Funnybooks Offline: Superman/Shazam – The Return of Black Adam

DC Animated has been putting out some great movies as of late, including Crisis on Two Earths, Under the Red Hood, and Superman/Batman: Apocalypse.  Since Crisis, there has been the added bonus of short features with each film, under the banner of DC Showcase, including shorts featuring The Spectre, Green Arrow, and Jonah Hex.  The shorts have all been uniformly excellent, but the main issue is that anyone who hasn’t actually purchased the movies (watching them on Netflix streaming or On Demand).

If you haven’t purchased any of the movies, and are dying to see some of these great shorts, DC has the answer for you – a DVD/Blu-Ray collection of all of them.  If you already own all of them, the added bonus this time?  A 23-minute feature “Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam.”

Is the new short worth the price of admission?  Full review after the jump.

It’s hard to say that, if you owe all of the previous shorts, that it’s worth plopping down the $15 for DVD or $20 for a 23-minute feature, no matter how good it is.  And, let me tell you, this damn film is FANTASTIC.  Featuring George Newbern (Justice League Unlimited) as Superman, Jerry O’Connell (also from JLU) as Shazam, and Arnold Vosloo (The Mummy) as Black Adam, though the voices may match what you’re used to from the JLU TV Show, but the animation style is incredibly different.

Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, who is known for his excellent action directing, the short is a modern retelling of Shazam’s origin, interjecting Superman in for story (and sales) reasons.  And it absolutely works – the modernizing of the tale is well done, and you’ll be pissed off that the film isn’t longer.  There’s a lot of action, but there’s still plenty of story.  It’s really a fantastic watch, and I highly recommend checking out (and purchasing it if you haven’t purchased any of the other films.

I’ve got to say though, the fact that Billy Batson is a homeless kid has always been depressing to me.  I mean, in this film, you see him living alone, sharing potato chips with rats, and saying hi to the prostitute down the hall as he leaves his building.  It’s…um…depressing.  Can’t one of these modern tales give him a damn home?

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