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Superhero Origins: Shazam’s Captain Marvel Jr.

VO: Dan Paradis
Captain Marvel Jr. became a member of Shazam’s Marvel Family team way back in 1941’s Whiz Comics #25. In that issue Captain Marvel stopped an evildoer named Captain Nazi by punching him so hard that he landed miles away in a bay. In that bay, a young boy named Freddy Freeman was fishing with his grandfather. Unaware of the villain’s identity, they attempted to rescue him and in turn Freddy’s grandfather was killed and Freddy left for dead. Captain Marvel saved his life by taking him to the wizard Shazam. Join WatchMojo.com as we explore the comic book origin of Freddy Freeman, otherwise known as Shazam’s Captain Marvel Jr. Special thanks to our user EddieLatinoHeat1 for submitting the idea on our WatchMojo.comsuggest page!
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Transcript
Script written by Craig Butler.

Superhero Origins: Shazam’s Captain Marvel Jr.


Lightning does strike twice – when that lightning comes courtesy of the wizard Shazam! Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we will explore the comic book origin of Shazam’s Captain Marvel Jr.
As with most comic book characters, there are often re-imaginations and different versions to a character’s past. We have chosen primarily to follow the storyline which unfolded in 1941’s Whiz Comics #25, which was expanded upon in 1982’s World’s Finest #280 and 1996’s Power of Shazam #3, 6 and 7.


The “Little Blue Cheese,” as Captain Marvel Jr. was known to the evil Dr. Sivana, became a member of Shazam’s Marvel Family team way back in 1941’s Whiz Comics #25. This was a continuation of a story begun in Master Comics, which introduced a despicable villain known as Captain Nazi. An Aryan superman, Captain Nazi was out to destroy all things dear to the American people and to prove the superiority of the Nazis in all things.


After Captain Marvel foiled his plans to demolish a dam, Captain Nazi next attempted to cause a plane to crash into a crowd of people. Captain Marvel stopped this by punching the evildoer so hard he landed miles away in a bay.


In that bay, a young boy named Freddy Freeman and his kindly grandfather were fishing; not knowing the villain’s identity, they attempted to rescue him. No good deed goes unpunished, as Freddy’s grandfather was killed and Freddy left for dead.


Captain Marvel arrive and rushed Freddy to a hospital, only to learn that the boy’s back was broken and he wasn’t expected to live. In his secret identity as Billy Batson, Captain Marvel took the dying Freddy to see the wizard Shazam. The wise old magician told Billy that he could save Freddy by giving him some of Captain Marvel’s powers. When Freddy awoke and spoke Captain Marvel’s name, he transformed into the superpowered Captain Marvel Jr. As Freddy, he would be crippled in one leg, but in his alter ego he would have an abundance of powers and no such disability.


Captain Marvel Jr. fought alongside Captain Marvel, as well as in his own adventures, for more than a decade. He was revived in the 1970s as part of DC’s Shazam series; since then, his origin has undergone a few changes.


For example, some astute observers had noticed a similarity between Captain Marvel Jr.’s origin and that of another Golden Age hero, Kid Eternity. The kid had also been in a boat with his grandfather during World War II; both the Kid and his grandfather were also killed by Nazis. However, the Kid was not supposed to have died at that time and was granted the ability to return to earth and to call on historical characters to come to his aid whenever needed.

In 1982’s World’s Finest #280, it was revealed that Kid Eternity’s real name was Christopher “Kit” Freeman, and that he was Freddy’s brother. When their parents died, each of their grandfathers took one of the boys to live with him. Both were the victims of Nazis at the same time on the same day – but Freddy was the one who was supposed to have died that day, not Christopher.
While he felt guilty about this, Freddy was also glad to have his brother back now.



In 1996, the Power of Shazam comics rebooted the series. In this re-telling, most of the basics were the same; however, the setting was moved into contemporary times and Freddy and Billy already knew each other: Freddy was a popular star athlete at Billy’s school. In this revision, Captain Nazi had been thawed out from suspended animation, so he once again interrupted Freddy and his grandfather on a fishing trip.

This time, Freddy rescued the wicked captain, put his grandfather into a coma and again crippled Freddy. As before, Captain Marvel asked the wizard Shazam for help – but not alone. His sister, Mary Marvel accompanied him. And it was Mary who figured out that the way they could help Freddy was by both she and the Captain sharing their powers – even if it meant their own powers would be diminished.

Captain Marvel Jr. has popped up in a number of animated television series, including The Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam! And Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Like the rest of the Shazam Family, he holds a unique distinction: he can’t speak his own name without changing back to Freddy, since his name doubles as the magic words.

Are you a fan of Shazam’s Captain Marvel Jr.? For more comic book origins, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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