Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Captain Marvel's Bronze Age Adventures Begin

Captain Marvel exited comics with the last issue of Whiz Comics #155 (printed March 6, 1953) and Captain Marvel Adventures #150 (printed August 10, 1953).  For twenty years we didn't hear a peep from Billy Batson or the World's Mightiest Mortal.  Where did Captain Marvel go?  Why did he leave Fawcett City without notice!  That silence was broken on December 14, 1972 when DC published Shazam! #1!

In the pages of Shazam! #1 we discover what happened during those silent years.  Captain Marvel wasn't on vacation - he had been placed in suspended animation by none other than the world's wickedest scientist, Dr. Sivana!

You see, Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family (Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel, Jr.) were being honored by the Mayor of Fawcett City one day in 1953.  Many of the Marvel's close friends as well as most of the city were in attendance.  Suddenly, a strange ray captures the mighty Marvels along with some of their friends and draws them into deep space, taken captive by Dr. Sivana and his odious offspring, Georgia and Sivana, Jr.  

Dr. Sivana places the Marvels and friends into a globe of Suspendium, a compound crafted by Sivana that will keep the captives in suspended animation forever!  However, thanks to a mishap caused by his son, Sivana and family become trapped in Suspendium along with the Marvels.  (NOTE: If you've read Thunderworld then you've seen Suspendium in action!)

For twenty years they remain in deep space orbiting the sun while captive in Suspendium.  As they moved closer to the sun, the Suspendium began to melt away!  Captain Marvel is the first to awaken from suspended animation and immediately takes action to rescue everyone while the scheming Sivanas escape.

The Marvels get their friends safely back to Fawcett City, but after their time in suspended animation they are dazed and unaware that twenty years had passed while they were in deep space.  The friends the Marvels rescued were Uncle Dudley, Joan Jameson (Billy and Captain Marvel's secretary), Sterling Morris (WHIZ station owner), Cissie Sommerly (Billy's girl friend), Ma and Pa Potter (Billy rents an apartment from them), Professor Edgewise (lives in the same boardinghouse as Freddie Freeman), Beautia Sivana, and Tawky Tawny.  We will see more of these friends throughout the Bronze Age Captain Marvel comic series!

Shazam! #1 also retells the origin of Captain Marvel, staying true to the original story as told in the pages of Whiz Comics #2.  And who could tell it better than C. C. Beck himself??!!??

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this comic.  These were the Captain Marvel comics I grew up with and collected (and lost)! DC brought Captain Marvel back into print in a way that explained his twenty years of silence.  Captain Marvel would go on to have some great new adventures in the Bronze Age of comics!

1 comment:

  1. The suspended animation hook was a nice one to bring the whole cast of characters back with the same golden age dynamic maintained. Nice touch!

    I'm so glad that DC has put these out in the Showcase treatment to get them back into print and in the hands of new readers.

    Now if only they'd release a Shazam Visionaries book collecting all of the E Nelson Bridwell & Don Newton work from the tail end of this series along with their Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr, and Mary Marvel material that ran through the Dollar Comics era of World's Finest along with the stories from Adventures Comics #491 & 492. They could give that the same treatment that they gave Superman via the Jose Luis Garcia Lopez & Gil Kane Hardcover editions, or the Marshall Rogers & Norm Breyfogle Legend of the Dark Knight Batman Hardcovers.