Mister Mind, in artwork from the cover of The Power of Shazam! #40 (1997). Art by Jerry Ordway.
|First appearance||Captain Marvel Adventures #26 (August 1943)|
|Created by||Otto Binder (writer)
C. C. Beck (artist)
|Place of origin||Venus|
|Team affiliations||Monster Society of Evil
|Abilities||Advanced mind-control, hypnosis, mental image projection, some invulnerability, ability to spin super-strong silk at high speeds. In evolved form, capability to devour spacetime and is nearly omnipotent.|
Mister Mind is a fictional character, a comic book supervillain created for Fawcett Comics, and now owned and published by DC Comics. Created by Otto Binder and C. C. Beck, Mister Mind first appeared as a voice only in Captain Marvel Adventures #22, his first true appearance was in Captain Marvel Adventures #26 (August 1943).
One of Captain Marvel's primary villains, Mister Mind is a two-inch alien worm of high intelligence. Mind usually carries out his villainous plans through an organization called the Monster Society of Evil, significant as the first supervillain team in comics to contain villains that a hero had fought previously; prior to this, supervillain teams were composed of villains created just for that storyline. The Monster Society made its debut in Captain Marvel Adventures #22, and the resulting "Monster Society of Evil" story arc continued for two years in Captain Marvel Adventures, ending with issue #46.
The original Mister Mind depicted in Fawcett publications and pre-1985 DC Comics publications was a cartoonish worm possessing an intelligence beyond that of human beings. He claimed to be a mutant worm from a distant planet who was more intelligent than the other worms, which communicated by touching their feelers. This Mister Mind possessed limited telepathy and the ability to spin nearly indestructible silk at speeds faster than the human eye could follow, spoke through the use of a "talk box" which hung around his neck which amplified his voice, and was depicted as being myopic and needing eyeglasses. In Shazam #2 (April 1973) he is described as having the body of a lowly worm, the conscience of a Hitler, and the brain of a genius. Meanwhile, the membership and size of Mind's Monster Society has changed dramatically over the years, from thousands of members (including all of the Axis Powers) in the 1940s Captain Marvel Adventures comics to only a handful in DC's Shazam! stories.
The current version of Mister Mind, introduced by Jerry Ordway in his Power of Shazam! series, is a more realistically depicted worm from the planet Venus, possessing powers which include mind control, telepathy, and mental image projection. This Mind is the only survivor of a race of mind-controlling Venusian worms who might have once ruled the World, and irregularly appears in DC Universe stories attempting to find hosts and/or clone himself.
The first appearance of the Monster Society, chronologically, was in All-Star Squadron #51-54 (November 1985 to February 1986). In the universe known as Earth-Two, Mr. Mind came to Earth during World War II, drawn by its radio broadcasts; he especially loved Charlie McCarthy. Upon learning his beloved Charlie was not real, he decided to conquer the world instead. To this end, he formed the first Monster Society Of Evil, which was merely a shadow of what was to come. They succeeded in capturing Hawkgirl. Not long after its founding, the other villains tried to kill him, and Mr. Mind retreated to Earth-S. Without his leadership, the team was quickly defeated in battle by the All-Star Squadron.
|Monster Society of Evil|
Mister Mind, showing a picture of Captain Marvel to his Monster Society. On the left from top: Oggar, Mister Atom, and Doctor Sivana. On the right from top: Ibac, Black Adam, and King Kull.The first page of the 1980-1981 Monster Society Strikes Back storyarc. Art by Don Newton and Dave Hunt, lettering by Todd Klein, colors by Adrienne Roy, from World's Finest #264.
|Publisher||Fawcett Comics (1943 - 1945)
DC Comics (1973 - present)
|First appearance||Captain Marvel Adventures #22 (1943, historical)
The Power of Shazam! #38 (1997, canon)
|Created by||Otto Binder
C. C. Beck
As a side-effect of the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Mr. Mind arrived in the universe of Earth-S sometime around 1846 (it was mentioned in this story that he had been working on a weapon for 97 years). His brilliant intellect, telepathic powers, and ruthlessness allowed him to conquer much of space, establishing bases on many different worlds as well as varied locations on Earth. He recruited supervillains, armies, and entire alien species to aid him in his attempt to conquer the Earth, and first relayed his information from the Planetoid Punkus via radio, meaning he was not revealed as a worm until well into the serial. At its height, the Monster Society is said to have had the greatest villains of eighty-seven worlds within its ranks. He began his reign of terror on Earth in 1943, boasting that he and the Monster Society Of Evil would give Captain Marvel "nightmares from now on." Easily the longest story of the Golden Age of Comics, his attempts to do so were featured in Captain Marvel Adventures #22-46 (March 1943 to May 1945).
He had many and varied plans: first of all to steal magical pearls with Captain Nazi's help from a princess who wanted to help the United States; to lead the Allied army in Africa astray; to bomb Pearl Harbor a second time; to crush North America beneath a giant glacier using a giant gyroscope that made the Earth shift on its axis; to make Captain Marvel his mental slave using Billy Batson; to topple all the buildings in Captain Marvel's home city with worms and termites unless given control; to trap the United States in eternal darkness by stopping the Earth's rotation while leaving German Europe in daylight; to produce giant monsters in his lab; to move the Great Wall Of China with Japanese forces behind it to crush the Chinese Army using electrical forces; to immobilize the air fleet of Australia with a web-like substance; to set booby traps on a Pacific Island the US were invading; use the ten-mile-long gun "Great Big Bertha" to literally blow holes in America and Russia; to invade Scotland from an artificial floating island of ice; to cause a giant volcano to erupt in the middle of Britain; to literally blow the Earth in two; to make a movie about himself to intimidate the world; to destroy Earth's armies with a Black Death Ray which could destroy metal, but it turned out it could only destroy metal; to publish a book about himself to try and convince everyone he should be their rightful leader and that Captain Marvel was untrustworthy called Mind Kampf (a parody of Hitler's book Mein Kampf); to create a vicious, multi-headed Hydra and steal plans; to smash an asteroid into America (though Herkimer controlled this operation); and to wreck the world's navies. At one point he lost his memory after striking his head, but after regaining it from another blow he took a course at his School for Evil to regain his evil nature, after which he graduated as a top student after capturing Billy Batson, though Billy escaped soon after. Many times his group came close to destroying Captain Marvel in his Billy Batson form, Ibac binding and gagging him and giving him to cannibals, Billy covered with a silk cocoon by Mister Mind, being left to freeze at the North Pole, Billy about to be shot by a crocodile-man while wearing a steel gag and tied to a chair, Billy gagged and bound to a camouflaged gun so if any British Ships shot at the island he would be blown apart etc.
But Captain Marvel stopped them all, dismantled all of his resources, and arrested, frightened away, or accidentally killed all of his henchmen. Reverse cliff-hangers were used, Mr Mind about to be crushed under a careless heel, about to be crushed in a paper roller etc. Finally, a desperate Mr. Mind attacked Captain Marvel's alter ego, Billy Batson, with ether and left him unconscious. But he then realized that without his henchmen, he was practically helpless and unable to kill him. He tried frantically to push a live electrical wire onto Billy, pushing it inch by inch across the floor towards Billy, who woke up just in time. Mr. Mind fled into the infrastructure of radio station WHIZ, Billy's place of work, but with a little help from an exterminator after surrounding the building with Police, Captain Marvel soon captured the world's wickedest worm and the Earth could sleep soundly again.
Although sentenced to death in the electric chair for the murder of 186,744 people, with even his crooked lawyer turning against him and saying he hopes Mind gets executed, and Captain Marvel prosecuting in person, Mr. Mind's alien physiology proved resistant to the high voltage, and he entered a state of suspended animation that was mistaken for death. Awakening when his body was on the verge of being stuffed for display in a museum, he hypnotized the taxidermist into creating a duplicate and escaped. Shortly after Captain Marvel's return he got his glasses and talk box back from the museum, nearly collapsing it with an army of worms, and tried to destroy the country with an expanding balloon like weapon in St Louis, but Captain Marvel using information from a reformed Herkimer who Mr Mind has asked to meet in St Louis, got to the city, kicked the weapon into space and captured Mr Mind using a huge sound wave which drove him out of the ground.
In Shazam #9 Mr Mind is trying to reform the Society, but only gets so far as recruiting a criminal Scientist, who is captured by Captain Marvel. Mr Mind tries to use the Scientist's Hate-Projector, combined with the Hate of a million worms to destroy Captain Marvel after he sees his projected hate is enough to knock out the scientist, but Captain Marvel, despite being knocked back by the hate, uses an artificial rainstorm to break up the army, and places Mr Mind in a tin. Mr Mind forms an alliance with Lex Luthor who was actually transported to Earth-S while using a magic accumulator he had planned to use to destroy Superman. They manage to use the accumulator to turn Captain Marvel into Billy Batson by 'stealing' part of the lightning, and leave him inside a shark tank he had got into to capture Lex. However he is able to make the hammerhead shark break the tank using his sweater, allowing him to summon Captain Marvel. Mr Mind is betrayed by Lex, who throws him to Captain Marvel, then escapes to Earth-1, but is then captured by Superman. Almost thirty years later, the Monster Society Of Evil was briefly reformed in Shazam! #14 (September–October 1974). An escaped Mr. Mind, hungry for revenge, assembled a new, smaller group. Although armed with a new and improved death ray that drew on their combined evil thoughts, they were no match for Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel, and Captain Marvel, Jr, who used good thoughts to overcome them, and mashed the machine. They were all captured, except for Sivana who kidnapped Uncle Marvel. Sivana used another version of Mr. Mind's ray and Uncle Marvel's imagination to create combinations of imaginary beasts and himself, including a griffin, a winged elephant, and giant birds all with his head, after accidentally discovering it's properties when he kicked it onto the sleeping Uncle's head. They could not be hurt by the Marvels as they were partly not real. However when Uncle Marvel dreamt about the Marvel Family due to Jr. giving him a similar book about the Marvels that had pages soaked wth sleeping potion, the dream versions defeated the monsters, and Sivana was sent to jail, while Cap destroyed the machine, making the dream Marvels fade away. Thus ended this Monster Society.
Mr. Mind reformed his Monster Society Of Evil one last time, in World's Finest Comics 264-267 (August–September 1980 to February–March 1981). Arguably the strongest incarnation of the group ever formed, almost the entire Marvel Family had to unite in order to stop them—Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr., and the three Lieutenant Marvels: Tall Marvel, Fat Marvel, and Hill Marvel (the only Marvel Family members who did not battle the Society were Black Adam, who was a member of the Monster Society Of Evil, Uncle Marvel, a powerless yet wily old man, and Hoppy the Marvel Bunny, who had not yet been introduced into the DC Universe). Their wicked plans were wide-ranging, beginning with an assault on Egypt, expanding to a scheme to reverse the entire Earth's topography, Oggar raising an evil army from the sands and dusts of Egypt for Black Adam to lead, and conquering hundreds of planets and using them to build an army of spaceships. Their plans culminated in a massive assault on the Rock of Eternity, the point where all time and space can be accessed and the home of the Marvels' benefactor Shazam and the Gods and heroes that give them power.
In the Elseworlds story Superman & Batman: World's Funnest (November 2000), the two near-omnipotent imps Mister Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite engage in a tremendous duel that destroys many planes of reality. One of these appears to be a version of Earth-S. During their time there, they run into a version of the Monster Society Of Evil slightly different from any other, featuring many of Captain Marvel's enemies. Mxyzptlk easily destroys them (with a tentacled beast labeled Mr. Mxyzptlk's Anti-Social Monster) when they begin to annoy him, along with the rest of the universe; however, by the end of the book, all is returned as it was.
Mr. Mind was re-introduced into the DC Universe in Jerry Ordway's The Power of Shazam! series. Mind was one of a race of millions of mind-controlling worms from the planet Venus, who had plans to invade and take over the Earth, which they claim to have once ruled around the Ice Age. Appointed as the go-ahead agent, Mind arrived on Earth during World War II, by means of an indestructible green Venusian space suit, but was captured by Bulletman, Starman, and Green Lantern Abin Sur before enacting his plan. Mind eventually escaped, stowing away on the Magellan space probe, and decades later forced Doctor Sivana to join forces with him, needing Sivana's scientific prowess to facilitate the Venusian worms' plans. He took control of the wealthy Sinclair Batson.
The worms' plans to invade the Earth were thwarted by Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel, who succeeded in killing all of the worms by sending them into deep space where they froze, save for Mr. Mind, whom they placed in the custody of Sergeant Steel and the Department of Meta-Human Affairs. Mind eventually escapes, takes over Steel's mind, and programs Mister Atom, another Marvel Family villain in Steel's custody, to destroy the town of Fairfield, where Billy Batson (Captain Marvel) and Mary Bromfield (Mary Marvel) lived with their adopted parents. After Mister Atom's nuclear blast destroys the city and kills nearly all of its residents, the Marvels arrive in Washington, DC seeking revenge. Mr. Mind's plot to set off a nuclear holocaust included using clones of himself to take over the minds of several regular American citizens, who were to make their ways to nuclear bomb facilities and initiate a nuclear holocaust. However, Mind's plan was foiled by the Marvel Family and several Green Lanterns.
During the Joker's Last Laugh storyline, where the Joker triggered a break-out of supervillain prison the Slab, Mister Mind was forced to work with former Mister Miracle Shilo Norman to escape after Black Mass trapped the Slab in a black hole, Mister Mind agreeing to take control of Black Mass- the villain having suffered brain damage that prevented him using his powers himself- and reverse what he had done to restore the Slab to normal space, although Norman ensured his cooperation by tying a string of floss around him before he entered Black Mass (Reasoning that, if Mister Mind attempted to remain inside afterwards, he would be either yanked out or torn in half by the string).
Mister Mind was next seen in the JSA series, as a member of former Monster Society member Black Adam's vigilante team, organized to overthrow the oppressive government of Adam's home country, Khandaq. Mind inhabited the body of Brainwave and amplified his powers, until being discovered and captured by the Atom and the JSA.
Mister Mind played an integral role in DC's year-long weekly comic, 52, although the importance of his role in the series was revealed gradually over time and involved the concepts of time travel and temporal paradoxes.
The day following the end of the Infinite Crisis event, Dr. Sivana discovers Mister Mind lying in a crater in the desert and pockets him, sealing him in a specimen jar and taking it back to his laboratory to prevent him interfering with his plans to take over the World. Sivana bombards Mind with particles of Suspendium, a fictional element introduced in the 1970s Shazam! title. Although Sivana is then kidnapped by Intergang, the Suspendium induces Mister Mind's delayed metamorphosis. As Sivana is dragged off, Mind observes a televised memorial for the heroes lost in the Infinite Crisis, and takes particular note of Skeets, the robotic companion of the time-travelling superhero, Booster Gold. With his metamorphosis beginning, Mind proceeds to weave a cocoon around himself, which doubles as a matter transporter that he uses to beam himself inside Skeets in Dr. Magnus Lab, intending to use the robot as a "cradle" where he can spend the following year gestating and completing his transformation.
Destroying Skeets from within, Mind adopts his identity and makes plans to consume the Multiverse, which had returned to existence as a result of Infinite Crisis. Discovering that Rip Hunter is aware of his plans, Mind, as Skeets, attempts to hunt him down and draw him out, to no avail. Eventually, he discovers Hunter hiding in the bottle city of Kandor, but when Hunter turns the Phantom Zone projector on him, Mind overpowers it and "eats" the Phantom Zone itself. At the end of the year, Mind tracks Hunter and Booster down to the lab of T.O. Morrow, intent on acquiring the head of the Red Tornado, whose computerized brain has mapped the Multiverse. There, his gestation completes and he emerges from within Skeets in a monstrous imago form known as a "Hyperfly"—now, instead of feeding on the brainwaves of individuals, he feeds on space/time itself and decides to devour the entire Multiverse. Booster and Hunter flee back in time to the moment of the Multiverse's birth, with the now-gigantic Mind in pursuit, following them from universe to universe, all 52 of them, where he consumes portions of each world's history, altering their timelines and creating 52 new, distinct Earths. Mind is lured back to Hunter's lab, where he shrinks in size and becomes trapped within Skeets' Suspendium-lined shell. Booster hurls Mind back through time, where the Suspendium reverts Mind back to his larval form, and lands on the day after the end of Infinite Crisis, where he is found by Dr. Sivana and sealed in the jar. The remaining 52 seconds of time are used to bind him in a Time loop.
Also during the series, unrelated to Mind's activities, a new incarnation of the Monster Society was formed, consisting of the Four Horsemen of Apokolips, creatures engineered by Intergang's Science Squad (including Sivana). Of particular note is Sobek, a humanoid crocodile not unlike the beings who were members of the pre-Crisis Monster Society. This Monster Society attacked the Black Marvel Family for not joining the Freedom of Power treaty, and killed Isis and Osiris, only to be destroyed by Black Adam, save for Death, who flees. In his hunt for Death, Black Adam destroys the nation of Bialya, before defeating the final Horseman, torturing it for information, and killing it.
It is revealed that Mr. Mind has escaped from Dr. Sivana's captivity, and has taken control of Booster's father, and through him, leads a consortium of villains including the Ultra-Humanite, Per Degaton, Despero, and the Black Beetle. He is revealed to be controlling Booster Gold's father. After revealing himself, he is forced out of his host body and seemingly killed when Ted Kord, one of the Blue Beetles, steps on him.
Mister Mind himself later resurfaces alive in Japan, taking control over Rising Sun. Under his thrall Rising Sun starts acting erratically, apparently devolving into a drunken, overweight nostalgic bent on disgracing the disrespectful youngsters of the Super Young Team. As part of this campaign, Mind kills many disaster relief workers in Midway City. While threatening to immolate Earth, it's the Super Young Team who discovers the alien presence in Rising Sun's brain, deeply lodged inside it.
In Action Comics #890 (August 2010), Mister Mind has seemingly returned and had infested the body of a man along with two accomplices, using them to abduct Lex Luthor. Working for an unknown party, Mister Mind attempts to take control of Luthor's mind telepathically, engaging Lex in a mental battle. However, Lex is eventually able to regain control of his motor functions, allowing him to kick the diminutive worm off of the roof of the skyscraper they were on. In this appearance, Mister Mind explains that he is the offspring of the original, but that their consciousness is passed down through "a strand of Eight-D RNA". He subsequently takes control of Luthor's 'Loisbot'- a robotic duplicate of Lois Lane created as a companion to Luthor- to assist Luthor in his search for a new power source that is revealed to be a creature from the Phantom Zone, capable of granting Luthor the ability to bring peace and compassion to the entire universe at the cost of never allowing him to hurt another being. Since Luthor is unable to let go of his hatred for Superman, however, he loses control of the entity, vanishing into the Zone as it departs. With the Loisbot's face destroyed, Mr. Mind decides to go deeper into the universe to find his own place.
A new Captain Marvel prestige format 4-issue limited series from DC Comics, Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil, written and illustrated by Jeff Smith (creator of Bone) began publication on February 7, 2007. Smith's Shazam! miniseries, in the works since 2003, is a more traditional take on the character, returning Captain Marvel to his roots with a story that updates the character's history for today's readers. It is set early on in the character's career however, as it is clearly not set in the modern day DCU. In this version, Mr. Mind resembles a small snake with a more threatening face with apparently perfect vision while wearing a modern style communicator headset. Many different monsters are shown in the Society, with the Crocodile men becoming Alligator Men.
Mister Mind is one of Earth’s most formidable telepaths. He is able to take control of an individual’s mind. He also possessed many insect related abilities, like the ability to spin very strong silk at speeds faster than the eye can see, so quickly he can encase a human in a cocoon within seconds.
Apparently very long lived, Mister Mind current body is only the larval stage of his breed: during the 52 miniseries he briefly reaches maturity, becoming a Hyperfly with increased time and space-bending abilities, feeding over the timelines of singular Universes. By his ability, he's able to transform the 52, exactly identical, universes of the current DCU Multiverse into vastly different worlds, literally eating away portions of their history.
After being forcibly rejuvenated in his larval stage, Mister Mind apparently retains the ability to reproduce asexually, using a host to breed his identical siblings.
"The Secret Code of the Monster Society" was frequently referred to in the comic book. As early as the Fawcett comic, readers could mail away for a decoder key for the monster society, and read the secret messages in the book by translating the messages given the according to the substitution cipher. The cipher is very basic, in that the ciphertext alphabet is actually the regular English alphabet backwards.
During The Power of Shazam! ongoing series in the 1990s, when Mister Mind and the Monster Society of Evil were re-introduced in post-Crisis continuity, DC Comics had done a similar thing as readers could mail away for a decoder card for the "Venusian Language", and read the secret messages. Similar to Kryptonian and Interlac, this was a cipher based on an "alien" alphabet. Various alien characters in DC Comics have been seen using it since.
Jeff Smith used the original 1940s Monster Society code in his Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil miniseries, even titling the miniseries' four chapters with ciphered text. DC Comics' official website provides an on-line tool to cipher and uncipher the messages.
|Created by||Erik Larson|
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