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Captain Marvel Adventures 50
"Capt. Marvel and the Twisted Powers"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND Publisher: Fawcett Publications, Incorporated
Published: December 1945, Vol. 9, No. 50
First Story Title: Capt. Marvel and the Twisted Powers

It's vacation time! Billy has gone to restful Pine Valley to rest from his arduous WHIZ duties. Immediately, he is interrupted by a fan who wants the boy newscaster's autograph. Billy being the rotten boy that he is, signs the autograph and allows an evil practice to continue, even to today. Fans still ask for autographs. Er.. wait... sorry... back to the story.

His fan asks him if that great, big, handsome Capt. Marvel is coming to Pine Valley too. I guess Billy and the Captain must spend a lot of time together, since even the flirtacious, young, fans of Pine Valley associate the two together. Of course, this being a vacation, Billy knows he will never need to call Capt. Marvel in this quiet little valley.

Hrm... the subtlety in this story is overwhelming. I did not see this coming. As soon as Billy thinks he will not need Capt. Marvel, there is a robbery just outside his hotel room. So, he has to call the good captain.

SHAZAM! BOOM!

Zeus takes us aside to complain that Billy is giving him too much work. Fortunately he has a large stockpile of lightning bolts for Billy to change.

Capt. Marvel appears and runs off to the robbery taking place in the bank. The robber, with great eloquence, commands, "Hand over da dough!" Of course, the captain runs in JUST in time. Billy's fan is the first to spot him, and tells everyone to stand back because, "When the Capt. Marvel hits someone, they usually fly 40 or 50 feet."

So Capt. Marvel slugs the robber, and as we all expected... the crook looks baffled. He survived a punch from Capt. Marvel. As a matter of fact, he barely noticed it. So, he slugs the big, red cheese, who falls over from his solid punch. The robber runs out and is escaping, so Billy's fabulous fan orders Capt. Marvel to chase after the robbers.

This being the right thing to do, Capt. Marvel leaps out the window ready to fly after the crooks, and he does a face-dive into the grass. Ouch!

Now, we all know, the good captain has the wisdom of Solomon, so he will eventually grasp that SOMETHING is wrong. In order to prove that it might be the case, he decides to test his powers again. Being a macho male hormone... er... being the man he is, he decides to test it by punching a tree. When he hits it, "OWW!" All he did was hurt his hand.

It's possible that Capt. Marvel no longer has his powers. In that case, he no longer needs to stick around, so he changes back to Billy the WHIZ kid!

SHAZAM! BOOM!

Of course, Zeus is still in a rush, and tosses another bolt at Billy. But while he's doing it, Hephaestus wants a word with him.

Now Billy is frustrated, much like the rest of us would be if our magical alter-ego no longer had any powers. And like any adolescent, he kicks a rock... across the forest.

His fabulous fan of Pine Valley is still around, but now she's rather frosty. Afterall, we now KNOW Capt. Marvel is a fake, and Billy, because he's the captain's main correspondent must be the person creating these LIES.

So, Billy goes to the hotel frustrated, and as he gets in bed, wonders what happens if the captain NEVER gets his powers back?

Someone has a good idea about that. The crook meets up with his pals, and they all decide to go on a rampage and kill Capt. Marvel while the going is good. In order to lure the captain, all they have to do is kidnap Billy. And they do! They tie him up and... OH NO! They GAGGED him! How will he EVER summon Capt. Marvel?

The next scene is Billy falling out a window, easily from the second story or higher. He hits the ground with a loud THUD! and the gag falls off. He shouts...

SHAZAM! BOOM!

Capt. Marvel runs to the thugs and baps them. No harm, no foul. After all, they hit MUCH harder then he does. As a matter of fact, they knock him out, and drag him to their hideout to shoot him. When he awakens, he is tied to a chair, but has no gag on. And with his complete lack of Solomon's wisdom, he realizes Billy had the powers earlier, so...

SHAZAM! BOOM!

And the bullets bounce off of Billy's chest, saving the world's mightiest mortal from certain death. Billy punches the crooks and when they try to punch him, hands are broken. Billy takes out all but the head robber that started this mess. He runs. Billy stands there thinking, "Darn, if I could only fly!" Then he realizes, if he has the captain's strength and invulnerability, he must have his flight too!

I wonder where Solomon's wisdom went?

Billy flies, takes out the last crook, and starts back to the hideout with him, then summons a thunderbolt from Zeus again, when Hephaestus can FINALLY give some new bolts to Zeus. Turns out, Hephaestus simply wanted to recall a bad batch he had made where Billy had the powers and Capt. Marvel was the wimp.

So...

SHAZAM! BOOM!

And Capt. Marvel is flying with the crooks in tow. Billy finishes off the story explaining the problem over the radio.

Which leads me to wonder... did Billy have a secret identity or not?

I liked the story for it's absurdity. However, even in the 1960s, Superman had many stories that were not far from this. Red Kryptonite, Lois Lane and Lana Lang pursuing him, Jimmy Olsen and his misadventures. Some people say that DC Comics couldn't do the humorous stories that made Captain Marvel so popular, but it seems that Superman had that capability. Or was it simply, Superman filled the large shoes that the big red cheese left vacant for 20 years?