a little rushed. Might've been better off as a 65-70 minute full length DC Universe feature.
 

JTMarsh

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I'd rank Superman/Shazam higher than Jonah Hex, but then again, Jonah Hex never really interested me.
 

Goof Troop

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. It's the most affective prelude to any boy's wish fulfillment. And it's not to be seen here, which is unfortunate, because even in the Justice League episode "Clash" we get it twice, but sadly only when Capt. Marvel is changing back into Billy.

In "Clash" Billy transforms into Capt Marvel just before he fights Superman.

It's just too many missed opportunities here for one of the greatest transformation sequences in comic book history to be seen on screen again.


But I agree, a more classic and iconic transformation would have been welcome - at least the first time he does it...
 

Bat-Fan Beyond

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In "Clash" Billy transforms into Capt Marvel just before he fights Superman.

My mistake. Having not seen the episode in awhile, I reviewed it quickly this morning in super fast-forward speed, not really watching it, but more looking to see if there were any transformations of Billy to CM the way had described I wanted it. I must have past that scene without noticing that there actually was one in the episode. But, yes, you are correct, and that is exactly what I was hoping to see in the Superman/Shazam short -- only a bit more epic in feel with maybe an echo effect when "SHAZAM!" is spoken.


But I agree, a more classic and iconic transformation would have been welcome - at least the first time he does it...

I'm glad you agree. I'm feeling all alone with this. But I'm not too sure the first time Billy says it would have been right, since he obviously wasn't aware of how to do it or what was going to happen. Still, it would have been nice to see it done at least once during the course of the short.

For those unsure of what I mean, take a look at this --> YouTube - SHAZAM! series overture
 

BigFatHairyDeal

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Completely disagree with you there. I much would've preferred seeing Cap vs Sups. I loved the JLU episode where they fought. And I loved their battle in Superman/Batman:public Enemies as well.

I think it'd be just too much if two heroes had 3 animated meetings and not once did they ever cooperate.
 

Bat-Fan Beyond

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I think it'd be just too much if two heroes had 3 animated meetings and not once did they ever cooperate.

I agree. Although the 3 meetings are not within the same continuity, it is a nice change of pace to have Superman and Captain Marvel on the same side for once. I actually like the idea of having Superman as a positive influence and idol to Billy. They also did that in "Clash" and yet they still found a way to make them fight against each other.

Just as I don't need to see another fight between Superman and Batman until they do an animated adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns, I'm hoping that I don't see another Superman vs. Captain Marvel fight until they do an animated adaptation of Kingdom Come.
 

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