Superman/Shazam The Return of Black Adam is the latest incarnation of the DC Showcase line of animated features. This one however is a little deceiving since the main feature with Superman and Shazam is only a half hour long. This is the origins story of Captain Marvel and his first meeting with Superman. They are both drawn together to oppose Black Adam (the evil version of Captain Marvel). Because of the title, apparently Black Adam was returning from somewhere and is not very happy. There is very little story with the exception of the Shazam wizard imputing powers onto a young Billy Batson. The strongest part of animated short is the combat between the three. There are some great exchanges and the collateral damage is high. After a few of these DC Showcases, I am starting to wonder if it’s an asset or liability to have a hero live in your city. I can imagine there is special ‘superhero’ insurance clause just in case your vehicle gets flung into a building or something- but I digress. Overall this is a fun and polished looking short. Done in an japanese animation style, the detail is high and the animation is fluid. Two thumbs up for how it looks.
Since this was only a short, they couldn’t justify releasing it on its own so they added a few other new stories to include Spectre, Green Arrow, and Jonah Hex. Overall, I was impressed with these bonus shorts. Surprisingly, Spectre was particularly strong. Done in a horror/revenge 70’s flick genre, Spectre really won me over to that character. The Green Arrow short was entertaining too as he battles another arrow welding foe in an airport. There is only so much you can do with a guy who shoots arrows but they made the most of it. Jonah Hex was boring in comparison to the others. Not sure how Hex ever became a hero property because no one cares about him. Also on the DVD is a few selected episodes from Justice League Unlimited and Batman Brave and the Bold. They are nice additions but look dated in comparison to the new releases.
If you are a hardcore fan of DC then put this on your Christmas list. If you are casual fan then I would just rent it from Netflix. If you are just curious, then wait till a buddy comes over with the pirated version on his laptop.