Billy Batson: 1996 - 2003
Billy Joseph Batson was the son of Marilyn Batson, a drug addict who was found to be an unfit mother and a dad who was nowhere to be found. Without any family able to take in Marilyn’s newborn son, Billy was placed into the care of the child protective service of Wisconsin Department of Human Services. For the first eight years of his life, Billy drifted between more than his fair share of foster homes until he landed in the care of Victor and Rosa Vasquez on Fawcett City.
It was in this home that Billy would meet his foster siblings Mary Bromfield and Freddy Freeman. Though he liked Mary and Freddy well enough from the start, and had nothing against Victor and Rosa, Billy was still compelled to leave and quickly fled from the home the first chance he got, opting to take his chances living on the street. In the middle of winter, Billy decided to camp out in a subway station. When a night-watchman demanded Billy to get out, the little scamp dropped down onto the rails and ran into a subway tunnel. As Billy ran and ran, he felt an cold chill envelope him and looking for warmth, he spotted a maintenance door he was sure was not there a minute ago. Ducking inside, Billy found himself consumed by a white light and then suddenly he was deposited on as tone floor.
Surrounded by arcane statues, mystical relics, and other strangeness, Billy was welcomed to the Rock of Eternity by the Lord of Order known as Mamaragan the Wizard. This ancient man informed Billy that his running away was his doing, having worked a charm on Billy to bring the boy to that very spot. When asked why he had done that, Mamaragan told Billy he possessed ceaseless courage and magical potential which cannot be denied. Furthermore, Billy’s age made his soul more malleable. When asked why Mamaragan had need of such qualities, the Wizard whispered “Shazam” and the struck Billy with a magical blast that knocked him back into the real world, firmly planting Billy's butt on the couch of the Vasquez home, where he assumed he awoke from a weird dream.
Billy decided to give the Vasquezes a shot. He befriended Mary and Freddy in no time at all and eve started to adjust well in school. The experience of his weird dream was almost forgotten entirely until months later when Billy was walking home from school with his foster siblings. Their idyllic stroll was interrupted when armed men came running out of the Fawcett City Bank, knocking over Freddy en route to their gateway car. As Mary screamed and alarms blared around him, Billy recklessly tried to chase the car down. He ran a block before he heard Mamaragan’s voice in his head whisper the word “Shazam.” Billy repeated the word and was struck by a lightning bolt, knocking him into a nearby alley. Moments later, a grown man flew out from that alleyway with the appearance of Billy’s idealized mental image of the father he never knew; and the combined power of Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury. Easy to say, after putting the bad guys away, Billy was gonna have some fun… and did he ever!
Captain Marvel: 2003 - Present
Upon the debut of this magical hero, Fawcett City was pleased that their small city had its own “Superman,” but they needed something to call him, Billy had given himself the name “Captain Thunder,” but in never stuck. It was in news interview with The Flash that field reporter Iris West asked the speedster for his thoughts on the similarity of the two heroes’ emblems, to which The Flash mistakenly referred to Earth’s Mightiest Mortal as “Captain Marvel… or whatever”; and when that interview went viral, the hero finally had a name that caught on.
As the Captain, Billy was one of the first non-founding members the Justice League of America. For years, Billy managed to keep his identity as a much younger child a secret even among the League. It was not until 2009, when the League was being rebooted under the ARGUS Initiative, that Batman outed Billy at a Founders Meeting. After a discussion, it was decided by the Founding Seven to allow Billy to stay within the League if he spent a year with the Titans as a resident “mentor.” Due to this, Billy became quite close with the third generation of the Titans. Billy still retains a very close friendship with Wally West and is currently dating Courtney Whitmore.
Another thing that Billy did, that many of us other cape-wearing types found odd, was tell his family about his alter-ego… pretty much from the start. This decision paid off when the Wizard that had bestowed Billy with the power of Shazam was killed off in 2010 by Billy’s nemesis, Black Adam. The death of his benefactor caused all the excess magic energy contained in the Wizard to flood into Captain Marvel and Black Adam. The magic appeared to have vaporized Black Adam but overcharged Captain Marvel to the point of making him ill, even when he shifted back into Billy.
Worried, Billy called upon Zatanna to help him find a cure. The cure she found was through using magical “anchors” for Billy using people with a close connection to him. But the Titans hadn’t know Billy long enough to establish the necessary bond, so it was Billy’s foster siblings (Mary, Freddie, Darla, Eugene, and Pedro) that stepped up to save their brother.
- Wisdom of Solomon
- Strength of Hercules
- Endurance of Atlas
- Power of Zeus
- Courage of Achilles
- Speed of Mercury
Trivia and Notes
- Captain Marvel joined the Justice League of America in 2006 nominated by The Flash.
- Billy is studying Broadcasting at Fawcett County Community College.
- His address is a nod to his creators: Charles Clarence Beck and Bill Parker.
- WHIZ Radio is an homage to Whiz Comics, where Captain Marvel debuted.
- Fawcett City is a homage to Fawcett Comics, the publisher printing Whiz Comics.
- From the author: I have Superman written as having an Enhanced Strength of Level 8. Which on a scale of 1 to 10 of all known levels of Superhuman Strength, is pretty considerable. The way I classify Captain Marvel is that when he says "SHAZAM," he's pretty much got strength, speed, durability, and so forth at Enhanced scores of 5, but with the caveat. When Cap shouts "Strength of Hercules," he can redistribute his magical energy into that particular trait, lowering his others to about a 4 in order to boost his strength to a higher score. The exact intensity he can boost it to is dependent on the latent mystic energy in the environment and whether or not there are other magic-users draining that same energy... but hypothetically, under ideal circumstances, Captain Marvel can be stronger than Superman. Under normal, typical circumstances, he is probably just a little weaker than Superman.
Links and References