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.

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