Public Enemy Captain Marvel
By Hervé St-Louis
March 25, 2007 - 11:43

For every little boy who ever dreamed of being a super hero, there was Captain Marvel. Captain Marvel, created by writer Bill Parker and artist Charles Clarence Beck in 1941 is the world’s mightiest man. By shouting the word Shazam, he gains the power and skills of several mythical men, Solomon, Hercules,  Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury. In the Superman / Batman series, Captain Marvel was asked by then President Luthor to stop the two public enemies.

The Public Enemy Captain Marvel is patterned after the rendition of artist Ed McGuiness. He has a thick neck, squinting eyes, a strong jaw and short stubby arms. The metallic bands on his arms protrude, instead of other artists’ renditions, where they merely line up one after another.


Although one of the best Captain Marvel action figure ever created, his thighs, as McGuiness’ renditions, are too large. His arms look like balloons attached to the side of his torso. This action figure looks like a weight lifter using some illegal protein mix. The one thing this action figure has that is cool is a remote and tough allure. The Captain looks powerful, but all the charm and innocence of the character are lost.


The paint job is decent, although they are skin paint patches on top of his hairs. All the yellow elements are rendered as gold. The golden paint will fade out after a few years if rubbed. On my Captain Marvel Action figure, the golden areas already look dirty. There are comic book-like blue highlights in the Captain’s hair. Unfortunately, they are only at the front of his head. This figure lacks highlights and shading.


This figure is almost exactly the same size as all the other Public Enemies action figures and the JLA Classified line which were all inspired by McGuiness’ work. Next to other DCDirect action figures, Captain Marvel looks taller, but that’s ok, as he is supposed to be larger than life. He is taller than the preceding Captain Marvel and Black Adam action figures released a few years earlier.


Captain Marvel is stable. His heavy torso and thick thighs support his weight very well. His flat soles also help. He does come with a Super Batman action figure stand, which he doesn’t really require.


Captain Marvel has standard articulations at the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and neck. These limited articulations make him a classic type of toy, where he can do basic moves but not much. Posing him will be useless as he will look odd. One could argue that a large action figure like him does not need much articulation, but the Marvel Legends’ line continuously shows that even larger characters, such as Hulk can have as much articulations as more proportionate characters. Therefore, there is a lot of play value lost to this Captain Marvel action figure.


It’s all PVC, except for the removable rubber cape. The action figure’s construction is rather easy too. Not much engineering was used to make this toy.


Captain Marvel comes with a style action figure stand that combines both Superman and Batman’s logos.


The action figure comes on a plastic shell glued on cardstock with artwork and pictures in front and behind the card. The yellow card looks ugly and makes the toy look cheap. With the already limited play value and articulations, people could perceive this toy as being of low value, as opposed to a collector’s item. Already, the first release of Superman / Batman action figures can be seen in cheap bins of comic book stores. Not a great packaging idea in hindsight.


At the time, this figures would sell for about $12 or $15. Prices do change, however, and this action figure can be found for much less in several stores. Prices in auction sites may be higher. Be careful of retailers ordering cheaper overstock from DCDirect trying to sell this action figure for more. They got it for cheap. It’s not worth more.


It seems that retailers did not order many action figures from this line and that DCDirect was stuck with over stock. The Batman and Superman figures in this line are easy to spot for less. The Captain Atom and Captain Marvel action figures were the real highlights of this series as one had never had an action figure before, and the other, only had bad versions released. Although at the time, the best Captain Marvel action figure one could find, DCDirect will release a definitive Captain Marvel line later in 2007 with better proportions. I say wait for that one instead.



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