Comic reviews: Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam #18, Batman: TBATB #19, Archie’s Pals ‘n’ Gals Double Digest #143

A mixed group (and mixed-bag) of comics this time around… yes, SPOILERS…

Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam #18

Writer: Art Baltazar and Franco
Artist: Mike Norton

In this issue, Billy and Mary come across, and eventually battle, a mummy who claims to have been present during the whole misadventure with Black Adam’s origin in ancient Egypt. Said mummy isn’t too thrilled about his *own* fate during that incident’s outcome, and is seeking revenge against the wizard. Hijinks ensue.

An OK issue, though I liked the cow-abduction story better. Things will probably pick up quickly next month, as this series is soon being canceled, unfortunately.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #19

Writer: Adam Schlagman
Artist: Carlo Barberi

I thought this one was so-so as well. One reason was that the villain is one of my least favorite comic villains, the Cyborg Superman, a dumb, annoying character who should’ve been recycled into a Buick years ago. His main shtick was being one of the four “imitation” Supermen who came along during the “Death of Superman” storyline, and he’s popped up ever since, mostly to serve as a punching bag when Superman needs boxing practice. Cyborg-Supes also destroyed Coast City in Green Lantern’s comic, which was to set in ploy the out-of-character plot that served to introduce Kyle Rayner (who I also dislike).

Aside from the villain, I also thought some of Batman’s lines seemed a bit odd given what we’d seen in the TV show—namely, that we’ve already seen him A) use a GL ring with fewer complaints and B) go to all corners of the universe, not just being restricted to Gotham. Maybe this is a flashback to an early adventure of Bats’, or something…

Archie’s Pals ‘n’ Gals Double Digest #143

Writers: various
Artists: various

In this digest (before it gets renamed “Archie and Friends Double Digest” several months from now), the lead story features the Archies needing a new gimmick to pull in audiences, and decide to play… the ukelele, which unknown to me is apparently growing in popularity (if Betty’s to be believed). Interestingly, Archie’s paternal grandfather is shown here, but looks nothing like the Golden Age Archie-like version that appeared a few years ago in another story (where the old jalopy is revived, as a collector’s item of Mr. Lodge’s).

The rest of the stories center mostly around summertime activities, particularly summer camp. One features the Archie gang as counselors at a summer camp, with one of the children secretly a demon with magic powers who plays various magical pranks on the Archie gang. From the Malcolm X cap the kid’s wearing, this story clearly dates from the early to mid 90s. Of interest: 1) No Sabrina in this story, despite its theme, and 2) Moose beats up *Dilton* (of all people), being tricked into thinking Dilton left a love letter and flowers to Midge.

This issue’s cover-mentioned backup stories feature Sabrina, which *also* show her as a summer camp counselor (for young witches). Sabrina’s other stories feature summer hijinks around the house with Aunt Hilda and Zelda (the stories date from the pre-sitcom era, so the aunts are drawn in their old style as stereotypical witches).

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