Monday, July 30, 2012




Dedicated to Jackson Bostwick for always keeping the Dream alive...

    Created by: C.C. Beck and Bill Parker    First Appearance: WHIZ COMICS #2 (1940)

Orphaned by his parents' murder and abandoned by his legal guardian, young Billy Batson was forced to fend for himself on the streets of Fawcett City. Adapting to his situation, he sold newspapers at night and subsisted on scraps of food, while managing to keep himself in school during the day. However, destiny intervened, as one night he was guided to a mysterious cave underneath the city, where he encountered an ancient wizard known as Shazam.  Recognizing his courage and good heart, the ancient wizard granted the boy the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury -- which transforms the young boy into the adult body of the super-powered Captain Marvel.

Capable of tapping into his patron's abilities by shouting the wizard's name, The World's Mightiest Mortal has used these abilities, as well as the power of flight, to combat everything from power-mad scientists to super-intelligent alien worms. Meanwhile, Billy Batson has made good with his own life, becoming a newscaster for WHIZ Radio and making enough money to support himself while he continues his education. 

While not as well known as Superman (due to DC propaganda IMHO), whom he bears a passing resemblance to, Captain Marvel is just as powerful, and one of the only beings in the DC Universe capable of fighting and defeating the Man of Steel in a straight up fight. With this much raw-power at his disposal, Captain Marvel is by far one of the most elite and most revered superheroes in all of comic book history. And even though The World's Mightiest Mortal could rip apart an entire planet with his bare hands, he is an altruistic soul that would rather help those in need than engage them in a senseless fight. But being a superhero with a ton of arch-enemies who want to destroy him, it does come with the job. So without further ado, here is a ranking of Captain Marvel's absolute greatest slugfests ever...


Writers: Roy Thomas, Julius Schwartz, Gil Kane, and Joey Cavalieri  Art: Gil Kane

The story begins with Superman victorious in a battle against Captain Marvel's arch-nemesis Dr. Sivana. Sivana uses a gigantic mecha to attack New York City on Earth-1, but Superman defeats his Mech-Armor and sends Sivana on his way back to Earth-S. Not to be outdone, Sivana uses science to manipulate the wizard Shazam and when Fawcett City is threatened and Billy says the magic word that turns him into Captain Marvel, half of that power is funneled into Sivana, turning him into a super-powered villain calling himself Captain Sivana. With Captain Marvel being de-powered, Sivana will beat him up and bury him within the Rock of Eternity where he will have to helplessly watch Sivana take over the world. Sivana keeps altering his title as he defeats other members of the Marvel Family such as Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr. Now proclaiming himself Colonel Sivnana, he decides it's time to get revenge on Superman for his defeat at the New York City of Earth-1. Heading to Metropolis, but mistakenly arriving at the Daily Star of Earth-2, Colonel Sivana draws out Kal-L, the Earth-2 Superman into the conflict. While this Superman puts up a fight against Sivana, he is clearly older and less powerful than he once was and begins to take a pounding from the more vicious super-powered Sivana. When Sivana finally defeats the Earth-2 Superman in combat, he uses the aid of a Kryptonite meteor shower to imprison him. 

Sivana decides he'll be called General Sivana and finally heads to the proper Earth for the showdown with Kal-El (the Superman of Earth-1). Kal-El and Sivana go back and forth until Sivana springs a trainload of Kryptonite on him while Captain Marvel watches horrified from the Rock of Eternity feeling more helpless than ever. Soon CM gets a pep talk from the Elders and digs down deep within himself regaining his full-powers and breaking free from his imprisonment. Flying at super-speeds, CM gets back into the game stopping General Sivana from delivering the killing blow to Superman. This will give Kal-El the opportunity to jump over to Earth-2 to save the older Kal-L from the meteor shower. Captain Marvel is the one who finally lays the smack-down on "General" Sivana in a massive slugfest. With Shazam now released he turns Sivana back to normal and everybody heads back to their proper universe.


Writers: Joe Simon and Jack Kirby  Art: Jack Kirby and Joe Simon

Dr. Sivana creates a robot named "Z" that will help out his fellow thug posse in his schemes against Captain Marvel and the world. While "Z" and Sivana's gang gets defeated by CM in the first encounter, Sivana will increase the robots power by injecting him with a secret formula. Once again "Z" manages to goad Captain Marvel into a fight and this time really takes it too him. Struggling more than he has ever before, Captain Marvel actually almost drowns when the fight ends up in the ocean. While Marvel barely manages to get the knock out, we learn it was the weight of the water that hindered "Z" at the end of the fight. Now in a final attempt to destroy The Big Red Cheese, "Z" and Dr. Sivana kidnap Billy Batson and burn down a warehouse in hoping Captain Marvel will show up in the process (both are not privy to that fact that Billy Batson is actually Captain Marvel himself). When Billy gets free and says the magic words of "SHAZAM!" Captain Marvel appears to face "Z" in the final showdown! This fight is all Captain Marvel as he goes all out and pounds "Z" into scrap metal for the definitive win. But Marvel even states at the end that this robot gave him the fight of his life and it remains one of the most intense and toughest one-on-one scraps of CM's Golden Age career.

3.) ALL-STAR SQUADRON #36 (1984)

Writer: Roy Thomas  Art: Rich Buckler and Richard Howell

Under the influence of Adolf Hitler’s Spear of Destiny, Captain Marvel attacks Earth-2 Superman and the rest of the All Star Squadron. They have a HUGE no holds barred brawl in the sky until Captain Marvel hits Superman with a tremendous punch that rockets the Man of Steel crashing back to the Earth. When other Squadron members go to Superman’s aide, they are shocked to find him stunned and defeated. While most Superman purest like to discredit this victory over the Man of Steel, Captain Marvel is clearly shown to live up to his hype and stand among the titans of the DC Universe. This fight without a doubt put The Big Red Cheese on the map and has to be considered one of his greatest and most defining ever!

2.) L.E.G.I.O.N. '91 #31 (1991)

Writers: Alan Grant and Barry Kitson  Art: Barry Kitson

Network is an interplanetary police force headed up by Vril Dox. One of the many operatives that work for Dox is the bounty hunter known as Lobo. Trying to get away from his duties as a L.E.G.I.O.N. operative the aggressive Czarnian bounty heads to a local dive bar to have a drink when Captain Marvel (coming from the War of the Gods crossover) comes tumbling into the bar crashing directly on top of the self-proclaimed "Main Man." Captain Marvel tries at all costs to avoid being provoked by Lobo into a fight. But eventually when Lobo stuffs a patron into a toilet bowl Captain Marvel has had enough of his antics and wants to teach this bully a lesson in manners. While the fight goes back and forth, Marvel eventually gets teleported away and the fight ends. This fight ranks in at number 2 on this list because it clearly shows what the true essence of Captain Marvel is all about. Especially when he is opposed against an ultra-violent  and brutal character like Lobo who is his polar opposite. And rarely did you ever see Marvel lose his cool the way he does with Lobo, because if there is one thing Billy Batson can't stand, it is a bully. This issue is not only one of Captain Marvel's greatest battles but also one of his greatest stories as well.

1.) KINGDOM COME #3 and 4 (1996)

Writer: Mark Waid  Art: Alex Ross

There is no doubt that this is by far the greatest Captain Marvel fight of all time and it cannot be disputed. Because it was this fight that truly defined Captain Marvel to the masses and gave him the credibility that he has always rightfully deserved. The Big Red Cheese would now walk among the DC Universe as an undeniable equal with the Man of Steel (and that is the way it should be). For the Superman and Captain Marvel fight in this series is by far the most popular, most referenced and most legendary clash in the history of their rivalry. 

With the war of all wars breaking out, the two most powerful beings on Earth square off in a final battle. They face off in the final pages of Kingdom Come #3 when Captain Marvel slams into an unsuspecting Superman. In the next issue, total war breaks out with Captain Marvel (who has been brain washed by Lex Luthor) and Superman battle it out. They fight toe-to-toe until Captain Marvel batters Superman by using his magic lightning bolt over and over but dodging before it hits him, leaving Superman to bear the brunt of a magical lightning strike. However, as Captain Marvel says “SHAZAM!” again, Superman grabs him and the lightning finds its mark; turning Captain Marvel back into Billy Batson. Holding Batson's mouth shut, Superman tells Batson that he is going to stop the remaining bomb, and Batson must make an important choice: either stop him and allow the warhead to kill all the super-humans, or let Superman stop the bomb and allow the super-humans' war to engulf the world. Superman tells Batson he must be the one to make this decision, as he is the only one who lives in both worlds, that of normal humans (as Batson) and the super-human community (as Marvel). Superman releases him and flies off to stop the incoming bomb. Batson, his mind now clear of Luthor's influence, turns into Captain Marvel, flies up to Superman, throws him back down to the ground and takes hold of the bomb. Having found a third option, Marvel shouts "SHAZAM!" three more times in rapid succession and the lightning sets off the bomb prematurely, killing himself in the process. Although an Elseworlds tale, Kingdom Come was for all intents and purposes set in the future of the then-current mainstream DC Universe. This is superhero writing, art and action at its absolute finest! 

Agree? Disagree? Let's hear it fanboys!!

Check out other "THE TOP 5 GREATEST BATTLES OF..." here:



The Sub-Mariner


The Thing



Iron Man


The Avengers 


John Cimino
John Cimino is a Silver and Bronze Age comic, cartoon and memorabilia expert that runs a business called "Saturday Morning Collectibles." He buys, sells, appraises and gives seminars on everything pop culture, so if you got something special, let him know about it. He contributes articles to ALTER EGO, RETRO FAN, BACK ISSUE and THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR from TwoMorrows Publishing, runs the Roy Thomas Appreciation Board on Facebook and has appeared on the AMC reality show Comic Book Men. He also represents some of comicdoms biggest stars and brings them to a Comic Con near you. John likes to think he's the real Captain Marvel, people just don't have the heart to tell him he's just an obsessed fanboy that loves to play superheroes with his daughter Bryn. Contact him at or follow him on Instagram at megostretchhulk.


  1. Funny Response by former DC President Paul Levitz...

    "I'm not a great maven on Capt Marvel, but I think pretty much all his great adventures are in the 40s. Maybe Kingdom Come qualifies..."

    -Paul Levitz

  2. When the legendary Captain Marvel actor from the SHAZAM Live-Action series, Jackson Bostwick sends me a response on this article, you better believe I'm posting it up for EVERYONE to see...SHAZAM!!!

    "Whoa! You've done it again, my good man. And thanks for the nod. And kudos to you for keeping the memory of "The Original Captain Marvel" alive for generations to come. Shazam!"

    -Jackson Bostwick

  3. Legendary writer/creator Roy Thomas sent me this and pointed out a few of my mistakes (in which I already corrected). Thanks Roy, it's an honor to be critiqued and corrected by one of the greats!!

    Hi John--

    "Nice work generally, and I'm happy that two stories I wrote (or co-wrote) made it onto the list. However, I'll admit that my enthusiasm was somewhat dimmed by the fact that my collaborators and I aren't named... you seem to have saved that honor for Alex Ross and Mark Waid. Our stories did not write and draw themselves."

    - Roy Thomas

  4. Here is a little letter of promise from DC Publisher Dan DiDio!

    "I think I'd like to see one of Geoff's new stories crack the top five."

    -Dan DiDio

  5. Lots of Marvel heroes and I get confused some of them. But I like Superman, he's the best!

  6. Great list! I need to get these stories, especially the Roy Thomas ones, as he is probably my favorite writer.

  7. That was Kal-L who the good captain defeated in All Star Squadron 36, who was much less powerful than the mainstream Kal-El superman as demonstrated in DCP annual 3 which you put up there.

    1. No he wasn't. They fought to a complete draw with no one able to gain and edge. Believe it, CM is superior to Superman and he always was.

  8. Abhijeet is correct, that was the Earth-2 weaker Superman that he knocked down in the All Star Squadron book. I don't understand how you can consider Cap superior when he never actually does anything superior. One of his biggest adversaries is a worm with glasses after all...

    1. You discredit Captain Marvel and praise Superman and yet it's Superman who has never been able to beat him? You're delusional my friend.

    2. I always thought Superman was below the power of CM because he is a god. Superman is just an alien...big difference.

  9. Though he did not actually get to fight anyone physically, one of his greatest battles ever was in Captain Marvel Adventures #100, in 1947, when Dr. Sivana became ruler of the universe. The story was a masterpiece of efficiency and effectiveness, telling an epic tale of time travel, disguise, and deception in which it truly seemed like, for once, the evil scientist would get the upper hand and the power of Shazam would be lost forever.

  10. Nice job giving Captain Marvel the respect he deserves. DC does a great job toning him down and giving Superman the spotlight. FYI I hate DC.

  11. I think on the first day of release, i will not get seats to Watch Captain Marvel Movie. This is going to be the best movie from Marvel next year.