DC’s collection of “The Monster Society of Evil” was canceled last month amid much consternation. Now that it is officially off the schedule, I thought I’d take a closer look at it for the benefit of those who wanted to read it. The serial originally appeared in Captain Marvel Adventures #22-46 (1943-45) and was described on the splash as “A Thrilling New Serial… Starring Captain Marvel with Billy Batson, Sivana, IBAC, Capt. Nazi, Mr. Banjo, Nippo, Princess Rajabuti and others.”

CHAPTER I — “THE PEARL OF PERIL”

Billy Batson introduces the story: “Folks, I have a longer story to tell this time!! In fact, a story so long and involved that I don’t know the ending yet! Because you see, Captain Marvel suddenly ran up against a menace so great that for once he knew his job could not be completed with a snap of his fingers! It’s about a strange being known as Mister Mind, leader of the insidious Monster Society of Evil! Who is Mister Mind! What is he?? Captain Marvel wishes he knew! If you have any information about him, please transmit to station WHIZ!”

The first chapter opens with a symbolic double-page splash in outer space. A gigantic figure of Captain Marvel stands atop the Earth in the foreground; his enemies are amassed on the Moon in the background. A disembodied voice rings out: “I am Mister Mind! Space is my home! I am the most evil being ever to live! And you, Captain Marvel… though you are Earth’s mightiest mortal, I will crush you like an ant! Ha, ha, haaaa!!”

As the story begins, Billy Batson greets the Princess Dareena Rajabuti of India who has flown to America to donate jewels to the allied war cause. Billy’s broadcast is heard by Mr. Mind in his “strange scientific laboratory... nobody knows where.” Mr. Mind contacts Captain Nazi and orders him to capture the jewels. Captain Nazi becomes incensed when he discovers that the Princess brought only one jewel, a large black pearl, but a magic one that acts like a crystal ball.

SHAZAM!

Billy transforms into Captain Marvel. While he deals with Captain Nazi’s henchmen, their leader takes a whiff of flying gas, steals the pearl and kidnaps the princess. She explains that the pearl needs its identical mate to work. Via radio, Mr. Mind orders Captain Nazi to India. Captain Marvel follows, and meets Mr. Mind for the first time (over the radio, not face-to-face). Mr. Mind explains that he has assembled a “Monster Society of Evil,” comprising “criminals, Nazis, Japs and creatures from other worlds.” Captain Nazi whips open a door and reveals Sivana, IBAC, Nippo, Mr. Banjo and three others (a Japanese and a German soldier, and an alien).

Mr. Mind is able to project mental strength through the ether, allowing IBAC to get the better of Captain Marvel, who grabs the princess and beats a strategic retreat to India. Captain Nazi ad IBAC pursue. Princess Rajabuti leads Captain Marvel to the second black pearl, an eye in the idol of Siva. They are ambushed. Captain Marvel defeats Captain Nazi, but IBAC escapes with both pearls.

“Has Captain Marvel met his match at last? Will the sisnister Mr. Mind succeed in taking over the universe? Will the relay race with the world’s most vicious criminals wear even the world’s mightiest mortal down? Don’t miss part two, ‘The Jungle Trap!’”

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CHAPTER VIII — “BATTLE AT THE CHINA WALL!”

Flying to Mr. Mind’s headquarters in Berlin, captain Marvel fights a succession of synthetic monsters: first a giant lobster-like creature, then an octopus with hands on the ends of its tentacles, then a cross between a ram and a charging rhinoceros. By the time he has defeated them, Mr. Mind has escaped atop a flying dragon to Japanese headquarters in occupied China. The C.O. is a bucktoothed stereotype who has three scientists (with sharpened teeth) working under him: Dr. Smashi, Dr. Hashi and Dr. Peeyu.

At an allied radio station in Russia, Captain Marvel contacts Mr. Morris at WHIZ and learns of dragon sightings in China. Morris also asks Captain Marvel to relay a message to Billy that his fans miss him and he should do a broadcast as soon as possible. Following the lead, Captain Marvel flies to China, chages to Billy, and goes about broadcasting a report from atop the Great Wall of China. At a blockhouse, Billy encounters three coolies who are actually Smashi, Hashi and Peeyu in disguise. Mr. Mind orders them to capture and gag Billy.

The three scientists are in the process of running a wire the entire length of the 1250 mile long wall. They wrap it around Billy and tell him that they plan to run 10 million volts through it at midnight but he will never know the reason why. When the current is flipped, it burns the gag off Billy before it kills him and he quickly shouts, “SHAZAM!” the Wall has now been charged with positive magnetic energy which is repelled by the negative magnetism in the ground, causing the entire Wall to float! Mr. Mind’s plan is to move the entire Wall forward against the Chinese with the Japs behind it.

Captain Marvel breaks a gap in the Wall so the Chinese soldiers can get through, but he can’t hold back the entire Wall. He finds the control station, knocks out the scientists and returns the Wall to its proper place. Mr. Mind fools Captain Marvel into thinking he has fled. Captain Marvel changes back to Billy, and Mr. Mind quickly spins a silk gag over Billy’s mouth, then he encases Billy’s entire body in a cocoon, saying, “You’ll rot here, brat! This is an old, deserted blockhouse that no one ever visits! They’ll find your white bones someday—wrapped in my silken cocoon! Farewell! Ha, ha, ho, hee, haaa!”

“Can the brave lad escape from his silken prison? Has Mr. mind left him to helpless starvation? Will the mosterous master of wicjedness be free now to win his vile ends, unchallenged by mighty Captain Marvel? See next month’s chapter, ‘The Webs of Destruction!’”

CHAPTER 9 — “THE WEBS OF DESTRUCTION!”

Billy Batson reckons he’s been bound for three or four days when three boys come playing in the old blockhouse. Expecting a giant butterfly to emerge, they cut the cocoon and Billy yells, “SHAZAM!” Meanwhile, Mr. Mind is accompanied by Dr. Smashi to the “huge Jap base of Rabaul.” There they meet Herr Phoul (bald German who wears a monocle) and Jorrk (an alligator-headed creature) from the planet Pinkus. They build a helicopter resembling a huge insect (six “legs” ad a segmented body) which Mr. Mind refers to as “the flying spider.” (Perhaps the vehicle is not named for its looks but its abilities. It is equipped with spinnerets which weave silken “webs” to be dropped on allied planes causing them to crash.) The four fly to conquer Port Darwin in Australia.

Captain Marvel is on a Pacific Island 500 miles away when he gets word of the attack. He arrives in time to save several pilots from crashing because of the wens and is thanked by General McWaverly. That night, Mr. Mind drops a sticky net over the entire base and even Captain Marvel is trapped. Wearing rosin-covered shoes, Mr. Mind’s minions capture the General to be taken to Tokyo for torture while Mr. Mind dances on Captain Marvel’s nose, tickling it and causing him to sneeze. The force of the sneeze frees him and he sets off in pursuit.

Before the spider-plane can take off, Captain Marvel smashes the spinnerets. When Mr. mind tries to use them against Captain Marvel, it backfires and gums up the plane. Mr. Mind and his minions parachute to safety but the general is falling to his death.

“Can Captain Marvel save the general from doom? Even if he does, Mr. Mind goes free… once again to match his wicked mental powers against the World’s Mightiest Mortal! Don’t miss chapter ten of this thrilling serial next month!”

“Retreating Nazis and Japs always leave behind them cowardly, fiendish booby traps maiming and killing allied soldiers! But Captain Marvel runs into the supremely cunning booby traps of Mr. Mind, the most evil intelligence ever born! Can even the World’s Mightiest Mortal match the savage mentality of his arch enemy? Will the booby traps make a booby of Captain Marvel? Or of Mr. Mind? WHICH…???”

CHAPTER 10 — “THE BOOBY TRAPS OF MR.MIND!”

Captain Marvel pours on a burst of speed and saves the general before he falls to the ground ad frees him from the cocoon, lingering only long enough to observe that the Marines have the clean-up well in hand, burning off the sticky webbing covering the base with flame throwers. He flies to the spot at sea where Mr. Mind and his allies would have parachuted, but they have already been picked up by a Japanese submarine enroute to laboratory 11 on Island Z.

Captain Marvel returns to the base and learns that the Marines next push happens to be, coincidentally, a full-scale attack on the very island where Mr. Mind has retreated. Since there is no sign of Mr. Mind, Captain Marvel joins the invasion force, leading the charge and carrying the American flag. Pushing ahead of the troops, Captain Marvel clears out the enemy soldiers. Mr. mind has fled in his spaceship, leaving behind several booby traps.

The first booby trap is a photo of himself hanging on the wall. Captain Marvel rips it down, but it is wired to explode. Unharmed, Captain Marvel sees a cigarette machine and decides to buy some for “the boys,” but when he pulls the lever, he is squirted with acid. The acid eats through the concrete floor, but again Captain Marvel is unharmed.

He decides to purposefully set off all the booby traps he can find so as to prevent any harm befalling the soldiers. He picks up a flower from a vase and releases an 8000 lb. weight on his head (which he does not, at first, notice). He finds a note which reads: “Greetings, you red booby! I am now on the planetoid Punkus! Come up and see me sometime! (signed) Mr. Mind.”

Picking up the note triggers another booby trap, a recording of Billy Batson’s voice saying, “SHAZAM!” Captain Marvel changes to Billy and is immediately gagged by a robot and thrown on a spaceship bound for Punkus. Once there, he is fitted with a breathing helmet. (Only the crocodile-headed natives on Punkus can breathe the native atmosphere.)

Mr. Mind then reveals his secret weapon: a giant gun called Great Big Bertha. It is ten miles long with a bore of 500 feet. One shell can make a crater 1000 miles wide. Mr. Mind wants Billy to observe as the evil genius takes out America.

“Can Billy save America? Can he, or Captain Marvel, stop the giant gun? See Chapter 11 in next month’s issue, called ‘GSV URIRMT LU TIVZG YRT YVIGSZ!’ (Use your code-finder to work this out.)”

NOTE: I haven’t mentioned the code-finder yet, but it was available to all boys and girls who joined Captain Marvel’s club. It was for decoding messages from Captain Marvel on the editorial page, etc. Here’s your chance to help Captain Marvel defeat the Monster Society of Evil. I will leave the contest open over the weekend and the first person to break the code wins… well, nothing really. Bragging rights…? C’mon all you code-breakers out there! Good luck and “Keep ‘em flyin’!”

CHAPTER 11 — “THE FIRING OF GREAT BIG BERTHA!”

Billy Batson taunts his guard by scrawling an insult on the wall of his cell with his toe. The guard removes Billy’s helmet so that he will suffocate, then removes his gag to better hear his dying groans of agony. “SHAZAM!” Captain Marvel defeats the guard, then disguises himself as a crocodile-man using the mounted head of a previous leader. Jorrk unwittingly enlists Captain Marvel’s aid in the munitions plant where they are manufacturing mile-long shells for Great Big Bertha. They have two completed, but Mr. Minds wants twelve.

Captain Marvel is discovered, but he hurls explosives destroying the plant and killing Herr Phoul and Jorrk. Mr. Mind orders Dr. Smashi to fire the first shell at Earth. It will land in Russia. As Earth turns bringing America into range, Dr. Smashi prepares to fire the second shell.

“How can even the World’s Mightiest Mortal stop a giant shell 1000 times his size?? One shell already heads for Russia, to blast that land to shreds! Another is aimed for America! will Captain Marvel save the two great allies—Russia and America—from utter destruction? See Chapter 12” ‘GSV YLNYZIWNVMG LU VZIGS!’ next month!”

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GSV YLNYZIWNVMG LU VZIGS!

THE BOMBARDMENT OF EARTH!

Right you are, Luke!

CHAPTER 12 — “THE BOMBARDMENT OF EARTH!”

Captain Marvel runs along the length of the barrel, racing the shell inside. He overtakes it, and when he gets to the end, he dives into the barrel itself to meet the oncoming shell. He is unharmed, but the resultant explosion hurls him into space. He flies back to Punkus. Dr. Smashi lies dead, but Mr. Mind survived. Captain Marvel has five minutes to stop the first shell from striking Russia. He quickly shoves Mr. Mind into his sash. With three minutes left, Captain Marvel overtakes the speeding shell. Then Mr. Mind begins to tickle him. Captain Marvel swats Mr. Mind as the shell races past. There are now only two minutes left.

Captain Marvel overtakes the shell again and begins pushing it backwards. He estimates he needs ten minutes, but the shell will hit in one! Mr. Mind crawls up Captain Marvel’s shirt and begins to tickle him again. Mr. Mind unintentionally pops out of the neckline of Captain Marvel’s top. Captain Marvel grabs him and uses precious seconds to tie the worm up in his hair. Now there are only 10 seconds lwft until the shell strikes!

“And even the World’s Mightiest Mortal needs more than ten brief seconds to stop the mighty plunging shell! Is Russia doomed??? Will the terrific blast lay waste that brave land from end to end? Has Mr. mind won his cunning dual with captain Marvel??? It is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to stop the shell!!! Yes—IMPOSSIBLE! Captain Marvel knows that himself! So what will happen in chapter thirteen?—Don’t fail to read it next month!!! Watch for ‘GSV UOLZGRMT GVIILI’!”

CHAPTER 13 — “THE FLOATING TERROR!”

The shell misses the city (presumably Moscow) and it does land, but it does not explode. It’s a dud. Mr. Mind snaps free of Captain Marvel’s hair and escapes down an animal hole and heads for Nazi Germany. Captain Marvel helps repair the damage done by the shell.

Days later, a small island mysteriously appears 100 miles north of Scotland. Billy Batson grabs a portable radio set and heads off to investigate as Captain Marvel. An allied destroyer goes to investigate, but finds the island 50 miles farther south than reported. While taking a smaller craft ashore to investigate, the captain and a landing party witness a camouflaged gun appear and sink the destroyer. Arriving at the spot where the island was originally reported, Captain Marvel hears the sound of the destroyer being sunk.

On the glacial island, Mr. Mind orders his men to dump barrels of water on the sailors, freezing them. Captain Marvel arrives just in time to prevent them from suffocating. He changes to Billy Batson and broadcasts a warning to England and America, but is attacked, bound and gagged by Mr. Mind’s men, who also shoot down the helpless sailors. Billy is then tied to the barrel of a gun with his head hanging backwards over the mouth of it. The floating island is being towed to Scotland by U-boat. Mr. Mind has a Panzer army with him to invade England.

“At last the dread mystery is revealed… a surprise attack against England! Will it succeed? Will Hitler’s last desperate thrust win? Can Billy Batson yet avoid his frightful doom, and once more pit captain Marvel againsttriumphant Mr. Mind? Read the exiting answer in Chapter 14: ‘NI. NRMW’H YORGA!’”

Jeff of Earth-J said:

The shell misses the city (presumably Moscow) and it does land, but it does not explode. It’s a dud.

Bah. I thought CM was going to dig a hole at incredible speed ahead of it.

Yeah, the resolution to that cliffhanger was a bit of a cheat, I agree.

Mr. Mind snaps free of Captain Marvel’s hair and escapes down an animal hole and heads for Nazi Germany.

I guess Mr. Mind had some kind of transportation. A worm today would still be trying to cover the distance between Moscow and Nazi Germany.

In Chapter 14, Captain Marvel tosses a shell roughly the same distance. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

CHAPTER 14 — “MR. MIND’S BLITZ!”

“Billy Batson, his head tied to the mouth of a cannon, is doomed to die the moment an allied warship appears!” A ship appears, the gun ss fired, and “the outward rush of air from the cannon barrel, before the shell emerges,” blows off the gaga and “frees Billy’s tongue!” SHAZAM! Captain Marvel overtakes the shell and tosses it toward Berlin, where it lands in “Schicklegruber’s Plaza.”

While the ship bombards the island, Captain Marvel dives underwater and attacks the U-boat towing it. He sinks the sub but saves the crew. After that, he confronts Mr. mind on the island, but the worm uses a heat ray to melt a wooly mammoth, frozen in suspended animation, from the ice. Captain Marvel fight the mammoth and knocks it unconscious.

Meanwhile, the island has drifted ashore and the Panzer invasion begins. Captain Marvel rouses the mammoth and rides it through the Scottish highlands and lowlands, warning the countryside in the manner of Paul Revere. The Scotsmen are willing to join the fight as long as it doesn’t cost them anything (another stereotype keeping this story out of print), and routes the Nazis. One of the Scots rips a Nazi soldier’s back pocket from his pants with a scythe, and all the Scots stop the pursuit to pick up the money which the soldier lost, even though it’s worthless German currency.

Billy broadcasts: “What’s next? Mr. Mind is somewhere in Scotland or England, biding his time! I know Captain Marvel will run him down someday! But when?... Where?... How? I’ll stay in England till I pick up his trail again.”

Mr. Mind says: “SV’OO KRXP FK MB GIZRO ZTZRM, ZOO IRTSG… Z GIZRO LU HSFWWIB WVHGIFXGRLM!”

The caption reads: “MVCG NLMGS—XSZKGVI 15: ‘GSV ERXRLFH ELOXZML!’”

Jeff of Earth-J said:

A ship appears, the gun ss fired, and “the outward rush of air from the cannon barrel, before the shell emerges,” blows off the gag and “frees Billy’s tongue!”

BAH!

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