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Surely our cool team jackets will save us! – Blackhawk #226

August 25, 2010

I always associated Blackhawk with his more formal looking pilot attire — I never knew that he and his team wore flashy jackets that would make Marlon Brando proud:

Nor did I realize that the Blackhawk Squadron had an ethnically diverse (in a European-y sort of way) roster, with a token Asian stereotype to round out the cast:

Color me enlightened.

“The Secret Monster of Blackhawk Island” is brought to us by France Herron, Dick Dillin and Charles Cuidera. The Blackhawks foil a bank heist by a costumed villain and take his goofy helmet as a trophy:

It turns out that’s just what the crook (The Planner is his name, btw) wanted them to do, as we learn when he returns to his hideout and confers with his Coke-bottle-spectacled partner:

Once the helmet is up on a shelf on Blackhawk Island, the villains flip a switch and trigger all kinds of mayhem, with the weapons and devices that the Blackhawks have taken as souvenirs coming alive and running wild. In the confusion an imprisoned beast is freed:

The thing rampages all the way to the Planner’s hideout in the very definition of a “backfiring plan,” and the fight soon spills onto the streets above:

Hey, The Fantastic Four #1 wants its cover back!

Fortunately a couple of aliens show up to save the day and deliver a bewildering explanation for our edification as to why this monster was on Blackhawk Island in the first place:

Where do “Nothing-Mass” and “Anti-Nothing-Mass” fit into God’s plan for us? I don’t know and I don’t care.

And that’s the end of the story. Apprently Blackhawk Island was put back in order, but no word on the untold damage inflicted on the city streets by big ugly Ulla.

The backup story, “The Mystery Prisoner of Stalag 13,” details an attempt by the Blackhawks to rescue a valued scientist from Nazi clutches. They use some trickeration to sneak one of their members into the prison camp:

The rescue plans get all fouled up with counter-plots and counter-counter-plots, and I won’t regale you with the details. The Blackhawks, with their “HAWKA-A-A” battle cry and their enormous Jay Leno chins, save the day in the end:

I wasn’t nuts about either of these stories. For some reason I always pictured Blackhawk and his men as having more … what’s the word I’m looking for? Dignity. Yeah, dignity. There’s a lot of flopping around in silly action here, though the second story is a better fit for them. The monster in the first story would seem to be something more appropriate as a foe for the Challengers of the Unknown. I suppose the sci-fi elements were an attempt to keep the series relevant, and there are only so many World War II stories that can be told. The title didn’t last all that long after this issue, so I guess these attempted solutions didn’t ameliorate the problems. I’m not surprised.

The Blackhawk concept may have run out of gas, but you can’t get too mad at a character that once had his own neato movie serial (one that was mercifully devoid of “Chop-Chop”):

Hey, that’s Superman playing Blackhawk! I feel like I just unearthed an ancient crossover or something.

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