Monday, October 13, 2008

Read: Flash Comics #4

Issue: Flash Comics #4 (Reprinted in The Golden Age Hawkman Archives v.1)
Title: "Thought Terror"
Published Date: Apr 1940
Generation: Golden Age Carter
Retcon Status: In Continuity

Summary: A man has his future foretold by the Thought Terror, and is informed that he will become intoxicated and then die when he is hit by a car.  Later that evening, the man begins to feel drunk even though he has not had anything to drink.  As a car bears down on him, the man is saved by passer-by Carter Hall, who takes the man home, thinking it strange that he acts drunk but has no alcohol on his breath.  Carter figures that the Thought Terror was hypnotizing his clients and then making the predictions come true.  Hawkman flies off to investigate, first interrogating the driver and then going after the Terror himself.  He runs into trouble with the Terror's mesmerized guards, who in their hypnotized state are unstoppable.  He is captured and thrown in the dungeon.

Shiera finds the dungeon, and then brings Hawkman a blowtorch by which he manages to escape.  Hawkman then tries to find his shield, which he will use (like Perseus and Medusa) to avoid the hypnotic stare of the Terror.  Finding his weapon, Hawkman uses the shiny shield to reflect the Terror's hypnotic stare back on himself, changing him mentally into a harmless kitten.  With the Terror's mind no longer able to control those he hypnotized, his victims and henchmen return to normal.

Review: Much better than the previous Golden Age adventure, this tale of hypnosis and extortion was a lot of fun despite being a fairly quick read.  The Thought Terror makes for an interesting villian (who sadly never re-appeared), and his come-uppance at the end was well deserved and amusing.  This is the first time that artist Sheldon Moldoff would provide art for Hawkman, and he is a good fit, building upon the Alex Raymond look which Neville had in the previous installments but starting to move away from the science fiction look into more of a fantasy style.  It fits the characters very well, especially here with the hooded and robed baddies and Hawkman wielding an ancient shield.

Image: Flash Comics #4, 1940, George Storm.


Anonymous said...

Hey, now this one sounds pretty cool. A very interesting sounding story, and the Thought Terror is quite the awesome villain name. I like the outthink on this one as well, and the Perseus connection is neat. Its a shame that he wasn't brought back, it isn't like Hawkman has a huge rogue's gallery.

Luke said...

The Thought Terror is a great name, isn't it? A hypnotist is a very Golden Age style villain, but I am sure that he could still work today. His look ias very simple -- just the hooded robes -- but still very effective and could look very cool rendered with today's art styles.

The mythological twist is also very appropriate and made me think of (of course) Clash Of The Titans! (On a side note let me say that I dislike the fact that Blogger won't let you use underline tags in comments!)