Most of the time, DC’s Versus videos pit two people that normally wouldn’t fight against one another and argue why either one could win. These videos have featured various pairings, some of which seemed good and others as total mismatches. This week’s fight is not only a decent match-up, but it’s one that has been done in the comics a few times. The last son of Krypton, Superman, versus the wielder of the power of Shazam, Captain Marvel. Or as they put it, Superman vs. Shazam.
I’m not sure when the flip happened and they started calling him Shazam after years of calling him Captain Marvel, but okay.* The two characters are both powerhouses and could stand toe-to-toe with almost anyone in the DC Universe. The biggest difference is Superman is a character of science, while Shazam is a character of magic and mysticism. And magic is Superman’s second biggest weakness. But, at the end of the day, Shazam is a kid in a man’s body. He doesn’t have the experience Superman has, and I think that in most battles that would be the deciding factor. Also, like a lot of fights, location matters. Can Shazam survive in space? What about underwater? Could Superman move the fight off planet and win just by the lack of oxygen?
Cross off the matching powers of strength, speed, flight, endurance, etc…and we’re left with heat vision, x-ray vision, and super breath versus the control of lightning. Again, that seems pretty fairly matched. When it comes down to it, I think Superman wins two out of every three battles because of experience and his ability to go without oxygen…unless that last thing has been retconned out again.
*Editor’s Note: There’s still some confusion surrounding when DC stopped calling the character “Captain Marvel”, so with help from the info laid out by the DC Multiverse Historian, let me briefly explain:
“Captain Marvel” was used for the first time in 1939 by Fawcett Comics, who owned the character and name. DC (then National Comics) sued Fawcett under the claim that the character was a copy of Superman, and Fawcett settled, agreeing never to publish Captain Marvel again. Fast forward to 1972, when DC decides to license the character from Fawcett — but by that time, Marvel Comics had already trademarked the title “Captain Marvel” for their own book and character. Due to trademark mumbo jumbo, both DC and Marvel could have a character named Captain Marvel, but only Marvel could actually publish books and promotional items under “Captain Marvel”. So DC started publishing books called Shazam, featuring their Captain Marvel. The problem was that people started mistakenly thinking that Shazam was the name of the character. In 2011, DC finally succumbed to the confusion and, with the launch of the New 52, officially renamed their Captain Marvel “Shazam”.
The more you know!
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