Disclaimer: Captain Marvel is the property of DC comics.
"Tough day at the office"
Billy Batson hated geometry. He wasn't a mathematician; he told Mr. Forrester as much when he got an "F" on the test earlier in the day. Everyone in the class laughed at him, including Trent Lazlo, the Varsity football quarterback. Oh, how Billy wished he could've said the magic word right there. But he shook his head and relented, Trent wasn't worth it, and besides, Captain Marvel would have a lot of explaining to do to the JSA about how he suddenly materialized in the middle of a high school geometry class.
Billy was the afternoon news reporter for WHIZ radio. Fawcett City's youngest radio personality, they called him. News anchors worldwide had found such a meteoric rise from such a young boy to be astonishing. What would make them drop flat on their faces would be the fact that Billy Batson is Captain Marvel, the World's Mightiest Mortal.
As Billy walked to the front of his house, he carried his backpack over his shoulder and searched for the spare key under the welcome mat. He unlocked the door and made his way inside.
Courtney Whitmore was on his mind all the time. They had gotten closer ever since she saw him turn from Captain Marvel into Billy Batson when Obsidian imprisoned them in a realm of darkness. Billy dreamed about her, even in the carnal thoughts teenagers tend to think about. Unfortunately, they had to keep their relationship a secret from the rest of the team. How would it look that Billy's alter ego, a grown man known for years as Captain Marvel, hugging and kissing a young girl like the Star-Spangled Kid? It would've brought questions Billy didn't want to answer.
Even the Wisdom of Solomon seemed useless on how to rid one's mind of such a pretty, smart, and funny young woman. Whose golden hair seemed to reflect the sunlight on a bright summer's day, or when she wields her Cosmic Rod; A woman whose light blue eyes seemed to warmly welcome you even if she's ready to blast you to You-just-got-your-ass-kicked-ville; a sultry debutante whose bosoms alone could…well you get the idea.
It wasn't easy for Billy at WHIZ either, during a news report he called anchor woman Linda Silverston "Courtney" twice. She invaded his thoughts at every waking and sleeping moment and it had to stop. Billy set down his backpack in a dining room chair. He walked out into his backyard and locked the front door. Putting the key to the backdoor on the door lattice, he stepped into the middle of the backyard.
After making sure no one was watching, he shouted out, "SHAZAM!" Lightning struck his young, seventeen year old body. When the smoke cleared, Captain Marvel, cloaked in his traditional red suit, golden boots, white cape and lightning bolt insignia, stood tall. With a mighty leap to the heavens, he took off like a missile. He needed something to take his mind off of Courtney, and patrolling always made for a clear head.
Captain Marvel flew around downtown Fawcett City. Daylight wasn't the usual time of day for criminals to act, it was true; but Billy hoped someone had enough gall to give it a shot. He'd love for Courtney to fly with him over the city once in a while. Although it was no beacon of civilization like New York or Metropolis, Fawcett City had its own illuminating beauty at night time. The lights of the cars passing on the streets, for instance; or the billboards and skyscrapers alight with activity. Or even the school buses full of screaming teenagers flying through the air…
Captain Marvel sped into action upon the sight. He flew underneath the bus as it plummeted to the ground. The Speed of Mercury was surely earning its keep today, he thought as he put his hands on the undercarriage of the bus. He pushed up on the front end of the large vehicle to even it out. Grunting with little strain, he floated down to a parking lot and touched down with his feet. He tilted the front end down gently and walked backwards while letting his hands ease the rear end down. When it finally touched ground, he ran to the door of the school bus and pushed the door open.
"Is everybody…" the champion of Shazam stopped in mid-sentence noticing the kids inside were teens from his high school. Recovering quickly from the shock, he said, "Is everyone alright?"
"Oh, yes, thank you!" said the bus driver; a large, fluffy-haired woman with way too much makeup on. She grabbed at Captain Marvel and laid some kisses on his cheek, much to his embarrassment. Oh, was he glad no one knew it was Billy.
"Ma'am," Billy said fending off her affections gently, "What happened?"
"I was just driving along Shawshank Boulevard, and I-I-I turned my head back to tell these kids to calm down,"
"Actually," said Frankie Frame, a classmate of Billy's, who even the superhero would admit was a bit of a nerd, "The words you used were 'Shut the f—"
"Can it, eye piece!" the bus driver shouted, "Anyway, turning back to the road, this guy in a trench coat was in front of me and I slammed on my brakes. The guy then picked the bus up and threw us like we were some kind of Frisbee."
"Can you tell where he was going?"
"If I had to guess, he was walking along Main Street."
From the angle the bus seemed to fly past him while flying, Billy figured the bus was, in fact, near Main Street. He had to hurry before he lost the trail of this powerhouse. "Thank you, ma'am, I don't think I damaged the bus when I caught it, so whenever you're up to it…uh…as you were." With that, Captain Marvel exited the bus and leaped into the air with a streak of red and yellow in his wake.
The "Big Red Cheese" as the evil Dr. Sivana called him, sped through the skies scouring Main Street. He came upon a large man in a trench coat, like the overly affectionate bus driver had said. The man picked up a light pole fixture and smashed it into an empty parked car. Tossing the pole away, it hurtled toward a restaurant window. Captain Marvel caught the fixture before it could connect and he set it down.
With a mighty leap, Billy landed in front of the trench coat-covered man and said, "Excuse me, sir," he said, with the menace looking at him in the eyes, "I'm a little skeptical on all that police jargon, but what I can figure, what you just did is felony vandalism. And as a citizen of this fair city, I'll…" The man tore off the trench coat, showing his true form. Ibac stood tall over Captain Marvel's head, with bulging muscles, rippling with hair swamping the skin like a gorilla. The face was grotesquely grizzled, ugly when frowning or smiling. Captain Marvel then finished his statement, saying, "Probably throw up now."
Ibac roared out, "You want a joke? Here's a punch line for ya!" The mammoth man threw a hard right cross to Captain Marvel's face, but it was caught.
"'Here's a punch line for ya…' That's you. That's how you sound," the hero mockingly said, flipping his foe over his shoulder. The force sent him flying into the air, smashing through a billboard. Captain Marvel followed Ibac's path, flying over the billboard to see where he landed.
He was surprised when the monster sprung from off the roof and spear tackled him in the stomach. With a twist in the air, Ibac used gravity to slam Shazam's champion through the roof, down to the floor of a ten story apartment building. As they stopped, Ibac clutched Billy's throat, strangling him. "After all these years, I finally got you, Big Red…uh…"
As the grip loosened, Billy raised his legs and thrust them forward, kicking Ibac through the front door, shattering it. He passed through the trailer of a Mack truck as it drove by. Slamming into the brick side of another apartment building, Ibac hit the pavement face first. Captain Marvel flew out of the building, landing on the street.
Ibac could be defeated by getting him to say his own name. But Marvel figured he was bound to have learned better than to just fall for simple word tricks. But before he could think of something, Ibac leaped into the air and hammered his fists into Captain Marvel's head. The blow sent him crashing into the sewers below. Pulling his face out of the murky putrid water, Captain Marvel threw his cape back and saw Ibac drop down into the tunnel.
Angry from having to taste the sewer water, the red and yellow superhero flew with concussive speed, wrapping his arms around the man's waist, driving him through the darkness. Above ground, the manhole covers exploded from their positions, leaving a trail of empty manholes.
Back underground, Ibac drove his hands into Captain Marvel's back, stopping the progress to a grinding halt on the floor of the tunnel. The monster quickly recovered and palmed the hero's face into the floor, submerging his face once more in the dirty sewer water. Captain Marvel rolled his legs back against Ibac's chest and pushed him through the roof of the tunnel. He surfaced once more, hacking and nearly throwing up. With a raspy, "Shazam!" lightning struck within the tunnel, leaving Billy Batson shin deep in the sewer.
The effect of the lightning dried Billy off, instead for his shoes which were still underwater. "Shazam," Billy said with grin. The lightning struck once more and Ibac looked into the hole to re-enter the battle.
Captain Marvel burst into flight from the hole, knocking his enemy backwards in a student parking lot. He recognized the parking lot as the one at Fawcett High, the one he attends. He heard a car alarm sounding as he turned to see Ibac picking up a car. It belonged to Trent Lazlo, varsity team quarterback. As it was hurled at him, Captain Marvel couldn't help but chuckle.
He ducked underneath the vehicle just in time to see it crash into pieces against the side of the school. Ibac turned to flee toward the football stadium, where the cheerleaders were in practice. Billy grinned again, flying ahead of Ibac in a red and yellow streak.
Captain Marvel landed in front of the cheerleading squad. "Oh, my God!" shouted one, "It's Captain Marvel!" The girls rushed over to greet him. It was a nice leap from beastly bus-drivers, one would say.
"Can I have your autograph?"
"Will you take me to the prom?"
"Will you tell that skank Lisa Zampenelli that she isn't all that cute?"
"So, how much of a 'Marvel' are you anyway?"
Blushing upon such contact from the cheerleading squad, Billy almost forgot his plan. He cleared his throat and said, "Ladies, I need you to do me a favor." They all clamored and shook in jubilation at the sight of such a hunk. "I got a friend who's really down on his luck and he needs some cheering up. His name is Ibac, I-B-A-C. Now I'm sure that smart and creative girls like you can figure something out in a minute or so."
"Oh sure, we can do that, Captain Marvel," a tall one said, "What do we get in return?"
Billy stammered, "Uh," he had to think quickly. The Wisdom of Solomon told him to fulfill one of their questions. Ibac was coming in seconds and he had no time for any other option. "I'll be the personal escort of the Fawcett High cheerleading squad at your senior prom. Here he comes!"
The girls screamed gleefully and then got into position. As the lumbering oaf saw the pretty girls, he couldn't find Captain Marvel anywhere. Instead he heard, "Ready, and…I! Cuz he is so incredible, B! Because he can't be beaten, A! Amazing is his middle name, C! Come on now show us why you came! I! B-A-C! I-B-A-C! I!-B-A-C! What's that spell?"
Jumping, smiling like a child, Ibac shouted, "IBAC!" Suddenly, green flame and a cloud of black smoke enveloped him. Captain Marvel reached into the cloud and plucked out Stinky Printwhistle, Ibac's alter ego. Instead of being a large, muscular powerhouse, Stinky was a scrawny feather-like man who seemed to dangle when Captain Marvel lifted him up by the scruff of his neck. "Oh no! IB---!" Captain Marvel clasped his hand over Stinky's mouth, preventing him from changing back to his brutish form.
"Thank you, ladies," Shazam's champion said before taking off in flight. "I won't forget our deal!" The screaming cheerleaders called after him, swooning and whistling at him.
Captain Marvel deposited Stinky Printwhistle at the police station, for his outstanding warrants. The cops quickly muffled him and led him to a cell. After giving a customary salute, Marvel flew off into the sky, ready to head home.
Suddenly, a pink flash appeared in front of him, stopping Captain Marvel in his tracks. The Thunderbolt, belonging to Jakeem J, Williams, was completely pink, with lightning bolts coming out of his head, seemingly muscular and looked very serious. "Thunderbolt, what's up?"
"The JSA needs you to slide on down to HQ for a hush-hush, ya dig?" Thunderbolt talked like he was fresh from a swing dancing convention where they played Ella Fitzgerald and damn near broke bones with their swing moves…not that there was anything wrong with swing music or Ella Fitzgerald.
Shaking his head, Captain Marvel replied, "I heard 'JSA needs you' and you lost me after that."
"Well," Thunderbolt said turning his back, "Drop the 'tude, Big Red Dude, and follow T to the place to be!"
Billy began pondering as he followed. Why couldn't they have sent Courtney? Ahh, Courtney.