Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Read: Flash Comics #19

Issue: Flash Comics #19 (reprinted in The Golden Age Hawkman Archives v.1)
Title: "Cold Light" (suggested title)
Published Date: Jul 1941
Generation: Golden Age Carter
Retcon Status: In Continuity

Summary: Carter and Shiera are at a dinner and hear a speech from the eccentric chemist Pratt Palmer, who talks highly about his "cold light" weapon.  Afterwards, the pair witness the chemist being kidnapped, and Carter is shot!  He was only grazed in the shoulder, however, and suspects that the near miss was intentional.  Carter and Shiera make a bet about cracking the case, with the loser having to pay for a posh dinner at an exclusive club.  Investigating, Hawkman comes across Palmer dying in the street a few days later, an apparent victim of the cold light.  Hawkman busts into the building Pratt staggered out of and runs into the criminal known as The Hood, who shoots Hawkman down.

The Hood then sends his men to rob a bank, sending a blob of cold light to take out any resistance.  Shiera spots them and tails them, intending on catching them in the act.  Meanwhile, Hawkman revives, the bullet having hit his helmet and merely stunning him.  He discovers that there are pictures of Pratt Palmer -- some thin, some fat -- on the walls.  He doesn't have much time to reflect, however, as the room he is in is invaded by cold light.  Hawkman escapes, while Shiera trails the hoods to the hideout and pulls a gun.  The thugs get the better of her, and bring her inside... to the waiting Hawkman, who wipes them and The Hood out. Hawkman reveals that Pratt had faked his kidnapping and death, with the corpse being a man who looked like Palmer.  Carter runs up a huge tab on Shiera at dinner, but mails her a check to cover the costs.

Review: Very strong Golden Age adventure, with a good pace and nice art.  After Shiera corners the hoods, the colors bleed into very appealing garish reds and greens, very eye-catching.  The Hood (hah) looks not dissimilar to the Thought Terror, and just like him would never appear again.  Pratt Palmer -- a relation to Al perhaps?  And once again Moldoff really gives Shiera her due, as she looks downright glamorous in this issue, plus her turn on the cover.

Fox's story is pretty straightforward but it works.  I like that after Hawkman is shot the second time, he quips that he is "collecting a lot of lead."  The use of the cestus is a nice touch too, and it is a weapon which would reappear in Volume 4 to be used by the modern Hawks.  One of my favorite bits is the bet between Carter and Shiera, with some of the prices she balks at, including the "$10 couvert charge" and how after a 30-someodd dollar meal she can't afford to eat for a week.  Ladies and Gentlemen, the 40s!  Overall a good solo outing.

Image: Flash Comics #19, 1941, Sheldon Moldoff.

No comments: