Monday, February 23, 2009
Read: Mystery In Space #87
Issue: Mystery In Space #87 (Reprinted in Showcase Presents: Hawkman v.1)
Title: "Amazing Thefts Of The I.Q. Gang"
Published Date: Nov 1963
Generation: Silver Age Katar
Retcon Status: Changed Generations
Summary: In the New York Metropolitan Museum, penny-ante hood Ira Quimby is exposed to a strange radioactive rock (brought to Earth by Adam Strange in the first feature of this issue!), and suddenly finds that he has a genius-level intellect when it comes to planning heists. He uses his new-found smarts to design and outfit his gang with an anti-gravity ray and anti-gravity shoes, which they use to hijack an armored car. Hawkman and Hawkgirl intervene, but the I.Q. Gang's plan is apparently foolproof. A second heist, of a jewlery store, goes awry, however, but Ira ends up accidenttally being bathed in the rock's radiation again and is able to plan another job.
Carter and Shiera Hall, visiting the Metropolitan Museum in their role as curators, end up running into Adam Strange, who is also paying a visit to the museum. But, the heroes do not make any connection to one another, and continue on their own ways. Hawkman has his feathered friends acting as lookouts all over the city, so when the I.Q. Gang makes their move, they are ready to thwart it. The Hawks smash their foes equipment, and capture all of the gang except Ira himself. Deducing that the rock is the key to his intellect, Ira swipes it from the museum and goes into hiding to plan his next theft. Analyzing some fragments of the rock which were left behind, the Hawks are able to track down I.Q. and shut down his gang for good.
Review: Aaand we're back to the Silver Age adventures in a new title, with a new psuedo-ally and a new villian! Adam Strange and the Hawks would have more adventures over the years, but here their meeting is more happenstance than anything else, which is cute. As for I.Q., he would remain a minor but recurring threat for the duo, filling the role of their "gadgeteer" foe. He does a good job in that role, and the idea of a small potatoes hoodlum suddenly getting super smart makes for a fun baddie. We also get some new (and a little silly) technology for our heroes, in the form of expanding costumes for Hawkman and Hawkgirl, which reside in their Nth-metal medallions! Okay... but how do the wings and helmets fit in there?! Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson turn in a strong Silver Age adventure, with a lot of action in a relatively short page count (14).
Image: Mystery In Space #87, 1963, Murphy Anderson.