The Power of SHAZAM, Year 4

Issue 37 - April 1998

Commencing the first issue of the series' fourth year is a story focussing on Captain Marvel Junior. A villain called Morpheus (not to be confused with the Vertigo character of the same name) torments Captain Marvel Junior with a series of nightmares induced by a poisonous black mist. In his dreams, he confronts his insecurities but eventually wins out, freeing himself from Morpheus's influence. At the very end of the issue, Captain Marvel Junior announces a new name for himself: CM3.

Issue 38 - May 1998

In the first part of a new Monster Society of Evil story, Seargent Steel has been possessed by Mister Mind. Under Mind's direction, the seargent sends the Mister Atom robot, complete with nuclear bomb, to the house of the Bromfields - Billy and Mary's adopted parents. Once there, Mister Atom detonates his bomb, destroying not only the Bromfields' house but the entire town where they lived. Billy and Mary (who were in Fawcett City at the time) rush to their parents' home, but it is too late. Ibis the magician contains the fall-out from the blast but is too late to save the Bromfields.

Issue 39 - June 1998

In the second part of the new Monster Society of Evil, the Marvels confront Seargent Steel. Superman stops Captain Marvel from harming Steel and confirms that there is no worm lodged in Steel's ear. It is later revealed that Mister Mind was hiding in Steel's robotic hand and was able to control him from a distance, albeit with some difficulty. Meanwhile in Fairfield (the Bromfields town), the National Guard find that the Bromfields were not home when the blast hit, and had survived the tragedy. The Bromfields are reunited with Billy and Mary at the Whiz radio station, and Mary enlists the aid of Professor Bibbowski to help prove that Mister Mind is responsible for the attack on Fairfield.

Issue 40 - July 1998

In part three of the Monster Society of Evil, Mary Marvel enters Sargeant Steel's office in the White House with a weapon to stop Mister Mind. Leaving Steel's body, Mister Mind loses Mary in the air conditioning vents, narrowly missing the opportunity to possess the president of the United States. Mister Mind directs a number of his agents (many of them civilians) to position themselves near nuclear facilities, with a view to capturing them for his own ends. Meanwhile, Mind himself, using a marine as a host, moves to a vault below the White House, containing an alien power suit recovered by Minute Man and Bullet Man in issue #36. In the suit, Mind has the physical power to take on Captain Marvel and Mary, head to head. The power suit also transforms Mind into a giant worm, while he explains that he plans to engineer a nuclear disaster to wipe mankind from the earth. This issue ends with the Marvels buried under a collapsed building, while Mind contemplates "remodelling" the White House with a flick of his gigantic tail.

Issue 41 - August 1998

In the conclusion of the Monster Society of Evil, Captain Marvel and Mary arise from the rubble they were buried in, intent on stopping the seemingly collosal Mister Mind. Watching the battle on TV, the retired Bullet Man recognises Mister Mind from his earlier exploits with Abin Sur in 1942 and decides to call Alan Scott, the golden age Green Lantern, for assistance. Meanwhile, heroes around the country attempt to prevent hosts possessed by Mister Mind from triggering nuclear catastrophes. Meanwhile, the battle continues and Captain Marvel realises that Mister Mind's giant form is an illusion and he is, in fact, still in his power suit. Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner (current day Green Lanterns, albeit Hal only sort of) arrive on the scene and attack Captain Marvel, having been tricked into thinking he was Mister Mind. When they realise their mistake, the lanterns and the Marvels work together to tear apart the power suit and capture Mister Mind. Finally, Sargeant Steel arrives with the same kind of weapon that Mary used in issue #40 to kill Mister Mind, removing the last lingering threat of nuclear attack by his agents.

Issue 42 - September 1998

Since their home was destroyed by Mister Mind's attack on Fairfield, Billy, Mary and their adopted parents need to find a new home. Billie decides to put the hard word on Ebenezer Batson, Billy's elderly and mean-spirited uncle, who stole Billy's inheritence. After a bit of a confrontation, Billy's family move into Ebenezer's twenty room mansion. Aftwerwards, Billy and Mary rendezvous with Freddy to catch a movie together, unaware that Chain Lightning is nearby. After the movie, the three take a trip in Freddy's new car. Unfortunately, there's an accident and the car is run off the road. As the car runs down an embankment, its occupants call for the power of SHAZAM, but don't get out in time.

Issue 43 - October 1998

With the Marvel family out of action, a female super-villain calling herself "Amber" rampages through downtown Fawcett City. Meanwhile, in the hospital, it is revealed that Billy is more seriously injured than Mary or Freddy. The Bromfields, Dudley and Mister Tawny rally around to support each other before Tawny and Dudley decide to consult with Ibis at the Rock of Eternity. Ibis hints that Billy, as Captain Marvel, has a long future ahead of him and, through the historama, shows Billy acting as mentor to Thunder from 1996's SHAZAM Dead Earth Annual. Contrary to the advice of Ibis, Tawney and Dudley elect to attempt time travel in order to learn more about the fate of the Marvels. Back down town, Bullet Man and Windshear attempt to stop the menance of Amber who reveals that she is part of Chain Lightning. It turns out that the power of SHAZAM's lightning has transformed Chain Lightning (who suffers Multiple Personality Disorder) into four separate people. Two aspects of the personality seemingly vanish, cancelling each other out before the issue closes.

Issue 44 - December 1998

The remaining two aspect's of Chain Lightning, a small girl and a monstrous giant representing her id, roam Fawcett in search of Freddy, bent of punishing him for rebuffing her affections. Below Fawcett, Ibis has lapsed into some form of trance in an attempt to restore his waning powers. Taia, Ibis' lover (with interesting dress sense, has recovered the Marvels' mother boxes but without the ability to speak, the children still can't call the power of SHAZAM. With that in mind, Tawny decided that they must still travel through time for help. In the hospital, Mary and Freddy are recovering but Billy's condition looks grim. While the Bromfields consult a doctor from Star Lab regarding Chain Lightning's relationship with Freddy, Lightning's id and the little girl break into the hospital to kidnap Freddy. Freddy convinces the little girl that she no longer knows what Chain Lightning wants, since they are no longer an integrated personality. This buys Freddy a little time while the girl and the id seek out the other portions of Chain Lightning's personality. Meanwhile, in the time stream, Tawny has recovered Thunder from the far future to try and help the current day Marvels. Unfortunately, their travels are interrupted by Black Adam, who casts Thunder adrift in the time stream and uses Tawny to get back to our era, purportedly at the request of Ibis.

Year 4 Interludes

Adventures in the DC Universe, Issue 15

A Captain Marvel adventure is the primary feature of this issue. Cap finds that the lightning bolt which transforms him acting erratically. As Billy Batson, he retains the power of Captain Marvel and as Captain Marvel, he is no more powerful than an ordinary mortal. The wizard SHAZAM deduces that the gods who are the source of his power may be at the root of the problem. SHAZAM learns that Zeus has decided to test Billy by altering his magical lightning. Meanwhile, Billy, with the help of a young boy, raid a criminal's lair. Billy bluffs the criminals by entering their lair as Captain Marvel, despite the fact that because of Zeus's interference, he is powerless. This act of bravado wins the respect of Zeus, who agrees to restore Captain Marve's powers t their original form.

Girlfrenzy! The Mist

Mary Marvel features prominently in this Girlfrenzy special. The Mist, from the pages of Starman, attempts to steal some restricted technology when the Black Hand (a foe of Hal Jordan's) kidnaps her daughter. This attempt is foiled when the Mist finds Mary in the government base where the technology is held. The Mist and Mary work together to catch the Black Hand in his headquarters. Near the end of the adventure, the Mist threatens to kill the Black Hand, despite promising Mary that she wouldn't. Eventually, however, the Mist relents and takes her baby, leaving the Black Hand alive.

© Mark Wann 2012.  All characters owned by DC Comics.