Time for future superstar Gil Kane’s first work with Mar-Vell, as the creative team turns over to Roy Thomas and Kane.
The story starts with an extended history of Rick Jones. You know Rick-the kid who Banner saved from being hit by the G-Bomb? The kid who hung out with Captain America and the Avengers for a while? He’s drawn to be much younger than he was back in those stories-he’s very boyish. Anyway, he’s wandering around the desert and finds Mar-Vell’s nega bands. A vision of Mar-Vell and Captain America lead him to put on the bracelets and bang them together and, alakazam, he seems to become the titular hero.
A boy turning into an older man hero? Yeah, Marvel is turning its own Captain Marvel into a parallel of DC’s Captain Marvel, who everyone I know just calls Shazam because (a) that’s a cooler name and (b) it’s his magic word. When this book was published, DC had estopped publication of Shazam for over a decade, so lots of people probably had no idea that that is what Roy Thomas was doing here.
Anyway, in the end we see that Jones and Mar-Vell are actually merged characters-more like the future Firestorm from DC than the older Shazam character.
This is a good refresh for Captain Marvel, as the book had really become a steaming pile of crap by this time.
Let’s see what Thomas and Kane can do with him.
Creators: Thomas and Kane
Grade: B. For most comics, this would be a B-, a story that’s above average but not great. But considering how bad CM has been, this gets a little higher.
For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.