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.
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!’”
I can't resist a puzzle challenge so I've been translating the code messages. The long one was so long I copied it into Word and replaced the letters using find-and-replace. I made the searches case-sensitive and used different cases for the code and replacement letters.
Ch 20's message reads
Read the astounding revewation in
Next month’s episode...
"The Unholy Hydra!"
The typo is in the comic (IVEVDZGRLM). Apparently the letterer misread an O as a D. Last time I thought some of the V's were Y's but I figured I'd just misunderstood the lettering.
CHAPTER 21 — “THE UNHOLY HYDRA!”
The chapter begins with the newspaper headline: “Mr. Mind Dead!” Reading the headline is… Mr. Mind himself. As the rollers were just about to crush him, Captain Marvel smashed the press, inadvertently saving Mr. Mind’s life. The newspaper also carries the story of a new secret weapon, which Mr. Mind vows to obtain. First, though, he brings his new monster to life. It has a powerful animal body (resembling that of a kangaroo) and an intelligent-looking human head. It is a moron, however, and Mr. Mind cuts off its head in disgust. Two more grow in its place: a duplicate of the original plus that of a dog. Mr. Mind calls it the Hydra.
Mr. Mind’s conceives the notion to go to the scientist’s house and let the dog’s head follow the doctor’s trail to the secret lab, but on the way their paths cross Billy Batson instead. “SHAZAM!” Captain Marvel punches the dog’s head right off, and it is quickly replaced by another dog’s head plus a loin’s head. Mr. Mind and the Hydra give Captain Marvel the slip, go to the scientist’s house and track him to his lab.
The scientist, Dr. Neon, opens the safe but the moron head hits the alarm button. A policeman arrives and shoots the hydra, which causes it to grow another head, that of a horned dragon. At the police station, Captain Marvel also responds to the alarm. He tussles with the Hydra while Mr. Mind wriggles away with the secret plans. Captain Marvel lets theHydra go, and it leads him back to Mr. Mind’s lab. Captain Marvel distracts it with a piece of meat. The Hydra begins to fight over the meat and kills itself.
Captain Marvel changes to Billy Batson so that Billy can deliver Mr. Mind to the police. A masked man slips in the window and knocks Billy unconscious. Mr. Mind falls to the floor and is also knocked unconscious.
“What does this new villain want with Mr. Mind and billy? Don’t miss next month’s exciting episode: ‘NI. NRMW OLHVH SRH NRMW!’”
CHAPTER 22 — “MR. MIND LOSES HIS MIND”
When Billy comes to, he has been bound and gagged by a common burglar looking for meat ration coupons. The thief takes off Billy’s gag so he can tell where they are. “SHAZAM!” Captain Marvel makes short work of the burglar, but is shocked to discover that, when Mr. Mind wakes, he is suffering from amnesia and has undergone a complete personality change.
After dropping the burglar off at police headquarters, Captain Marvel flies to station WHIZ so that Billy can broadcast the news. He puts Mr. Mind on the air. The worm apologizes profusely for the things he has done in the past and begs forgiveness. Back at Mr. Mind’s former lair, his monsters and minions hear the broadcast. Mr. Mind’s second in command, the crocodile monster Herkimer, takes over and vows to kill Mr. Mind.
That night, Billy puts Mr. Mind to bed on a pillow next to him. Herkimer sneaks in with a sledgehammer, but wakes Billy up. “SHAZAM!” Captain Marvel saves Mr. Mind’s life, and Herkimer flees into the darkness.
Herkimer decides to carry out Mr. Mind’s last plan. The monsters take over Hill Observatory and set up a machine which attracts a planetoid to Earth. Billy sees the planetoid approaching from his window, and Mr. Mind recalls something about Hill Observatory. “SHAZAM!” By the time Captain Marvel and Mr. Mind reach the observatory and smashes the machine, the planetoid is caught in Earth’s gravitational pull. Flying up to meet it, Captain Marvel splits the planetoid in halves.
In anger, Herkimer smacks Mr. Mind against the wall, restoring his memory. Captain Marvel returns to the observatory to find the following note: “Captain Marvel — I must have really been out of my mind to team up with you, you Big Red Cheese! It won’t happen again! (signed) Mr. Mind”
“Mr. Mind plagues Captain Marvel with a new menace next month!! Watch for it!”
CHAPTER 23 — “MR. MIND’S SCHOOL FOR EVIL!”
After Mr. Mind’s bout with amnesia, he’s lost his evil touch. One of his monster minions suggests that he attend his own School for Evil to get it back. He agrees to start at kindergarten ad work his way up. The course catalogue includes Murder, Ethics of Extortion, Assault and Battery, Evil (plain), Evil (fancy) and Advanced Arson. He soon works his way to the top but he must perform an evil deed to graduate. He partners with Archibald the Satyr who must complete an evil deed, too.
Station WHIZ is sponsoring a picnic in Echo Valley for city children, and Billy Batson is in charge. “Archie” (as he is called) attempts to gore the children with his horns. “SHAZAM!” Captain Marvel knocks Archie into the air, but then his echo returns, changing him back to Billy. The Satyr lands on him, knocking him unconscious.
Taking the gagged Billy back at school, Mr. Mind and Archie graduate as Valedictorian and Salutatorian of their class. Mr. Mind then becomes an instructor. Before killing him, Mr. Mind intends to use Billy as an test subject in class. First, Mr. Mind demonstrates his evil laugh. The Archie demonstrates the use of spiked brass knuckles on Billy. Billy dodges and one of the spikes rips off his gag. “SHAZAM!”
Mr. Mind ducks into an inkwell to hide while Captain Marvel goes from room to room, defeating teachers and students alike. He the finds and follows an inky trail until it disappears in the library. Mr. Mind escapes by hiding in a book, the later sneaks away through a mouse hole.
“Where will the evil Mr. Mind strike from next??? Don’t Miss next month’s tense episode, ‘GSV FMWVIHVZ NLMHGVI YIRTZWV!’”
CHAPTER 24 — “THE UNDERSEA MONSTER BRIGADE”
Mr. Mind’s Monster Society of Evil is now totally defeated. Fleeing the destruction of his school on land, Mr. Mind makes his way to his organization under the sea. On the coast, a fisherman mistakes him for ordinary bait. Mr. Mind wriggles too much for the man to spear with the hook, so he ties him to it. Once below the surface, Mr. Mind is immediately gobbled up by a sea bass and the line snaps. The fish is in turn eaten by a whale. Inside the whale’s stomach, the fish flops so much that Mr. Mind falls out of its mouth.
Mr. Mind makes his way up the whale’s esophagus and out its mouth. The whale seems to be in pain. Mr. Mind sees a broken piece of clam shell logged in the whale’s eye and he removes it. He the uses telepathy to order the whale to attack an allied freighter. Back on land, Billy Batson picks up the ship’s SOS. “SHAZAM!” Flying to the scene, Captain Marvel intercepts the whale from attacking another ship. He sees Mr. Mind. The whale dives. Captain Marvel follows.
Mr. Mind enters a huge, impenetrable underwater dome. Captain Marvel is unable to get in, but he finds a small airlock Billy’s size. “SHAZAM!” Billy enters but is immediately captured by a monster and gagged. He is forced to watch Mr. Mind (riding a seahorse) lead his “Monster Brigade”: the whale, an octopus, a hammerhead shark and a sea serpent. The first thing they do is sink a warship.
Billy notices that there is a sea urchin stuck in his hair. He shakes it loose and it sticks to the wall. Then he uses the sea urchin to pull his gag loose. “SHAZAM!” He leaves through a hatch and cathes Mr. Mind attacking a battleship. He defeats the Monster Brigade. Mr. Mind rides the seahorse back to the undersea base. This time, Captain Marvel is able to smash his way in. The water rushes in behind him and drowns everyone aboard except Mr. Mind and two of his minions: one human ad one crocodile monster. They flee in a submarine which releases an inky cloud, thwarting pursuit.
NEXT: “THE END OF MR. MIND!”
CHAPTER 25 — “THE END OF MR. MIND!”
With his organization in ruins and the Monster Society destroyed, Mr. Mind’s last two henchmen desert him, too. He tries one last ditch desperate attempt at revenge. He sneaks into Station WHIZ and doses Billy Batson with ether. He then realizes he is unable to kill him because he’s just a worm. (He had had his minions do all his dirty work in the past.) Just as Mr. Mind is about to electrocute him with a high voltage powerline, Billy wakes up. Billy swats and Mr. Mind and misses, as the worm ducks into a heating vent. “SHAZAM!” Captain Marvel begins ripping the wall apart, but he is stopped by Sterling Morris, the station owner.
They have the police surround the building. They search for hours but do not find him. Captain Marvel decides to call an exterminator. That flushes him out. Mr. Mind is captured and put on trial, but denies everything. After hearing Captain Marvel’s testimony, even Mr. Mind’s defense attorney turns against him. He is found guilty and sentenced to die in the electric chair. The night arrives. He is strapped in. Captain Marvel waits at home. The lights dim. It is over. Mr. Mind is dead. His body is then stuffed and placed in a museum.
Billy soliloquizes: “Well, that’s the final and compete end of Mr. Mind! Only a little worm but he had the whole world worried for two years! There were times when Captain Marvel thought he’d never get him!”
And that’s the end of “The Monster Society of Evil.” I know this thread is a poor substitute for an archival reprint, but I guess it will have to serve until DC sees fit to reprint it. I hope you enjoyed it while it lasted.