Thursday, August 28, 2008

Read: Flash Comics #1

Issue: Flash Comics #1 (Reprinted in The Golden Age Hawkman Archives v.1)
Title: "The Origin Of Hawkman" (suggested title)
Published Date: January, 1940
Generation: Golden Age Carter,
Retcon Status: In Continuity, With Retcons

Summary: Collector Carter Hall receives a package from a friend containing an ancient Egyptian dagger.  Looking at the weapon, he faints and flashes back to ancient times, where he is the noble Prince Khufu.  Khufu defeats the agents of Hath-Set, the trecherous priest of the "Hawk god" Anubis, and reunites with his beloved Shiera.  Hath-Sets army lays siege to their hold, and eventually Khufu is overcome and stabbed with the dagger, followed by Shiera.  Waking back in the present, Carter goes outside to clear his head and runs into a frightened mob fleeing the subway.  The tracks are glowing blue with electrical energy.  In the mob, he runs into the spitting image of his ancient love, who is surprised that this stranger knows her name, as well as the fact that she has been having similar dreams!  Taking her back to his home, Carter fashions himself a costume and wings made of Ninth Metal, and arms himself with a quarterstaff, and sets out to find the cause of the electrical disturbances.  Hawkman goes to the home of Dr. Anton Hastor, electrical genius, and reincarnation of Hath-Set!  After a short fight, Hastor hypnotises Shiera from afar, bringing her to his home.  But Hawkman is prepared, tossing a net of Ninth Metal over her to break the spell, andu sing his crossbow to best his foe, and destroy Hastor's lab (and seemingly the doctor with it).  Hawkman saves the day, and a new hero is born!

Review: And like that, the world was introduced to Hawkman.  Gardner Fox may have bee trying to fill up pages but the story crafted here for the origin of this winged hero is very compelling, thematically tying more into the adventure comic strips of the time than anything already established as "superheroic."  Similarly, Dennis Neville's art has a pulpy, Raymond-esque quality to it which fits the times nicely.  Fun to see Carter as a blonde.  I think Fox meant Osiris with the Hawk god, but Anubis is closer to the "god of death" than Osiris, so I guess it's a give and take.  I liked Hastor's vague mad science lab, creating "lightnings" that somehow attacked the subway line.  I have not read much in the way of Golden Age comics so these are still quite novel to me, and I really enjoyed the origin and introduction of the Winged Wonder.


Diabolu Frank said...

It never stopped being weird for me seeing "Carter Hall" as a brunette.

As for Golden Age fixes, get some:

rob! said...

the text you had above the graphic, "Read: Flash Comics #1" made me laugh, because my first response was, "what am i, a millionaire?!?"

Luke said...

Well, rob!, if you didn't spend all your time and money on Aquaman, you could afford some cool Golden age swag... heh. I am really enjoying this Golden Age Archive, I must admit. And thanks to Frank, I definitely will be checking out my GA stuff. I think I will start with trying to track down some of the heroes in Project Superpowers.