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Captain Nazi (Captain Marvel enemy) (Golden Age DC Comics)

Captain Nazi

(1940s version)


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

Context

Captain Nazi is one of the traditional enemies of Captain Marvel (Billy Batson). He appeared in 1941, which also explains the goofy name. It made sense back then, especially in a disposable comic book chiefly aimed at children and in the context of wartime propaganda.

Since the Golden Age  of comics, Captain Marvel has been through a number of reboots and transformations, and his foe Captain Nazi followed suit.

Writeups.org has a full coverage of those versions from the 1940s to 2010s, namely:

  1. Captain Nazi (1940s version).
  2. Captain Nazi (1970s version).
  3. Captain Nazi (1980s version).
  4. Captain Nazi (1995-2010 version).

The profiles are intended to be read in order, to follow the evolutions of the character. Oh, and for this first version I know I’m missing at least one appearance (Captain Marvel, Jr. #19), but there’s a good chance that it doesn’t change much to the profile.


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Background

  • Real Name: Unrevealed.
  • Other Aliases: The world’s worst villain.
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: Third Reich, Monster Society of Evil.
  • Base Of Operations: Wartime Germany.
  • Height: 6’4” Weight: 227 lbs.
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Blond


Powers and Abilities

On paper, Captain Nazi is very powerful. He has super-strength, super-durability, master spy training, super-reflexes, great agility, etc.. But in practice, the opponents of the Marvels seldom could threaten them in one-on-one combat. And like the rest, Nazi was usually easily disposed of. He’s mighty, but the Marvels are way mightier.

Nazi also has a tendency to use ordinary weapons such as his sidearm, or nearby grenades, thrown axes… Obviously these aren’t going to have an effect on his opponents. Perhaps he hopes to score a very, very lucky shot while staying at a range from his overwhelming opponents.


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Thus, a fight with Captain Marvel (or Captain Marvel, Jr.) usually consists of Marvel punching Nazi once, dazing him and sending him flying. In DC Heroes RPG terms, Marvel hits with his full STR and only needs a handful of Hero Points  on his EV to ensure a Stun. Then Nazi then has to escape if he can, the blow having made it obvious that he can’t go toe-to-toe against Marvel.

If Nazi manages to punch a Marvel it will probably have no effect. In fact a Marvel (particularly Freddy) might choose to just stand there and take the blow (perhaps with a few HPs toward RV) with no effect, to demonstrate American superiority.

It would seem that heroes not as massively powerful as Captain Marvel or Captain Marvel, Jr. cannot hurt Captain Nazi. Thus, these lesser luminaries need to stay on the defensive against him (in DCH terms, spending HPs to keep their OV high) — though this is not entirely clear from the material. This explains his high stats ; based on the fights with the Marvels alone, Nazi’s stats could be way lower.

I hate these guys

Since Captain Nazi primarily acts as an assassin, mass murderer and saboteur (rather than, say, running in and wrecking random factories with his bare hands), he’s often disguised. In fact he’s able to impersonate specific persons well enough that it takes a super-hero to spot him. He also often relies on demolitions.

Captain Nazi (1940s) on the radio with Mister Mind

The stories can’t seem to decide whether he’s a stupid buffoon or a cunning spy, and sometimes he’s both at once. But he has a pretty respectable range of skills and would have been a serious problem for the American war effort if not for Captain Marvel, Jr. and Captain Marvel.

In his last appearances, Captain Nazi uses a gas that allows him to fly at a slightly lower speed than Captain Marvel, Jr.. Still, that is speed enough to cross the Atlantic under his own power within at most a few hours.

A recurrent story element is that Captain Nazi is thrown into prison or contained in a structure from which he can obviously escape with but a punch. Yet nobody, up to and including Captain Marvel, Jr., ever realises that. Heroes and authorities always inexplicably assume that Captain Nazi cannot possibly escape when all that’s holding him is mere steel and masonry.


Who moved my big red cheese ?

Captain Nazi was a regular villain during Captain Marvel and Captain Marvel, Jr.’s wartime adventures. He appears a short time before the Pearl Harbor attack and the American declaration of war (in late 1941) and continues to frequently turn up until early 1944.

Captain Nazi was featured in simple, propaganda-ladden stories. He’s a costumed saboteur to be forever routed by the Marvels – a sort of cross between war movies and an episode of Looney Tunes pitting Tweety against Sylvester. As far as I know he stopped appearing after 1944, though I could easily have missed some stories due to a lack of a definitive Fawcett index.

In the early 1950s, the sales of super-heroes stories started collapsing, and Fawcett Publications (Captain Marvel’s publisher) lost a case against National Comics (Superman’s publisher). That forced Fawcett to stop publishing Captain Marvel stories.

There would be attempts to reboot the continuity in various forms, Captain Marvel having been a very popular character during the war. Those were conducted by DC Comics (the successor of National Comics). New versions of Captain Nazi were introduced during each such attempted Captain Marvel relaunch, gradually modernising and developing the concept.


History

As with many Golden Age foes of Captain Marvel, Captain Nazi was a cardboard figure. He didn’t have a civilian name, a background or even an origin sequence. These would come later, during attempts to relaunch Captain Marvel stories.

Adolf Hitler just unveiled Captain Nazi to his command staff one day. After Nazi gave a brief demonstration of his might, he was sent to the US to challenge and publicly defeat selected American crime- fighters :

Believing in the direct approach, Captain Nazi soon swung over Times Square, causing a panic, hitting a few bystanders and challenging Bulletman. Nazi then started a one-man blitzkrieg of sabotage and terror in the New York area.

For freedom and democracy ! (part 1)

Two heroes — Bulletman and Captain Marvel — responded, teaming up for the first time. Captain Nazi did manage to do a fair bit of damage and killed many civilians, though he tended to retreat whenever the heroes would confront him. After many murders and acts of sabotage, Marvel finally caught the slippery Nazi fair and square and punched him into next week.

Captain Nazi (1940s)'s face

Landing in the bay, the stunned Nazi was fished out by two well-meaning fishermen in a rowboat. The Nazi thanked them by killing the older fisherman and fatally wounding the man’s grandson. Captain Marvel narrowly saved the kid’s life, but the youth was crippled for life and was not expected to survive for long.

Marvel saved his life by taking him to the wizard Shazam. The elder turned the teenager into a new super-hero — Captain Marvel, Jr.

For freedom and democracy ! (part 2)

Captain Nazi continued to operate in the US (and occasionally Britain). He worked along with Fifth Columnists and occasionally allied with American villains, traitors, mad scientists and the like. He was always stopped by Captain Marvel or Captain Marvel, Jr. – the latter being his most frequent opponent. But he often left a consequent trail of bodies and destruction before he was stopped.

Captain Nazi discovered early on that there existed a connection between Freddy Freeman and Captain Marvel, Jr.. Yet it never occurred to him — as was the style of the day — that they were the same person. He would often have Freddy captured, though, knowing that Captain Marvel, Jr. would soon come to the rescue.

In early 1943, Hitler arranged for Nazi to use a gas developed by one Henri Gaigne, a captive scientist from Vichy France . The gas could confer the power of flight, though only an enhanced subject such as Nazi could use it.

After Captain Nazi demonstrated that the gas worked, Hitler personally shot Gaigne dead. From that time onward Nazi enjoyed the power of flight whenever he breathed the gas.

The Great Society of Evil of the Universe

In the spring of 1943, Captain Nazi was contacted over the radio by the alien Mister Mind, about whom he apparently had already heard. Mind wanted to open a chapter of his ’universal society of evil‘ on Earth. He saw the Axis powers as his natural allies.

He told Nazi that he would reward the Axis countries if they won the war, and the Captain decided to join what would soon become the Monster Society of Evil. Though he was an early joiner, Nazi’s documented stay with the MSoE was brief.

Captain Nazi (1940s) looks at the Fawcett Comics heroes

In the summer of 1943, Captain Nazi launched one of his most memorable and public plans, pretending to defect to the US. He even brought lists of Nazi spies in America to prove that he was on the level. This was of course a trap, but both Captain Marvel, Jr. and key military leaders only pretended to go along with the charade.

When Captain Nazi fed false information to US intelligence to clear the way for an attempted German invasion of the US (!), the Americans were expecting this. Thus, Nazi forces fell into an ambush.


Description

The caption in the first panel where Nazi appears describes him as “a rather handsome man […] his powerful and dynamic face marked with a Heidelberg duelling scar.” Heidelberg is a German university that was known in the US due to press articles about students proudly bearing facial scars from sabre duels.

Later depictions of Captain Nazi occasionally drop the handsome bit and give him a contorted, villainous face. As to the scar it has a marked tendency to vanish (hence the lack of Creepy Appearance in our game stats).

Once he gains the power of flight via the Gaigne gas, Nazi starts occasionally sporting a pale green cape with a red swastika.


Personality

Captain Nazi is a slippery saboteur and murderer. He always comes up with villainous schemes to cripple America and enhance the Nazi war machine. He’s your typical wartime propaganda Evil Ruthless Dastardly Nazi, prone to melodramatic threats — though he doesn’t have a moustache to twirl.

Nazi is often depicted as a tin soldier and a bully. He’ll strut and act sophisticated and domineering, but will quickly fold when faced by a Marvel. Likewise, he is not too hard to Interrogate if captured by somebody stronger than he is.

It is also common for Nazi to remorselessly kill people who helped him, or to slaughter defenceless people whilst laughing an evil laugh. But that doesn’t hide the fact that he’s a devious coward. He has, of course, no problem with sacrificing other Nazi agents, provided that it allows him to strike back at Captain Marvel, Jr..


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Captain Nazi

Dex: 12 Str: 15 Bod: 14 Motivation: Power
Int: 05 Wil: 05 Min: 04 Occupation: Saboteur, killer
Inf: 07 Aur: 05 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 011
Init: 024 HP: 040

Powers:
Jumping: 02

Skills:
Acrobatics: 08, Animal handling (Riding): 05, Artist (Actor): 05, Artist (Painter): 03, Gadgetry: 05, Military science (Cartography, Demolition, Field command): 06, Thief (Stealth, Security systems): 06, Vehicles (Air, Land, Water): 07, Weaponry: 09

Advantages:
Language (German).

Connections:
Nazi Germany (High), Underworld (Low), Fifth Column (High), Other Axis powers (Low).

Drawbacks:
None demonstrated.

Equipment:

  • FLIGHT GAS [BODY 00, Flight: 09, Note: this gas can only be used by a superhumanly strong and/or robust person, though there’s no further data about this limitation ; one dose lasts for about an hour].
    By exposing himself to this gas, Captain Nazi gains the Power of Flight for roughly 60 minutes, at which point he must inhale another dose if he wants to keep flying. Re-exposing himself to the gas immediately restores the Flight Power, which cannot be Recovered otherwise. Nazi usually carries a small inhaler with more doses. Note that Nazi only gets ahold of this gas in January, 1943 — which is quite late in his career, as far as I can tell.
  • “Luger” P08 Pistol [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 04, Ammo: 08, R#03]. This is the sidearm kept in his belt holster.
  • Disguise kit hidden in his costume.

Design Notes

As usual, this is a *post-Crisis scale* version of the character. See the FAQ for more about that if you’re unfamiliar with the concept.

The first three incarnations of Captain Nazi (1940s, 1970s and 1980s versions) are impossible to stat up accurately – the material is simply not there to base analysis on. These writeups thus rely on educated guesses, and use the numbers in World at War to get a sense of scale when necessary.

When fighting the Marvels, Nazi is aware he can’t afford to spend HPs on both AV and EV. Usually he boosts his AV a bit – giving him good chances to land an actual blow, but not much of a chance to actually having an effect. Captain Nazi really should spent some time understanding how the Action Table and the Result Table work.

Conversely, Nazi will not normally spend HPs against ordinary super-heroes such as Bulletman, keeping his HPs to stay conscious and escape when he runs into a Marvel, or is caught in a “certain death” situation. This HPs conservation policy explains why he’s not as redoubtable as he should be – but also how he always comes back and often easily escapes.


Dexterity check

The DEX in this entry is benchmarked against the traditional DEX for Captain Marvel since 2nd edition — 14. Did Captain Marvel really have a DEX of 14 during the 1940s ? Barring some extensive research I’m not going to carry out in the foreseeable future (if only because these microfiches can be so dang hard to read), the answer is “probably, but I don’t know for sure”.

Reasoning with a 14 has some advantages :

  • it’s official (and thus is shared as a starting point by everybody).
  • it meets the necessity of laying down a key value (since in most cases you can only bench characters against Captain Marvel – there’s no other data, leaving you with a chicken-and-egg situation).
  • it jibes reasonably well with some Golden Age conventions.
  • it’s not falsified within the stories.


By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Fawcett comics.

Helper(s): Peter Piispanen, Chris Cottingham, Darci.

Writeup completed on the 28th of December, 2010.

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