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!’”
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!”