Red O’Riley loved his gas station, though he’d been having some financial trouble since the revival from the suspended animation trap in which he and so many other citizens had been caught over a decade ago. Still, he loved the work, the engines, the oil, and tinkering with motors. He did not, however, like the hulking brute who came crashing through his wall one evening just after closing time.
“What do you want?” he gasped with a wrench raised in one shaking hand.
“Ha-ha-ha! You think to hurt me with that stick of iron? I eat iron for breakfast!” sneered the mohawk-wearing brute.
“Well, they say iron is good for you, but I think you may be carrying that health tip a bit too far!” said a handsome young man who flew inside and stood defiantly between his buddy Red and the monster called Ibac.
“Captain Marvel Junior, the world’s mightiest punk!” bellowed Ibac as he flexed his muscles.
“And you’re Ibac — world’s earliest punk rocker!” laughed the blue-and-gold-costumed hero. “I can see from that so-called hairstyle that you do not need any more oil, so let’s step outside and finish this like a good guy and bad guy should do!”
“I don’t want any trouble,” said Ibac. “I came here ’cause it’s near the museum. I just needed directions.”
“So you think nothing about property damage and threatening helpless folks, but you are sensitive enough a guy to admit when you’re lost?” said Junior, smiling.
“Huh?” said Ibac.
Captain Marvel Junior shrugged and slammed into the fiend, carrying him outside, and the fight broke out for real. As Freddy Freeman, the young hero had been closing down his newsstand across the street from the O’Riley garage when he spotted the flying man.
Ibac was stupid, but still cunning and dangerous. He had all the power he needed to ruin lives and do massive damage wherever he roamed. Captain Marvel Junior hoped the museum trip did not mean the creep had decided to become a culture-lover. He had all the class of a throat culture as it was.
Captain Marvel Junior flew at top speed and carried the struggling Ibac along for the ride, until the brute twisted free and belted the boy with a right hook. He dropped him and watched as he turned to land on his feet in the middle of the street below.
“Great. Now he’s going to add jaywalking to his rap sheet,” mused the lad as he saw the monster reach down, then throw chunks of concrete into the air.
“Ha-ha-ha! You gotta catch them, or people will get hurt!” he sneered as he ran down the street.
“When he’s right, he’s right!” said Junior, soaring across to intercept all the falling objects. Molding them together, he used the friction caused by his quick-moving hands to smooth them back into the proper spot in the road. “No use wasting the tax dollars!” he decided.
Flying high above the street, Junior soon spotted Ibac charging frightened museum guards. He was serious about going to the museum, thought Freddy Freeman’s alter ego. This gets weirder and weirder!
Captain Marvel Junior dropped down and saw women racing out of the museum carrying trays and plastic colorful bowls. “Huh. The Annual Women’s Junior League Banquet was being held in the museum meeting room tonight! Don’t tell me old Ibac’s turned all suburban on us! Next he’ll be wearing walking shorts and Izod shirts!”
Junior flew past the screaming women with hastily called “excuse me” and “pardon me” words of explanation.
“Young man, this is a museum!” said an obese, old blue-haired woman holding a Jello mold. “We do not fly at that top speed in a museum. We glide! Do you understand me?””
“Yes, ma’am. I won’t let it happen again!” said a blushing Junior. Gosh, what’s worse, he thought. Ibac or the Junior Women’s Club and Art League Ladies?
Soon, he traced the brutal monster into the Egyptian wing. “Hold it right there!” he said as he spotted Ibac tearing open an ornate tomb recreation.
“The blue boy! Good place for ya!” said Ibac in a totally unexpected show of cultural knowledge.
But as Ibac tipped over the entire display, Junior cried out, “Oh, no!”
A pyramid with an open side that displayed recreations of ancient wonders fell straight for Captain Marvel Junior. He bent his knees and caught it, positioning himself carefully. It was effortless to hold the huge display. The problem was that Junior did not want to break it or hurt the ornate patterns.
Got to ease this down slowly. Last thing I need is a lecture from that lady again, he thought.
The young hero placed the display down as Ibac waved a fist at him and turned to face the frowning face of a young woman wearing a polo shirt, walking shorts, and dark hose. She had the short and fluffy cut of what would later be called the soccer mom.
“What dooo you think you are doing?” she said, tapping one loafer indignantly. “Put a shirt on right now! And don’t track mud in the museum! Martha worked all night on those crab puffs you just tipped over outside, and I want you to march right in there and say you are sorry! Got me, mister?”
Captain Marvel Junior smiled as Ibac stood at a loss in front of the Junior Women’s Club president. Then he rocketed into action seconds before the creep tried to rip Valerie Fontaine’s coiffed head off.
“The lady is right! You ruined the crab puffs!” teased the boy as he set down the display and jumped into Ibac. “You gotta pay for that! Where were you raised, anyway, some netherworld stable?” He rolled aside as the thuggish villain swung a hard right. Junior then spun back to land his own punch that dropped his superhuman foe flat.
“I still gotta win! The Black Pharaoh says so!” said Ibac as he got up again.
Junior winced at a left hook. He fell flat himself and rolled aside just in time as Ibac tried to drop down on his head.
“You don’t know a Pharaoh from a Farrah!” jeered Junior as he grabbed Ibac’s leg and shoved him through the wall. Got no choice but to take him down hard and fast before he hurts someone, thought Junior. He knew this wing would be empty, since repairs were going on after a problem with the heating system. “Who is this Black Pharaoh, anyway?” he asked as he circled Ibac.
“He is my master,” said Ibac. “He promises to give me power and riches and babes!”
“Who is he, Bob Barker?” laughed Junior as he made his move and hit Ibac square in the mouth.
Ibac reeled and fell stunned. Junior sighed with relief and turned to see how much damage they had done.
Then Captain Marvel Junior was cold-cocked from behind as Ibac smashed him over the head. Ibac was not himself, however, as Junior had already knocked him cold; this Ibac was still stunned, and his eyes were now solid black, while he spoke in tones far more polished than his own. “You shall feel the wrath of the Black Pharaoh, insolent pup! You dare to challenge his chosen minion? The pains of the dead shall be visited upon you and your accursed Marvel Family all too soon!”
Selecting a jeweled rod, the spiritually possessed form of Ibac carried it off while a beaten Captain Marvel Junior lay among the wonders of a lost era.
Eve Corby Armstrong wondered if going blonde had been a mistake. Since the bride of Alan Armstrong had dyed her long locks blonde, she had been threatened by a mad clown, abducted and forcibly turned into a modern harem girl, and was now being prepared for some new and weird Egyptian ceremony.
She wore a filmy sarong-style outfit with shiny baubles on her wrists, ankles, and across her bare feet. She blushed with modesty at the amount of skin showing. She knew she had been compelled to dress like some faux Cleopatra by the masked men who had grabbed her from the fashionable salons of Richmond, Virginia. Still, it seemed like these things never happened to her back when she was brunette.
“You shall be the bride of Set’s chosen minion, the mighty Black Pharaoh!” said a harsh woman who had dressed her.
“I’m married already to Alan Armstrong!” she insisted. “This is a mistake. I’m a Southern girl, not a reincarnated Egyptian princess!”
“You have no memory of that life of glory,” said a man in black. “Our vapors shall tear asunder the veils that block you from your destiny!”
As he held misty jars to her mouth and nose, she coughed, gasped, and then stood regally. “I am the bride of Set’s minion!” she cried in a completely different tone of voice than she had ever used before. “I am the Queen Osira! I ruled once, and I shall rule again at the feet of my love, my master, the Black Pharaoh!”
Alan Armstrong, the heroic Spy Smasher, didn’t know that his troubles had just begun.
Eve Armstrong had not realized that her luck was better than she had guessed. Her husband Alan Armstrong had, in fact, been aware of her plight seconds after she was first abducted.
After that harem case, I’m not about to let Eve loose without a tracer in her wedding ring! he had mused.
Now, as the tiny light flashed in his amazing gyroplane, he flew over the city in hot pursuit of his missing wife.
Although both Eve and her now-deceased father had known that Alan Armstrong was the heroic Spy Smasher from the beginning, the shock of having to adjust to the brave new world of the 1970s after being trapped in Suspendium for twenty years had given her selective amnesia, causing her to forget the all-important fact that Alan was a mystery-man. In the decade since then, Spy Smasher had elected to never reveal his secret to Eve, for fear of what it might do to her mental state. She did not know her aristocratic Virginia sportsman husband was more than a charity worker who donated time and money to various good causes. She did not know he was a hero who had fought the good fight for years as a masked mystery-man. He now worried about the guilt he felt because of this lack of candor.
“If — no — when I save her, I’m going to have to tell her everything!” he vowed as the sleek aircraft raced toward a warehouse.
This must be the place, he thought. When I heard that an abduction had taken place in Lady Tod’s Boutique, I knew it had to be little Eve. She shops there constantly and has the bad luck to fall into the hands of every costumed nut that crosses her path.
Setting the advanced craft on hover, he lowered a rope and swung down to crash through the high windows. He dropped down into a mob of thugs who recovered from the shock of his entry to charge him.
Spy Smash fought silently but effectively. He kicked a club out of one thug’s hand as he slammed his elbow into the neck of a second. He rolled across the floor and hurled a crate into the rest even as he scanned the darkness via his night-lens goggles for the blonde Eve.
“Mrs. Armstrong?” he called.
She appeared suddenly, walking as if in a dream. Her costume caught Alan’s breath as she displayed raw beauty and ancient splendor. She looked the part of a queen of old Egypt, except for her dyed blonde locks.
“Spy Smasher!” she cooed.
Smacking down a thug with ease, he drew her close. “Are you hurt? Alan would never forget me if–” he began, using the premise that he and Alan were merely good pals.
Then Eve struck him with a violence that left him dazed. This warrior who had faced monsters, spies, and crooks of the worst and weirdest nature was totally unprepared to be knocked senseless by the delicate flower of womanhood he knew as his Southern belle bride.
She smiled as he fell, and her former captors, now her servants, carried him off to await the judgment of her master, the Black Pharaoh.