Monday, August 22, 2016

Captain Marvel - Olympic Champion!

While our Summer and Winter Olympics occur every four years, there are other Olympic games held every 1000 years!  Whiz Comics #125 (published July 7, 1950) gives us all the details of these games and how Captain Marvel became an Olympic champion in the story, "Captain Marvel and the Olympic Games of the Gods!"

The story begins with Billy Batson enjoying a beautiful day as he takes a stroll during his lunch break.  Suddenly, a severe storm strikes and Billy must transform to Captain Marvel to save a young lady.  Billy speaks the magic word, "Shazam!" but for once the magic lightning doesn't strike!  Without hesitation, Billy leaps into action and saves the young lady.

With the storm raging and gaining in intensity, Billy is perplexed as he says the magic word again and again but there is no magic lightning.  "Why doesn't Zeus hear me and send down the lightning bolt?" Billy wonders.  Unbeknownst to Billy, Mercury has heard Billy and tells Zeus.  Zeus is too preoccupied with practicing his lightning bolt throwing but finally sends a magic lightning bolt to Billy, transforming him into Captain Marvel.

Captain Marvel quickly decides he needs answers to what's behind the odd events of the day, so on a hunch he flies to Mount Olympus, home of the gods.  At Mount Olympus he meets Mercury and Zeus, and the wizard Shazam arrives as well.  Shazam explains to Cap that the gods are at Mount Olympus competing in the Olympic games of the gods.  Shazam further explains that these games are held every 1000 years and the competition is between the Shazamers and the Netherites.  The Shazamers team roster is Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury.  The Netherite team consists of Vulcan, Centaur, Thor, Mars, Ajax and Neptune.  The winners receive no gold medals.  Shazam explains, "Whichever team wins is then given control over your earth!"  The Shazamers have always won, but in these games they are badly behind.  If the Netherites gods win, not only will they take over the earth but they will also banish Captain Marvel, Shazam and the Shazamers from the earth, sending them into oblivion for 1000 years!  Just then, Mars tells Shazam and Captain Marvel, "When we win and take over earth, we'll start a war down there right away!"  As you can see, these are very important Olympic games.

Shazam tries to rally the Shazamers but they are too discouraged and dejected.  On the verge of having to forfeit the games, Captain Marvel volunteers to finish the rest of the competitions.  Cap defeats Centaur in the 100 mile dash, and despite Neptune's sea-faring shenanigans, Cap wins the boat race around the world.  Cap evens the score by defeating both Thor and Vulcan as well!

The final event is a gladiator match between Mars and Marvel.  Mars has some tricks up his sleeve and says the word, "VCTMAN!" and is struck by a bolt of black lightning!  Mars now possesses the powers of all the Netherite gods.  The next trick Mars has is using one of Zeus' lightning bolts and throwing it at Captain Marvel, transforming him back into powerless Billy Batson.  Billy may be powerless, but he isn't helpless.  Billy distracts Mars just long enough for him to transform back into Captain Marvel who defeats Mars and seals the win for the Shazamers!

Shazam thanks Captain Marvel saying, "Thanks my son!  You single-handedly defeated the Netherite gods!  I and my gods will continue to watch over earth for the next thousand years!"  Captain Marvel humbly replies, "Don't thank me, great sir!  It was only my duty!"

Holy Moley what an adventure!  There's so much to like about this story.  I like how both Captain Marvel and Billy Batson are heroes.  I like how the story showcases Captain Marvel's character, we see him as a hero, respectful to Shazam, and humble in victory.  We learn that it is Zeus who throws the magic lightning that transforms Billy into Captain Marvel.  We learn that there is an Olympic game of the gods that determines who controls the fate of planet earth.  And, we learn that Shazam the wizard is earth's great protector!

Thanks to Captain Marvel we can rest in the fact that Shazam and the Shazamers are watching over our earth and protecting us!  Hopefully the Shazamers will win the next Olympic games of the gods in the year 2950!

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