We’re going to get into spoilers for the post-credits scene of Shazam!, so don’t scroll past this picture of Earth’s Mightiest Mortal if you don’t want to know anymore.
If you’ve already seen Shazam and sat through the end credits, you might be wondering just who that little caterpillar is sitting in the window of Dr. Sivana’s cell and promising him the world.
That little guy is Mister Mind, one of Shazam’s oldest nemeses, having first appeared back in 1943 in Captain Marvel Adventures #26. Originally, he was a two-inch alien worm who could spin silk at mind-boggling rates, spoke through a ‘talk box’ like the dog in Up, and wore eyeglasses. Tiny eyeglasses. But as powerful as silk-spinning could be, Mister Mind’s biggest contribution to Shazam and comics, in general, is the creation of the Monster Society of Evil.
So let’s stop and talk about them for a minute.
Mister Mind is, as his name would suggest, an idea man, er, bug. The Monster Society of Evil is not just one of the first supervillain teams, but arguably the one that set the mold that teams like Spider-Man’s “Sinister Six” would be formed in decades later – a team of existing villains working together to take on our honorable hero.
The Society actually appeared before Mister Mind, in Captain Marvel Adventures #22, in March of 1943 (that’s five months earlier, for those keeping count). The first arc of the Monster Society went from 1943 until 1945 – two years.. In Golden Age terms, that’s an eon. It was by far the longest serial story of the period, and Mister Mind was at the center of it, pulling (probably silk) strings in secret the whole time.
The makeup of the Society has varied wildly over the years, including Crocodile men (also shown briefly during Shazam‘s third act), Doctor Sivana, and Black Adam. Throughout the 1940s, the society included actual members of the Axis powers, including Hitler himself, as well as made-up Axis villains like Captain Nazi. Over the years, the society has hatched schemes like using termites to destroy Shazam’s home city and stopping the rotation of the world to shroud the United States in darkness (this would cause so many other problems, wormy.).
The Monster Society of Evil and Mister Mind are so closely entwined that one does not really exist without the other. Whenever Shazam defeats Mister Mind, the current line-up of the Society quickly falls (take that, Hitler!) and the planet is safe once again. Each time Shazam defeats the Society, Mister Mind re-forms it with another line-up. Goat-Man? Why not? Dr. Sivana’s children? Sure. Just whoever’s around will work (I think I might see why the society keeps failing, Mister…).
The Society and Mister Mind have cropped up over the years – where you find one, the other is soon to follow. The Current Mister Mind has a more built-out set of powers, including mind control, telepathy, and mental projection. He’s also specifically from Venus which makes him sound like a much more dangerous little caterpillar. You don’t mess with stuff from Venus. It’s almost 900°F up in there.
More recently, Mister Mind has found his way out of his caterpillar state. Following the Infinite Crisis storyline from the mid-2000s, the little guy hid himself away inside Skeet, Booster Gold’s robot companion, using the robot as a chrysalis. Inside Skeet, Mister Mind evolves into his mature, Cthulhu-esque form, and begins, as described by Rip Hunter, “eating years and events from this universe’s history, altering the Earth with every flap of his wings.”
Hunter, Booster Gold, and Co. manage to trap Mister Mind, kicking him back to the beginning of the New 52 multiverse, where Doctor Sivana once again finds his devolved form.
Looking at the end of Shazam, we can make some guesses about what might happen if DC and Warner Bros. decide to put Zachary Levi into the bright red musclesuit again.
With Sivana stripped of his magical abilities, the evil doctor sits in a jail cell scribbling magical runes on the walls. A voice tells him that the Rock of Eternity, which supplied both him and Shazam with their powers, is not the only source of magic in the universe.
While a lot of superhero movies like to go with newer storylines, it seems likely that DC is going do a bit of mixing and matching. Mister Mind is a decidedly silly villain, while Sivana is definitely meant to be intimidating. The New 52 storyline is a complicated one that ties into the whole multiverse thing that the CW is better-equipped to handle.
But what seems likely is that the super-smart worm is going to want to form the Monster Society with Doctor Sivana. This could act as an entry point for Black Adam, who at this point is still theoretically being played by Dwayne Johnson. Black Adam has been on the Rock’s menu for half a decade at this point, so it’s hard to tell if it’s actually going to happen, but the Monster Society could be a good point of entry.
For any other movie it would be a foregone conclusion that Mister Mind wouldn’t be the primary villain, but after the light-hearted and decidedly silly tone of Shazam, I’m not willing to make that bet anymore. While I don’t think we’re going to see Mister Mind teaming up with Hitler on the big screen, we could see the Crocodile Men and a lineup of other hapless villains for Shazam and the Marvel Family to go head to head with. We can only hope that Mister Mind is going to try to stop the earth from rotating or something decidedly golden-age like that. Until we hear more about a Shazam sequel, though, all we can do is dream.