Monday, February 8, 2016
Captain Marvel's Powers: The Stamina of Atlas
The wizard Shazam gives Billy Batson the powers/abilities of six gods. Billy gains them by uttering the magically mystic word, "Shazam!" which transforms him into Captain Marvel - the World's Mightiest Mortal!
I want to examine Captain Marvel's stamina, which he gets from Atlas, in this article. Who was Atlas? What is stamina and why would Captain Marvel need it? When has Captain Marvel displayed this stamina? I will answer those questions below!
Atlas is a character from Greek mythology who is described as the "Titan god of endurance." He was a leader in the war against the Olympians, and was known for his leadership and durability. Because of his role in the rebellion against Zeus, he was sentenced to stand on the western edge of the known earth to hold up the sky and heavens.
Atlas' great display of stamina is holding up the sky without growing weary. That takes stamina to say the least! I found it very interesting that our word stamina is synonymous with endurance, these words can be used interchangeably. According to Wikipedia, stamina is defined as "the ability of an organism to exert itself and remain active for a long period of time, as well as its ability to resist, withstand, recover from, and have immunity to trauma, wounds, or fatigue." Notice the two components of stamina; 1) the ability to exert itself/remain active for long periods of time and 2) the ability to withstand, recover from trauma, fatigue, etc. Both of these components are exhibited in Captain Marvel, and he would need the stamina of Atlas to carry out his commission to defend the poor and helpless and to crush evil everywhere.
Here are a few examples that display Captain Marvel's stamina. The first example comes from Whiz #25. Captain Nazi has sabotaged huge turbines so that they are going to explode, killing many people and ruining a new power plant. Captain Marvel shows his stamina by using his own shoulder to slow down and stop the turbines before they explode! (Remember, stamina also means immunity from trauma or injury!)
The Marvel Family Adventures #59 provides us with another example of Cap's stamina. Here we see not only Cap's great strength, but it's also a display of his stamina to keep pushing back billions of tons of ice without losing his strength! (Stamina is the ability to exert oneself for long periods of time!)
Captain Marvel Adventures #144 showcases Cap's stamina. Atlas' stamina is called upon as Captain Marvel must bear the weight of millions of tons of concrete on his shoulders for an hour as workmen repair and shore up a dam damaged by an attack by Dr. Sivana.
In Captain Marvel Adventures #148 we find two examples of his stamina. First, Cap uses molten lava to reconnect South America to the rest of the continent. Cap isn't hurt at all by the lava!
Then we have Cap seemingly crushed between two glaciers, only to appear unscathed as he is impervious to all harm!
The final example of Captain Marvel's stamina is from Captain Marvel Adventures #53. Here we have the testimony of Captain Marvel himself that tells us that he is indestructible! His stamina gives him the tremendous ability to withstand and have immunity from all harm.
The third power Shazam gives Captain Marvel is the stamina of Atlas and we see Cap display this stamina throughout his adventures. Captain Marvel's stamina allowed him to stop sabotaged turbines, push billions of tons of ice without losing strength, bear the weight of millions of tons, handle molten lava and get crushed between glaciers without harm, and be indestructible. Captain Marvel's stamina is just one power that truly makes him the World's Mightiest Mortal!
(Note: I updated this article on December 28, 2016 to include an example found in Captain Marvel Adventures #144. I learned that, according to this comic, it is the power of Zeus and not the stamina of Atlas that makes Captain Marvel indestructible. I've decided to keep this article as is and would like to think that the stamina of Atlas only contributes to his indestructibility but it is not the source!)