Tag Archives: Hawkman

Superman 199 – the first Superman/Flash race

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An excellent cover for the first Superman/Flash race, by Shooter, Swan and Klein, which rushes through the pages of Superman 199 (Aug. 67).

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The two heroes are asked by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to do a race taking them three times around the world, as a huge charity event.  Both agree, and Clark Kent gets assigned by Perry White to cover the race, as does Iris Allen by her paper.  Iris is the wife of Barry Allen, but unaware that he is the Flash (or so we think).

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Two crime cartels, one American, one European, make a huge bet on the race, and each brings in a criminal scientist to help plot against the other.

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The Justice League show up for the start of the race.  Superman has Batman and Robin, Green Arrow and the Atom on his side, while Aquaman, Hawkman and Green Lantern are pushing for the Flash. The Martian Manhunter and Wonder Woman are seen later, but we do not know which hero they are rooting for.  Supergirl is also at the starting line, supporting her cousin.

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The story has some excellent art, and makes the most of its varied locations.  There are some little problems along the way, such as the heroes running into a camel laden with figs, and some greater ones.  The Flash helps Superman when a kryptonite meteor is ejected from a volcano they are passing.

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And later, in a snowy Saskatchewan, Superman switches identities to tend to the Flash after he wipes out on the ice.  Should have had his winter boots on.

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The race has been very close, and as the heroes reach the final stretch through the US, both criminal groups put their plots into action, stopping the heroes and replacing them with impostors.  The ones betting on Superman replace the Flash, and vice versa.

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The impostors are meant to lose the race, but this results in both of them running more and more slowly, until they both come to a complete stop, realizing that neither is the real hero.  It’s a great scene, capped perfectly as the actual heroes race by them after overcoming their traps.

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The race ends in a tie, intentionally, to prevent either gamblers from winning their bets.  This would be a bit of a downer, except the final panel announces the second race, soon to take place in the pages of the Flash.

A really fun story, well-told, and the tie even makes sense in the context.

World’s Finest 300 – Superman, Batman, the Justice League, the Outsiders and the Cosmic Tree

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The Cosmic Tree storyline comes to a conclusion in World’s Finest 300 (Feb. 84), as writers Kraft, Barr and Wolfman are joined by Andru, Amendola and Mark Texeira, Smith, McLaughlin, Rodriguez, Klaus Janson and Rick Magyar, as well as George Perez on the New Teen Titans pages.

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Superman brings in the Justice League, and Batman calls in the Outsiders to help as the heroes each want to stop the Cosmic Tree from wiping out life on Earth.  There is tension between the two groups, reflecting that between Superman and Batman.  And though there are loads of heroes in this story, the Elongated Man, Firestorm, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Red Tornado and Wonder Woman all get at least a brief opportunity to show their stuff.

Overall, though, it’s the newer team, the Outsiders, who are given a bit more attention: Black Lightning, Geo-Force, Halo, Katana and Metamorpho.

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I have little positive to say about the use of the New Teen Titans in this issue.  Dick Grayson is in between identities, but Changeling, Cyborg, Raven, Starfire, Terra and Wonder Girl go into action against Gordanian slavers.  This is the result of the time warps created by the Cosmic Tree.  The New Teen Titans never interact with the other heroes, or the main plotline.

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Zeta is really the focus of the story, when the army of super-heroes are not being distracted by time warp problems.  Zeta has decided to aid the Cosmic Tree is wiping out life on Earth, as he plans to rule the planet afterwards, as well as the alien world the Tree is linked to.

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Sgt. Rock and Easy Company get to appear in one of the warps, although there is little room for them to do anything except watch the heroes get captured.

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In the end it is left to Superman and Batman to pull out a victory, though not by force. Once again, all it really takes is a good conversation with Zeta to get him to change his mind.  Zeta rips up the Cosmic Tree by its roots, saving the Earth and all its people.

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The conclusion does sort of save the issue.  With both the Justice League and the Outsiders wanting harmony between the heroes, Wonder Woman takes it upon herself to talk some sense into them, and Superman and Batman patch up their problems, becoming friends again.

It was clearly necessary to have some tension between the heroes in this book, to reflect the events that lead to Batman forming the Outsiders.  But if World’s Finest was to continue as a series, those problems had to be overcome.

World’s Finest 286 – Superman and Batman vs Dr. Zodiac and Madam Zodiac

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Burkett, Buckler and DeLaRosa continue with the tale of two Zodiacs in World’s Finest 286 (Dec. 82).

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This issue goes into the backstory of the couple, as we hear how Madam Zodiac sought out her male counterpart, the only person to ever possess the powers of the Zodiac coins.  She used her magical powers to create an illusory double of him, which is still sitting aimlessly in prison, and duplicates of the Zodiac coins, to cover their thefts.

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She is using the Zodiac Wheel and coins to call forth an elder god, a powerful force of evil, and this has effects which spread across Earth. Superman battles a demonic cult that has formed.

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Robin guests as he and Batman deal with a resurgent Ku Klux Klan, who try to make Lucius Fox their next victim.

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In fact, there are a lot of guest stars in this story – many of whom so recently had series in this book.  Zatanna, still in a coma, is brought to Paradise Island by Wonder Woman to be cured.  Green Arrow fights a werewolf, and Hawkman faces a vampire.

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By the end, the riding tide of evil has allowed the dark god to come forth and take a human host – Batman.

The story continues in the next issue.

World’s Finest 282 – Superman and Batman in happier times, Slingshot returns, and Hawkman and Shazam end

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Superman and Batman continue to deal with leftover devices of the Weapons Master in World’s Finest 282 (Aug. 82), by Burkett, Novick and McLaughlin.

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Hoodlums get ahold of one, and shoot Batman with it, sending him back in time.  Superman follows, finding him on Earth long before the evolution of humans.

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They encounter an alien race, whose magic creates harmony and good feelings.  Superman and Batman are both surprised at how happy they feel in this era, but when Superman gets asked to go deal with a volcano, Batman still gets suspicious.

And he is right to, as the volcano is magically induced.  One of the aliens is worried that their people will never head back to their home planet, and is trying to cause problems, so that they will leave.  Although his direct attempt fails, his actions do serve as a wake-up call, and the aliens leave.  Superman and Batman return to the present, and Batman wonders if he will ever be that happy again.  Aw.

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Black Canary gets knocked out and kidnapped as this month’s story opens, by Barr and Gil Kane, who also did the cover for this issue.

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Green Arrow is unaware of the complexity of the plot going on.  He thinks he is just after Slingshot, and a normal street gang, but in fact is dealing with the machinations of the mother of the boy he accidentally killed about ten years earlier, in the pages of the Flash.

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She brags to Black Canary of her plan.  She has had her gang steal a few of Green Arrow’s arrows, and figures out the notched coding he uses to determine which arrow is which.  Changing these, she sets him, and Slingshot, up, so that Green Arrow pulls the “wrong” arrow, and kills Slingshot.

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Hawkman’s story comes to an end, by Rozakis, Infantino and Rodriguez.  I have the feeling that this story was written and drawn before the decision was made to end the series, as it spends ten of its eleven pages having Hawkman fight with an alien.

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Only on the very last page does Hawkwoman show up, pretty much out of nowhere.  A brief mention is made of the fact that she found and saved the Thanagarian fleet, and now suddenly all is well between them.

The Hawks both continue to appear as members of the Justice League of America.

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Two of Kid Eternity’s enemies, Her Highness and Silk, make their only appearance in a DC book in this story, by Bridwell and Kane, teaming up with Captain Marvel villain Aunt Minerva.  Their evil scheme involves getting the Marvel Family to perform at a circus.

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They plan to rob the homes of those attending the circus.  Yup, that’s the big plan.  Kid Eternity, Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr, Mary Marvel and even Uncle Marvel all get involved, which is overkill to the max.

The Shazam series ends here, but moves over to Adventure Comics Digest.

World’s Finest 281 – Superman starts his heart, Green Arrow’s really easy case, Hawkman gets back to his ship, and the Marvel Family and Kid Eternity vs Mr. Mind

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Burkett, Irv Novick and Chiaramonte conclude the army of war storyline in World’s Finest 281 (July 1982).

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As Batman continues his impersonation of Captain Cutlass, setting up many of General Scarr’s men to be captured by the police, Superman escapes the “time bomb” by starting his heart, and using the beat of it to “create” time, the paradox of which frees him.  It’s almost philosophical.

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Major Disaster is the one the plan to take over Metropolis largely relies on, as he keeps other heroes busy by creating a number of disasters across the country. We see the Flash, Firestorm and Wonder Woman all rushing around, dealing with his catastrophes, but Scarr needs him to do even more, and the Major’s powers get overloaded and short out.

Colonel Sulphur is easy to nab, and Scarr is left with no troops at all at the end.  I can’t help but feel that there was a good idea in this story, but it just didn’t come off – likely because of the second rate villains filling up the story. Of the four, only Major Disaster would continue to appear, returning in the pages of Green Lantern in a couple of years.

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Green Arrow gets a case so easy to solve it’s amazing that it takes him the full nine pages, but at least Von Eeden and Mahlstedt keep the art attractive on Cavalieri’s story.

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Arsonists have been burning a number of slums and abandoned buildings.  The very day after one building comes down, a billboard is put up announcing the new building to be constructed on the site.  Gee, maybe they should have just signed their name in the ashes.

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Hawkman makes it back to his own ship in this chapter, by Rozakis, Saviuk and Chiaramonte, only to find that another alien from the trapped ship has made it there first.

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So they have a bit of a fight.  Hawkman wins, and gets out of hyperspace, but still has no idea where Hawkwoman is.

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Rounding out this less-than-impressive issue is a story that brings together the Marvel Family and Kid Eternity, as they deal with a giant sized Mr. Mind, thanks to Bridwell, Newton and John Calnan.

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Mr Mind cocoons the Marvels, so Kid Eternity calls up a viking hero to pretend to fight Mr.Mind, but actually cut them free.  He even calls up Puck to short out Mr. Mind’s repeller machine.  Because, you know, no one would be better with technology than a forest spirit.  Captain Marvel reverses the machine that made Mr. Mind a giant, and they take him down easily.

World’s Finest 280 – Superman and Batman and the army of crime, Green Arrow doesn’t care for Harmony, Hawkman thinks of people he hates, and Kid Eternity’s origin

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An excellent cover for World’s Finest 280 (June 1982), as Burkett, Buckler and Smith continue with the army of crime storyline.

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Severely underestimating Batman, Scarr tosses him into a cell and ignores him.  In other words, Batman gets free.  Scarr is more concerned with explaining his plans to the rest of his crew.  An auction is being held for devices left behind by the Weapons Master when he fled.  Colonel Sulphur has managed to secure them in invitation to the auction, which Batman overhears.

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Other villains are bidding as well, but Superman and Batman do their best to bust things up.  The Trickster gets a page of action against Superman, and loses.  No surprise there, but I guess it allows the heroes to win at least a small battle during the course of the tale.  Scarr gets ahold of the Weapons Master’s stuff, and hits Superman with a “time bomb,” which leaves him trapped between seconds, outside of normal time, and as good as dead.

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Batman does manage to take down Captain Cutlass, and takes his place.

The story concludes in the next issue.

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Cavalieri, Von Eeden and Mahlstedt conclude the Harmony story, as Green Arrow heads out to the cult’s camp, only to find that a mass marriage is being performed, to tie the members even further to the cult.  The woman Green Arrow is hoping to rescue is one of the brides.

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Von Eeden’s art is just wonderful on this series.  And it’s a really nice touch that it is not Green Arrow who convinces the woman to leave, but the behaviour of the rest of the cultists, turning against her for even thinking of leaving.  She realizes that they could not possibly have really cared about her if they were willing to turn on her so quickly.

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Hawkman spends this chapter fighting against the aliens trapped in the hyperspace whirlpool, thanks to Rozakis, Saviuk and Chiaramonte.  The shape shifter is the biggest problem he faces, as the creature is somewhat telepathic, and takes the forms of those Hawkman cares for.  Interestingly, one of those forms in Mavis Trent.  So I guess Hawkman is not completely immune to her charms.

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He beats the creature by thinking only about the people that he hates, and has no trouble beating the crap out of.  But even with this victory, Hawkman is still trapped in hyperspace.

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Bridwell, Newton and Chiaramonte blend together the origins of Captain Marvel Jr and Kid Eternity in this tale.

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Freddy’s origin had been retold only a few issues earlier, but now we see that he and his brother were split up by their uncles.  Kid Eternity’s origin has some distinct similarities to that of Captain Marvel Jr – once again set on a small boat, with a boy and an older relative who dies.  Though Kid Eternity also gets killed in his origin story.

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But the boy was not meant to, and Mr. Keeper is sent to watch over him as he returns to Earth, as a kind of ghost, able to call up other dead people.

Not much actually happens in this tale, aside from the blending of the two origin stories.  They do work extremely well together, remarkably so as Captain Marvel Jr was a character from Fawcett Comics, and Kid Eternity from Quality Comics.

 

 

World’s Finest 279 – Alfred prefers Superman, Green Arrow and the cult, Hawkman and the hyperspace whirlpool, and the secret brother of Freddy Freeman

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Cary Burkett is joined by Keith Pollard and Mike DeCarlo as they begin a multi-part story in World’s Finest 279 (May 1982).

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The story itself is not bad, but by far my favourite scene comes right at the start, with Superman in the Batcave, complimenting Alfred on his service, and Alfred thinking how much he prefers the considerate Superman to Green Arrow.

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Then we get down to the action, as Batman faces a new villain, Captain Cutlass, complete with pirate themed henchmen.  Numerous wealthy people are being kidnapped, and Cutlass is clearly part of the scheme, but not the only mover involved.

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Superman deals with a localized earthquake, which also seems to be part of the plan, but clearly outside Cutlass’ control.

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It does not take long before we get introduced to the team behind this, who interact according to their names.  Lead by a general, whose identity is not revealed yet, the story brings back Colonel Sulphur, a minor Batman villain last seen a couple years earlier in Brave and the Bold, as well as Green Lantern villain Major Disaster.  Despite the fact that none of these people really hold the ranks they claim, they appear to content to let those ranks determine their status.  This is very odd, considering that Major Disaster is far more powerful than the two men above him.

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Batman attempts to infiltrate the group, allowing himself to be captured as Bruce Wayne, but is exposed by the one in charge – yet another minor villain of his, General Scarr.

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Joey Cavlieri takes over the scripting of the Green Arrow series with this issue, while Von Eeden and Mahlstedt continue on the art.  The story deals with a cult patterned on the Moonies, and the daughter of one of the reporters Oliver Queen works with on the Daily Star has become a member.

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Concerned, Green Arrow seeks out a group dedicated to retrieving kids from the cult.  But he does not quite trust them, and rightly so, as the group is really part of the cult, keeping tabs on those out to shut them down.  By talking to them about the girl, Green Arrow has simply placed her in more danger.

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Hawkman’s story, by Rozakis, Saviuk and Chiaramonte, follows immediately after the previous issue, and must take place before the Superman/Batman story in this issue, as the heroes are just leaving Thanagar as the tale opens.

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Hawkman continues the search for his wife, finding a whirlpool in hyperspace. Even I know this is completely outside of anything scientifically plausible.  He finds a ship in distress, and goes to help them out.

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The aliens on the ship are far from grateful, more interested in attacking Hawkman than thanking him.  One has to assume that Hawkman is so upset about his missing wife that he falls for a preposterous trick, as a shape shifter takes the form of Hawkwoman, and Hawkman stops fighting, allowing himself to be captured.

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Bridwell, Newton and Chiaramonte finally bring the subplot about the mysterious ghosts and such to the forefront in this story.  The tale itself is largely irrelevant, dealing with a dying man who threatens to destroy the world if his heart stops beating.  While Captain Marvel deals with the missiles, Freddy ponders the strange appearances that have been happening, going all the way back to an appearance by Sherlock Holmes in a story of his from the 1940s.

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Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine, shows up to save the life of the cranky old man, but that is just a prelude to the big revelation.  Kid Eternity, making his second appearance in a DC comic after a small role in the Shazam comic in the mid 70s, is the one who has been calling forth the various historical and fictional characters.  Captain Marvel Jr identifies him as his brother, Kit Freeman.

The story continues in the next issue.