Of course, another VS article! Yay. Superman vs Goku, Superman vs Hulk and Superman vs Batman are one of the most searched, watched, read and generally cared about versus stories ever. Usually who would win is decided by many factors, most of them being situational. Another debated battle is between Captain Marvel/Shazam and Superman. While most believe that Superman is clearly a winner here, things might not be that simple. So, let's dive in and see what our combatants are capable of. I understand that these will not be all of the abilities and feats of these heroes, only some or what I think is needed for this battle.
Physical: Superman is a Kryptonian, an alien whose body gathers/absorbs solar radiation. Krypton was orbiting an aging Red Sun and as such, Kryptonians developed under it, making that their normal biological source of vitamins they absorbed through their skin, like us. However, the gravity on Krypton was much stronger and their atmosphere less nourishing. No matter that, Kryptonians developed for hundreds of thousands of years, them being one of the oldest race in this universe. They are technically developed, incredibly intelligent, creative but highly xenophobic people. Under a much more powerful Yellow Sun, a Kryptonian is super charged. Their body absorbs yellow solar radiation at a rate and strength which makes their body 'sweat' a peculiar energy field which increases their feats to godly levels. Kryptonians charged by a Yellow Sun have nearly limitless strength and stamina, vision powers (heat vision, x-ray vision, telescopic/microscopic vision), breath powers (super breath, arctic breath), super hearing, increased intellect, super speed and personal gravity field manipulation (flight). It is speculated a lot of times that Kryptonians can emit this gravity field subconsciously, that is how Superman can lift huge weights like ships or boulders without them being broken under their own weight, or travel with a passenger while he is using super speed.
Physical Feats: Superman has lifted incredible weights like moons, aircraft carriers and in the New 52 version, has bench pressed more than the Earth's weight for five consecutive days and the only sign of his fatigue was one small drop of sweat. He has done this in the middle of the planet where there is no sunlight. His body can absorb an incredible amount of solar energy and can store it for weeks, if needed.
Weaknesses: A fully charged Kryptonian does not have a lot of weaknesses. Mainly, three. One is Kryptonite, the radioactive remains of Krypton, scattered all over the universe when the planet exploded. The strength of this rock has been varied throughout the comics, movies and animated series. Sometimes only a small jewel in a ring is enough to make Superman kneel, while other times he can fight villains such as Metallo who has a huge chunk of Kr as a heart or Kryptonite Man, a villain who radiates Kryptonite. As such, the effects of this weakness can not be plainly pinpointed. Also, it is affected by how much solar radiation the Kryptonian has absorbed. A super charged Superman is quite immune to Kr. The second weakness is Magic. While Kryptonians are incredibly powerful, almost godlike, their every ability is physical and biological and does not have any supernatural background. As such, magic affects them as it does any mortal. It is not a weakness per se, but it is still a way to beat a Kryptonian. For example, a normal sword would easily break on Superman but an enchanted blade, like Wonder Woman's short sword would cut him as it would any normal man. There have been some stories where Kryptonians are depicted to be extremely weak to magic, almost like Kr radiation. That is false. The third vulnerability is solar radiation, or more importantly a lack thereof. Many used to say that Red Solar Radiation is one of a Kryptonian's weaknesses however that is not true. A Red Sun does not hurt a Kryptonian, instead just does not strengthen them. Red Radiation to them is like Yellow Radiation to us, it gives us the normal vitamins our body needs. A Kryptonian without a Yellow Sun or when they are under a Red Sun gradually lose their powers as the Yellow Radiation is almost digested by their bodies. When their reserves are filled with the Red Radiation, they will be almost regular humans, however, the atmosphere and the gravity is still different on Earth, making them much stronger, faster and durable than an Earthling.
Physical: Shazam is the enchanted form of William 'Billy' Batson, a teenager in the New 52 universe and an even younger boy in the old, regular universe. He was chosen by Shazam, an ancient and extremely powerful wizard to be the Champion of Magic, and the link to the Living Lightning, the very embodiment of the arcane. In the old stories, Billy was granted the body of his father but in more modern stories he is how own grown up form, or how others say, how he would look like if he'd reach his maximum physical peak. Also, in the New 52 universe the amount of magic he channels is poison to a regular human, as seen in the deteriorating form of Doctor Sivana. SHAZAM is also an acronym for 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. These were the blessings bestowed upon him when he said the word Shazam. In the New 52 universe however, Billy has to concentrate and say the word with courage and the will to do good for it to work so he doesn't change instantly. In older comics, saying the word was actually a weapon also. The lightning bold Billy called down could strike an opponent if he moved away or if he said it when he held on to someone and let it strike them. It has been used to hurt Superman a number of times. The lightning is not the maximum potential of Shazam and should not be thought of as such. It is just a method of transformation for him. In modern comics however, there is no lightning bolt, the change happens instantly. In his enchanted form, Shazam holds incredible physical strength, almost limitless stamina and godly speed. Also, the Wisdom of Solomon helps him during his battles, if he spends the energy and time to listen.
Physical Feats: Shazam has fought against Superman before. Sometimes he won, sometimes he lost, the number of them being too many and uneven but he is told to hold as much strength as the Kryptonian. He once caught the Flash as he was speeding uncontrollably. In that instance, even Superman told him that he is far faster than him since he was just a mortal but Billy was the chosen of the Gods. Shazam also fought against beings on par with Superman's level like Metallo, Doomsday, Wonder Woman, Black Adam and other Kryptonians.
Weaknesses: Shazam does not have a lot of weaknesses. To be honest, after searching a lot, he really has one weakness to begin with. His enchanted form is a spell, something that other spellcasters can disrupt or even destroy completely. Also, it is not a weakness per se, but Billy is still really young, inexperienced and slow to understand the battle situations he finds himself in. Although he usually wins, Shazam is still a teenager and his psychological state is not fit to be a superhero battling to the death. He is a bit naive also.
Captain Marvel/Shazam to me and probably to a lot of others liking him and reading his comics is what we could imagine ourselves to be if we would be in a superhero universe. As a Superman fan, I identify with Billy who himself is a fan. He looks at them and is being inspired by them, especially the Man of Steel. Confession: there are four superheroes I love above all others. Superman, Shazam, Kyle Rayner and the Ultimate Spiderman. I identify with Shazam the most and I care for this character, waiting with biting my nails about the upcoming movie. After all this however, it pains me to say that the one who would win this fight is Superman.
Why? Simply enough, because of their characters, not because of their powers. Although Superman inspires hope, he can be in serious mode when needed and whenever he is forced to fight against an opponent like Shazam, he would not hesitate. He can focus a lot more and can turn on a battle mode of sorts while Shazam would still be hindered by his childish attitude and inexperience in combat. Make no mistake, in an all out brawl there is no chance in hell Superman could beat Shazam. Even Batman says so.
See? This is from the Batman/Superman comic book series where they are forced to go against each other. There, Shazam held the advantage for a time but in the end Superman and Batman won. In Injustice, it is also shown that Superman can use his strength more effectively than Shazam. It is a really hard decision and I have to confess, when I thought this article out and started writing it, I did with the intention of making Shazam the victor. However, as I was writing, I had to say that Superman holds far too many advantages. Captain Marvel being magic might simply not be enough. What do you think?