Monday, March 21, 2016

Captain Marvel's Achilles Heel

We all know Captain Marvel has the courage of Achilles, but does our hero also have an Achilles heel - a weakness that his enemies can use to defeat him?  That's what we find out in Captain Marvel Adventures #19 in the story, "Captain Marvel and His Achilles Heel."

The story begins with Nazi henchman cursing Captain Marvel for all the spies he's captured.  They then conceive a plot that surely no one has thought of - since Captain Marvel has the courage of Achilles, he must have the same weakness of Achilles!  Now the Nazi's put their nefarious plan into action, and they will use a Hitler look-a-like as part of their plan.

Billy intercepts a Nazi coded message and transforms into Captain Marvel to decode it.  With the wisdom of Solomon, it's easy as pie for Cap to crack the code.  The message is to the Nazi spies in America to let them know that Captain Marvel has a weakness!  

The Nazi spies kidnap Billy, knowing that he has a connection to Captain Marvel which they want to exploit.  Billy speaks the magic word, "Shazam!" and Captain Marvel appears.  The Nazi spy-master orders his men to subdue Cap so they can find his Achilles heel.  Cap devastates his opponents, then decides to pretend to be weakened so that he can capture Hitler.  Now the Nazi's go right to the task of trying to determine Cap's weakness!

The Nazi's remove Cap's boots and shoot flames at one heel and then the other.  Cap feigns weakness and that he's losing power.  They then drop him into a concrete mixer, into a whirling propeller, run over him with a tank, and finally shoot him with the tank's cannon.  At the same moment the cannon strikes Captain Marvel, he says the magic word, transforming back into Billy Batson who quickly exclaims, "Oh!  You've destroyed Captain Marvel! He's gone!"

Just then, the fake Hitler walks in the room announcing he's arrived to boost the morale of the spies as they've been thwarted by Captain Marvel so many times.  Billy transforms back into Captain Marvel who quickly dispatches the Nazi henchman and captures the fake Fuehrer - all the while letting them know he has no Achilles heel!

This was another great adventure for Billy and Captain Marvel.  There were parts of the comic, especially when they Nazi's are trying to find Cap's weakness, that had me laughing out loud.  It was a fast paced story that highlighted various aspects of Cap's powers.  On a final note, I noticed a new nickname for Cap in this story.  I've seen him called The Big Red Cheese many times, but in this story he is called The Red Terror - a fitting appellation for the World's Mightiest Mortal.


  1. If they can't use Captain Marvel on the cover, why not rename him the Red Marvel--taking some inspiration from the epithet above.

    1. Good suggestion! I would also like them to use The World's Mightiest Mortal as a title. DC has been very inconsistent in how they call him. In some comics he's Captain Marvel (Convergence, Thunderworld) but in N52 versions, he's Shazam. I know they can still use the Captain Marvel name, just can't use it in a title.