Dollar Store figure head
Res. Duke Torso
Destro lower arms
Cobra Web gear
Serpentor upper legs (modified)
Res. Duke lower legs

Captain William Batson, Medical Marvel (EXCAL - 25A)

Reprinted with permission from "Sword in Stone Monthly" Vol. 1.

SHAZAM! - A featured article by PFC Peter Parker, EXCAL Field Journalist and Photographer.

NEW YORK - "Shazam". That's the sound that then-Corporal Billy Batson reported hearing, when he was first examined by medics aboard EXCAL mobile Signal Station Alpha, located upon an unmarked freighter traveling in the CLASSIFIED/ Red Sea /CLASSIFIED last March. Cpl. Batson, an unlikely soldier (standing a mere 5'8", and weighing in at a generous 155 lbs), on loan to EXCAL from the U.S. Army for his communications expertise, was forced above deck during a violent storm, due to equipment failure during a priority transmission. With the lives of his comrades on the line, Cpl. Batson proved his mettle and volunteered to venture into the storm to work on, of all things, the transmitter itself, and he found himself essentially encased in the metal components of the device while his effort was being made.

That's when it hit. SHAZAM! Lightning slammed into the transmitter unit. And not just one bolt. The ship's Captain, watching safely from the tower, later filed a report giving his account of "at least 3, possibly as many as 5," separate bolts of lightning, converging simultaneously to strike the high frequency transmitter in which Batson was encased. The yellow flash seemed to linger, longer than what seemed possible, and the convergence of the multiple bolts produced what appeared to be one singularly enormous bolt of lightning.

The emergency crew rushed to the deck, and found the transmitter casing, nearly welded shut, smoldering, and with flashes of blue electrical flames darting out from within. Cpl. Batson's friends aboard ship knew that Billy simply could not have survived the apparent electrocution. They were partly right.

With a deafening screech of metal on metal, the transmitter casing was ripped apart from the inside out. The emergency crew backed up, anticipating some explosion forthcoming. What they saw cannot be fully explained, but will never be forgotten: Cpl. Batson - or some thing where Cpl. Batson had just been - stepped out of the smoldering metal. He appeared to be unscathed as to his person, but his hair was singed, his clothing tattered and charred. The jaws of the crew dropped in unison. The shock that "Billy" had survived was inexplicably outweighed by the fact they seemingly weren't looking at Billy any more. The man that stood before them steaming in the rain appeared as though he might have been Billy's stronger older brother - if Billy had even had one...and of course, had he somehow stowed away for the last 3 months without being seen, here in the middle of CLASSIFIED. No, this HAD to be Billy. 6'4", 230 muscular pounds of him...with the set jaw and eagle eyes. It was a marvel to witness, no doubt. Little Billy Batson surviving electrocution...but then also witnessing the spontaneous transformation - it simply could not be explained.

Much has happened in the 9 months since that night. Cpl. Batson underwent testing at one of EXCAL's primary labs in New York, which have left doctors and scientists alike just as befuddled as before. EXCAL's top scientists and physicians have no explanation for the changes that Batson has experienced, though the consensus is that the changes are not only real (obviously) but also permanent. Theories have been discussed as to the effect of supercharged electromagnetic forces on the human body. Perhaps some conductor within the experimental transmitter device helped contribute to a 1 in a billion coincidental event that simply cannot be reproduced. But even the slight chance of being able to reproduce this event has become a hot topic as EXCAL continues to wage its war on the forces of terror, equipped to some extent with super soldiers of their own.

While the cause cannot yet be explained, the effect is apparent. Batson is now a near super human freak of nature. When interviewed for this story, Batson was completing his work-out at the EXCAL rehabilitation facilities, as he bench-pressed 600 pounds with relative ease. While much of his current file remains classified, it is reported that Batson, already bright in his own way before this event, is now fluent in 10 or more languages. Without any formal officer's training, he has demonstrated knowledge, skill, and proficiency in the military arts which, according to tests, would rank him first in the class of officer's training school...any class, that is. Nobody has ever tested higher. Based upon the capabilities Batson has shown, he has been assigned permanently to EXCAL by the U.S. Army, as the EXCAL organization is peculiarly suited to utilizing the exceptional talents Batson has shown. He has been recruited directly into the Paladin Knight Program as a full Paladin, and has been assigned the artificial rank of Captain. He has shown remarkable proficiency with the cold fusion Jump Pack Mark II, and has been assigned to specialty team of air assault troopers, until his own Paladin Knight team can be formed.

"Captain Marvel," as he has come to be known, has already completed 5 successful missions in his short time as a Paladin Knight, and is certain to be the shining star of the operation's continued fight for freedom worldwide.


Internal Memo
TO: Major Jameson, Sword and Stone Monthly

FROM: PFC Parker, Field Journalist

RE: The Shazam/Captain Marvel Piece.


I know that you might take exception to this story. But please don't think that I took our mission of boosting morale to the extreme here. Everything written is true, even if incomplete. Captain Batson really has become something of a superhero in a very short period of time, and with some of the recent defeats we've suffered at the hands of the "Crimson Twins" nightmare, we all need to hear about this bright light that might help lead us to victory.

I also know that you'll suspect Captain Batson to be a product of a super soldier serum program. I've certainly heard more than one reference to how you believe certain higher ups here have obtained their athletic prowess. But I must assure you - I spoke directly to 6 of Batson's mates, and I read the freighter Captain's report with my own eyes. This really happened, and it was truly an instantaneous transformation. Obviously I know I can't comment on it for the story, but many people suspect that the "Mystics" we all keep hearing about might know the real answer. But I'm certain we won't find that part out any time soon.

As for what was left out of this "feel good" piece. It's becoming apparent that we've sent "Captain Marvel" out into this war prematurely, out of what can only be described as dire need. I say prematurely because there are reports of some...instability...being demonstrated by the Captain. He talks to himself. Apparently from day one he's claimed to have heard "Shazam" in his head when he was transformed. But he doesn't mean something that sounded like that - he means he heard many voices speak it in unison. The languages he is fluent in - some of them are not known contemporary languages, but seemingly are ancient/lost dialects, though he speaks them with such precision, that it is apparent he is no fraud in that regard.

Luckily, the real movers and shakers in EXCAL seem to know what is up. At Knighthawk's request, Director Queen has held off on placing a team under Batson's direct control. He agrees with Knighthawk that it is simply too soon to trust him with that kind of responsibility, no matter how bad things might seem. As of now Batson and his JUMP pack are tagging along with Knighthawk, and he has been utilized with precision, jumping from the Talon airship into enemy planes to wreak havoc. So far things have gone smooth. I've been fortunate enough to be invited on board the Talon as I work on my next piece. Knighthawk requires that I serve as soldier first, journalist second, so I hope my basic training served me well.

Verbal "Phone Memo" from Major Jameson to PFC Parker:

Bah - we'll run the story on the Roid head. And get me more pictures of this JUMP pack. I think I want one.

(mumbled away from the receiver: Tell her I'll call her back...tomorrow)

Oh, and Parker - The Crimson Twins. Catchy name. See if you can find a link between them and the "Crimson Spider" that was with EXCAL back when it started. I have no doubt there is some link between that murderer and these new freaks. Something just strikes a nerve as being similar, but I can't put my finger on it.

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