“There’s always hope!” said Captain Marvel. “My friends and I will stop this crazy scheme! I even know just where to go to get more answers!” He flew off and carried the hammer with him.
Donny Barr grew pale as security guards from the office building on which they had fought emerged up the stairs and circled him with grim expressions on their faces.
“Sir, I think you better come with us,” said their leader.
Barr sighed and meekly followed them down to the waiting police.
Meanwhile, Captain Marvel had reached the Bromfield estate, where Mary Batson was home on leave from UCLA. He landed and said the magic word, “Shazam!” In a flash of lightning, he had returned to the form of Billy Batson.
Gosh, I hate to interrupt Mary’s time off, but I’m going to need her help as Mary Marvel! he thought.
Billy referred to the fact that his sister Mary could also draw upon the powers given by the wizard Shazam when she spoke his name. She gained the talents and gifts from a group of goddesses, and she used those abilities to fight crime as the world’s mightiest girl, Mary Marvel.
The pretty, brown-haired girl was sitting in the garden when she saw her brother approach. “Hi, you!” she said. “Grab some weeds! I can fix some lemonade. I know Mother has a staff for things like this, but it gives me a real sense of accomplishment to work with the flowers!”
“Sorry, Mary,” said Billy. “I’m afraid we need to deal with some bad weeds of the human variety!”
Mary stood up and wiped away the dirt that smudged her work apron. “Goodness! You do sound serious!” she said. “Let me tell Mother that I’m going into town. I’ll meet you on the way to get Freddy!”
As Billy nodded and rushed off, Mary quickly told her mother that she had to depart, and then she said, “Shazam!”
As the dynamic Mary Marvel, she looked pretty much the same as she did as Mary Batson, but she instead wore a brief red and gold minidress with gold slippers and a cape. She also possessed enough speed to catch up with her sibling’s heroic alter ego in flight.
“I’ve been shopping with Mother all morning,” she explained. “I had barely changed into some work clothes for the garden when you came by. What’s going on?”
Captain Marvel explained to Mary exactly what had occurred as they reached a newsstand on the corner of Oak and Main, which Freddy Freeman still continued to operate between his journalism classes at Columbia University.
“My, I’ve read about Ragnarok before, and I’ve met Thor before, but he was a conjured figure brought to me via Kid Eternity’s magic,” she said. “I suppose there could be variations of a being so storied in myth and legend.”
Captain Marvel smiled in approval as she calmly tried to access the situation. She was the bravest woman he knew, and his pride in her was palpable.
“This is a pleasant surprise, except for the fact that it’s no surprise, and I can tell nothing very pleasant is going to happen!” said a newcomer who flew up to meet them. “I heard about the fight with that goon from Valhalla!”
The newcomer was a handsome youth in a costume much like that of Captain Marvel’s except for the fact that his suit was predominantly blue in color. The basic resemblance was fitting, since he shared the powers the other Marvels had due to the fact that Captain Marvel himself had served as a benefactor to him, much like Shazam had been a patron to the Batsons.
“Captain Marvel Junior!” said Mary. “We were just coming to get you. I guess you spotted us from below!”
Junior nodded and said, “What brings you back east? Don’t tell me you’re on a field trip.”
Mary Marvel shook her head prettily and said, “No such luck. We’re going to see the old wizard in order to find a way to avert what the Viking called Bothfyd calls the end of the world!”
The Marvel Family swooped inside a certain subway tunnel within the heart of the city, and in moments they reached a vast empty chamber that could not be reached or discovered except by one who knew the exact pathway.
Captain Marvel lit a brazier, and in moments a ghostly figure of a venerable man appeared before them. He was Shazam himself, and the old wizard knew the wisdom of the ages. He would know how to help them.
“Greetings, my children! I know why you are here! Foul Loki has tricked the Asgardians into turning their powers away from a vigil eons in duration. They fell victim to pride, enabling him to free the two monsters of lore! In the past they would have never allowed a portion of their energies to be siphoned away in such a manner. However, Loki tricked them into channeling that might into a mortal. In moments, he undid many of the old runes that had sealed the dread beasts away!”
“Great sir, how may we stop these monsters?” asked Captain Marvel.
“I will show you via the Historama!” said Shazam, clapping his withered hands together, and a huge screen materialized before their eyes. This device was a wonderful gateway into all that had ever been or ever would be.
The screen depicted two scenes of horror. In the first scene, a massive, midnight-black wolf prowled across the frozen slopes of Norway. It easily stood higher than the average house.
“There is the Fenris Wolf,” said Shazam. “That foul predator was only bound long ago at the cost of the war god Tyr’s hand! The creature allowed itself to be bound as long as Tyr rested his arm within its gaping jaws. When the gods refused to release it, the wolf took Tyr’s hand!”
“Well, I’m not afraid of the big bad wolf, as another girl in red once said!” remarked Mary Marvel.
“I’ll tag along to lend a hand if needed!” said Captain Marvel Junior.
They flew off to battle the creature while Shazam gestured to the second image on the screen. “Far worse than the Fenris Wolf was the Midgard Serpent! This gigantic snake threatened to crush the very earth itself within its gyrating coils! Even now it draws near our planet! Be brave, my son, for this creature is fearsome indeed!”
Captain Marvel saw the picture of the green and gold serpent as it undulated through space and loomed over the planet. “Don’t worry, sir! I’ll tame that snake!” he vowed. He flew away into space as the old wizard watched solemnly.
In Norway, the young Marvels soon reached the site where the huge wolf was rampaging. It growled and bared its razor-like teeth as they drew closer.
“Let’s see how wolfie, here, likes a good old-fashioned punch in the snout!” said Junior. At that, the world’s mightiest boy crashed into the monster and bravely pummeled it.
The wolf drew back and raised itself menacingly on its hind legs before it snapped at him with dazzling force and speed. Junior gasped and barely dodged the snarling beast as Mary cried out in concern.
“Stay back!” she said. “I have a better idea!” Flying away, she returned moments later at super-speed with a huge strange device that she had made from scrap metal, which looked like a wind instrument. “This is a bit crude, but with the right sound, I think we can stop the wolf!” she declared. Mary then whispered something to Junior, who eyed the beast warily and then smiled broadly.
“Nice idea!” he said. “Here goes nothing!”
The two lowered the long metal instrument until Junior balanced it directly above the animal’s head.
Mary Marvel smiled in approval and then flew back and forth along the instrument until the sheer speed of her movement created a wind that swept through the openings in the instrument and blasted out with a shrill, high-pitched sound.
Glad I don’t have super-hearing like Supergirl! thought Mary as she continued her efforts.
The wolf roared in pain and lowered its head as the supersonic sound pierced its keen ears and drove it downward.
“Now, while it is stunned, we can tie it up and take it back to Asgard!” said Mary.
They flew around the beast in a dynamic pattern until they had tied it tightly with coils of a white metal.
“Marvelium, guaranteed to hold even the biggest wolf!” declared Junior.
Mary smiled and helped him carry the helpless creature into space. “It sure came in handy this time!” she said. “I’m glad my brother invented it years ago!”
Junior nodded and said, “The fact that we had already refined some of it into coils was also a lucky break for us. If we had not made the stuff years ago, we’d have been out of time. The wolf would have done some real damage before we could have formed the coils out of the raw element!”
Meanwhile, Captain Marvel himself drew closer to the huge serpent and stared at it in wonder for a moment before preparing to fight. Holy moley! That thing is getting bigger every moment, he thought. It’s as if it was drawing more and more of its mass from some pocket dimension!
The serpent now prepared to envelop the planet itself, and Cap had only moments in which to act. Flying down, he swooped between the coils of the snake and the earth. He caught the serpent’s body at one section and strained with all of his might to move it.
Muscles that had moved entire planets now strained against a living monster as large as any world. He gritted his teeth and continued to struggle even as a movement of the huge serpent’s upper body knocked him flying into space.
Can’t even charm the thing! No sound in space! he thought.
Captain Marvel punched it directly in the eye, and it shook in anger. As he drew closer, it opened its jaws as if to swallow the hero in one gulp.
I know not to enter its mouth, he thought. It might be more vulnerable to an internal attack, but it also carries a poison that once killed the hero Donar in one version of the myths! Still, I may have no choice but to do just that, even if it means I lose myself to save the planet!
Captain Marvel was preparing to make such a assault, when a roar of thunder echoed miraculously through the soundless void of space. Lightning struck him again and again.
Holy moley! I feel like every lightning strike is boosting my powers! he realized with the wisdom of Solomon.
Tackling the serpent with renewed vigor, he slowly began to force it away from Earth. Although he moved with greater speed than that of fabled Mercury himself, the entire process was still painfully slow. Finally, he managed to knock the serpent into deep space as he followed.
The world’s greatest hero then wrestled its head back and used all his force to knock it out.
Captain Marvel noticed Mary and Junior waving at him as he stood over the beaten monster. He flew down to follow them as they led him directly to the home of Shazam at the Rock of Eternity itself. The massive, multi-dimensional mountain rested at the center of time and space, serving as the home base for their fantastic mentor.
Shazam stood beside a white-bearded titan who possessed only one eye.
“Well met! I am Odin!” said the Asgardian king. “You tamed the monsters my evil blood brother freed in order to destroy the universe out of his petty spite! I have trapped them both beyond the veils of creation with the help of good Shazam here!”
Shazam nodded and said, “Odin used his own magical lightning to boost your might long enough to enable you to defeat the serpent, my son!”
Captain Marvel smiled and said, “Thank you! It felt like some type of super-vitamin!”
“What of Loki?” asked Mary. “Is he still loose?”
“Nay!” said Odin. “I bound him away with his pets! He will never trouble us again!”
“Sir, just how did he free those two?” asked Junior.
“The magic that bound them faded away when Loki tricked us into channeling much of our powers into a mortal champion in order to best you!” explained Odin. “We fell victim to his trickery because of our pride! We have learned a lesson and have been humbled by your example!”
“We all make mistakes!” said Captain Marvel. “The important thing is to work to make up for them!”
Odin nodded and said, “Tis so! Shazam, you may take pride in having champions like these to serve you!”
Shazam gazed at the Marvel Family and said, “I do, indeed! No threat is too great for them, and no vice may triumph over their virtues!”
The Marvel Family blushed as his words of praise echoed in a stentorian tone.