by Libbylawrence, Goose Gansler and HarveyKent
Before Captain Marvel Junior, Cool Marvel, and Uncle Dudley could do more than turn the defeated crooks in to the police and sweep up the scrap metal left from the robotic Mister Mind decoy, they were joined by an excited Kid Eternity.
“What’s wrong, Kid?” asked Captain Marvel Junior as he approached his brother. “Don’t tell me old Mazahs managed to get away from the elder elders?”
“Nope! He’s history!” said his brother, Kid Eternity. “And speaking of history, that’s why I’m here. Shazam says the Historama showed him that King Kull devised this whole thing to occupy us while he sent Black Adam and Black Dionysus to change time itself and save Kull’s lost race of Beast-Men!” The Kid glanced to the invisible Mr. Keeper for confirmation, and he nodded.
Junior whistled softly and said, “Holy moley! If that prehistoric fiend manages to save his race, then we’ll be facing an army of creeps just like him! We’d better go after them, fast!”
“Hold it, pal!” said Cool Marvel. “We know those cavemen types met their deaths long ago. How can Kull’s flunkeys change that? What’s done is done!”
“Not quite, lad,” said Uncle Dudley. “We’ve had more than one case in which time was used for one crooked purpose or another!”
“In that case, we got time for me to talk to Sha-dude? With the speed of Mercury, we should still have enough time for me to hook up a little something!”
“Certainly,” said Junior. “By departing from different points on the Rock of Eternity, we can reach the past in mere seconds!”
“Cool! Meet me at the Rock in ten minutes!” Cool Marvel sped off, leaving his mystified partners. When they arrived at the Rock of Eternity ten minutes later, Cool Marvel and Shazam were just emerging from one of the caves. Junior, Cool, Dudley, Kid Eternity, and the invisible Mr. Keeper then headed for the far-distant past.
When they arived there, the group was shocked to see rows upon rows of bodies, and an army of Beast-Men killing any humans still clinging to life.
“Man, this don’t look like The Flintstones to me!” said Cool Marvel. “All I see are dead folks and a bunch of Planet of the Apes rejects!”
“He did it!” Captain Marvel Junior was shocked. “Black Adam and Black Dionysus used that plague-ray of Kull’s to kill off all mankind! That means we won’t exist, either, once the effect spreads and reaches through time to get us! Our great-great-greats are dead, so we will be, soon, too!”
“Well, I’m thinking we can just fly even deeper in the past and cut them off before they do the dire deed!” suggested Kid Eternity.
They departed at top speed and soon returned to the same spot minutes before Black Adam and his junior partner arrived with their deadly cargo in tow. Black Adam scowled, but his reactions were slow and leaden, since he was enslaved by King Kull’s mental-control device.
Captain Marvel Junior charged forward and slammed into the plague machine with all his might. It shattered into bits and sent Black Adam reeling from the sheer explosive force. “That took care of his machine. Now, all we have to do is rope these two thugs!” vowed Junior.
Black Adam blinked and suddenly connected with an uppercut of his own. “Your blow has freed me from the control of King Kull. For that, I will leave you alive — for now!” he cried, then flew off.
“Hold it, Black Adam!” shouted Junior, giving chase. The two vanished into the time-stream, heading for the future. “If you return to the modern age, you’ll fall back under Kull’s control! I never figured the Mighty Adam would be willing to live as another man’s slave!”
“Insufferable brat!” cried Black Adam. “Now that I am aware of Kull’s mind-control ray, the wisdom of Zehuti will protect me. Black Adam will never again be slave to another!”
Black Adam stopped abruptly, slammed Captain Marvel Junior with a mighty blow, temporarily stunning him, and then the black-clad villain disappeared back into the time-stream.
Black Dionysus was hesitating in the air. He was still under the thrall of King Kull, since the explosive force that had freed his elder partner had failed to reach the youth due to Adam’s own body acting as a shield.
“I got to try this!” said Cool Marvel. “This may make me the godfather of mixing!”
Pulling out a small tape recorder, he hit a switch. “Shazam!” cried a youthful voice from the tape.
Magic lightning crashed, and Black Dionysus was turned back into his normal form. “What the–?” gasped Dean Adams. “I didn’t say that! Shazam!” But nothing happened.
“Give it up, son,” said Uncle Dudley. “That magic lightning was sent by our wizard, not yours. He was just waiting for your voice to say the name that would allow him to do so. Your evil wizard is long gone, and we had to use this tape of you saying the name to work the change.”
“How did you get such a tape?” said Dean. “You weren’t there when I said the magic name!”
Cool Marvel grinned and said, “Well, I know a bit about tapes and mixing sounds, and I asked the old dude with the beard if I could record sound from scenes on his big screen TV doodad. As you can see, it worked pretty well!”
Uncle Dudley smiled broadly and said, “None of us ever thought of using the Historama to show a foe saying his word and then recording the sound to use against him. You’re bringing new ideas to the Marvel Family! Well done!”
Since Captain Marvel Junior had already vanished, heading back toward the future, the heroes bound their now-powerless foe and returned to their own time.
Two flying figures streaked through the sky, leaving Fawcett City behind. In the dim light of dawn, their bullet-headed shapes might have been mistaken for Bulletman and Bulletgirl. However, upon closer inspection, it was clear that these were not those two. The silver helmets of the two figures covered their heads almost completely, revealing only their mouths and chins. They each wore a red sleeveless shirt, black belt, and red shorts. Red boots completed the outfits. The most striking feature was their arms — they appeared to be completely metallic.
“Come on, .22,” the male figure in the lead called out. “We have a job to do.”
“Ease up, .45,” .22 Caliber replied. “I’m trying to enjoy the ride. Flying is wonderful.”
“I’ll bet what we get to do when we reach our destination will be even more fun,” .45 Caliber cackled. “I can’t wait. Let’s pour it on.”
“Fine,” .22 Caliber said indulgently. “I’ll race you there.”
The miles disappeared beneath them. .45 Caliber and .22 Caliber, in reality a pair of sinister doppelgängers of Bulletman and Bulletgirl produced by the sorcery of the diabolical wizard Mazahs, made their way to their destination.
The city of Parkerville was the home of the state’s police academy. The newest batch of recruits were lined up in their blue dress uniforms to be commissioned as full officers. The stands were crowded with loved ones and friends to watch the ceremony.
Just as the first recruit stepped up to the wooden platform to receive his badge, .45 Caliber and .22 Caliber came swooping down. From their outstretched hands came streams of bullets that riddled the platform. The policemen ducked for cover from the barrage and began to return fire.
“Nothing like shooting at cops!” .45 Caliber shouted as his magically spawned bullet-powers continued to generate waves of bullets. “Ain’t it great that we don’t ever need guns anymore?”
“You bet, darling!” .22 Caliber veered directly into a group of recruits who had unholstered their sidearms and had begun returning fire. She paid no attention to their efforts, because her helmet repelled any bullet that came near her. Her path took her straight toward the podium, her metallic arms leading the way. The recruits had to scramble to avoid being hit by their own fire.
“This is going to be a piece of cake,” .45 Caliber declared. “The only ones who got bullets that actually hit their targets are us!” He pointed at one officer, and a discharged bullet disarmed the policeman.
“Better watch out!” he laughed snidely. “Using guns can be dangerous!” He pointed his other hand at the dumbfounded officer. “On the other hand, not having one can be dangerous, too.”
Suddenly, the caped forms of Tall Marvel and Hill Marvel, along with the futuristic Gyrosub, dropped out of the sky. Hill Marvel formed a makeshift horn with his hands and sounded a bugle call.
“What kind of cavalry call is that?” Tall Marvel asked as he swooped toward .45 Caliber.
“It’s the Dukes of Hazzard theme. Best kind of cavalry, you can git, ‘ceptin Marvels, o’ course,” Hill Marvel replied proudly.
“A little more concentration, please,” Spy Smasher spoke over the loudspeaker of the Gyrosub. “We have men in uniform to save.”
It was fortunate that they had been near Parkerville in search of the doppelgängers when the emergency radio message had come over the police band.
Turning his attention away from his intended victim, .45 Caliber said, “This is insulting. We don’t rate the real Marvels?”
Tall Marvel flew through the barrage that .45 Caliber unleashed at him. The bullets bounced off his Achilles-imbued form, only to be repelled by .45 Caliber and sent back at him again.
“Sorry, we Lieutenant Marvels will just have to do. Maybe with some practice, you might rate the attention of the big three.”
“Oh, I’m just fine with you showing up,” said .22 Caliber, taking to the air and squaring off against Hill Marvel. “I’ve seen what my hubby’s bullets did against your buddy, so I won’t try that. But how about this?”
She launched herself at Hill Marvel with extreme acceleration. Within the first few split-seconds, she reached Mach speed and created a small sonic boom, then drove herself into Hill Marvel’s midsection and staggered him.
Meanwhile, Spy Smasher had landed the Gyrosub and was looking after the people on the ground. Despite all of the chaos and gunfire, none of them had been severely hurt. He moved a few into the confines of the Gyrosub. The others had taken refuge inside of the nearby building once the heroes had arrived.
“OK, time to do some smashing.” Spy Smasher pulled out a special rifle from his weapons locker and dashed out of the Gyrosub.
Tall Marvel and .45 Caliber had progressed to exchanging fisticuffs. The strange metallic arms of .45 Caliber allowed him to punch Tall Marvel’s tough hide without hurting himself, although without much effect.
Hill Marvel was having a tougher time with .22 Caliber. Not that he had any compunctions against striking a woman (especially with her continuing to bludgeon him), but she proved a very elusive target for the Lieutenant Marvel.
She’s a rascally critter, Hill Marvel thought as he unsuccessfully tried to grasp her again.
Meanwhile, Spy Smasher took careful aim. Looking through the telescopic sight, he tracked .45 Caliber’s head as the battle between the bullet brigand and Tall Marvel continued. He pulled the trigger once. The strange report caught the attention of all the combatants. But .45 Caliber was the only one who could not ponder it, because his head jerked backward, and then he crashed to the ground.
As .22 Caliber saw her lover fall, she screamed in disbelief. “You shot .45! That’s impossible. Our magneto-helmets repel all bullets!”
“Obviously not.” Spy Smasher took aim again and pinged another shot off of .22 Caliber’s helmet. She slumped over, too, although Hill Marvel caught her before she could crash to the ground.
Once he put .22 Caliber down, Hill Marvel walked over and slapped Spy Smasher on the back. “Well, I’ll be a jackrabbit’s uncle. If that ain’t the darnedest thing! How’d you manage to plug her, when all them lawman guns was about as useful as a snorkel on a crawdaddy?”
Spy Smasher emptied the chamber of the rifle and held out the rounds. “Rubber bullets.” He pointed to the downed villains. “Let’s round them up. Consider these crooks spy smashed.”
Meanwhile, Redcoat dropped out of the momentarily hovering Acromarine (the evil duplicate of the Gyrosub) before Spy Master lifted the craft into the air again. He buttoned up his lavish crimson jacket, reminiscent of the British soldiers of years past, and surveyed the scene before him. The sights of Boston made him giggle with glee.
“All these symbols of American triumph. Which one should I destroy first?”
Redcoat looked around the historic streets of old Boston. His Royalist heart was filled with a burning desire to destroy everything he saw. He hated the very concept of a democratically elected president who was answerable to the people whom he purported to govern. He felt America should have a leader whose word was unimpeachable, who could never be questioned or criticized, who could make war on anyone he chose without having to justify his reasons to anyone.
“This kingless nation shall soon be like that,” Redcoat swore as he made his way down Copley Street, “once my mission here is completed!”
Redcoat searched the old-style houses until he found the one he sought. W. Ambrose, M.D. read the brass nameplate. Redcoat’s face split into a grin.
Dr. Ambrose stood in his laboratory in the basement of his home, bent over an electron microscope, examining a slide of DNA molecules. He leaped backward as he heard the door burst open.
“Dr. Weldon Ambrose,” Redcoat said smoothly. “I have need of you… or, rather, of your alter ego.”
Dr. Ambrose started in fear. “No!” he cried. “Y-you can’t mean… I’m cured! I… I’m not that person anymore! I moved here from Fawcett City to forget, to move past my mistakes!”
Redcoat’s knowing eyes scanned the lab. “Ah, but you’re still working on the evolutionary serum you extracted from Tawky Tawny’s blood,” Redcoat sneered. (*) “Trying to make it safe for humanity, no doubt.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Secret of Mr. Tawny,” World’s Finest Comics #259 (October-November, 1979).]
Redcoat snatched the glass vial from the shelf. “Humanity hasn’t seen anything yet, Doctor.”
Grinning malevolently, Redcoat slowly approached Dr. Ambrose with the vial. The doctor backed away in terror, knowing that there was no way out.
Meanwhile, Captain Marvel Junior returned to the present, finding Cool Marvel and Tawky Tawny waiting for him.
“Yo, man, where you been?” Cool Marvel asked. “Things be happenin’, man, an’ you got to get busy!”
“Cool, I was ‘getting busy’ saving the world when you were watching the Jackson Five cartoon show!” Junior snapped. “So don’t give me attitude!”
“Freddie,” Tawny said placatingly, “Cool is just a bit… enthusiastic. He’s certainly proven himself to be a valuable member of the Marvel Family.”
“Hey, man, listen to Tony,” Cool said. “He’s grrr-reat!”
Mr. Tawny shot Cool a frosty look. “Anyway,” Tawky said, “Cool is right; you are needed. Black Adam returned to the present a moment ahead of you, and streaked off that way.” Tawny pointed in the general direction of Fawcett City. “We have no idea where he’s going, or what he plans!”
“I heard him say somethin’, though,” Cool Marvel said, “with these super- ears of mine! Must be the hearing of Zeus, or maybe Achilles, I dunno. Anyway, he said somethin’ about a vault that only the power of the wizard could open!”
“A vault?” Junior repeated.
The wizard had to be Shazam, whose name Black Adam could not speak. But a vault that only someone with the power of Shazam could open, in the vicinity of Fawcett City? Junior called on the wisdom of Solomon, and then his eyes widened in fear.
“Holey moley!” Junior cried. “He’s going to free the Invincible Man!”