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The preview for Flashpoint introduces us to a new iteration of the Marvel Family; six kids, each with one power of Shazam in their mortal form.

That reminded me, sort of, of this story, where Captain Marvel has to deal with a team of villains who share a similar sort of concept.



Well, he IS a 12 year old in an adults body...

From Shazam! The World's Mightiest Mortal #31 in 1977 I bring you



Okay, quick continuity recap. Pre-Crisis, Shazam's adventures happened on Earth-S, a world where the Marvel Family are the world's most famous heroes, and the likes of Black Adam,, Dr Sivana and his family, and Mr Mind are the only real supervillains. (As opposed to these days when they have been desperately diluted by being mixed in with the rest of the superpowered beings, but never mind). The events of this series take place after most of the major cast have been trapped in a bubble of Suspendium for decades, and only recently been released. So Billy WAS active as Captain Marvel in the 1940's but spent most of the time between then and the 1970's in suspended animation. Billy resolves to set out and discover more about their new world on a road trip with Uncle Dudley (This sort of tied in with the 1970's live action Shazam show, except that Uncle Dudley was replaced by "Mentor", they couldn't afford the Rock of Eternity sets, and so the "Elders" who empowered Cap would talk to Billy via the Eterniphone, a sort of 3D television, and impart important lessons in morality blah blah blah)

We open as young Billy Batson and Uncle Dudley, the dubious looking middle aged fellow who hangs around with him a lot, meets up with his old friend Jack Weston, the former hero known as Minute Man (No "The Specials" jokes please, he's not a shrinker, he's one of those terribly American patriotic heroes you chaps seem to have so many of). Jack has retired and is now a restauranteur (He spent so long on KP in his army days because he was sneaking out on missions for Uncle Sam, he felt it was the best use of the skills he'd picked up). He wasn't trapped in the Suspendium so has grown up and moved on with his life.

In the middle of the meal gatecrashers show up...



So we have Virago, a woman hating strongwoman... Dauntless, who can sap courage...

Oh, and yes Billy, six weirdly dressed women have just burst in to tob the joint, and you think anyone is paying attention to a 12 year old kid? Some ego you got there kiddo.

The rest of the Squad display their specialities...



So that's Gibraltar, Celeritas, Sibyl and Dynamoll (I have to say, I LOVE those names! :) )

Billy says his magic word (You know the one!) and so....



Okay, let's just take a moment to appreciate a couple of things here;

1) The Rainbow squad is not only multi-ethnic, but an assortment of body types, and personalities... stereotypes perhaps, but personalities.

2) Virago isn't even TRYING for subtext is she?

3) An effective strategy there!

4) Styling striped bloomers you got there ladies!

Following a pre-arranged plan, Dynamoll follows Cap and resolves to wipe him out with her energy aura...



Oops! I love Cap not even NOTICING atomic blasts aimed at him.

Meanwhile back at the restaurant Jack, being the good little ex-hero that he is, tries to stop the the Squad, but is flattened by Virago as they make their getaway. Uncle Dudley ponders where they got such powers (Earth-S not being awash with metahumans)



So we have the Rainbow Squad, given their powers by Mr Wonderful (I kid you not, that's his name) thanks to a device built by an alien called Handyman. This is how you can tell you're reading comics kids!

Dynamoll reports that Captain Marvel even shrugged off her atomic blast, but this does not make their boss happy.



I have to say, I like his approach to dealing with heroes! )



Yes Virago, we get the message!

Meanwhile, Dudley has been talking with Jack about how Cap reacted to the Squad. Jack points out that at his core, Cap is still Billy in some ways, a 12 year old kid with very confused emotions about girls and bullying and how a man is supposed to behave. They decide to use the Eterniphone to contact the Eldes.

A quick holographic message from Achilles, who tells him the story of Patroclus (Achilles best friend, who took Ulysses place in battle and was slain by Hector thus showing Achilles that some fights should ALWAYS be fought and brought him back to the rest of the Trojan war. Considering what a waste that whole damn war was, that's NOT the BEST argument there Achy, but what the hell) Realising that Captain Marvel needs a friend to show him the right thing to do in a situation like this, Jack resolves to renew his crimefighting career, and switches into his costume.



It's corny as hell, but I LOVE that outfit.I actually think I had a similar shirt in the 1980's (though in monochrome), but then... it WAS the 1980's.

Meanwhile Dynamoll has found Cap, still wandering around trying to work out how he can clobber girls and still call himself a hero. It's an odd thing for a hero to be emo over, but if you consider his unique situation, it would be a problem.


And thus Billy proves yet again why he's the only juvenile hero to be tied up and gagged more often than any TWO Robins.


I adore this deathtrap... so classic it's up there with the Perils of Penelope Pitstop meets Monty Python!



Forget Captain Marvel, I want to know where they got that chair from, it seems able to withstand a five ton weight being dropped on it without a problem! Ikea eat your heart out!



OKAY Virago, we GET it! Oy....

I approve of Minuteman recognising the Squad's weakness, they only have ONE power each,,, Conversely, I approve of Sybil spotting this and suggesting ganging up on them.



Yup, so Virago has the strength, but without the invulnerability, she has a problem too,



I don't think you CAN reflect lightning with a mirror, but with magic auras anything is possible

Oh, and recycling bondage material! That's environmentally friendly at least!

Cap punches out Mr Wonderful, who rather than crumple, self destructs because....



This was, IIRC, Mr Minds first appearance in the modern continuity. They explained that he'd been tried and found guilty of 186, 744 charges of murder! (Good grief, The Joker? Hah! An amateur!) and executed by electric chair... presumably a really, REALLY, small one. But it turns out his species is immune to electric shock, and after waking from the brief death-like coma it put him in, was able to mentally control the taxidermist hired to prepare him for museum display, and substitute a fake.

Mr Mind takes advantage of the cheerfully patriotically garbed heroes return to consicouness to jump out of Caps hand and dive into the floorboards, threatening to meet Marvel again in Detroit, where Billy's countrywide tour was taking him anyway.

So the story ends happily enough, with the Rainbow Squad (Who would never be seen again) being jailed, Mr Mind on the run, Billy not being squished and Minuteman returning to active duty!

Date: 2011-05-12 09:06 pm (UTC)
kamino_neko: Kamino Neko's default icon... (Default)
From: [personal profile] kamino_neko
One of your images is broke, you forgot the < at the front of the tag.

As to the story itself... Hee. I like this lot. Their costumes remind me a bit of someone else's, though I can't figure who.

Also? Totally called it being Mr Mind...although I did figure Mr Wonderful was a real person just hijacked by Mr Mind, not a robot...

Also, clearly Mr Mind has not read the Overlord's list, since that deathtrap breaks, like, a dozen of the rules...

Date: 2011-05-12 09:21 pm (UTC)
thanekos: Kouhei " Principal Garren " Hayami, the Libra Zodiarts, is bugged. (Default)
From: [personal profile] thanekos
They and the Rainbow Raiders would be a very chromatic fight.

Date: 2011-05-13 12:40 am (UTC)
kamino_neko: Kamino Neko's default icon... (Stop it!)
From: [personal profile] kamino_neko
To be fair, it was a stupid plan even without that issue.

Date: 2011-05-13 03:10 pm (UTC)
featheredserpent: (Default)
From: [personal profile] featheredserpent
*\ Reiterate: Comment about disappointment they weren't wearing their silver Nikes to get a ride on the comet \*

Date: 2011-05-13 09:49 pm (UTC)
featheredserpent: (Default)
From: [personal profile] featheredserpent
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heaven's_Gate_(religious_group)

Date: 2011-05-12 09:38 pm (UTC)
proteus_lives: (Default)
From: [personal profile] proteus_lives
This is so wonderful.

We need to see the Rainbow Squad again.

Date: 2011-05-12 09:58 pm (UTC)
proteus_lives: (Default)
From: [personal profile] proteus_lives
Oh, that would be perfect.

Hell, seeing a Captain Marvel/Secret Six adventure would be wonderful.

Date: 2011-05-13 08:37 pm (UTC)
jaybee3: Nguyen Lil Cass (Default)
From: [personal profile] jaybee3
Tough thing about that though is that literally all of the 6 combined are no match for just one Marvel. Though it would be fun to see Billy and Mary (given Gail Simone's professed love for Mary) take on the SS in their civilian forms...and beating them.

One of the things I hate about how DC has written the Marvels (particularly true in Mary's case in Countdown) is how utterly DUMB they make the Batsons and Freddy Freeman out to be - where they act like they're 12 yet they're supposed to be 17-18 (Freddy's even in college!). In Billy's case he started as Cap when he was 8 in present continuity which makes him more experienced than literally every present member of current run of the Teen Titans (except perhaps Beast Boy). Yet we never see that.

Date: 2011-05-13 12:00 pm (UTC)
eyz: (Default)
From: [personal profile] eyz
Oh, really? I do hope so :D
That could be pretty fun!

Date: 2011-05-12 09:51 pm (UTC)
sigmund_droid: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sigmund_droid
You know, despite everything I really enjoyed seeing Minute Man getting the crap beat out of him.

Date: 2011-05-12 10:16 pm (UTC)
drmcninja: (Default)
From: [personal profile] drmcninja
Oh, clever! This is where the mind control worms in Kingdom Come are from! I always wondered why those seemed so slightly out of place... not contextualized or familiar.

Date: 2011-05-13 03:13 pm (UTC)
featheredserpent: (BEES)
From: [personal profile] featheredserpent
The World's Second Wickedest Worm is forever trying to keep up, but sadly has only murdered 186, 743 people.

Date: 2011-05-13 12:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] screamsheet.wordpress.com
Oh God, I love Captain Marvel so much it hurts. I wish we could get the Marvel family back in DC continuity without them getting screwed around with so much.

Date: 2011-05-13 01:13 am (UTC)
jkcarrier: me, at my old office (Default)
From: [personal profile] jkcarrier
Always loved this story. I think Bridwell is one of the most underrated writers of the Bronze Age...he was endlessly inventive, and really knew how to structure and pace a done-in-one story.

The Rainbow Squad remind me a little of the Sailor Scouts...right down to the blue-haired genius! ;)

[applause]

Date: 2011-05-13 01:13 am (UTC)
cleome45: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cleome45
The only thing that would make this better would be a sequel where Mr. Mind escapes into the Scarry-verse, and gets the snot stomped out of him by Lowly Worm-- in a Captain Marvel costume.

Date: 2011-05-13 02:01 am (UTC)
halloweenjack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] halloweenjack
I seem to recall this being on an earlier reincarnation of s_d; it reads like one of DC's authors being terrified of the dyketty-dyke-dykes of the 70s, and responding by making them supervillains.

Date: 2011-05-13 02:27 am (UTC)
kamino_neko: Kamino Neko's default icon... (Default)
From: [personal profile] kamino_neko
Except that Gibralta, at least, is clearly decidedly straight, and Sibyl certainly seems that way. Celeritas, Dynamoll, and Dauntless don't give any indication either way.

Virago...definitely a stereotyped lesbian, but 1/6 doesn't really make for good evidence it's a reaction against gay women.

Women's lib (oh, goddess, how old am I that I can seriously remember that term being used seriously?), sure, but that's a different thing.

Date: 2011-05-13 02:47 am (UTC)
divi_d: (Default)
From: [personal profile] divi_d
Eh... I'd say 1/6 definitely goes as evidence that it's a reaction to gay women... it's just that it's Virago, not the team as a whole, that's a reaction.

IE: She meets the negative steriotypes a little TOO well to be easilly written off as a coincidence, in other words.

Date: 2011-05-13 02:03 pm (UTC)
halloweenjack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] halloweenjack
You're probably right in that it was more a reaction to women's lib overall; one of the things that struck me is that they've got a wider variety of body and facial types than the run-of-the-mill female characters in comics of the era, and in particular Dauntless and Dynamoll have fairly strong jaws.

Date: 2011-05-13 05:16 pm (UTC)
jaybee3: Nguyen Lil Cass (Default)
From: [personal profile] jaybee3
70s era Marvel Family was a lot of fun. It seems DC pretty much let the writers/artists get as crazy as they wanted.

I still say they can do this in the DCU proper (if it wasn't for Didio's need to have it be a "dark, grim" world) and they don't even have to interact with other DC characters or crossovers (much like the Powergirl book didn't when Amanda Connor was on it).

Date: 2011-05-13 06:30 pm (UTC)
recognitions: (Default)
From: [personal profile] recognitions
If only there was a little Talky Tawny to sweeten the deal.

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