Monday, February 21, 2011

Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil #2 (May, 2007)

Billy Batson dreamed of a brown haired young girl with a pink ribbon in her hair and a doll in her hand… his missing baby sister. Billy’s little TV was on, and the news announced the confirmation of attorney general Sivana. An ad for the circus attracted Billy’s attention, as he figured he could try to get a job cleaning up after the animals.

Outside, Billy saw the pretty reporter Helen Fidelity preparing to broadcast live. While the boy was smitten, Helen screamed at the brat to get off her microphone wire. A press conference with the diminutive Sivana was commencing, but he lacked a box to reach the podium, and so had to be helped on top of it. The doctor announced an investigation into whether the giant footprints were a terrorist hoax, and to give his “personal assurance that the Department of Technology and Heartland Security will go through the credit accounts of every citizen until we find something suspicious! And when we do, we’ll lock the evildoers up, and throw away the key!! Remember, the terrorists win if we change our lifestyles, so go immediately to your local mall and spend, spend, spend! Keep our economy strong!!”

Billy was surprised to find armies or ants marching off in the same direction, buy was distracted when a boot landed in their midst, connected to LaGreen. This time, the sleeze brought a buddy with a crowbar after ”his” money. Billy led the pair on a chase to the circus, where a ringmaster called the Great Carlini was announcing the unleashing of trained alligator people. Well, not so well trained that they didn’t eat Carlini. “Everyone stay calm! There’s no need for everyone to get hurt… All we want… is the children!” The first child-snack they grabbed was recognized by Billy as his sister, so he said his magic word, and Captain Marvel came to the rescue. However, LaGreen and his portly pal had witnessed the transformation.

As Captain Marvel prepared to rescue the other children, a talking tiger asked, “Excuse me… is this a private fight, or can anyone join? …Relax, Captain. I’m on your side.” The tiger attacked the alligators while Marvel helped the kids, and Billy’s little sister was instantly smitten. However, everyone was distracted by the giant stupid stupid rat creature that appeared from out of nowhere. The tiger and the girl disappeared in the confusion, so Captain Marvel flew up to confront this new threat. “I AM MR. MIND… I COME TO YOUR WORLD TO REMOVE ALL TRACE OF HUMAN CIVILIZATION… ALL THE OTHER CREATURES OF EARTH WILL JOIN WITH ME… AND REJOICE! …WE SHALL MAKE OF YOUR WORLD A GLORIOUS SOCIETY… A SOCIETY OF CREATURES YOU WOULD CALL MONSTERS…” Captain Marvel learned it was Billy’s curiosity that had summoned this Monster Society of Evil, and that large as the creature was, it was fast enough to snatch him out of the sky. Marvel managed to get loose of a mighty mechanical fist, but the pounding he gave the titan’s eyeball didn’t make a dent.

Captain Marvel gave up until Mr. Mind offered his next message, and instead surveyed the area for Billy’s lost sister. She was located hanging out by the riverfront, and began kissing the Captain’s face when he arrived. “You’re my hero, Mr. Marvel! I love you!” The Captain revealed he was her brother, which freaked the little girl out, so she called for her new talking tiger friend. “Not to worry, dear. Captain Marvel and I are old friends, isn’t that right, Billy? …Don’t you recognize your old neighbor? You used to run errands for me… Talky Tawny! I admit I look a little different, but the fur helps keep my old hips warm… I’m an ifrit, boy! A wandering spirit that changes from human to animal! …You see, I work for the wizard, too! And right now, my job is to make sure you are adjusting to your new life! …you are a force of nature-- a protector guardian. That means you have joined with a mortal whose name is Billy Batson. Speaking of which, when was the last time you let him out to breathe?”

The joke was to be taken literally, as Billy was huffing and puffing when the forgetful Marvel said his magic word. Tawny was pleased to learn Billy remembered everything from Captain Marvel’s time in his place. “Wonderful. That is a sign you and the captain are a good fit! Together you will make a powerful guardian!” The girl was grossed out she had kissed her brother, and wanted to know how he changed back and forth. Her name was Mary Bromfield, and she had run away from home because her hateful foster mother blamed her for Mr. Bromfield’s having left. Mary wanted to come live with Billy, but Batson thought it was too nasty a place for her to live. They bonded over their mutual love of the “cool idea” to join the circus.

A monolithic and near identical companion joined Mr. Mind’s standing harbinger of doom, so Billy called down the magic. Mary was struck by a stray bolt of lightning and thrown into a nearby car. The vehicle collapsed under her weight, as the child Mary reappeared wearing a gender- & age-appropriate variation of the Captain Marvel costume. Mary Marvel she can fly and move at great speeds, but her immaturity peeves Talky Tawny, who demands Captain Marvel get her back in line. Mary lacked super-strength and respect for the Captain’s authority, but perhaps she would display unique talents while investigating the newly arrived invader…

Chapter 2: “Nzib Gzpvh Gsv Xzpv!” was written & drawn by Jeff Smith

1 comment:

LissBirds said...

I know you said the story went downhill, but I'm really loving this art style. I've got to find out what else Jeff Smith has drawn.

The man draws tigers really well, I might add.