by Blackwolf247 and Libbylawrence
Meanwhile, in Fawcett City:
A small diner noted for its good-quality, hot meals at low prices was in the middle of its lunchtime rush when a seedily dressed, haggard-looking man took a seat at the lunch counter and ordered the lunch special. The waitress was leery, but he showed some money, and she took his order.
When he had finished his second plate of food and fourth cup of coffee, he took his bill and walked up to the cash register. He handed the waitress some money, and she smiled.
Suddenly, the restaurant was full of snakes, cockroaches, rats, spiders, and other vermin. The patrons screamed and ran from the building. One runner, who carried a slice of pie in one hand and all of the money from the register in the other, was laughing, not screaming, but in the rush to escape, no one noticed.
“Good. There’s enough here for a nice suit, and maybe a hotel room! Dread’s reign of terror begins!”
The Red Sox were playing against the New York team, and it was the seventh inning stretch. Then all Hades broke loose as Redcoat chose that moment to attack, blasting the stadium with destructive rays from the large gold buttons on his coat.
As people fled screaming and hollering, and the structure of the stadium began to suffer immense destruction, one Red Sox player grabbed a bat and rushed at the villain, only to be sent reeling from a backhanded blow. While Redcoat was distracted, another Sox player threw a baseball like he had never thrown it before, and it connected, knocking the villain momentarily to the ground. The baseball player then grabbed a bat and charged at the villain.
“This will teach you to interrupt Sam Malone’s comeback game!” were his last words before being disintegrated by a beam from the evil one’s coat.
At that moment, more heroes arrived on the scene.
Meanwhile, back in Fawcett City, Dread emerged from a barbershop with a shave and a haircut, then headed into a men’s clothier for some new clothes, even while, in the barbershop, customers and barbers alike were reeling in fear from their worst nightmares coming to life.
Black Adam flew down as Dread came out of the clothiers. “I’ve been observing the trail of terror you leave behind you,” said Adam. “I like your style, stranger. Would you be interested in joining me and my latest partner in fighting the heroes and having some fun?”
“Black Adam! Yes, yes, that would be interesting.”
“The Marvels and their friends have foiled me once too often. You present a new opportunity for revenge on a grand scale. What do you call yourself, friend?”
“Dread…” repeated Black Adam. “I like it! Simple, yet meaningful. Come, let me fly you to my new base, and together with the Invincible Man, we shall be the three terrors!”
“So, the legendary heroes of America,” said Redcoat as the newcomers approached him. “Well, well, well, I do think it’s bloody time I end your so called ‘goodness’ once and for all — I and my new partners. Now is the time!”
“Shee-oot!” proclaimed Hill Marvel. “Who is this yokel?”
“I don’t know, lad, but look! We’ve got some serious, and I mean serious problems now!” Uncle Dudley proclaimed, pointing at the new addition to the fight now entering the stadium.
Falcon the Fearsome suddenly appeared on the field, and Ibis the Invincible appeared at the same time. Both mages raised their respective wands of power and chanted. Twin blasts of light momentarily blinded all who watched.
Even as the some of the villains assembled within the baseball stadium in Boston, other heroes had more routine matters to deal with. Thus, the famed Scarlet Speedster crime-fighting van of Mister Scarlet and Pinky the Whiz Kid roared away from a hidden grove near the mansion in which the duo lived.
Moments after the vehicle disappeared from view, two dark-clad figures forced their way into the old manor. The ebon-clad Captain Black and his partner, the rebellious Inky, smiled at one another as they bypassed all security systems with ease.
“Getting into the headquarters of Mister Scarlet was child’s play, since he is but a sickeningly pure version of myself,” said the villain. “I can guess both his codes and his precautions!”
Inky flashed a bit of leg as she hopped on to a table. “Yeah! Now, let me get into his crime computer!” she said. “I can locate all the best places to rob in this quaint little burg!”
“Well, ain’t you the cocky little vixen!” said a gruff voice as a bald man rushed forward and pushed a switch. Gas flooded the lab, leaving both Captain Black and Inky stunned on the floor.
Moments later, the loyal but gruff Wainwright led his master, Brian Butler — the original Mister Scarlet — into the room where they removed their own gas masks.
“Nicely handled,” said Brian. “Just as Rob deduced, the criminal pair Spy Smasher warned him about via the radio on his Gyrosub did try to break into our base. The gas was the best way to handle them, since we’re all pretty evenly matched physically.”
“Evil twins make me sick!” said Wainwright. “Sounds like somethin’ outta the funny pages!”
Brian grinned and said, “True enough, but they are formed from dark magic that rivaled the power of Shazam himself!”
Wainwright shrugged and said, “Funny, though… if this Shazam is such a grand high poobah, then why do mugs like us haveta clean up after ‘im?”
Elsewhere, Spy Master piloted the Acromarine and prepared to unleash a gas attack that would turn every citizen below into a raving maniac.
“When the city goes berserk, I’ll pick off the cops while they try to restore order,” he gloated. “Then the addictive chemicals in my madness drug will make the ordinary folks beg me for more, and I’ll give it to them, in exchange for their city and everything they own!”
Before he could use his evil device, the whole Acromarine flipped around in an incredible roll, and he lost his footing. Trying to regain his balance, he failed as the ship spun around like a top, and he crashed from one end to the other like a helpless rag doll.
Finally, the ship cracked open like an egg to reveal a man in a costume of blue and red.
“Captain Marvel will be glad that he doesn’t have to worry about this madman,” said the original, heroic Master Man. “Ever since the old wizard and the good Captain helped me to see that I still have worth as a hero on my own, even though I was given my powers in order to act as a check and balance against the possibility that Cap could turn evil like Black Adam, I’ve owed them a good deed or two. (*) This is just a small way to say thanks!”
[(*) Editor’s note: See Captain Marvel: Master Race.]
Master Man’s superhuman power had saved the day and allowed him to totally rout the clever-but-human Spy Master before the evil genius could use his keen mind or deadly weapons.
At Fenway Park in Boston, Black Adam, Redcoat, Falcon the Fearsome, the now-evil Taia double who had once been the Mighty Isis, Dread, the transformed Dr. Weldon Ambrose, and Invincible Man, all called here by the Falconstick, faced the assembled heroes, who had been similarly gathered by the Ibistick.
“I can’t say I recognize the dark figure between the fake Taia and the Superior,” said Uncle Dudley.
“Man, that is one ugly dude!” said Cool Marvel. “That’s saying a lot, when you consider the brother from the mushroom planet over there!”
“The ‘dark figure’ is the Invincible Man, who has the power to absorb powers from his foes,” explained Captain Marvel. (*) “The ‘brother from the mushroom planet’ is a good man beneath that futuristic form. Dr. Weldon Ambrose is called the Superior in that form due to the fact that he is an evolved form of man derived from the same potion that gave Mr. Tawny his own evolved mind.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Invincible Man,” World’s Finest Comics #257 (June-July, 1979).]
“Dr. Ambrose, don’t join them! We can help you!” pleaded Mary Marvel as she drew closer to the huge-headed figure that had been transformed from the meek Dr. Ambrose by the wily Redcoat.
“Hold your tongue, you saucy wench!” said the vile British agent.
“What kind of sauce does one put on a tongue?” joked his good double Minute Man as he flipped through the air and tackled the man in the shiny coat. They grappled for a moment before the rest of the villains charged at the assembled members of Shazam’s Squadron of Justice.
The Marvel Family — Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Junior, Mary Marvel, Hill Marvel, Tall Marvel, and Cool Marvel — along with Ibis the Invincible, Spy Smasher, Kid Eternity, and Caitlin O’Malley, prepared to fight for their very lives.
“Black Adam, this ends here!” shouted Captain Marvel. “You’ve led us on a merry chase for too long. I’m stopping you here and now!”
Black Adam laughed and said, “This is a fitting arena for battle. Let us face off where your modern-era gladiators do battle!”
“It’s a bit odd to think of guys like Pete Rose and Mike Greenwall as gladiators!” said Junior. “Maybe Adam needs to get out more!”
“He’s been out too long as it is, as far as I’m concerned!” said Mary.
Black Adam ripped up a huge section of field and hurled it at the heroes, and Junior and Hill Marvel flew to intercept it. “Talk about turf wars!” quipped Junior.
Minute Man kicked Redcoat in the chin and pulled him to the ground as yet another brilliant burst of light filled the stadium. A pretty blonde woman in a gold minidress hovered overhead, along with two figures who stood on a platform she had created from solid light.
“Sunbeam, Golden Arrow, and I just came to help if needed!” yelled a brawny sailor who watched from his light perch along with an agile archer and a gibbering monkey. “Keep ’em flyin’, as we said in the war!”
“Lance O’Casey, Sunbeam, and Golden Arrow!” greeted Mary Marvel as she saw the latest heroes arrive.
Black Adam gasped as Captain Marvel rammed his head into the black-clad rogue’s chest. They wrestled above the arena and had no time to see how their allies were doing below.
Cool Marvel darted aside as the man called Dread drew closer and left him feeling ill and chilling. “Cold! So cold! That guy’s like a living ice chest!” muttered Cool as waves of fear washed over him.
Spy Smasher smiled as Minute Man finally knocked Redcoat cold. “Great work, Minute Man!” said Spy Smasher.
Minute Man smiled and said, “I guess this means I’ll never meet the queen!”
Hill Marvel and Tall Marvel were flying at top speed as Falcon the Fearsome’s magical wand, the Falconstick, sent bolts of deadly fire in their direction. The regal Egyptian smiled as he saw them fly into one another.
“Dolts! I planned it as such all along!” he said.
The false Taia smiled and whispered, “You are magnificent, my Prince!”
Falcon nodded and said, “Aye, ’tis so! And you are lovely! I am so glad I used my magic to turn you from the noble and sickening Isis into an evil double of my own lost love Taia!”
She licked her lips and said, “And so am I!”
Before Falcon could reply, he was confronted by Ibis the Invincible. “Cowering jackal of the burning sands! Face me and learn the errors of your all-consuming hubris!” said the heroic prince as he waved his Ibistick.
The Invincible Man was triumphing as his power drove Caitlin O’Malley and Captain Marvel Junior backward. Mary Marvel tried to stop him and felt her own energy drain away as he drew closer, and his odd powers came into play.
“I am more than I once was! I can drain your energies merely by my proximity, thanks to magic given me by Falcon!” gloated the Invincible Man. “No longer do I need to touch you!”
Mary exchanged glanced with Junior who nodded resolutely. Down below, Uncle Dudley watched and worried. He didn’t know what tactic to take, but he hoped his family would win the day as they always had before.
“Don’t worry,” said Kid Eternity, “I’ve checked with some of my contacts from beyond, and there’s more going on than those villains know! That light-burst from Sunbeam was meant to distract them all while a certain switch was made!”
Black Adam scowled as the Superior stood still and watched the battle. “Help your allies, you worm!” he cried.
The evolved man smiled coldly. “I am evolved once more, but this time I have reached yet a higher level,” said the Superior. “I know now that good is always better than evil, and it is the only course of action a higher being can take! I am on the side of the Marvels!”
As the Superior concentrated, Black Adam gasped in pain as a mental bolt nearly drove him to his knees. The same thing happened as the Superior turned his power against the Invincible Man and Dread.
Ibis the Invincible caught the knowing look given by Junior to Mary, and he said, “Now I shall entomb you all once more in the vault from whence you came!”
But before he could continue, Ibis staggered and fell as Taia hit him from behind. Falcon smiled and reached for his magical wand. He had lost it in his struggle with the prince.
“Here, my love!” said Taia. “Use it to put Ibis and all his allies in the vault! Would that not be a fitting jest?”
Falcon took the wand the woman handed him and said, “Indeed! I command you, by the power of this stick, you and all your allies will be trapped ever more in the resealed vault that once held Invincible Man!”
The magic wand flashed, and all the villains were gone.
“Holy moley!” cried Captain Marvel. “It worked just as we’d hoped! During the flash of light that Sunbeam used to blind them all, we switched the real Taia for the altered Isis. She pretended to be the evil lover of Falcon, and once we’d goaded him into trapping all our allies in the vault, she gave him the real Ibistick instead of his evil copy. That meant his spell backfired, and instead of Ibis and all of us being trapped in the resealed vault, Falcon and all of his pals ended up there!”
The real Taia smiled and said, “I was happy to help you!”
“Isis is herself again, now that the evil ones are entombed by Shazam’s power,” said Ibis the Invincible.
The Mighty Isis entered and said, “I fear I was little help this time!”
“Nay!” said Ibis. “You and I will work to return the magic doubles to pure energy, since we can’t turn criminal versions of noble Rob Butler, Jack Weston, and the rest in to the authorities. That will be a worthy duty for you and I!”
“I can’t believe it’s finally all over,” said Captain Marvel as he surveyed the scene.