Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941, William Witney and John English), Chapter 7: Human Targets

Starting Human Targets, I couldn’t remember what cliffhanger needed to be resolved. It’s not a good one. More of the “Tom Tyler is bad at being a superhero” same. Once it gets resolved, with William ‘Billy’ Benedict shooting the breeze with Tyler and asking zero questions about why Tyler’s trying to save him, the action moves back to the archaeologists’ meeting.

It’s never clear why they meet so often. They’re not working on anything. This time they get mad about Frank Coghlan Jr. knowing their business and trying to, you know, save their lives. But since the Scorpion is secretly a member of the archaeologist club, he’s really just setting a trap to rid himself of Coghlan.

The Scorpion uses Louise Currie as the bait. She gets kidnapped, rescued, then kidnapped again. The second kidnapping is, you guessed it, because Tyler’s bad at being a superhero. When Currie does get to the Scorpion’s lair, she has the best moment in Captain Marvel to date. It’s just a second of agency, but it’s more than I’d ever expected for her to get; it’s a great second of agency too.

There’s some great special effects, particularly of Tyler taking down a gunsel on a dam. The cliffhanger at the end seems dire, but I’m sure Captain Marvel will come up with a lackluster way to get out of it.

Still, good chapter. Marvel works better when it’s Coghlan, Currie, and Benedict. They’ve got all the energy.


Directed by John English and William Witney; screenplay by Ronald Davidson, Norman S. Hall, Arch Heath, Joseph F. Poland, and Sol Shor, based on the comic book by C.C. Beck and Bill Parker; director of photography, William Nobles; edited by William P. Thompson and Edward Todd; music by Cy Feuer; released by Republic Pictures.

Starring Frank Coghlan Jr. (Billy Batson), Tom Tyler (Captain Marvel), William ‘Billy’ Benedict (Whitey Murphy), Louise Currie (Betty Wallace), Kenne Duncan (Barnett), Robert Strange (John Malcolm), Harry Worth (Prof. Luther Bentley), John Davidson (Tal Chotali), and George Pembroke (Dr. Stephen Lang).


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