Captain Marvel Jr.

Infobox comics character

caption=Captain Marvel, Jr. by Matthew Clark in "Outsiders", vol. 3 # 29.
character_name=Captain Marvel, Jr.
real_name=Frederick Christopher "Freddy" Freeman
publisher=Fawcett Comics (1941 - 1953)
DC Comics (1972 - present)
debut="Whiz Comics" #25 (December 1941)
creators= Ed Herron
Mac Raboy
alliances=Marvel Family Teen Titans Outsiders Young Justice
aliases=CM3, Shazam
powers= Magically bestowed aspects of various mythological figures which include super strength, invulnerability, super-speed, flight, healing, fearlessness and wisdom/enhanced mental perception.
cat =
subcat =
hero = y
villain =
sortkey = PAGENAME
addcharcat1 = Captain Marvel/Marvel Family
addcharcat2 = DC Comics superheroes

Captain Marvel Jr. (Freddy Freeman) is a fictional character, a superhero derived from the Fawcett Comics character Captain Marvel, later purchased by DC Comics. A member of the Marvel Family team of superheroes, he was created by Ed Herron and Mac Raboy, and first appeared in "Whiz Comics" #25 in December 1941.

Captain Marvel Jr.'s alter-ego is Freddy Freeman, a crippled newsboy saved by Captain Marvel from the villainous Captain Nazi. Junior derives his powers from Captain Marvel himself, while the other Marvels derive their powers from the wizard Shazam. By saying the name Captain Marvel, Freddy is transformed into the teenaged Captain Marvel Jr. Unlike Captain Marvel and the modern-era version of Mary Marvel, Junior remains a teenager in his transformed state.Citation | last = Jimenez | first = Phil | author-link = Phil Jimenez | contribution = Captain Marvel Jr. | editor-last = Dougall | editor-first = Alastair | title = The DC Comics Encyclopedia | pages = 69 | publisher = Dorling Kindersley | place = New York | year = 2008 | ISBN = 0-7566-4119-5 | oclc = 213309017]

In the DC maxi-series "The Trials of Shazam!" published from 2006 to 2008, Freddy Freeman is made to undergo six trials to prove himself worth of succeeding Captain Marvel as the wielder and champion of the power of Shazam. Upon completion of the Trials, Freddy assumes the superhero name Shazam.

Publication history

Fawcett character origin

After Fawcett Comics' success with their first superhero character, Captain Marvel, the company decided to introduce a spin-off character. Hamerlinck, P.C. (2006). Foreword to "The Shazam! Family Archives, Vol. 1". New York: DC Comics.] Although Captain Marvel had been given part-time sidekicks in the form of the look-alike Lieutenant Marvels in "Whiz Comics" #21 (Sept. 1941), Fawcett Comics editor wanted to introduce a distinctive spin-off character. Captain Marvel transformed from teenage boy to adult superhero with a magic word; Herron decided for his new character to remain a teenager to differentiate him from Captain Marvel. Fawcett staff artist Mac Raboy designed the new character, named Captain Marvel Jr., in a more realistic style parting with C.C. Beck's more cartoony artwork for the Captain Marvel stories.

Captain Marvel, Jr's first appearance in "Whiz Comics" #25 was part of a three-issue crossover between "Whiz Comics" and another Fawcett publication, "Master Comics", in late 1941. The crossover, printed during the height of World War II, found Bulletman and Captain Marvel at odds with Adolf Hitler's superpowered champion, Captain Nazi. During a battle with Captain Nazi in "Whiz Comics" #25, one of Captain Marvel’s punches sends the villain careening into a lake. An elderly man and his teenage grandson happened to be fishing in the lake near the place Nazi has landed, and, not knowing who he is, lift the unconscious man into their boat to prevent him from drowning. Nazi immediately comes to, tosses the old man into the lake, and knocks the boy out of the boat with an oar. The old man immediately dies, but Captain Marvel is able to save the unconscious boy, named Freddy Freeman, and bring him to a hospital.

Captain Marvel, in his alter ego as young Billy Batson, learns from a nurse that Freddy is not expected to last the night. This leads Billy to take Freddy to the underground throne of the wizard Shazam, who originally granted Captain Marvel his powers. Billy asks the wizard to heal Freddy and save his life, but Shazam cannot, and instead tells Billy that he, as Captain Marvel, can pass along some of his powers to so that Freddy can walk again. Shazam disappears and Billy transforms back into Captain Marvel, just as Freddy awakens. Looking up, he exclaims “’s Captain Marvel,” and is instantly transformed into a super-powered version of himself. Freddy, who was now called Captain Marvel Jr., resembled a younger Captain Marvel, though with a yellow-on-blue costume with a red cape, rather than Marvel's yellow-on-red with a white cape.

Captain Marvel informs Junior that he cannot remain in his super-powered form at all times, but that he must allow his human form to heal as best it can. With that, Freddy once again said his mentor's name and returned to his hospital bed. Freddy remains permanently lame in his left leg and is forced to walk with a crutch (although Captain Marvel Jr. bears no such impediment). As a result, Junior sought revenge against Captain Nazi, and the two repeatedly battled in a number of World War II-era comic stories.

Fawcett years

Captain Marvel Jr. was a popular spin-off character, and appeared in solo adventures in both "Master Comics" and his own "Captain Marvel Jr." comic book. Mac Raboy's darker, more dramatic art style illustrated adventures with more serious themes than those often seen in the often whimsical Captain Marvel stories. Marvel Jr's regularly dealt with espionage, organized crime, murder, and Nazis in more-or-less straightforward adventure styles with often somber overtones.

The stories depicted the plight of working-class and working-poor people during World War II. Even as he fought Japanese air attacks, conferred with United States president Franklin Roosevelt and United Kingdom Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and even came close to capturing Adolf Hitler himself, Freddy continued to live in a run-down hovel and to dress in shabby rags. His one valuable possession appeared to be his diary, which was written in a large, richly ornamented book.

In most of his adventures, Freddy Freeman is depicted as a character to be pitied for his injury, reminiscent of Tiny Tim from Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol", until he transforms into his super-powered state (C.C. Beck described the character as resembling Tiny Tim as Freddy Freeman, and Peter Pan as Captain Marvel Jr.). Ironically, as Captain Marvel Jr., the character is unable to introduce himself to anyone, since he would transform back into Freddy Freeman after pronouncing the first two words in his name. This technicality is sometimes employed in the Fawcett stories as a plot point; later DC Comics stories would tend to make light of the issue. [In "Power of Shazam!" #14 (April 1996), Captain Marvel Jr. is asked by a New York police officer to identify himself. His response (as he reminds himself that he can't pronounce his own name aloud): " know that Marvel guy in Fawcett?"]

Junior, Captain Marvel, and Mary Marvel began appearing together in "The Marvel Family" comic book beginning in 1945. That title and Junior's own ran until 1953, when Fawcett Publications discontinued all the Marvel Family comic books as the result of a lawsuit brought by National Comics (later DC Comics).

"Shazam!" revival

After Fawcett Comics folded, Captain Marvel Jr. remained unpublished, alongside the rest of the Marvel Family, for years. In 1972, DC Comics purchased the rights to the Marvel Family characters and revived them in a new series entitled "Shazam!" In his 1970s adventures, Captain Marvel Jr. discovered that fellow super hero Kid Eternity was in fact his long-lost brother. This retcon took place because of the characters' very similar origins. Both characters' origins involved the death of a grandfather, and both characters also rely on magic words that form part of their super hero names (and therefore neither hero can speak his name without triggering his powers). In reality, Kid Eternity had been published by another company, Quality Comics, whose characters DC had also purchased.

Following DC's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" miniseries, the Marvel Family was retconned out of DC continuity, with Captain Marvel appearing in DC publications for the next decade as a solo character.

"Power of Shazam!" and other 1990s/early 2000s appearances

Freddy Freeman was reintroduced in 1995, with "The Power of Shazam!" #3. His origin as Captain Marvel Jr. was reworked and represented, with Junior making his first post-"Crisis" appearance in heroic form in "Power of Shazam!" #7 (Sept. 1995). Beginning with "Power of Shazam!" #13, writer Jerry Ordway began focusing the book on Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel, relegating Junior to periodic solo stories. During this period, Junior began appearing in "Teen Titans", and the character's name was changed to "CM3", so that he could identify himself without triggering his transformation.

Junior continued to appear in "Teen Titans" until its cancellation in mid-1998. The character then returned to regular appearances in "Power of Shazam!", until "that" book was canceled at the end of the year. After the demise of "Power of Shazam!", Captain Marvel Jr. made sporadic guest appearances throughout the DC Universe. One of these appearances was as an adult Captain Marvel in "Titans Tomorrow", a story arc in "Teen Titans" (vol. 3) #17-19 (2005). By this time, the character was once again identified by the name Captain Marvel Junior (not "CM3"). His costume was slightly modified, substituting a white cape like that of the other two Marvels for his traditional red one.

A guest appearance in "The Outsiders" (vol. 3) #10 in 2004 led to Captain Marvel Jr. briefly joining the team the following year. The Junior-featured "Outsiders" stories feature the team battling Marvel Family villains such as Dr. Sivana, Sabbac, and Chain Lightning. Captain Marvel Jr. also made brief appearances in the miniseries "Infinite Crisis" (2005-2006) and its maxi-series sequel, "52" (2006-2007). One of the key supporting characters of "52" was Osiris, Captain Marvel Jr.'s analogue in Black Adam's Black Marvel Family.

"The Trials of Shazam!"

Writer Judd Winick, who had written "Outsiders", was given the task of relaunching "Shazam!" The events of "Infinite Crisis" included the death of the wizard Shazam, and in a twelve-issue maxi-series titled "The Trials of Shazam!" Winick began exploring Freddy Freeman's quest to prove himself worthy of wielding the power of Shazam in the new age of magic, which began with the end of "Infinite Crisis". As Winick felt the "Shazam!" characters were too light-hearted and not being taken seriously, [ Hinze, Scott and Hull, Oliver (April 16, 2006). " [ Interview with Judd Winick] ," "Fanboy Radio] "The Trials of Shazam!" series features a much darker tone than earlier DC Comics "Shazam!" stories, reflecting more of the darker tones of the original Fawcett Captain Marvel Jr. stories. Freddy Freeman is now a young adult, forced to battle various beings powered by black magic, including a new female archenemy named Sabina. The Shazam gods are presented in "Trials of Shazam!" in reimagined forms (Solomon is a female tattoo artist in New York, Hercules a Latino convict, etc).

The first eight issues of "Trials of Shazam!" as well as a prequel written by Winick for "Brave New World" #1, were illustrated by Howard Porter. Porter broke his drawing hand during the course of production on the series, which led to a number of extended delays between issues. [ Hinze, Scott (September 26, 2007). " [ Interview (#2) with Judd Winick] ". "Fanboy Radio] Mauro Cascioli took over the artist's chores for the final four issues in the maxi-series.

At the conclusion of the series, Freddy takes over the mantle of Captain Marvel under the name Shazam (assuming the red costume and adult form of Captain Marvel, with longer hair), while Billy Batson, the former Captain Marvel, was given the role of the wizard Shazam under the name Marvel. At the 2008 New York Comic Con, it was announced that Freddy Freeman/Shazam will be among the characters appearing in a new "Justice League" comic book written by James Robinson.

Fictional character biography

Early years

According to Captain Marvel Jr.'s current DC origin story, Freddy Freeman was born and raised in a New England fishing village, living with his parents and his foster brother, Timothy Barnes."Outsiders" (third series) #10] When Freddy's parents drowned in a storm, Freddy's maternal grandfather Jacob took him in, while Timothy was sent to live with various foster families. As an adult, Barnes would harness the powers of the underworld and become Sabbac, one of Captain Marvel Jr.'s enemies. ["Outsiders" (third series) #9]

The teenage Freddy Freeman, living in Midwestern Fawcett City, was shown to be an all-star student and athlete at the Binder school in Fawcett City, and a friend of Captain Marvel's alter ego Billy Batson ["Power of Shazam!" #6] One afternoon, after winning a baseball game for his school team, Freddy and his grandfather Jacob went on a fishing trip in the Fawcett Bay, ["Power of Shazam!" #6] At the same time, however, Captain Marvel found himself engaged in a battle with the supervillain Captain Nazi. As in the Fawcett origin, one of Marvel's punches knocks Captain Nazi into the lake near Grandpa Jacob's boat, and Freddy and his grandfather are attacked when they attempt to save the villain from the water.

Captain Marvel intervenes and rushes both injured bystanders to a hospital. Grandpa Jacob slips into a coma, and Freddy is found to have a severely injured spine and a broken leg, which will prevent him from ever walking again. After a second attack from Captain Nazi, the injured Freddy is taken to the wizard Shazam by Captain Marvel and his sister Mary Marvel, who both grant the boy the power to become Captain Marvel Jr. However, Grandpa Jacob dies, and Captain Marvel Jr. goes on a rampage against Captain Nazi as until the other Marvels intervene. Nazi and Captain Marvel Jr. would become arch-enemies, regularly pitted against one another.

As Captain Marvel Jr.

Junior becomes an integral member of the Marvel Family until he draws Billy's ire by making a pass at his sister. ["Power of Shazam!" #13] The resulting conflict (created essentially to write Junior out of the Power of Shazam! from issue #13 on) causes Junior to leave Fawcett City and seek refuge in New York City, where he joins the Teen Titans. At this time, the character's name was briefly changed to "CM3" (short for Captain Marvel Three, with Billy being CM1 and Mary CM2), a name he could identify himself with in dialogue without triggering his transformation. After some time spent with the Titans, Junior returns to Fawcett (and "The Power of Shazam!" with issue #42) and makes amends with Captain Marvel.

Another superhero team, The Outsiders, found themselves in a battle against Ishamel Gregor, who had killed Timothy Barnes and stolen his Sabbac powers. ["Outsiders" (third series) #9-10] Captain Marvel Jr. arrived to help the Outsiders dispatch Sabbac, and some time later Junior would join the team for a brief period. ["Outsiders" (third series) #28-#33]

Freddy Freeman's trials

During "Infinite Crisis", an event designed to significantly alter the status of the DC Universe, the wizard Shazam was destroyed by the Spectre, ["Day of Vengeance" #6] causing Captain Marvel Jr. and Mary Marvel to lose their powers a year later. ["Brave New World" #1] Captain Marvel, on the other hand, was transformed into "Marvel", a white-robed being who assumed Shazam's old post as caretaker of the Rock of Eternity. "Trials of Shazam! #2" #1] Marvel drafted the now-powerless Freddy Freeman to undergo a quest to prove himself worthy of replacing Captain Marvel. Each of the six "Shazam" gods -Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury—would present Freddy with a trial (similar to the Labors of Hercules), which Freddy would have to complete successfully in order to be granted with that god's particular power. If he completes all six tasks, he will take on the name Shazam. Zareb Babak, a demoted necromancer, serves as Freddy's guide during his trials.

At the same time, however, a dark organization known as the Council of Merlin are backing their own candidate, a Creole sorceress named Sabina. If she wins the trials, then the power of Shazam will be lost to the Marvel Family and she will control it. Freddy and Sabina end up competing nearly neck-and-neck for many of the trials.

Freddy passed the trials of Solomon and Achilles, gaining wisdom and invulnerability, but was only given half of Hercules' strength, after Sabina stole what she could from him. Sabina later killed Atlas and stole his power of stamina. Apollo was drafted to replace Atlas in the Shazam pantheon, but decided to split his healing/renewal ability between both competitors following a battle against Freddy. Sabina also managed to steal the powers of Mercury and then injured him, placing her on an equal footing with Freddy. With the help of Marvel, Katana, the Shadowpact, and the Justice League, Freddy fought Sabina and the demons of Merlin to keep Sabina from summoning Zeus and obtaining his power. After proving himself willing to sacrifice his life to keep Sabina from attaining all of the power of Shazam, Zareb revealed that he himself was Zeus in disguise, and granted Freddy all six of the full powers of Shazam. Sabina was cast through a portal, seemingly defeated, and her legion of demons banished, as Freddy became Shazam for the first time.

Final Crisis

Freddy was shown in "Final Crisis" #3, with Tawky Tawny as they talk about what has happened to Mary and Billy. He gets an invite for Article X by Green Lantern Alan Scott which is actually a Superhero Draft. He joins most of Earth's heroes in the JLA's Hall of Justice.

Other versions

Kingdom Come

Kingdom Come", drawn by Alex Ross.] An adult version of Captain Marvel Jr. appears as a background character in the 1996 "Kingdom Come" miniseries by Mark Waid and Alex Ross. In this alternate future setting, Junior now goes by the name King Marvel, and resembles Elvis Presley. Mary Marvel, now called "Lady Marvel", is his wife, and the two have a superpowered son named the Whiz, named after "Whiz Comics".

"Titans Tomorrow"

In this future, the adult Freddy Freeman has taken the Captain Marvel mantle and is a member of the Titans East.


In the final issue of the maxi-series "52" (#52, May 2, 2007), a new Multiverse is revealed, originally consisting of 52 identical realities. Among the parallel realities shown is one designated Earth-5. As a result of Marvel Family foe Mister Mind eating aspects of this reality, it takes on visual aspects similar to the pre-"Crisis" Earth-S, including the Marvel Family characters. The names of the characters are not mentioned in the panel in which they appear, but a character visually similar to Captain Marvel, Jr. appears. [Comic book reference | title=52 | issue=52 | date=May 2, 2007 | publisher=DC Comics | page=12 | panel=5 ]

Based on comments by "52" co-author Grant Morrison, this alternate universe is not the pre-Crisis Earth-S. [cite web
url =
title = The 52 Exit Interviews: Grant Morrison
accessdate = 2007-05-12
last = Brady
first = Matt
date = 2007-05-08
publisher = Newsarama

Elvis Presley

The musician Elvis Presley was a big fan of Captain Marvel Jr., and styled his trademark haircut after that of the comic book character. In addition, some of Elvis's stage outfits (with a half-cape similar to those worn by the Marvels) and his TCB logo (with a Marvel-esque lightning bolt insignia) also show inspiration from Captain Marvel Jr. [cite web| url =| title = Elvis and Captain Marvel, Jr.| accessdate = 2006-09-13| last = Reed| first = Robby| date = | publisher = Dial B for Blog] Elvis's childhood collection of "Captain Marvel Jr." comic books still sits in the attic of Graceland.

In reference to Elvis's admiration for the character, Captain Marvel Jr. has often been shown as either a fan of Elvis or having been inspired by Elvis. In "Teen Titans" vol. 3, #23, Captain Marvel Jr. is revealed to be a huge fan of Elvis Presley. The narrator (Superboy) states that "He's okay, just a little too into the retro thing for my tastes. Loves all that rockabilly crap. Flame shirts and hot dice belt buckles." Captain Marvel Jr. himself quotes Elvis (whom he refers to as "the greatest modern-day philosopher," to which Hawk immediately states that she likes Sex Pistols bass guitarist Sid Vicious better as a role-model: "Do what's right for you as long as you don't hurt no one."

Appearances in other media

Along with the rest of the Marvel Family, Captain Marvel Jr. appeared in the 1981 "Shazam!" Saturday morning cartoon, aired as one-half of "The Kid Superpower Hour with Shazam!" voiced by Barry Gordon.

In December 2006, the VS System Card game released a "Freddy Freeman <> Captain Marvel" card. He also has a version known as "Freddy Freeman <> Captain Marvel Junior" version, his first version as Junior was an Outsider. In 2007, they made another version of Freddy as Junior as a member of the Teen Titans.

Collections and reprints

*"The Shazam! Family Archives, Volume 1" (2006). Reprints Captain Marvel Jr. stories from "Master Comics" #23 - 32 and "Captain Marvel Jr." #1, as well as the origin of Mary Marvel from "Captain Marvel Adventures" #18. Art by Mac Raboy, Al Carreno, and Marc Swayze. (ISBN 1-40120-779-0)
*"The Trials of Shazam! Volume 1" (2007). Collects "The Trials of Shazam!" #1-6, as well as the eleven-page preview from "Brave New World" #1. Written by Judd Winick. Art by Howard Porter. (ISBN 1-40121-331-6)


External links

* [ Captain Marvel, Jr.'s "Who's Who" file] at The Marvel Family Web.
* [ Captain Marvel, Jr.] at Don Markstein's Toonopedia
* [ Captain Marvel, Jr.] at Captain Marvel, the history of the many Captain Marvels

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