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 "Superman/Shazam! - The Return of Black Adam" Review 
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Zach Callison, George Newbern, Arnold Vosloo, James Garner, Jerry O'Connell
Joaquim Dos Santos
24 Mins (DVD Total - 63 Mins.)
DC Showcase
English, French, Spanish subtitles; Extended versions of "Spectre," "Jonah Hex" and "Green Arrow" Shorts; Bruce Timm Presents

The latest release from the "DC Showcase" banner highlighting animated shorts of second-tier DC Comics superheroes, Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam is a 24-minute headlining short for a collection that includes the previously released Green Arrow, Jonah Hex and Spectre, with the latter three shorts being extended versions of previously released shorts.

In this short, Billy Batson (Zach Callison) is a youngster who is barely making it on the streets of Fawcett City. However, Billy is known as a positive role model who tries to help others and does what he can to make a difference in his community. While being interviewed about his life of poverty by famous reporter Clark Kent (George Newbern), Billy is attacked by Black Adam (Arnold Vosloo) who recognizes Billy as "the chosen one" and who returns with the intention of killing him.  Even when Superman suddenly shows up on the scene, Black Adam's magical powers can't be overcome until Shazam! (James Garner) shows up and before long it is revealed that Billy Batson is to become Captain Marvel (Jerry O'Connell).

The battle is on between Black Adam, Superman and Captain Marvel, and this entertaining and well constructed 24-minute short has enough thrills and excitement to please just about any fan with an abundance of action sequences, nods to fanboy trivia and even doses of humor as young Billy struggles through his first superhero endeavor.

The rest of the collection, as previously noted, has been released before on DVD collections so hardcore fanboys of the DC Universe may not actually feel the need to pick up this DVD for the sake of a 24-minute never-before-released short. Of course, that may also mean that a 24-minute short is the only reason needed to go ahead and pick up this DVD. The remaining shorts are solid, as well, with Spectre likely being the highlight of the remaining shorts with stellar vocal work by Alyssa Milano and Gary Cole and a story that is darker than one usually sees in the DC animated universe.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic  
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