DC Universe: Challenge of Shazam, Chapter 15: New Players on the Other Side

by Arcademan, Blackwolf247 and Libbylawrence

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Meanwhile, King Kull, lord of the Beast-Men, was traveling through the tunnels of the Rock of Eternity along with Teth-Adam and his family. “We’ll go back to a time where we can wipe out all the humans off the planet. My revenge on all humankind for slaughtering my race will be complete, and you’ll help me, Adam — you and your family.”

“And what if I won’t help, Kull? Need I mention… Shazam?” A boom of thunder was heard, but no lightning appeared.

Ha-hee-ho! Did I forget to mention you can’t change back? Look up!” As Teth-Adam looked up, he saw nothing but darkness. Then a familiar figure popped out. It was Darkling.

“What are you doing here?” questioned the puzzled villain. “I thought you were locked up.”

“Yes, I was, but an old friend rescued me on behalf of King Kull.” Another person moved out from the shadows, a man dressed in a brown suit with a skull and crossbones on his suit and a green cape.

“Forgive me. We have never met, Adam. I am Master Man. My powers come from Satan himself, and I have the ability to summon the greatest villains of all history. Speaking of which…” Master Man pointed to a small but familiar figure on his right shoulder, Mister Mind.

“I had King Kull bring you and your family for a very special reason, Adam,” Mister Mind’s voice boomed out, amplified by the speaker around his neck.

On cue, King Kull brought out a giant stone that was seven feet tall. “Within this piece of stone is the one true being that can destroy the Marvel Family and all mankind, and you’re the only person that may be able to free him, Adam.”

Mister Mind, King Kull, and Master Man began to laugh aloud together.

***

Once again, all of the heroes were united, and after much handshaking, hugs, and exchanges of stories, they settled down for a lunch in the Squadron’s meeting room on Earth in order to map out what they should do next.

Bulletman turned to Minute Man and said, “You saw us in the Land of War? Sorry we didn’t see you, or we would have swung down.”

“It’s OK,” Jack Weston said to Jim Barr. “But I tell you, Jim, when this is over, I am delving into my history collection. Got me a new line of research to check out. Seems like I may not be the first hero to be called Minute Man!”

Captain Marvel rapped the table with his knuckles. “OK, everyone, by monitoring the news, we can figure out where our foes went. I suggest we form teams and go after them.”

Cool Marvel grinned. “Can I team with Mary Marvel?”

She looked at him with wonder. “Why?”

“Hey, babe, you’re the cutest Marvel I ever did see.”

“Enough!” exclaimed Captain Marvel. “Cool, you do need some good grounding in being a member of the Marvel Family, so Uncle Marvel and Junior will team with you. Tawny, you’re with me and Ibis the Invincible. Caitlin, the Mighty Isis, and Mary Marvel will be our third team. The Bullets and Minute Man will be our fourth. And the other two Lieutenants with Spy Smasher will be our fifth team, while Captain Marvel Bunny stays here to coordinate. I see from the news we have a situation right near here. Uncle Dudley and crew, you handle the situation at the bank!”

“Egads! That’s my bank! But… er, my Shazambago seems to be back.”

“No problem, Unc,” said Junior. “I’ll carry you.”

“Well, come on, J.R.,” said Cool Marvel, enjoying any chance he could get to annoy Junior. “With any luck, you won’t be running into Mary Crosby. Let’s fly!”

“Mary who?” Junior asked as he picked up Uncle Dudley, and they took off toward the First Fawcett City Bank and Trust Co.

While Captain Marvel had been choosing teams to tackle the latest situation involving the Black Adam Family, the Mazahs Masters of Evil, and their new evil allies, Kid Eternity and Mr. Keeper had remained in a quiet area nearby.

“Keep, this looks like it could be a real war of the worlds here,” the Kid observed to his ghostly elder.

“We are sticking around then, I take it?” the old ghost wanted to know.

“Absolutely!”

***

At the bank, Mister Mind was directing some minor-league hoods to grab the loot and go, when three colorfully clad heroes arrived, only moments behind the police.

“It’s definitely a hostage situation! There are at least thirty people inside,” Police Lieutenant Sawyer told the heroes.

“I got an idea,” Cool Marvel said. “Saw it in a movie.” Without consulting with the others, he walked near the bank and softly said, “Shazam.” The magic lightning flashed, and he was returned to his normal self. Casually, Willie B walked into the bank and was almost instantly facing two pistols aimed at his face.

“Lawdy, boss, don’ shoot me! I jus’ be lookin’ for a job!

The two hoods snickered at each other, and one of them went to shove the young hero.

“Boy, you done walked into a bad situation! Get your ass down on the floor!”

“Wait — we can use him to haul some bags out for us. Come on, boy.”

“Grab them money-bags and let’s go, boy!” the first hood commanded.

Willie nodded, hefted two bags, and said, “Sho’ nuff, boss.”

They climbed back into the tunnel that led from the vault to the basement of a nearby building. Inside the tunnel, he whispered, “Shazam,” and quickly took the two baddies out.

“Sho’ nuff, you white boys be stupid muthas.”

As Cool Marvel, he reentered the bank to see Captain Marvel Junior finishing off another pair of hoods.

And the depowered Uncle Dudley actually took out the remaining one with a trip and a plop onto the bad guy’s back. “That’ll teach you some manners, youngster!” he growled.

Cool Marvel looked around. “Hmm, no x-ray vision. Well, I am a Marvel, not a Super.” He turned his head to follow a motion. “Uh-oh. There goes that worm Uncle Dudley told me about.”

***

Back at the meeting room, Captain Marvel Bunny was monitoring another situation.

“Ladies, looks like it’s your turn to fly,” said the alter ego of Hoppy. “We’ve got some evil duplicate action down by the docks!”

***

Meanwhile, another villain stepped off a bus and looked around.

“Fawcett City,” he said. “Wonder if its heroes are up to the menace of Dread?

***

As Captain Marvel Junior, Cool Marvel, and Uncle Marvel turned the beaten thugs over to the local police, one of the robbers whined, “I thought teaming up with a genius like Mister Mind would make us rich!

“That was exactly what his maker wanted you to think,” said Junior. “He used Mister Mind’s nefarious reputation to attract your gang.”

“Maker?” asked Cool Marvel. “What are you saying, J.R.?”

Junior smiled slightly, then slammed both palms together against the squirming Mister Mind.

Cool Marvel gasped and said, “Daaamn. What did you do? I know the creep is a psycho alien worm, but if you were gonna go Orkin Man on him, why didn’t you just bait a hook with him? That would have been as bad!”

“Son, Marvels don’t kill,” said Uncle Dudley. “You’ll learn that in time.”

“Exactly,” said Junior. “In time, Lieutenant Cool, here, will also gain experience and realize things like the ‘Mister Mind’ I just broke never really was the real deal. His movements were robotic, since that’s all he ever was — a glorified Slinky!” As he opened his hands, smashed metal, gears, and wires dropped to the ground.

Uncle Dudley whistled and said, “I thought a bank robbery was beneath his usually exalted plans!”

“I may be the new kid in the cape, but why would anyone who had resources enough to build that thing even bother robbing a bank?” asked Cool Marvel.

Captain Marvel Junior frowned and said, “The whole thing was designed to distract us from something much bigger! The mind behind this plot built the fake Mister Mind and played on his notoriety to attract the thugs. The worm was bait, you might say.”

***

Elsewhere, King Kull gazed at the heroes on one of his wall monitors and scowled.

“That’s right, you human cattle! I set it up for irony. I’m allowed so little amusement. Having one’s entire race wiped out will make you dour, to say the least. I enjoyed the irony of tricking a few paltry humans into aiding me in the elimination of their whole useless race!” His voice rose in volume as he said, “The criminal worm’s image served me well! His so-called gang occupied you, while my mind-controlled pawns are destroying the world!”

Staring at another screen, he watched as Black Athena and Black Sheba hovered over the Atlantic Ocean, where a red beam of supercharged thermal energy sliced down from space and boiled the water to steamy vapor.

But he frowned with his few remaining yellowed teeth as Mary Marvel and Caitlin O’Malley appeared and confronted the pair of mentally enslaved villainesses.

“Bah!” cried Kull. “They’ve found my pawns already. They barely had time to activate the thermo-beam satellite!”

***

At the scene in question, Mary Marvel said, “Thank goodness Caitlin sensed the Earth Mother’s cry of distress in time to divert us from our mission. Mighty Isis can handle the evil duplicate of Ibis the Invincible that Hoppy located while we tend to the larger matter! That ray is literally boiling the ocean!”

The world’s mightiest girl streaked between the hovering Black Adam Family women and rocketed into space, where she saw a glowing satellite that seemed to be the source of the deadly ray.

I can’t imagine why that pair failed to catch me, since they have speed equal to mine, thought Mary. Perhaps the loss of the evil wizard has weakened them. Or could they be under some spell? I can’t see them trying to destroy the world. They want to rule it. By eliminating all the oceans, they could end life on the planet, if I can’t break their toy!

Mary crashed into the satellite, only to be knocked back to the planet below by a slightly pulsing force-field. Holy moley! I can’t break through, she realized. Still, the heat beam itself is getting through! That gives me an idea!

Meanwhile, below, Caitlin O’Malley had already deduced that Black Sheba and Black Athena were under the mental control of an unseen force. “I think, now that old Mazahs is gone, and they can’t renew their power by merely saying the magic word, I can use a trick I didn’t consider before!”

The white witch spoke hurriedly and said, “I call upon Morrigan, she who is three in one, to bring forth the other selves of these women who also partake of a multiple nature!”

Lightning flashed from each of the evil women into the other, and they changed back into their powerless forms. Each quickly cried out, “Shazam!” But it was all in vain.

Cait smiled and said, “Morrigan’s power, perhaps aided by the good wizard, used the magical energies of each villainess to change the other, and thus turned both of them back to ordinary women! And Mazahs is no longer around to respond to their magic words.”

The two women fumed helplessly and fell into the sea, even as Mary returned from space and used her speed and strength to create enough friction to turn the sands into a polished mirror. The world’s mightiest girl skillfully deflected the thermo-beam back into space, where it pierced the force-field and destroyed the satellite itself.

Mary smiled as she returned to scoop up the struggling but helpless Sheba and Athena. “You girls will enjoy life in the juvenile hall women’s wing,” she said. “Georgia Sivana raves about the place!”

***

Elsewhere, Zazzo-Plus frowned as the stunned Chain Lightning vanished from his arms, and he once again changed back into Zazzo. He turned to see a bigger version of his Zazzo self staring at him.

“Look, you little goof, while our parental units are away, I’m in charge,” said his sibling prime. “That means none of your stupid Earth visitation/Zazzo-Plus stuff. I’ve sent your pet back to Earth and placed her in a prison for her kind!”

“But I thought you were on a social excursion with Zowie Sue!” said Zazzo.

“Little sibling, I am back early,” said Ralff. “Just forget your pet, and I’ll let you play cosmo-ball before slumber period!”

Zazzo smiled and said, “Matriarch elder always said don’t play cosmo-ball in the house!”

The siblings began their game, and Zazzo forgot about his plans for Earth.

***

Meanwhile, the Mighty Isis had flown to the docks, where large red balloons filled the air. What in the world? It’s some kind of freakish parade! she thought as she saw the regal-but-sinister Falcon the Fearsome creating an aura of celebration near a huge, Egyptian-styled barge that floated near the docks.

The evil counterpart to Ibis the Invincible stood smiling for all the world, as if he had just been crowned king. “A fitting coronation ceremony, is it not?” he said as Isis drew closer. She prepared to cast her spell.

“Winds that blow through thin and thick, bring me now the Falconstick!”

The spell created a whirlwind that ripped Falcon’s version of the Ibistick out of his hand and brought the mystical device to Isis.

“Falconstick, stun him!” she cried. But the Mighty Isis screamed as the mystical device attacked her instead. She fell to her knees as Falcon laughed and grabbed his weapon.

“Nothing may be done to Falcon the Fearsome with his own rightful weapon. Anyone who tries to use it against him only suffers the resultant consequences!”

Gripping her chin, he said, “Lovely! Falconstick, turn her mind and body into an evil duplicate of Ibis’ love, Taia!”

The Mighty Isis shimmered and became a slightly smaller, yet sultry Egyptian woman who fell into Falcon’s embrace and whispered, “My love!”

Falcon kissed her roughly, then used the stick to fly to the barge. “It is good to be pharaoh!” he said.

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