Monday, March 7, 2011

Read: Hawkman v.1:no.1.2

Issue: Hawkman v.1:no.1
Title:  Master Of The Sky-Weapons"
Published Date: Apr/May 1964
Generation: Silver Age Katar & Shayera
Retcon Status: Changed Generations

Summary:  Mavis Trent and her team of archaeologists send word to Carter and Shiera in Midway City that they have found amazing discoveries at a Maya site in Mexico.  But when they arrive back in the States, they have no memories of the dig -- or even of who they are!  Our heroes try the Absorbascon, but it does finds nothing in its memory probe.  So Hawkman and Hawkgirl wing off to the Yucatan to investigate.  They are not on the site long before they are attacked by Chac, who looks like an ancient Maya.  Chac uses a forked stick to pull strong columns of water from the sky.  The Winged Wonders are able to avoid being crushed, but are still tossed about by the water.  Using his sling, Hawkman is able to damage the stick and stop the attack.  Undeterred, Chac begins attacking with another device, which when spun creates tangible sound.  Hawkgirl disarms him with her boomerang.  Chac counterattacks again, using a third weapon to trap the pair in the underground of the temple.  

There, the Hawks read the pictograms (which they can decipher thanks to their knowledge of ancient languages due to the Absorbascon), and learn that Chac was a Maya chief who gained his weapons from a downed alien spacecraft.  He was later overthrown as a tyrant and made to forget his identity thanks to "memory herbs."  He wandered the Yucatan for centuries, and was eventually hired as a guide by Mavis Trent -- and once on the site he began to regain his memory and his weapons, intent on ruling the world.  Luckily, the hawks are able to use the sound weapon (which had been tangled onto Shayera's boomerang) to break free of their tomb.  They engage Chac, who is armed with his fourth weapon, a mask which generates intense wind.  Hawkman and Hwkgirl discard their wings and Hawkman is able to land a knockout punch before Chac can deploy his mysterious fifth weapon.  Chac is turned over to the police and the Hawks return home -- after they find an ancient recipe to counteract the amnesia.

Review: The cover story of the issue and the more action packed one for sure, this is the "A" story.  Pretty standard Silver Age Hawkman and Hawkgirl fare, with the heroes using ancient weapons to battle a strange villain.  Chac makes for a good foil for the two, being versed with an ancient civilization, but you would think an immortal Mayan chief would make more sense as a Golden Age Hawk opponent, right?  Chac would reappear briefly in a Dr. Destiny story over in JLA, but not after that.  Seems prime for a return to me!  (I may be more prone because my wife and I enjoyed a visit to a large Maya ruin while in Belize on vacation... helpful mental photo referencing for this tale.)

Some other nice touches include Mavis Trent leading the archaeological expedition and the quick mention of the Hawks' spaceship.  The Absorbascon makes a cameo appearance... to no effect!  Overall as introduction to the kind of adventures one can expect from our heroes (paired with the recap provided in the other story), this issue is a strong debut.

Image: Hawkman v.1:no.2, 1964, Murphy Anderson.

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