Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Title: "The Rivalry Of The Winged Wonders"
Published Date: Apr/May 1964
Generation: Silver Age Katar & Shayera
Retcon Status: Changed Generations
Summary: On Thanagar, Hawkman and Hawkgirl have prepared a report to their commander, Andar Pul, with their conclusions of their study of Earth police methods. They report about a case which they had recently concluded involving a black pearl necklace which had been stolen from the Midway City Museum. For the case, they decided that Hawkman would use Terran methods, and Hawkgirl would use Thanagarian methods, and they would compete to see who solved the case faster. Hawkman began by dusting for prints and feeding that information into the Midway City crime computer, while Hawkgirl trailed the thief's footprints (and later, tire tracks) with a thermal scanner. Both methods were successful in tracking the thief to a wooded area north of the city, but the cold weather rendered Hawkgirl's scanner inoperative.
Hawkman used his *wheet wheet* powers to track the hunters in the area, finding the thief, his accomplice, and his fence. After dodging their fire, Hawkman knocked out the crooks and deduced the location of the necklace -- hidden in one barrel of the thief's shotgun. After dropping off the crooks with the local police, Hawkman winged back to the museum, where Hawkgirl lamented that she was on the trail of the pearls using a Lustrometer (a device which would detect the luster of the pearls), but a peculiar starlight phenomenon drove the machine batty.
Andar Pul liked what he heard, and decided to have a crime computer built for Thanagar like the ones used on Earth. He then granted Hawkman and Hawkgirl's request to return to Earth and continue to their work.
Review: The first story in Hawkman's first solo series serves as part reader recap and part adventure story, and does both pretty well. Murphy Anderson does a good job of showing the Hawks history through clever use of reproduced covers (The Brave And The Bold #'s 34 and 36, plus Mystery In Space #89), and his very clean work carries on from for the feature. Gardner Fox brings us up to speed quickly enough and then moves on. I guess its a function of the fact that it has to contain the recap, but this is definitely the "B" story of this issue. Nice to see Hawkman do some actual detective work instead of just hitting, as that aspect of his police work is often forgotten. I also really liked them reporting to Andar Pul about their findings -- not only a nice nod to their entire story setup, but a very good tool to facilitate the exposition. Not a bad way to start the series all told.
Image: Hawkman v.1:no.1, 1964, Murphy Anderson.