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Captain Marvel by Ross, over a white background

Captain Marvel

(Billy Batson) (Gisted notes)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

These are our super-old, super-gisted Captain Marvel (Billy Batson) notes. They were chiefly intended to collectively review his game stats.

Captain Marvel (Billy Batson) was published by Fawcett from 1940 to 1953. The property was then sold to DC who made attempts over the decades to revive it.

If you were looking for another Captain Marvel, see our guide to Captain Marvels.


History

Orphaned newsboy Billy Batson is led into an abandoned subway tunnel by a mysterious stranger. On an out-of-service rail-track an odd and driverless subway car stops to pick Billy and his companion.

Following a brief trip, Billy and the stranger disembark the train and walk down a ancient hallway. On one side of the cavernous hall looms grotesque statues of the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man: Pride, Envy, Greed, Hatred, Selfishness, Laziness and Injustice…

As mysteriously as he appeared the stranger vanishes. Sitting on a throne at the far-end of the hall is a wizened old man with long white hair and a full, almost floor-length white beard. At the old man’s beckoning, Billy steps forward and stops in front of the throne.

The old man announces himself by proclaiming, “I am Shazam !,” amid a peal of thunder and flash of lightning. As the smoke clears Billy notices the wall behind the wizard is inscribed with the names of 6 great elders which together form the name Shazam:

  • Solomon- wisdom.
  • Hercules – strength.
  • Atlas – stamina.
  • Zeus – power.
  • Achilles – Courage.
  • Mercury – speed.

Shazam relates to the young boy that he needs a new champion to battle evil and that he has chosen Billy. “Speak my name” shouts Shazam !

Captain Marvel (Billy Batson) by Alex Ross

As Billy says the name of the ancient wizard lightning drops from the ceiling of the chamber striking him as a load peal of thunder echoes off the cavern walls. As the smoke clears, Billy discovers that he has been transformed into a man !

“Captain Marvel, I salute you,” says Shazam! At that moment a slab of stone hanging above Shazam’s head, held in place by a tattered thread, crashes down onto the old wizard crushing him. From the dust and rumble a ghostly image of Shazam appears and lights a nearby brazier.

At that, Captain Marvel sets off to track down the evil radio silencer plaguing his fair city. And at that Captain Marvel meets his arch-nemesis for the first time: Dr. Thaddeus Bodog Sivana !


History

(History on Earth-S (pre-Crisis))
Captain Marvel returned to the super-hero market in 1973 after a 20-year absence ! It was revealed that, in 1953, Sivana had devised an evil plan to place Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family in a state of suspended animation.

The plot hit a snag when Sivana not only ensnared the Marvel Family but his own family as well including most of the citizens and villains that resided in Cap’s town. Sivana used a compound of his own invention, called Suspendium, to pull off his nefarious feat.

He transported the Cap and the other folks to space where he placed then in the Suspendium globe. Sivana’s son, Sivana Jr., accidentally caused Sivana’s space ship to crash into the globe trapping themselves as well.

After 20 the Suspendium globe moved close enough to the Sun and started to melt. Captain Marvel has the first to awaken and freed the rest of Sivana’s prisoners. In the end, Cap captured the Sivana’s and sent them back to jail.

It was during this time that it was revealed that the Marvel lived on Earth-S, a parallel world existing in a different vibratory space from the DC Universes of Earth-1  and Earth-2 . Earth-1 and Earth-2 were homes to the silver and golden age DC heroes including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the rest.

It was only inevitable that the greatest heroes of their respective earths should meet in battle.

Captain Marvel (Billy Batson) by George Perez

Cap first fought Superman during on the Justice League’s annual cross-overs with the Justice Society. The adventure also reintroduced many of the old Fawcett heroes including Spy Smasher, Ibis, Bulletman and Bulletgirl, and Mr. Scarlet and Pinky. Although the battle was short lived.

A major confrontation occurred nearly a year later and featured not only Cap and Superman visiting each other’s Earths but also the first meeting between Mary Marvel and Supergirl.

Cap had many adventures both solo and with Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Junior. Many of Cap’s former foes seemed to also have been trapped in the Suspendium. Captain Marvel was besieged by the likes of Mr. Mind, Ibac, Aunt Minerva, Sabbac and Black Adam among others.

Cap even traveled back in time to and shared an adventure with the Golden-Age All-Star Squadron – this time battling the Earth-2 Superman !

This was followed by a cataclysmic, universal catastrophe called the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Cap joined the heroes from many Earths to battle the evil Anti-Monitor – a being hell bent on destroying all the parallel universes and restarting the universe from scratch.

Cap and the other heroes defeated the Anti-Monitor but not before the remaining Earths were merged together. For the first time, Cap and his family lived on the same earth as Superman and Batman. But this union was not without its problems.


History

(Post Crisis history)
Cap’s origin and adventures seemed to be plotted by a mysterious hand that kept erasing and readjusting Cap’s history. At one point, Captain Marvel lived in San Francisco with his real Uncle Dudley and real uncle Sivana.

More recently, Billy Batson was permanently relocated to Fawcett City where he rents his own apartment. He works at Radio Station W.H.I.Z. as Billy and on the docks as a disguised Captain Marvel.

Billy eventually found his long lost sister Mary. Mary discovered that she too could turn into Captain Marvel by saying the magic word, Shazam! When Billy and Mary are both Captain Marvel their respective powers are reduced by half.

Captain Marvel (Billy Batson) model sheet and coloring guide

Billy and Mary’s foster parent’s hometown of Fairfield was leveled by the malevolent robot, Mr. Atom. He was a pawn of that wicked worm, Mr. Mind. Luckily for both Billy and Mary, their parents were away at the time.

Captain Marvel fought Superman, once again. Billy ended up coming to terms with Black Adam.


Personality

Captain Marvel is the “World’s Mightiest Mortal” with powers spawned directly from the gods. Beneath this though hero, is teenager Billy Batson. Billy was orphaned at a young age, and, since he has had to mostly take care of himself, is very resourceful.

Since he began his career as Captain Marvel, Billy has become much more confident and capable in the use of his powers. He has accepted the responsibility of Shazam’s gift, and looks at the powers with a sense of wonder.

Since reuniting with his sister Mary, Billy has become very protective of her. He values his new “Marvel Family” very much, as it is the only real family he has.

Billy can be rather impetuous at times, sometimes jumping into situations before he has had a chance to fully think things through. Despite the fact that he’s mature for his age, and as Captain Marvel, has a body to match this, Billy is still a kid. This is never more apparent than when Cap says wide-eyed things like “Holy Moley !”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Captain Marvel

Dex: 14 Str: 25 Bod: 16 Motivation: Upholding the Good
Int: 04 Wil: 10 Min: 07 Occupation: Student/Radio Broadcaster
Inf: 08 Aur: 08 Spi: 09 Resources {or Wealth}: 003
Init: 039 HP: 150

Powers:
Dimension Travel: 07, Flight: 15, Invulnerability: 20, Lightning (ML): 13, Power Reserve (INT, WIL, Recall): 06, Recall: 04, Sealed systems: 11, Superspeed: 13, Systemic Antidote: 06

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Recall represents part of Captain Marvel’s Wisdom of Solomon (with it, he can Recall knowledge and facts that he normally would not know).
  • Power Reserve represent the rest of the Wisdom of Solomon, but it cannot boost a given attribute by more than 4 APs.
  • Both Recall and Power Reserve are Minor Marginal Powers.
  • Dimension Travel can only be used to travel to the Rock of Eternity.
  • Lightning can only be summoned by speaking the word “Shazam”.
  • Lightning cannot be used as an attack, unless an opponent is very close to Captain Marvel when he speaks the word.
  • Sealed Systems is useless against radiations (-1).
  • Misc.: Each member of the “Marvel Family” who activates their powers, cause Cap to lose 1AP each in his Physical Attributes, Flight, Invulnerability and Superspeed Powers.

Skills:
Charisma (persuasion)*: 08

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (Fawcett City, Rock of Eternity) ; Buddy (Mr. Dudley) ; Insta-change ; Lightning Reflexes ; Popularity.

Connections:
Bulletman (High), Ibis (High), Justice League (Low), “Marvel Family” (High), Mr. Tawky Tawny (High), “Muscles” McGinnis (High), Shazam (High), Superman (Low).

Drawbacks:
Alter Ego (Controllable) ; Arch Enemy (Black Adam) ; Innocent ; Loss Vulnerability: Lightning (Lightning attacks that cause RAPs of damage to Captain Marvel cause him to revert back to Billy Batson, affecting all Attributes and Powers) ; Secret Identity.


Billy Batson

Dex: 03 Str: 02 Bod: 03 Motivation: Upholding the Good
Int: 04 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation: Student/Radio Broadcaster
Inf: 03 Aur: 03 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 003
Init: 010 HP: 020

Powers:
Chameleon: 02, Lightning: 13

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Chameleon represents Billy’s ability to alter Captain Marvel’s appearance by concentrating before he says “Shazam” (theoretically, he can alter Cap’s appearance any way he can imagine, but so far this has been limited to adding facial hair, changing the appearance of his costume/clothing, etc.).
  • Lightning can only be summoned by speaking the word “Shazam””.
  • Lightning cannot be used as an attack, unless an opponent is very close to Billy when he speaks the word.

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (Fawcett City, Rock of Eternity) ; Buddy (Mr. Dudley) ; Insta-change ; Scholar (radio broadcasting).

Connections:
“Marvel Family” (High), Shazam (High), WHIZ Radio (High).


Design notes

We couldn’t reach an agreement about Cap’s STR. It might either be 24 or 25, depending on sources and commentators. Also, this assumes Supes has the stats in the rulebook, including DEX of 15.

By Daryl Kuxhouse (v1 is the one in DCH 3rd, without Sean’s favourite typo 🙂 ). The history, by Walt Grogan, comes from this long-since vanished site – http://shazam.imginc.com/whoswho/captainmarvel.as .

Helper(s): VodoSB, Lord Irish, Philip John Mason, VBTusky, Sébastien Andrivet, Dan.

Source of Character: DC Universe.

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