My pick for last week: 10/15
Before I name my comic for the week I want to give props to Richard Donner and Geoff Johns. I must admit I am not a huge fan of this trend of bringing in TV and film personalities into comic writiag. Just because you can direct a wicked X-Men action sequence doesn't make you a good choice to pen a comic arc or two. Being good at won art form doesn't equal a skill in another one. That's like saying because you can paint a picture you can sculpt. At least I think it's kind of like that. So when I heard that Donner was slipping on hiw writing shoes I was genuinely concerned. I've been digging Action and who knows what would come by bringing a non-wrtier in. I shouldn't have fretted though. It was fantastic and allowed Johns and Donner to explore a side of Kal-El we don't see often— his angry side. It was good stuff and looks like it's going to be one hell of a story arc.
However, it didn't quite reach number one. There was something just a little better. I'm talking Trials of Shazam. I, for one, have really been enjoying this world of magic gone askew. There have been great stories coming out the turbulence from Day of Vengeance— Shadowpact and Crisis Aftermath: The Spectre for example—but nothing has been enjoyable as the exploration of a universe without the protector of magic. That's right, Billy Batson has been relegated to Rock of Ages, and that means the world needs a new Captain Marvel. And it's Freddy Freeman. Formerly Captain Marvel Jr., Freddy is out for the whole shebang and he is having to earn it one lighting strike at a time.
The strength behind the writing is in the message. I'm sure by now you can tell that I prefer a story that is driven by a character's motivation and not simply a "Holy crap we need to save the world" story— though those are fun. I like stories that delve into why the characters do what they do and Trials is doing just that. It's great to watch as Freddy proves to the audience and himself why he wants to be a hero. More than that, he proves why he deserves it. The Council of Merlin is spooky; Freddy's mentor is an enjoyable supporting character and a god in the form of a hot tattoo artist… it just doesn't get much better than that.
Then you take a look at Howard Porter's art. I say art because he pulling triple duty on the comic: pencils, inks and colors. The whole visual image is just him. The result is astounding and feels different than anything else that is being done. It is just gorgeous with a watercolor or oil pastel look to it. By being so different it enhances the feeling of world of magic, there is just something fantastical to it.