Thursday, July 23, 2009
Read: Showcase #103
Issue: Showcase #103
Title: "Adventures on Other Worlds"
Published Date: Aug 1978
Generation: Silver Age Katar
Retcon Status: In Continuity/Changed Generations (This is a guess for all three issues... I suppose Carter and Shiera could have taken part in this adventure instead of Katar and Shayera?)
Summary: Hopping a space-warp to Thanagar, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Adam Strange, Alanna, and Sardath find themselves in the middle of another space battle, this one with the Thanagarian fleet defending against the small force from Rann. Adam ejects from the ship to draw fire, also drawing Hawkman's anger but allowing him to land the ship at the Veil of Valmorra. While Hawkgirl and Alanna set up the base camp, Hawkman sets out to find Andar Pul, their commanding officer.
Hawkman finds the metropolis of Thanaldar eeriely empty -- and then finds himself attacked by Man-Hawks! Katar is able to quickly outwit his foes, who are screeching about Wingmen being under a curfew, using volcanic ash to blind them and escape. He is not done yet, however, as he quickly runs into a pair of monsters walking the streets! Knowing he can't waste time, he slips away, too late to see that they are shapeshifters, including the Thanagarian criminal Byth. Katar finally gets to Andar's apartment and learns the story -- as Thanagar suffered under the Equalizing Plague, a savior come from the skies: the former Justice League foe Hyathis. After she was able to cure the plague, she was quickly placed in charge of the entire planet, and with Thanagarian custom stating that all shall follow their leaders without question, she soon had deputized Thanagar's criminals (including summoning the Shadow-Thief from Earth to lead her person bodyguards, the Shadow Squad) and turned the Wingmen into an army! Disgusted, Katar leaves, but Andar is compelled to turn him into his supreme leader.
Hawkman wings back to camp, just as Adam Strange staggers in, having figured out Kanjar Ro's plan -- by using short range teleportation, Ro intends to assassinate Hyathis and conquer the planet without full scale battle. Armed with this knowledge, the 5 heroes set off and follow the same strategy as they did on Rann, running the gauntlet through each obstacle until only Hawkman is left to reach Hyathis' throneroom. Just as Hawkman bursts through her guards, Kanjar Ro teleports in, but is unable to carry out his plan. Hyathis offers to honor the Hawks, but they reject her; in turn, they are exiled to space with nothing but their spaceship.
Review: The Showcase event closes in appropriately game-changing manner, as we have a new status quo for the Hawks and a new over-arcing evil for them to fight against (this statement also seems to apply to Adam and Alanna as well!). While it is pretty contrived, the fanboy in me smiles at the fact that Hyathis pulled in three classic Hawk baddies to help fill out her forces. Plenty of action and crazy visuals, and Al Milgrom does a good job of rendering all of it in a nice, not too flashy style. As a whole, I really enjoyed this story. It's a big grand space opera, which suits Katar and Shayera just perfectly, with plenty of aliens and space travel and bizarre sci-fi weapons. I don't think they had enjoyed such a "big" adventure previously, and teaming them up with Adam and Alanna is always fun. I was not aware of these Bronze Age Hawk stories before I picked up Showcase #101, but now I am definitely on the hunt for the rest of their 1970s adventures (in Detective Comics but mostly in World's Finest). This is one set which will be reread in the future.
Image: Showcase #103, 1978, Joe Kubert.