Last week I made a post about Captain Marvel AKA Billy Batson soon to be AKA SHAZAM, just a few musings I've had shaking around in the back of my head since discovering this character and hearing about his reintroduction into the New 52. then, sometime earlier today, we we're finally given a proper look into his back-up features, including a proper image of him in his new costume. Now, I am only recently familiar with the character, and as such I don't have any nostalgia glasses, nor do I have a well formed concept of how Billy Batson is supposed to be written, so I'm going to avoid making any opinions based on that and just give my own opinions and responses to some of the comics I've read here on Comic Vine, as well as other sites such as IGN.
The main thing people seem to be talking about is the image of SHAZAM that DC released with the article. When I first saw it, i didn't quite know how to react. most of it was obscured with shadows and heavy inking, which gave the whole thing a very dark and angry tone. This... disappointed me. I was looking forward to maybe seeing this series as being a light-hearted magical adventure comic book, with only touches of drama and darkness when needed to make the story feel a little more powerful and help us react to what we read, and this single frame kinda made me lose some of that hope, and made it seem like every other gritty reboot character that the comic industry seems to focus on nowadays. Of course, some would counter by saying it's just a promo shot and I should wait until the series comes out properly before making a judgement, which is fair, but now we have certain expectations of the series because of this advertising, so it's gonna be under a lot of scrutiny from fans expecting to hate it, though it could be that the series will ultimately make us eat those words (or not). Another thing this image gives me, besides the idea of a more violent Billy Batson, is the nagging feeling that they might be trying to make the Captain DC's answer to Thor. It works in the abstract, the're both magic based beings with connections to the gods and mystical themed stories, but at the same time I'm worried they might be trying to capitalize on the Asgardian's popularity by imitating him TOO much. As for the costume itself, it still is pretty well obscured for the most of the finer details, though we do see things like the gauntlets, belt and boots. The biggest change to it seems to be the hood, and I'm not sure how to feel about it. I don't really hate it, in the abstract, in fact I kinda think it could be pretty cool, but in practice it might seem a bit ridiculous, and might not work for the character. I think that maybe the best thing for it is to have it be optional, like maybe when he transforms he starts wearing this but (since obviously it's not meant to hide his identity), he takes it off at certain points and it could comes off in battle or something. I'm feeling kinda neutral about the hood/cape combo, I guess.
As for the information released about the story itself, again mixed feelings. I REALLY wish Billy Batson was still a kid. We already have elderly, middle-aged, young adult and teenage super-heroes, but no young children. While I'm not particularly a fan of superheros that are very young in comics (one of the main reasons I haven't quite been able to fully enjoy the new Ultimate Spider-man, despite some fairly good writing), the fact that Batson changed into an adult made up for it, and could provide some decent entertainment and depth to his character, especially after seeing him in Young Justice (a role i absolutely love in that series). Hopefully they'll keep him fairly young (I'd settle for 13-14 years old, TOPS), and the age won't make him a generic teen hero like I've been seeing fairly often nowadays... As for the name change, I understand why they did it, since new readers probably don't know about the legal issues surrounding the name and might be confused when buying a SHAZAM comic and getting some guy named Captain Marvel. That said, SHAZAM is way too campy a name for me to take seriously, and much prefer Captain Marvel. I personally am also hoping they bring up some of Batson's supporting cast back, though are they gonna call Freddie Shazam Jr? Mary Shazam? I unno, kinda hard to have a Marvel family without Marvel when you think about it...
I guess to sum my feelings up in one word, it would be "disappointed". Nothing about this announcement really got me eager for Justice League #7, and i'm more than a little more pessimistic about the back-ups. That said, I'm still gonna give it a chance, and there's still a lot of potential for this series. Hopefully Geoff Johns can work his magic and get me interested in this new take on the character.