Believe it or not, I actually like the idea of a multi-ethnic Marvel Family. I just hate the Nu-Shazam Family version we got in Curse of Shazam for several reasons. Primarily because they exist to teach this self-centered, angry douche bag calling himself Billy Batson the meaning of family, when that's not something Billy ever had a problem with. Billy Batson is, at his core, someone with Steve Rogers morality and belief in the innate decency of people combined with Peter Parker's sense of determination, inquisitiveness and sense of humor, with a sense of optimism that is wholely his own. Geoff Johns basically made him into a jerk because the idea of a little kid with that kind of morality would be "the best little kid he's ever heard of". Which was always the point: Billy was never meant to be an ordinary kid, otherwise the Wizard wouldn't have selected him after 5,000 years of waiting for someone incorruptible. Don't get me started on what Johns did to the actual Wizard.Scots Dragon wrote: ↑Thu Oct 25, 2018 10:16 amI can say however that I agree with your stance on Captain Marvel vs the New 52 'Shazam'. It's not even the name change that bugs me as such - though why they couldn't have changed it to Captain Thunder or something as per the original early concepts is beyond me - but just how out-of-character Billy is for most of the story. We do see glimmers of the real Billy Batson towards the end of it, but it felt unnecessary to make him that much of a little twerp. I do have to say that I liked the whole team of other supporting characters who were empowered by the different elements of the lightning bolt, which was a nice nod to the original concept, because expanding the Marvel family is something they should definitely do.
Beyond that, the Nu-Shazam Family was just too . . . well, easy. Billy just happens to go to a foster home that just happens to have both Mary and Freddy and three other diverse people with little to no characterization but who are all good enough that empowering them isn't a bad idea. The three new additions to the Nu-Shazam Family weren't really characters, they were a race and a gender put there to fill a quota and a costume. Making Freddy a blonde thief also didn't help anything.
Honestly, the only one in that bunch that came away with any dignity was Mary. If Johns wanted to do a solo book about THAT Mary Marvel, but in the classic costume, I'd actually be all for it.
My personal take would be an event that sees the classic Billy, Mary and Freddy return, with various shenanigans explaining why the Marvel Family has been in flux for a while. I plan to go into more details with the idea in another thread on this forum. But essentially, their return resulted in a mutliverse's worth of Power of Shazam flooding the world and changing things.
Basically, Billy is the primary holder of the Power of Shazam. He was chosen by the Wizard for a reason, he's the primary champion, he's the one with access to the full power. However, said shenanigans I mentioned causes that excess Shazam power to flow to 6 other people in the world who have similar qualities to Billy, including Mary and Freddy. Each of these six people have access to the Power of Shazam, but do so through the focus of a single aspect of that power, which shapes their other abilities. Mary has access to the Power of Zeus, which amplifies her other abilities, giving her the same powers as Billy at the same level he has them. Freddy has the Stamina of Atlas, resulting in him basically having Billy and Mary's powers, but at reduced levels (though his Stamina would make him the hardest Marvel to permanently injure or kill). The other members would from around the world and their abilities would not be the classic flying brick powerset, but rather a different powerset with a medium degree of super strength, durability and speed tacked on. There'd be a boy from Africa with the Speed of Mercury, whose powers are actually connected to the mists around the Rock of Eternity, giving him the ability to teleport, open portals, banish or bind beings, etc. A brother and sister pair from Japan would have Courage and Wisdom respectively, the former being based on the Kamen Rider franchise (functioning as a multi-form fighter), the latter being based on various Magic Girl archetypes (being essentially a blaster and spellcaster). The last would be a girl from India, who gets the Strength aspect, and grow to colossal sizes.
This way you have a group of characters who are actually from around the world to give a global perspective, they're all unique individuals with actual personalities, and they have unique powersets that aren't just Capt. Marvel's powerset copied 6 times. I'd also have a compound somewhere that they all hang out at together, with each member of the Marvel Family having a door in their home linked via the Rock of Eternity to a door at the compound.
Which reminds me: I'd make it clear that scene where Past-Jean Grey seemed to be imprinting on Past-Iceman that he was gay was in fact Past-Jean Grey mentally projecting her yaoi-fangirl ideals onto Bobby and making him gay, which retroactively made modern Bobby gay. When this is revealed, the change is undone and Bobby goes back to being straight.* I would make the original Alan Scott gay or at least bisexual. And ignore basically any criticism to 'changing someone's sexuality'. I think it'd be really interesting to explore the inner mindset of a man from that generation having closeted himself so far that even he doesn't fully realise his own sexuality. Hell, when I was originally posting as Narsil I didn't even actually fully realise what my own fucking gender was, so I can say from experience that it's pretty realistic. In the process I'd introduce a New Earth / Earth-0 / Prime-Earth / Whatever The Fuck They're Calling It Now version of Sam Zhao who rather pointedly does not die and can serve as a love interest.
That might sound like I'm intentionally being a jerk, but it boils down to this: if a person's sexuality is considered an important part of their identity, then it needs to apply to everyone equally. Bobby's history as a straight male is no less important than Northstar's history as a gay male. It's one reason I was annoyed with the America Chavez book, because it took one of Marvel's only openly bi-sexual characters and made her gay because the writer wanted to push her own agenda. A lot of current Marvel creators basically want to use these characters as mouthpieces for and vehicles for their own ideologies, regardless of whatever history these characters have. But these are characters with personalities, histories, established identities, and while those things can be tweaked this way and that, you bend them that far and you break them.
That said, the idea of a closeted homosexual coming out as gay is something worth exploring, but that should be the intent of the character from their creation, not a change made to an existing character.
To quote Stan Lee:
And as someone who created some of the first black superheroes at a time when that was actually kind of risky, I believe him and stand by him.“I wouldn’t mind, if Peter Parker had originally been black, a Latino, an Indian or anything else, that he stay that way,” Lee told the comic industry Web site Newsarama. “But we originally made him white. I don’t see any reason to change that.”
“I think the world has a place for gay superheroes, certainly,” he said. “But again, I don’t see any reason to change the sexual proclivities of a character once they’ve already been established. I have no problem with creating new, homosexual superheroes.”
“It has nothing to do with being anti-gay, or anti-black, or anti-Latino, or anything like that,” Lee said. “Latino characters should stay Latino. The Black Panther should certainly not be Swiss. I just see no reason to change that which has already been established when it’s so easy to add new characters. I say create new characters the way you want to. Hell, I’ll do it myself.”
In that spirit, I think making the Earth-1/Prime Alan Scott gay would be a mistake, because it goes against decades of established continuity where he has had two wives and two children, one of whom is gay. Now if Earth 2.2 (or whatever they're calling that new Earth with the Golden Age heroes being young guys in the modern era) Alan Scott is gay, I've got no problem with that, since he's an alternate universe version. Ditto with the version of the Ray who is likewise gay.
Likewise, the idea of a gay Golden Age character is something worth exploring, I would just go with someone form whom doing so wouldn't contradict their characterization. Al Pratt, the original Atom, for instance, never really had a strong love interest, never married anyone, and was content to help Firebrand raise a child without becoming romantic with her. The original Dr. Mid-Nite would also be a good candidate, as would Johnny Thunder, the original Mr. Terrific, the original Star-Spangled Kid, etc. Stories set in the past about those men dealing with being gay in a time when it wasn't safe to do so would be something worth exploring. Heck, you could pair some of them together and retroactively make them a gay super-couple. A Dr. Mid-Nite and Mr. Terrific pairing or a Atom/Johnny Thunder pairing could certainly be a thing and not really contradict anything.
It's basically the same argument I made over in Jab's thread regarding Elsa: she never demonstrated any romantic attraction to anyone in the film, so her sexuality is a complete blank slate. Making her straight, gay or bi-sexual wouldn't contradict anything, so all are equally valid.