Monday, September 29, 2008

Read: The Brave And The Bold #36.1

Issue: The Brave and The Bold #36
Title: "Strange Spells of the Sorcerer"
Published Date: June/July 1961
Generation: Silver Age Katar
Retcon Status: Changed Generations

Summary: Mavis Trent makes a minotaur appear accidently when she reads an incantation from an ancient relic.  Later, the weirdness continues when Hawkman and Hawkgirl encounter and battle a legendary Phoenix in the skies over Hawk Valley.  The monsters are stealing items which, when combined, can be used to cast a powerful spell to give a sorcerer amazing powers.  But, local occult expert Konrad Kaslak dismisses this theory, saying that the monsters are just illusions created to cover the thief's tracks.  Hawkman and Hawkgirl don't buy it, and do battle with more monsters including a dragon, some centaurs, and Medusa herself, before finding the would-be wizard: Kaslak himself.  The Hawks put an end to his magical ways and recover the artifacts. Unconvinced, Hawkman and Hawkgirl attempt to intercede before the remaining two objects are also acquired, by battling a dragon, centaurs, and Medusa, as they deduce that Kaslak is the would-be sorcerer. They arrive just in time to prevent his spell from succeeding.  
Review: A pretty unremarkable story, considering.  Kaslak is not compelling as a villian and there is little sense of threat to the Hawks from him.  The monsters summoned by him are more interesting, at least.  Mavis Trent continues to give the Silver Age Lois Lane a run for the money in the "bumbling girl" department.  Perfectly servicable "non-cover" story for the era, but not as high quality or memorable as similar stories -- such as those featuring the Flash from the same general time period.

Image: The Brave and The Bold #36, 1961, Joe Kubert.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hiatus Next Week

Well, my wife and I are celebrating our anniversary by getting on a really large boat and sailing around.  That's right, we're going on a cruise!  So I will be off the grid for the next week or so, which means no updates until the 29th at the earliest.  Thanks for your patience, everyone!  

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Waiting In The Wings -- 9/17/2008

What Hawkman related stuff is available this week?  Let's take a look!

DC Universe Decisions #1 -- One imagines that Hawkman would show up in this one, if only to give Green Arrow grief.  I am still trying to wrap my brain around this idea ("Hey, I know... let's take the most iconic superheroes in the world, beloved by millions, and polarize HALF of each of their audiences!  It's brilliant!"), which seems so monumentally ridiculous that my mind is boggled.  

Rann-Thanagar Holy War #5 -- Back in outer space, Hawkman, Adam Strange, and their allies fight against laser-beam wielding dinosaurs and other beasties.  Still waiting for the trade on this one.

Trinity #16 -- Hawkman, I imagine, will be in the backup, which continues to bug me since I don't want to spend the money on this title for the backup.  I am really hoping for a collection of some kind.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Read: Flash Comics #3

Issue: Flash Comics #3 (Reprinted in The Golden Age Hawkman Archives v.1)
Title: "The Secret of Dick Blendon" (suggested title)
Published Date: Mar 1940
Generation: Golden Age Carter
Retcon Status: In Continuity, With Retcons

Summary: On patrol on night, Hawkman sees his old college buddy Dick Blendon sleepwalking, then returning to his home.  The next day, however, he discovers that his friend has died!  Paying his respects, Carter Hall runs into Dick' fellow scientist, Una Cathay, of whom he is immediately suspicious.  His suspicions turn out to be well founded as he soon discovers that Dick's body is missing.  Una and her accomplice Rolf have enslaved Dick and several other scientists with a strange formula, and are trying to extract the chemical secret to eternal life which Dick has developed.  Pretending to be interested, Hawkman infiltrates their lab, but Una sees through the ruse and ties a hair onto his wrist, with which she will burn the hero to death using voodoo.  Hawkman is narrowly saved when Shiera sees the hair and gets it off him right before it bursts into flame.  Returning to the lab, Hawkman frees the scientists, then gives chase to the captors.  Rolf kills himself by falling off the roof while trying to grab Hawkman, and Una herself wraps her car around a tree in her escape efforts.  Back home, the scientists say that Hawkman's identity is safe with them, and the Winged Wonder advises Dick to destroy the formula.

Review: This story was a little goofy, what with Hawkman being suspicious of Una because "she looks evil," to the scientists being trapped in big laboratory flasks, to Shiera spotting a single hair tied around Carter's wrist from across the room.  Still, a good adventure, although I am starting to really get the "Golden Age heroes didn't let their foes survive" vibe pretty strongly from this book so far!

Image: Flash Comics #3, 1940, Sheldon Moldoff.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Purchased: Hawkman: Allies & Enemies

Due to it being a very light new comics week last Wednesday, I decided to go ahead and buy the second volume of the so-far-so-good fourth volume of Hawkman by Johns, Goyers, and Morales even though I have yet to find a copy of the first volume for purchase.  I am looking forward to cracking this one open, so it may come with me when I go on vacation with my wife next week.

Image: Hawkman v.4 Volume 2: Enemies & Allies, 2002, Andrew Robinson.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Read: The Brave And The Bold #35.2

Issue: The Brave And The Bold #35 (Reprinted in Showcase Presents: Hawkman v.1)
Title: "Valley Of The Vanishing Men!"
Published Date: Apr/May 1961
Generation: Silver Age Katar
Retcon Status: Changed Generation

Summary: Mavis Trent disappears in the Himalayas after a run in with a Yeti.  Investigating the disappearance, Hawkman is clued in about the legend of the Yeti, which prompts an Absorbascon-flashback.  It's too late, though, as Hawkgirl encounters a Yeti and also disappears.  It's then that Katar is filled in by one of his feathered friends: the Yetis are aliens who crashed on the Earth thousands of years ago, and are unable to repair their ship.  Anyone who sees a member of their race is teleported and put in suspended animation in order to keep themselves hidden.  Taking the fight to the Yetis, Hawkman soon discovers that wood can scramble their technology; by holding onto a wooden staff, he is able to resist their teleportation power.  Finding the Yeti village, Hawkman discovers the artifact which is holding Hawkgirl, Mavis, and the others captive.  Freeing the prisoners, Hawkman shows the villagers how wood will protect them from the Yetis, and a peace is negotiated.

Review: Nice little Silver Age DC story.  As a DC hero in the late 50s and early 60s, I think there was a contractual obligation to meet up with aliens at least 4 times a year.  I did like the use of the wooden weapons to overcome the alien technology.  Kubert's art is of course amazing, even in the black and white reprint.  

Image: The Brave And The Bold #35, 1961, Joe Kubert.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Waiting In The Wings -- 9/10/2008

What Hawkman related stuff is out this week?  I'm so glad you asked!

Trinity #15 -- Hawkman and Gangbuster continue to star in the backup tale, which, again, I really can't afford to buy this title for.  Hopefully DC will collect these backups at some point, but considering how they handled 52 and Countdown I am not holding my breath.  

Very light week for me this time out... maybe I'll pick up a nice Hawkman trade paperback instead!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Read: Flash Comics #2

Issue: Flash Comics #2 (Reprinted in The Golden Age Hawkman Archives v.1)
Title: "The Globe Conquerors" (suggested title)
Published Date: Feb 1940
Generation: Golden Age Carter,
Retcon Status: In Continuity, With Retcons

Summary: When skyscrapers in New York begin to collapse, Hawkman swoops in and saves his fiancee Shiera from the falling debris.  It seems that the disaster was caused by a man namaed Alexander, who desires a modern version of his namesake's empire.  How does Shiera know this?  Because she got herself and Carter invited to dinner at Alexander's estate, of course!  Saying that it is good to be gracious to one's foes, the pair meet the bulbous-headed Alexander, who shows them his invention: a ray which causes objects to become immensely heavy.  He then offers Hawkman a million dollars to leave him alone.  Carter does not take the offer, but leaves in peace, only to sneak back in to see if Alexander's ray effects Ninth Metal, which it does not.  Arming himself with a net and trident made of Ninth Metal, Hawkman attacks Alexander, but is caught in a trap when the "Globe Conqueror" turns the ray on Hawkman himself, weighing him down.  Shiera manages to free Hawkman, who stabs Alexander with the trident and destroys his machine.

Review: A story that is in a lot of ways very typical of the Golden Age: A mad scientist with a crazy invention, a very girly love interest (Shiera at one point says not to point the ray at her because she "weighs enough"), and a hero who kills the villain at the end.  Fox can't seem to decide if his hero is named Hawkman, The Hawk-Man, or The Hawk.  Neville's work definitely has a comic strip vibe, but despite the small panels the art has a great pulpy look to it.  I really liked that the modern day Alexander The Great had a lumpy head for some reason.  The idea of eating dinner at your enemy's house to be gracious has a sort of Fleming feel to it, don't you think?  Overall this story brought a smile to my face, partly for it's simple superheroics and partly for it's dated sensibilities; ie, Alexander actually puts an ad in the newspaper demanding that the US government surrender to him.

Image: Flash Comics #2, 1940, Dennis Neville.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Image: Swamp Thing and Hawkman Encounter That Never Happened

Here's an oddity I found on Mike Sterling's always fun Progressive Ruin blog: a "Next Issue" blurb for a series that never made it to the next issue, in this case, Swamp Thing, taken from issue #24.  Seems that ole Muck-face was apparently supposed to have a run in with the Winged Wonder in Portland, OR, of all places, but sadly, the tale was never told, as far as I know.  

Image: Next Issue Blurb, Swamp Thing #24, 1976, Artist Unknown.


Due to work and home related issues, updates will be sporadic at best for a little while.  Sorry for any inconvenience.

Friday, September 5, 2008

DC Minimates Hawkman and Hawkgirl

I got this adorably blocky pair a few weekends back, after getting the chance to play with them a bit at Adama's place when visiting Atlanta back in July.  Minimates are always attractive because of their small size and small price point, and these two are no exceptions.

Included in the set are Katar and Chayera, their wings, removeable helmets, and attachable hairpieces, as well as a flail, a mace, and a shield.  Each of the Winged Wonders stand about 2.5" tall at the top of their helmet wings, and have typical Minimate brick articulation.  The wings have very small ball joints, and plug into the back of each figure.  This is a very distressing task: the balls themselves are mounted on very tiny stems, and I was very concerned with snapping the ball off completely while trying to mount the wings.  In the end I managed to get all four wings in place with out damaging them.  *Whew!*  I decided to give the mace and shield to Hawkman and the flail to Hawkgirl.

The figures themselves are good likenesses of the Silver Age Hawks... well, "good" being a relative term here.  The colors are bright and vibrant, as they should be for this pair.  The wings are not the most visually impressive pair you will ver see, but they fit nicely on the small frames.  The accessories are a neat touch, although I wish they had come with two shields so each could have one.  The hairpieces are a goofy touch, but not unwelcome, as one could go sans-helmets and still display them very nicely.  Standing up is a bit of an issue thanks to the right-angled feet, but a little patience and a lot of balance goes a long way.  

I had purchased some Minimates before (namely the Iron Man vs Doctor Doom set), so I knew what I was getting with these two.  I am very happy that I got this set, as it only put me back about 10 bucks, and is a very fun pair of figures.  DC and Marvel have lots of Minimates at this point, so if this sort of thing looks neat to you, chances are you can find some of your favorites.

Image: DC Minimates Series 5 Hawkman and Hawkgirl, retrieved from DC Direct.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Waiting In The Wings -- 9/4/2008

What Hawk-related stuff is coming out this week?  A fair question.

Adam Strange Special #1 -- Adam had a small cameo in the Hawkman Special, so I imagine the favor should be returned here.  I really want to think that Starlin has a plan for Hawkman, Strange, the other Starman, and all the rest.  The DCU could use a cosmic playground like Marvel has with Nova and GOTG, outside of the Green Lantern titles.  But we shall see!

Invasion! TPB -- I got your Secret Invasion right here!  The Dominators invade Earth, and Hawkman stands as one her defenders.  He's even on the cover, in a rare rendering by Todd MacFarlane.

Trinity #14 -- Hawkman and Gangbuster star in the backup, continuing the plot from earlier regarding the stolen artifacts.  I'd really like to read this but I can't afford to buy Trinity just for the backups, sorry!

Not a bad week, even if I'll probably only be buying one of 'em.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Read: The Brave and The Bold #35.1

Issue: The Brave and The Bold #35
Title: "Menace of the Matter Master!"
Published Date: Apr/May 1961
Generation: Silver Age Katar
Retcon Status: Changed Generation (Silver Age stories which originally featured Katar now featuring Carter)... at least, I think so.  

Summary: After an armored car is robbed in Midway City, and then strange living meteor men rob the Midway City Art Center, Hawkman and Hawkgirl investigate.  The run into scientist Mark Madrill, who had been trying the old trick of transmuting lead into gold.  Instead, he accidentally created a strange element (dubbed Mentachem) which allowed him to command inert matter, and control any matter in it's natural state.  Forming his Mentachem into a wand, he created a costume and dubbed himself the Matter Master.  The Hawks fight his meteor men, but the Master is able to escape by turning animated helicopter blades on our heroes.  Later, Matter Master uses animated flowers to steal an ancient parchment from the Midway City Museum, which Hawkman is able to track, finding the Master's cave hideout.  After a struggle involving all of the air being sucked out of the cave, the Hawks seperate the Master and his wand and arrest him.

Review: The first Hawkman villian which anyone has ever heard of is introduced here, and it's a pretty typical Silver Age story.  Matter Master fits in with alchemy-styled baddies including, that's right, Dr. Alchemy.  The Mentachem wand is put to good use, but his Merlin-esque costume is a little silly and not very menacing.  Still, he's not a bad villian, but it's too bad he didn't show up much more in Hawkman's solo adventures.  Midway City continues to get fleshed out, and Police Commissioner Emmett makes another appearance, and Byth pops up in a flashback.  Kubert's art is top notch, and Fox's straight-laced story (despite the living chopper blades and rock men) is enjoyable for the era.

Image: The Brave And The Bold #35, 1961, Joe Kubert.
Image: Matter Master, unknown date, unknown artist.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Read: The Brave and The Bold v.3:no.15

Issue: The Brave And The Bold v.3:no.15
Title: "Wings And Arrows"
Published Date: July 23, 2008
Generation: Modern Carter
Retcon Status: In Continuity

Summary: Nightwing sends the Justice League and Justice Society on a mission into Trigon's dimension, but it's a ruse -- seems that a spirit from Nanda Parbat has overthrown Rama Kushna, and now can send out spirits to possess hosts like Deadman, only the possession kills the host!  So now it is up to Nightwing, Hawkman, and Deadman to break into Nanda Parbat, rescue Green Arrow (who was captured in the previous issue after "killing" Deadman, allowing him to escape), and restore Rama Kushna before the spirits spread all over the Earth.  Fighting to his lair, the heroes manage to trick the demon, with Nightwing using a bit of Nth metal to fly close enough to steal the demon's amulet, which a thorougly-tortured Green Arrow manages to destroy with a well-placed shot.  With order restored, the heroes part ways -- but not before Deadman slugs Green Arrow for risking everything on such a risky trick.

Review: In the latest issue of Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge, we get to see a single panel of Shadow-Thief as drawn by Scott Kollins.  Couple that with this issue's depiction of Hawkman by Kollins and I have come to the very fannish conclusion that Oh My God Kollins Needs To Draw A Hawkman Title.  I picked this up after Adama dropped me a line about it's existance, and I am glad I did.  "Old school" doesn't begin to describe this tremendously fun team-up, as Waid not only nails the personalities of all the heroes but makes their interactions bouncy and upbeat, like team-ups of days long past.  I may have to seriously find room in the budget for this title, although from what I hear it may not last.  Great find for this Hawkfan!