Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Impeccable Logic

Blackhawk #235 (DC, August 1967, 12 cents)
"A Coffin for a Blackhawk" Script: Bob Haney, Pencils: Dick Dillin, Inks: Charles Cuidera.

Pretty much halfway through the New Blackhawk Era of the '60s, this issue of the redesigned series is a little repetitive in its self-promotion. The cover mentions the New Blackhawk Era, and the refresh is explicitly mentioned in at least six more captions inside. Adopting new identities and costumes for 14 issues starting with #228, the heroes returned to their classic garb in just a few issues after this edition.

Rufo and Romulus, the Titanic Twins, team up with the Blackhawks after Rufo initially keeps the Leopard from obtaining a mysterious coffin—only to accidentally lose control of the object, which falls into the villain's hands. Meanwhile, Romulus joins the Blackhawks in search for Rufo, who is captured by the security police.

The Magnificent Seven disguise themselves and engineer their own arrests, which allows them to escape "a solid steel cell in the middle of a hostile nation." The reunited brothers help the Blackhawks evade the police before the group joins a traveling circus: "If the Leopard finds the coffin, he'll want to make the trade for the force field gizmo—and as circus performers, it'll make it easier for him to find us!"

Impeccable logic, for that is exactly what happens. Only the force field device is booby trapped, and the coffin ends up with the circus proprietor, an American secret agent. The book's a little goofy, as is the self-promotion, and that attitude is served well by Dillin's relatively loose pencils.

The issue includes a one-page letter column, "Blackhawk By-Lines," featuring six letters of comment; a "Direct Currents" column promoting other recent comics; and a one-page "Blackhawk Trade Corner." I don't think I'd seen this feature before; readers submit listings offering to trade or sell copies of Blackhawk, Modern, and Military Comics. A wonderful resource for active readers, this installment included almost 20 fan ads across the country.

Availability: This issue has not been reprinted, but I recommend The Blackhawk Archives, Volume 1 and Showcase Presents: Blackhawk.

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