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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
MAC RABOY IS ONE OF THE GOLDEN AGE'S UNDERRATED TALENTS!Oct. 27 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
I guess I will never get over the fact that DC Comics now has the rights to Captain Marvel and the whole Marvel family. It's the boldest irony since it was DC that was responsible for putting Fawcett Comics out of business with their lawsuit alleging that the character was a copyright infringement of Superman. I would hazard to guess that the fact that Captain Marvel was actually outselling Superman in the 1940's played a big part in their decision to sue Fawcett, who ceased publication of their superhero comics in 1953. Still, if not for DC we probably would not be seeing these wonderful Golden Age reprints, the latest being the Shazam Family Vol. 1.
This edition features the early adventures of Captain Marvel Junior. The book reprints Junior's adventures from Master Comics #23 - 32, Captain Marvel Jr. #1, and also includes the first appearance of Mary Marvel from Captain Marvel Adventures #18. Most of the stories in the book feature art by Mac Raboy who is perhaps best known for his 20 year run as artist on the Flash Gordon Sunday newspaper strip, taking over for the great Alex Raymond. Raboy's art is quite a touch darker and grimmer than most superhero titles of the day, certainly far darker than Captain Marvel's artist C.C.Beck. Raboy also produced some of the most outstanding covers of the Golden Age while working on Master Comics, which are thankfully reprinted in the book.
Throughout out most of the ten issues reprinted in this debut volume, Captain Marvel Jr. finds himself battling two main foes, the German villain Captain Nazi, and Mr. Macabre, sort of an amalgam of The Shadow & the Joker. Captain Marvel Jr. is Freddy Freeman, a crippled boy who sells newspapers and lives in a rundown shack. We will see in the origin story from Captain Marvel Jr. #1 that he was orphaned when Captain Nazi killed his grandfather and left Freddy for dead until Captain Marvel pulled him from the sea. Freddy is saved when the wizard Shazam tells Marvel that he can give the boy a portion of his magic powers. Now when Freddy says the name "Captain Marvel" he becomes Captain Marvel Jr. Oddly, he still remains a young, teenaged boy whereas Billy Batson becomes an adult during his transformation.
Mr. Macabre is introduced in Master Comics #24 and is a rather creepy villain who is killing his former business partners after announcing they will die over the radio. The mystery of how he kills the men is rather ingenious for the time. The Captain Marvel Jr. stories are more subdued than those of Captain Marvel who had many slapstick villains. The one weakness these early stories suffer from is the repetition of Captain Nazi and Mr. Macabre as his foes, neither of which really provides much of a challenge.
Mary Marvel would complete the trio and her origin is told in Captain Marvel Adventures #1. We learn that Mary is actually Billy Batson's twin sister and they were separated as babies when their parents died with Mary going to live with a wealthy family.
I really enjoyed the stories in this volume more than I thought I would because my expectations were for the same style of stories of Captain Marvel. But the main selling point is the gorgeous art and covers of Mac Raboy.
Reviewed by Tim Janson
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
A Welcome Addition to the Shazam Archive SeriesOct. 6 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
I have to admit, ive been waiting for an archive take on Captain Marvel Jr. for a long time. This volume is well worth the wait, the stories here are vastly different from the Captain Marvel Sr. stories of previous archive editions in both tone and artwork. Cap Jr's tales are somewhat darker and more serious. The artwork is breathtaking, with a sense of realism and artistic grace not usually seen in comic books at the time. Mac Raboy's art on the Cap Jr comics will put you in mind of Alex Raymond's "Flash Gordon" and Hal Foster's "Prince Valiant" comics. These tales were written when America was just shaking the dust off of Pearl Harbor and the mood of the country was prepping towards impending war. Captain Marvel Jr.'s battles with Captain Nazi is sprinked throught these pages. The fight sequences are always a thrill, through they tend to be a bit redundant. You will also notice the same artwork is used periodically in several stories, this was due to Raboy inability to meet deadlines due to his meticulousness of his artwork. Yet it is the artwork and earnest plotting that makes the Captain Marvel Jr. stories far superior to most of the superhero comics of the day.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Terrific Archive Volume. Good Move DC!Dec 31 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
Young Freddy Freeman was crippled in a chance encounter with super-villain Captain Nazi. His idol, super-hero Captain Marvel gave Freddy part of his power. Whenever Freddy said the name of his hero, he became Captain Marvel, Jr., the World's Mightiest Teenager.
It's fascinating the read the "Shazam! Family Archives" so soon after reading the "Robin Archives", as well as the "Shazam! Archives". In one sense, Captain Marvel, Jr. was the first teenage sidekick to receive his own series, although, since Captain Marvel was himself really a kid, that's a debatable presumption. Even so, Cap, Jr.'s stories were unusual given the nature of the character. Junior was a kid, but his adventures were not the lighthearted affair Robin's were. Indeed, they were quite serious, almost bleak, especially compared with Captain Marvel's. Junior did battle with the vicious Captain Nazi in the U.S. and in Europe. He also ran up against Mr. Macabre, a sinister criminal with green skin. Even with his powers, Freddy was hardly a happy go-lucky kid. He lived in a cave on the outskirts of town, and made his living hawking papers. He was permanently lame in his civilian identity.
And yet, Junior's solo adventures are still quite delightful, as he slaps around Axis spies and gangsters. He had the same problem many of contemporaries had: he was powerful hero with some less-than-powerful enemies. But watching Junior smack around Captain Nazi and Mr. Macabre is quite satisfying, and the plots that these villains hatched were very clever.
Of course, the real attraction of this volume it the fine pencils of Mac Raboy. Raboy was one of those rare artists of the golden age who strove more for realism and eschewed the cartoony tendency of his contemporaries. Each panel contrasted the dark tone of the stories and the prevailing hope symbolized in its star. Under Raboy, Junior was a beacon of power and justice and the villains were skulking, sinister menaces. The great flaw of Raboy was his perfectionism. It's easy to see repeated pieces of art (poses and facial expressions in particular) from issue to issue just to make his deadlines. Still, that's a small price to pay for such fine work. Raboy did the art for "Master Comics" nos. 23-32. He didn't do the art for "Captain Marvel, Jr." #1; the change is noticeable.
DC has wisely decided combine the adventures of both Captain Marvel, Jr. and Mary Marvel in one archive series. The origin of Mary Marvel is presented here in "Captain Marvel Adventures" no. 18, as Billy Batson (a.k.a. Captain Marvel) discovers he has a long-lost sister. When Cap and Junior get into trouble, Mary utters the famous word "Shazam", and becomes the first female sidekick/spin-off of a popular super-hero. The origin story, written by Otto Binder, is a more conventional Captain Marvel story in tone and in execution. Thus, it's somewhat jarring to read it after roughly 200 pages of the darker Junior stories. Nonetheless, it's a fun story, and Mary Marvel has become somewhat overlooked in the pantheon of female super-heroes.
I'm glad DC has begun exploring other aspects of the Fawcett properties they own. I look forward to more volumes in this series. I also hope that DC gives some thought to collecting other Fawcett characters, like Bulletman and Spy Smasher.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The Shazam Family? not!Nov. 28 2007
Dr R. J. Lofaro
- Published on Amazon.com
Great Mac Raboy art...BUT, all the stories, except the last one...are Captain Marvel, Jr. ones. In the last story...the "origin" of Mary Marvel, all 3 appear. Other than that story, no Mary Marvel, No Big Red Cheese and no Marvel Family stories. So, if you like Captain Marvel, Jr., this book is for you. If you want the Marvel Family, or Cap, or Mary Marvel...look elsewhere
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The lies are true.Nov. 26 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
This DC Comics Archives reprints the first ten issues of Captain Marvel Jr's adventures in Master Comics, plus the first issue of his own comic book and the origin of Mary Marvel from Captain Marvel Adventures #18. Junior's adventures in Master Comics were drawn by the great Mac Raboy. Raboy was a notoriously slow artist who had difficulty making the deadline on one 14 page Captain Marvel Jr a month, so when Junior got his own comic book, there was no way that he would be able to draw a whole comic book of Captain Marvel Jr stories. Captain Marvel Jr #1 was instead drawn by the competent but unexciting Albert Carreno, although Raboy did draw a classic cover for that comic. Junior's stories were more serious than the lighthearted adventures of Captain Marvel Sr, which may be due to the influence of Raboy's more realistic artwork. Junior faces his arch-enemy Captain Nazi many times within these pages (perhaps too many times). Another recurring villain is the green faced Mr Macabre. These stories are enjoyable, although there are frequent boo boos where Junior (or Freddie) will say his magic word ("Captain Marvel") and not change his identity. The story that introduces Mary Marvel is a lot of fun and is a lot more lighthearted than Junior's adventures. It's been six years since this book was published. So where's Volume 2?