If both, Billy and Mary have paid the price for being Captain Marvels, Freddy Freeman has paid it a high cost as well. And as the rest of the Marvel Family, controversy follows him, as some people really liked him, while others seem to hate him.
Probably the least known of the Marvels, and the least chronicled in recent years, Freddy Freeman has been different from the other Marvels since his early days, and this is noted being the only Marvel dressed different than the other two.
His first appearance was in Whiz Comics # 25 in 1942, in an attempt of producing a counterpart to Robin, Bucky and other famous sidekicks to other famous characters.
His pre-Crisis origin is very much the same as the post-Crisis origin, Freddy Freeman and his grandfather are fishing when all of a sudden, from the sky, Captain Nazi, who was thrown out by Captain Marvel from an airplane, lands near the boat where both Freemans are. Captain Nazi, cruelly, slains the old man and throws overboard the young man, breaking his back in the process.
Captain Marvel takes the gravely injured boy to the nearest hospital where the doctors take away all hope of him surviving the night, due the magnitude of the injuries. Captain Marvel, listening to this, decides to take the agonizing teen, and as Billy Batson, takes him to the secret cavern where Shazam lies.
Shazam gives the answer with the following phrase: "You, as Captain Marvel can... pass on this poor boy some of the mighty powers I once gave you." Billy decides to do so, and whenever Freddy Freeman shouts the name of his hero, Captain Marvel, acquiring the powers of his idol. In doing so, Freddy is saved, but as a parallel effect of his previous encounter with Captain Nazi, he's crippled forever, being limp of his left leg. Another fact, is that he, as Mary, remained the same, I mean, their true age, when they transform, while Billy becomes an adult when being Captain Marvel.
Freddy is heir to his grandfather only possession, a newsstand, that he manages since then in order to make a living.
Put aside, Captain Marvel Jr.'s adventures, where drawn differently than the adventures of the rest of the Marvel Family, since his adventures where drawn by Mac Raboy, an artist who has a more realistic approach in his art, less cartoonish, as it seemed with the other members of the World's Mightiest Mortals, in tone with the art, the stories seemed to be grittier than the usually, light-toned Marvel Family stories. And it has been said, that among his fans, was the most famous Rock'n'Roll singer, Elvis Presley. As a homage to this fact, Captain Marvel Jr., is presented dressed in a very similar manner than the superstar, and even combed like him, as well, his name being now different from Captain Marvel Jr., and is named King Marvel.
During the Silver Age of the comics, when the Marvel Family was revived by DC on Earth S, Freddy awakened from the past after being dormant in ice due the evil machinations of Dr. Sivana. His grittier mood was softened by his good friendship with Mary, who seemed to like him, and was the most adapted to the modern life than the other members of this famous marvelous family.
In the post-Crisis story, Freddy Freeman is a very popular kid, of, seemingly, humble origins, living with his only alive relative, his grandfather, as he excels in school and sports, being so brilliant, that he manages to be a finalist in the Statewide Spelling Bee competition, which is transmitted at Whiz Radio, in a program hosted by young newscaster, Billy Batson, who finds, in that same day, to her sister and meets the young boy, who in turn will be Captain Marvel Jr. some weeks later.
One day, while fishing with his grandfather, Captain Nazi lands near the place where they are, the reason, Captain Marvel punched the super-villain inadvertently to that place. The evil Nazi super-soldier (who has awakened from a cryogenic sleep with the mission of finding Hitler's body in order to revive him), kills the old man and once more, as in their pre-Crisis first encounter, throws the young man away breaking his back in the process.
This time, Captain Marvel and Mary take the boy where the Wizard Shazam is, they received a disheartening answer from the old Wizard when he answers them that '...is not within his power to heal their friend'. After this, Billy and Mary take the boy back to the hospital, meanwhile, Captain Marvel feels remorse by what happened, meanwhile Mary thinks in the strange answer given by the ancient man.
The vengeful Captain Nazi tracks the young man whereabouts, as he wants to demonstrate how superior he is, and the price for anyone if this someone dares to mock the motifs behind his ideology. When Captain Nazi arrives at the hospital and tries to kill him, but the opportune intervention of Mary Marvel, Captain Nazi manages to escape, but not without trying to achieve his evil intentions as he takes Freddy as hostage with him. Anyway, Captain Marvel takes the fiend unaware and a new fight between the powerful men begins, finishing in the victory of the World's Mightiest Mortal.
In the meanwhile, Mary takes Freddy where the wizard is, saying that he has found the answer to the riddle he said, saying that if Billy and she share their powers with Freddy he could survive this crisis. Billy arrives and agrees to share his powers so they can save the young man, when Freddy awakens and sees Captain Marvel, he exclaims "Captain Marvel!" and is transformed into the World's Mightiest Boy.
Mary looking at him, says that from now on, and because his appearance, he will be Captain Marvel Jr., this proves to be a problem to the young hero, since he can't say his own name without triggering the process of changing back into Freddy Freeman. By the way, he is once more limp after his encounter with Captain Nazi and receives the powers of the old Wizard.
After this, between Freddy and Mary seems to be a certain attraction, which the overprotective Billy doesn't look very pleased. Thinking that he has to protect his 'baby sister' from this young man possible bad intentions, both, Billy and Freddy have a battle, having as a consequence, that Freddy leaves Fawcett and moves to New York. This fact changes Freddy's point of view towards Captain Marvel, while Mary discusses with her brother that she is far from being a defenseless woman.
When arriving at New York City, Freddy, as Captain Marvel Jr., saves a suicide teenage girl who, in turn, is revealed to be a schizophrenic young woman who, thinks to fall in love with the World's Mightiest Boy, the name of the girl, is Chain Lightning.
Meanwhile he was wandering, he arrives in Hawaii, where Kon-El, the post-Crisis Superboy lives, over there, both young heroes pass through some kind of trial, where it is revealed that his relation with Captain Marvel is a problem for Freddy, wanting to step out of his shadow.
Some time later, Freddy faces once more Captain Nazi in a brutal fight that finishes with the victory of Captain Marvel Jr.
Apparently, Freddy Freeman's psyche is the most explored resource in his latest chronicled adventures, as a new villain named Morpheus, invading his dreams, confronts the young man with his worst fears, at the end of the battle, and thanks to his indomitable character, Freddy announces triumphant that he will not be named Captain Marvel Jr. anymore, and that he will be named from now on CM3 (!). Mary Marvel, on a visit during that particular occassion is surprised by the new resolution of the most different of the Marvels.
By this time, Freddy joins The Titans II, and he and Argent, another team member, developed some kind of relation that fails before it blossoms totally (that reads corny!)
Ever since, Freddy has been seen little, being one of his most recent apparitions, in Titans (at Donna Troy's birthday) where he was arm wrestling with the late Queen Hippolyta. As a guest in Our Worlds at War and a crisis in New York City that involved Circe and practically, every female character in the DCU (superheroic, I meant).
It is possible that we're going to see him in the next months as a guest in some other comic books, being Supergirl the one who has confirmed his presence (appearing on the cover).
Just if you were wondering what powers does Captain Marvel Jr. or CM3 has, they are, 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.
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