Monday, October 6, 2008

Read: The Brave And The Bold #36.2

Issue: The Brave and The Bold #36 (Reprinted in Showcase Presents: Hawkman v.1)
Title: "Shadow-Thief of Midway City"
Published Date: June/July 1961
Generation: Silver Age Katar
Retcon Status: Changed Generations

Summary: Hawkman and Hawkgirl are recalled to Thanagar by their superiors, but before they can head home, a strange shadowy creature robs the Midway Bank right in front of the helpless security guards!  The Hawks give chase, but the two-dimensional Shadow-Thief is able to escape since they can't lay a hand on him.  With their sharp vision, though, they are able to see his profile, and identify him as Carl Sands, convicted burglar recently released from prison.  Conveniently reminiscing, Sands recalls how he became interested in shadows and light while in prison, and how he accidently discovered another dimension by messing with a color-disk projector.  A being in the other dimension, Thar Dan, was in trouble, and was saved by Sands' meddling.  Rewarding his savior, Thar gave Sands a device known as the Dimensiometer, which gives Sands his two-dimensional abilities.  Unfortunately, if over-used, the device will destroy the Earth by creating another Ice Age -- a fact Sands was unconcerned with.

The Hawks spring a trap on Shadow-Thief when he commits his next job, trapping him in the air.  Realizing that he needs to become three-dimension to escape, Sands tears the Dimensiometer from his wrist, but that is his downfall, as the Hawks are able to catch him in that moment.  As for the device itself, it is now ruined -- just one activation away from causing a new Ice Age.

Review: The most well-known of Hawkman's Rogues Gallery (admittedly not a huge feat, considering) makes his first appearance here, and Shadow-Thief is so well realized, that while some of the details changed, his basic motif has remained the same ever since.  A thief makes a great foe for a museum curator, and when you have heroes who rely on weapons, making him a shadow who cannot be touched is brilliant.  Definitely the "A" story from this issue, with lots of action, police work, and the always-awesome Kubert art, especially on the strangely proportioned Thief.  So far, this has been one of my favorite stories in the first Showcase volume.  

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


Anonymous said...

Ahh, definitely one of the best stories of Hawkman's early run. Shadow Thief is just a great villain, and I love the outthink in this issue. I like the subtle change to the Thief that eventually comes about, in his having a piece of Thanagarian tech, rather than something from another dimension, if only because it simplifies his story somewhat. After all, Hawkman could ALWAYS use a bit more simplicity.

Luke said...

I agree, about making the Dimensiometer a Thanagarian device. Besides simplifying things, it also makes the connection between the Hawks and the Thief more solid, and I always like to have a good connection between the hero and the villian if possible.

The Shadow-Thief is such a simple concept for a bad guy, but I think that is why he works so well. And his look, with the elongated limbs and strange dimensions -- a pretty good representation of how your shadow falls across your surroundings -- provides him with a very memorable appearance.