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Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Blackhawk 108 - the Blackhawks begin, fight Killer Shark, and aid defectors

Avid readers of this blog might recall that when I reached the Blackhawk series, I had to skip over it. I had not downloaded it onto the hard drive I brought with me to Toronto. But now I am in Winnipeg, with my big hard drive, and I found Blackhawk! It was misfiled, which is why it got missed in the first place. So anyway, I wrote an introductory entry for Blackhawk at the point I should have began covering it, dealing with its days as a series for Quality Comics. I'm not going to write that all up again, I'm just mentioning it to explain why I begin this with issue 108 (Jan. 57), because that was the first issue of the book under the DC imprint. The division between the Quality and DC line is also considered the line between the Earth-2 and Earth-1 Blackhawks.

The three stories in this issue all have art by Dick Dillin and Charles Cuidera, but have a different feeling than the book would get under DC. Even the cover looks more like a Quality Comics one, and this issue must have been completed before DC took over.

The story sees Blackhawk and his crew, Hendricksen, Olaf, Andre, Stanislaus, Chuck and Chop Chop, investigating a series of ships that have gone missing.

Most of the Blackhawk stories from the late Quality Comics period were Cold War tales, and this one fits that pattern, as the team discovers a secret Soviet base on the ocean floor, from which they are attacking western ships with atomic weapons.

Killer Shark, the main opponent of the Blackhawks, gets his DC debut in the second story in the issue. Blackie the Hawk, the new mascot for the team, also makes his debut in this tale. Yup, Blackie the Hawk.

Killer Shark has a big submarine shaped like a whale in this story, and is using it to attack and sink ships. When the Blackhawks investigate, they get captured by Killer Shark and his costumed crew.

Blackie the Hawk helps the team get free, and they take over the whale-sub and destroy it, although Killer Shark escapes.

Killer Shark returns the following year.

The last story in the issue is another Cold War tale, as the team come to the aid of a group of Soviet defectors.

The men are actually saboteurs, out to attack the Blackhawks, but the team figures this out before the evil Russians can do much damage to them.

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