DC Universe: Challenge of Shazam, Chapter 14: Friends Are Where You Find Them

by Arcademan and Libbylawrence

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With the entire Marvel Family along with Kid Eternity together again, Captain Marvel began to formulate a plan.

“We need to find out where King Kull and the Black Adam Family went off to, not to mention our comrades who were time-tossed from the Rock of Eternity, thanks to the evil wizard Mazahs.”

Cool Marvel, the newest member of the Marvel Family, spoke up. “How are we supposed to do that, big red? From what Sha — the wiz-man told me, this hunk of stone is the center of space and time. They could be anywhere.”

Captain Marvel Junior interrupted, “Keep your yap shut for a moment, and we’ll think of something.” He glared at Willie B, still angry about the comments he’d made about Mary earlier.

“Still didn’t answer my question, J.R.!” he answered back.

With a puzzled looked, Junior thought, J.R.?!

Mary Marvel turned to Cool Marvel. “Junior’s right. Open your mind. You now have our powers. Listen to the voice of Solomon — his wisdom will guide you.”

“Sure. Whatever you say, girlie. I… Huh? You right. I do hear him now. That is so cool.”

“May I make a suggestion?” The Marvels turned to the entrance of the cave, and there stood Caitlin O’Malley. “My abilities might be of some help to you.”

“Gosh, you think so, Caitlin?” asked Hill Marvel.

Tall Marvel nudged his fellow Lieutenant Marvel. “She’s a white witch, remember?”

“She’s a witch? Cool!” said Willie B.

“My Marvel powers come from a different set of elders than yours — the wisdom of Sulis, the power of Hera, the strength of Anu, the courage of Zenobia, the skill of Airmead, and the swiftness of Macha. However, in my mortal guise, I am attuned to the Wiccan arts. All we need to do is find the starting point to our friends in time, and we’ll be able to find them.”

Kid Eternity noticed a couple of shadows at the base of the cave. “Heads up, guys. Someone’s coming!”

As the heroes prepared themselves for a fight, the familiar forms of Spy Smasher, Minute Man, and Mister Scarlet and Pinky emerged. As soon as they had realized they were home, they rushed back to the side of their friends.

“Man, it’s good to be back,” said Alan Armstrong. “I’m through with these time-tossing trips.”

“Us, too!” chimed in Minute Man, while Pinky nodded.

“So where’s Ibis and the others?” asked Mister Scarlet.

“They’re still trapped, and we’re trying to figure out where they went,” said Captain Marvel.

“But now we can find them, Cap,” insisted Cait. “The auras around these four — it’s Mazahs’ dark magic residue. Now that I have it, we can home in on our friends, but I’ll need the help of the Lieutenant Marvels to do this.”

“That’s settled then,” said the Captain. “We’ll all gather back at the Rock of Eternity and figure out how to finish up this case. Mary, Junior, and myself will venture into the Rock of Eternity after King Kull and Black Adam. Spy, you guys head back to Earth in case something happens there. There’s no one protecting it, and only the gods know what would happen if the criminals find that out. Lieutenant Marvels, assist Cait and bring back our friends. Let’s go!”

Captain Marvel’s commands were not questioned in the least as the group of heroes left on their assigned tasks.

***

After following the tunnels under the Rock of Eternity, Spy Master and his fellow Masters of Evil finally emerged into the light on the outskirts of Fawcett City.

“About time. Now, my friends, with our counterparts out of the way, this world shall be ours to completely take over. Let’s go!” The evil counterparts of Shazam’s Squadron of Justice took off in different directions, intending to cause havoc and destruction throughout the world.

Somewhere, somehow, a pair of eyes watched their every move from another dimension. “Well done, my friends. The heroes may have beaten me, but I shall return when they least expect it. I, Mazahs, do swear!

With that dire vow uttered, the disembodied malice that was Mazahs floated from the Rock of Eternity to the beginning of time. From there, he crossed dimensional borders until he had reached a new universe that would one day be called the antimatter universe of Qward.

I will bide my time and gain material form in a few eons, he thought. Then, here, I will create my own evil Marvel Family and be free of any interference from my good double. Yes, I will! I have all the time in the world!

The evil wizard’s promise would bear fruit all too soon in that alternate dimension where evil flourished, but that would be another tale.

***

Zazzo sat in his room in his other-dimensional home, totally bummed out. His first trip to the Earth-S realm was to cause mischief to Captain Marvel. During his next trip, he was summoned to fight the forces of evil, and he found it more exciting and more of a challenge to him. But then his mom dragged him back home right when he was starting to get the hang of it all. A small consolation was his “pet,” the villainess Chain Lightning, who had been asleep and now woke up.

“Hey, Zazzo!” called out the caged villainess. “Let me free, and I may be able to help you out.”

“How can you help me? Mom and pop took my magic lightning cap. Even if I could go back to Earth, I wouldn’t be able to change into Zazzo-Plus.”

“But I have lightning powers,” said Chain Lightning. “Mine come from a mystical source. If I zap you, it might change you back to Zazzo-Plus. But if I do this, you have to promise me to take me back to Earth with you, agreed?”

Zazzo nodded. Chain Lightning stepped out from the cage, then began to glow brightly. After a few moments, she let loose a giant bolt of lightning, and it struck Zazzo. There was another flash of light, and as the smoke cleared, there stood Zazzo-Plus, dressed in yellow with red boots and a lightning bolt on his chest.

“It worked!” yelled Zazzo-Plus. He turned to Chain Lightning, only to find her unconscious. “She used all of her powers to revive me,” he realized. “I’ll honor our agreement.” He picked up the young lady and took her back to Earth.

***

After the various teams had split up, Caitlin O’Malley instructed the three Lieutenant Marvels to join hands and form a circle around her.

“Think of our long-lost comrades, and let the wisdom of Solomon guide our minds to them.” Caitlin closed her mind and started to sense the auras of Mr. Tawny, Bulletman and Bulletgirl, Ibis the Invincible, and the Mighty Isis. A glowing light rose from the ground around the quartet as Caitlin yelled out the wizard’s name. “Shazam!

A bolt of lightning struck her, and as she changed, four magical tendrils appeared and streamed out from the quartet.

“Each one of you, pick out a tendril and follow it. It shall lead you to our lost friends. And godspeed,” said Cait. Each of the Lieutenant Marvels followed one of the first three tendrils, and Caitlin followed the fourth one through space and time.

***

Tall Marvel found himself in the ancient Egyptian past. “Now to find Mr. Tawny. Hope he’s all right. He must be pretty scared being thrown back here into the past.”

As he flew over a desert dwelling, he spotted Tawky Tawny running for his life, being chased by what appeared to be a lion-headed male and a cat-headed female. With a giant swoop, Tall Marvel picked up the quasi-human Mr. Tawny.

“Oh, thank you, Tall Marvel!” said a snivelling Mr. Tawny. “You won’t believe how happy I am to see you. Those two wanted to sacrifice me or do something horrible to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

“No problem, Tawky. Let’s go back home to our time.” The two flew up into the sky and disappeared in a flash of light.

***

At the Wall, where an eternal war was being waged with Bulletman and Bulletgirl caught in the middle, the experience was taking an emotional toll on both of them. Jim Barr’s father, Michael, and Susan Kent Barr’s sister, Janice — both of whom had died in the past two world wars — were there, and the two heroes were on the verge of emotional breakdowns as the fighting continued around them. Suddenly, a sonic boom shattered the air outward, and a red and gold figure swooped down in front of the two heroes.

“You must be the cone-heads I came to get. Let’s boogie!” said Cool Marvel.

“Who are you, young man, and why are you dressed like Captain Marvel?” asked Bulletman. “If this is another of that damn wizard’s tricks…”

“Cool your jets, dude,” explained the young man. “The handle’s Willie B. I’m the new Lieutenant Marvel — Cool Marvel. Fat Billy bought a one-way ticket to the pearly gates, and I’m his replacement.”

“Let’s get out of here, dear,” pleaded Bulletgirl, her face fresh with tears. “I don’t know how much more I can take of this place.”

“OK, conies. Follow me back home.”

As the Bullets flew up behind Cool Marvel, Jim took one last look at his father, the one he had never got to know, and the still-youthful face of Michael Barr looked back at him.

Jim thought to himself, Damn. If I only had more time and in better circumstances, I would stay.

On that thought, the trio disappeared in a flash of light.

***

In the far future, Ibis the Invincible, along with his newfound friend Bill Batson, finally arrived in the city, only to find it in ruins.

“What happened?” said Bill. “Last month there were lots of people here!”

Ibis looked around and saw bones lying around all over the deserted city. “Looks like some plague destroyed everyone here. Come, let’s make haste to the library. Maybe we can find out something there.”

As the two ran to the library, Ibis turned to Bill. “Do me a favor and say this word: Shazam.”

“Shazam?” said Bill. Nothing happened.

Ibis sighed. “It is as I feared. You did not transform.”

“What was I supposed to change into?” asked Bill.

They heard a sonic boom above. The two looked up into the sky to see a flying figure coming at them. It was Hill Marvel.

“Something like that,” said Ibis as he greeted Hill Marvel upon landing.

“Glad I found ya, Ibis. What happened? Your magic stick ain’t working here?”

Bill interrupted, “You mean I could have changed into a powerful person like that? How?”

Hill Marvel turned to Bill. “If you’re a Batson and believe in the power of the elders, I’m guessing that you could. Call it a hunch.”

“Then Solomon, Atlas, Mercury… those guys do exist after all?” said Bill Batson. “Not make-believe? Wow! Shazam!

A blast of magic lightning blasted down and changed Bill into a future version of Captain Marvel. “It worked, guys! I’m a Marvel. That means your gods exist, too, Ibis!” On that note, the Ibistick hummed with renewed power.

“I’m back to full power again. Thank you… both my friends.” Ibis turned to the new Marvel. “I must return to my time, but now, with the power of Shazam, you can make a difference here, Bill. Use your powers for good, and always have faith in mankind and the elders.”

On that note, Hill Marvel and Ibis the Invincible disappeared in a flash of light as Bill Marvel took off into the air.

“I will do what you said. I shall protect the future of mankind.”

***

Professor Andrea Thomas had just finished teaching history class. It had been another dreary, uneventful day. As school let out for the day, she headed to the ladies’ restroom. Looking into the mirror, she felt a bit dizzy. She splashed some water on her face, and in the mirror she saw what looked like her in a costume without her glasses, except she was also wearing an amulet and a tiara. She stared in disbelief. “Is that me?” she said.

“The life you are in is but an illusion. What you see in the mirror is the real you, Andrea Thomas… or shall I call you Isis?

Andrea turned around to see Caitlin O’Malley and began to stutter. “Oh… my… tee… Isis?” On that statement, a warm light enveloped Andrea, and an amazing transformation took place. Where once stood Andrea Thomas, now stood the Mighty Isis.

“Welcome back, Isis,” said Caitlin.

“It’s good to be back, Cait. Let’s go home.”

On that note, a bright light appeared, and the two returned back to their own time.

Along the way, Isis thought to herself, I’ve always wondered what my life would be like if I never became Isis. If that’s what it would have been like, then the evil wizard did me a favor. One of these days I need to thank him personally.

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