by Libbylawrence, Blackwolf247 and Starsky Hutch 76
Fat Billy Batson found himself in quite a predicament as his spirit hovered unseen over his lifeless body. He glanced around the cavernous chamber on the Rock of Eternity and frowned as he reviewed the situation.
Sentient evil, long banished from the human nature of the old wizard Shazam, has assumed a solid body, empowered a bunch of goons to serve old Black Adam as a family all his own, and has captured almost every hero around! he thought. To make things worse, Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Junior have been turned into evil versions of their old selves and are somewhere out there doing bad things!
Scratching his head idly, he said, “Funny, I just seem to know things that happened while I was out cold! I guess this kind of wisdom comes from being… uh… dead!”
A portly bald man he hadn’t noticed while he was alive said, “I’m Mr. Keeper. You can call me Keep. I’m sorry about this whole sad mess! You served the good fight well. You won’t be forgotten!”
“I sure wish I could pull off a big save!” said Fat Billy. “I owe it to my pals! They always treated me as an equal and not as the object of one fat joke after another!”
“I’ll just see that you get that chance,” said Mr. Keeper, rushing over to where his young ally Kid Eternity stood along with assorted other heroes and their friends. He whispered urgently, and the Kid nodded with determination.
“Eternity!” he cried. “I summon Diogenes and Fat Billy!”
Instantly, Fat Billy found himself standing before the others with a solid body all his own. He looked down at where his original body still lay. This form was some type of temporary material form. Not bad, for a loaner! he thought, and moved forward, as did the bearded Greek philosopher whom the Kid had summoned from beyond.
Before they could take action, the evil wizard struck back. He was pure evil, and he was mad. Gesturing wildly, he said, “This was ever meant to be a true family feud betwixt only the Marvels and the Adams. Thus, I banish the rest down the endless passages of time and space centered here on this Rock!”
In a blinding flash of light, Spy Smasher, Mister Scarlet, Pinky the Whiz Kid, Minute Man, Bulletman, Bulletgirl, Mr. Tawny, Ibis the Invincible, and the Mighty Isis had vanished.
Black Adam scowled and said, “Old man, I had plans for one of those comely wenches!”
The evil old wizard grinned and said, “Ah, taken with the lovely Isis, are you? It would never work out!”
Billy Batson groaned and sat up, as did the two remaining Lieutenant Marvels. While the Lieutenants retained their powers, Billy was still in his normal form. He saw Captain Marvel Bunny, Uncle Marvel, Kid Eternity, and Zazzo-Plus, along with Tall Marvel, Hill Marvel, and Caitlin O’Malley, her astral form having returned to her body.
Holy moley! he thought. He’s banished the others through time and space! I guess it’s become a real personal Marvel/Adam fight now, especially since they killed poor Fat Billy!
Diogenes held up his lantern and shouted in a stentorian tone, “I searched the streets of Greece to find an honest man. Now, let the pure light of truth cast out this infernal darkness!”
The old man’s lantern blazed through the cavern and swept away the artificial night of Darkling’s creation. She screamed and returned to her ordinary form of Dora Keene, fuming in helpless rage as Uncle Marvel gripped her tightly and kept her from returning to battle.
A shrill voice echoed through the cavern as a pink-hued, pointy-eared woman appeared and tapped one foot impatiently.
“Zazzo Robert Zazzozon! It is time for your Tryik lesson. Your father and I didn’t pay good money for you to skip those practice sessions. Playtime is over! I’ve warned you not to play with lesser other-dimensional beings. You never can tell where they’ve been!”
Zazzo looked down and whined. “Zazzo-Elder-Femme, I am battling for the forces of good and justice!”
“Yes, yes, I’m sure,” she said. “If all the other minors tried to save the cosmos, would you do so as well? You are coming home, young man!” She gripped his ear and yanked him toward a dimensional portal that glowed dimly.
Chain Lightning stood between the odd pair and the portal, and Zazzo’s mother pulled her along with them. “You may keep this one as a pet, but I won’t clean up after it! You have to keep its cage clean yourself!” she said as they vanished.
Billy shouted, “Shazam!” as lightning flashed and thunder boomed. He was replaced by the mighty form of Captain Marvel. “Billy was able to make the change, since the powers that sapped the magic are gone now!” he said.
Fat Billy grabbed the bracelet off the old wizard’s arm and jumped backward. “The elders whispered to me that if I took this bracelet away from him, he would lose all form!” he said. “He is just evil and shadow combined!”
“I figured that, too,” said Captain Marvel. “When Sivana took the bracelet our wizard wears, he also almost faded away.”
“Return that to me, or I will lose myself and become naught but an evil awareness without form!” said the evil wizard.
Black Adam grabbed the bracelet from the startled Fat Billy, who faded away, along with Diogenes, now that each had performed one heroic act.
“Excellent! Now, give it to me, my son!” said the ghostly evil wizard.
Black Adam shook his head. “No! I served under one tyrant,” he said. “I serve no man now! I will lead my family, and we will reshape Earth as we wish! Rot in limbo, old fool!” He flew off to Earth with the Black Adam Family in close pursuit.
Only Captain Marvel, Uncle Marvel, Hill Marvel, Tall Marvel, Marvel Bunny, Kid Eternity, and Caitlin remained. All of them had direct ties to the Marvel Family.
“I wonder where the old wizard is?” the Captain mused aloud.
“We must find our friends, although they could be anywhere in time or space!” said Tall Marvel.
“We also have to stop poor Mary and Junior from doing evil deeds while in their tainted forms!” said Hill Marvel.
“Oh, and one more thing — you have to deal with me!” said the evil old wizard. But he was no longer a mere ghost, for he was speaking from Caitlin’s body. She had earlier returned to her material form in a futile effort to save Fat Billy, but there could be no doubt that the girl’s body was now firmly under the control of the evil wizard. In taking her body, he had cast out her astral form, but where had he sent it? “I have lost much power, but for now this body will serve me well!” he said with a leer. “Prepare to feel the wrath of the wizard Mazahs!” the evil wizard cried out in the girl’s body, revealing his name for the first time to be simply the reversed form of the old wizard’s name.
“Holy moley! Here we go again!” gasped Captain Marvel.
“Oh, yeah! I am the black Marvel Lieutenant, so watch out for me — Willie B!”
The newest Lieutenant Marvel seemed quite happy with his newfound powers and abilities, so much so that he couldn’t resist doing an impromptu rhyme.
Shazam shook his head and leaned it against his stave. “Youth,” was all he muttered.
Elsewhere, after they had vanished from the company of their friends, Mister Scarlet and Pinky materialized in a jungle-like location somewhere deep within the Rock of Eternity. It was bad enough that they didn’t know where they were or how to get out of there, but in front of them was the corpse of a flying dinosaur, which Pinky identified as a Pteranodon, a rather ugly species of flying reptile. Neither of them felt particularly good about their chances, as their situation was dangerous.
“Pinky, I see some caves over in the northerly direction,” said Rob Butler, alias Mister Scarlet. “We should head that way and hope we can find an uninhabited cave.”
“Right,” said Melanie Garde, alias Pinky. “And building a fire would be a good idea. But where are we, anyways?”
“I’m not sure. All I can do is hope the wizard or someone will be able to rescue us.”
As they cautiously made their way toward the nearby mountain where Mister Scarlet had seen the caves, he thought to himself, I never did like magic.
Bulletman and Bulletgirl were as surprised by their new location as Mister Scarlet and Pinky had been, although at first their situation looked far less dangerous than that of their friends. Where they now were looked like a pleasant enough field of grass in a rural setting, appearing to consist of farmland and some gentle, rolling hills cooled by a quiet breeze on a warm day.
“Where are we?” asked Susan Barr.
“I don’t know,” said Jim Barr. “The Rock of Eternity is a huge place, and Cap once told me he never had much of a chance to explore it or figure it out. However, I do see some smoke south of us. Let’s go that way.”
At that moment gunfire erupted, and they saw moving toward them a line of soldiers in bright red uniforms. They looked like British soldiers from the time of the American Revolutionary War.
“Time to fly,” Bulletman suggested, and they did as bullets flew from muskets fired at them. “Not exactly a friendly bunch, are they?”
Willie B was still getting a good handle on his newfound abilities when he found himself face to face with King Marvel. “Well, it’s the jive turkey junior.”
“You think you’re anywhere good enough to stand up to me, kid?” the former hero asked.
Willie B shrugged and lashed out unexpectedly, quickly landing a right fist on King Marvel’s jaw and knocking him out. “Yo! I’m from the streets, dawg! Man don’t talk when the fighting begins.”
Shazam looked at the crumpled form of King Marvel and said to Willie B, “I am surprised, but glad. Come, I shall take him to my sanctum and work to cure him, then get you ready for your part in the battle to come.”
Behind him, Willie said, “Battle?”
“Hey, Pinky, look at this,” Mister Scarlet called from the back of the cave, where he had found something interesting. “This box is definitely not prehistoric. Looks more Egyptian.”
“So it does. Hold this torch closer. I want to open it.” Pinky was eager to find out what was inside.
“Is that a good idea? Remember Pandora’s Box,” said her older partner, who was much more cautious.
“I know this is a magical realm, but what harm can it be?” She opened the lid of the box and found it empty. “See? Nothing.”
At that moment, a fierce howling like a thousand souls in torment sprung forth from the box.
“Oh, sh–!” Mister Scarlet exclaimed as he passed out, and behind him Pinky coughed and also fell into unconsciousness.
A figure emerged from the box, a figure that looked very like a younger version of the evil wizard Mazahs, who had begun all the troubles in the first place. “Now my work begins!” he proclaimed. “And my first two servants lay prostrate before me.”
The Marvel Family stared in horror at the form of their friend Caitlin O’Malley, her face now twisted with malevolence. They were aghast at the painful spectacle of this trusted friend suddenly turning on them.
“Now, with a wave of my hand, I shall end this by sending you all to the fires of…” Caitlin stopped, mid-sentence and mid-gesture, completely frozen in place.
“What happened?” Uncle Marvel asked.
“I have a feeling Mazahs counted Caitlin out too soon,” Captain Marvel said.
The evil wizard Mazahs looked around at the inky blackness around him and growled, “What is happening here?”
“You’re exactly where I want you to be,” a feminine voice said. A robed figure walked toward him through the blackness.
“What…?” Mazahs started.
“You should know your enemy before you try a stunt like possession!” the figure said. “I call upon the prowess of Morrigan to aid me in battle,” she said. Caitlin O’Malley threw back her robe to reveal a chain-mail tunic. She brandished a large spear. “And the power of St. Brigid to contain my enemy.”
With a wave of the spear, a circle of silvery fire began to form around Mazahs. He raised his palms and fired two beams of energy toward her, which she easily deflected with the spear.
“You’re on my turf, now, old man,” she said. “And you’re never going to leave it.”
Fear was visible in his eyes. He realized, once the circle was closed, she’d be right about that. “No!” he exclaimed. “I am getting out of here!”
“The heck you are,” she said, charging forward as she attempted to close the circle. Before she could, he vanished. “Damn.”
“Look! She’s moving!” Captain Marvel said.
“We’d better be ready for anything,” said Marvel Bunny.
“Don’t worry, guys. It’s me,” Caitlin said, moving as if she’d just awoken from a long sleep.
“Then where’s Mazahs?” Uncle Marvel asked.
“Over here, of course,” a voice said. “I should’ve taken this form to begin with. Now it feels stiff.”
They all turned in horror at the sight of Fat Billy Batson rising to his feet. His eyes glowed red, and his face twisted into an evil grin.