Issue No. 66July 1953
The Red Executioner:Red-controlled Prav invades the peaceful country of Brovina, but the Brovinans defend themselves fiercely under the leadership of General Murz. Prav hires a marksman to assassinate Murz and his death does demoralize the Brovinan forces until the Blackhawks arrive to rally them. The leader of Prav hires the sniper to kill the Blackhawks at a million dollars apiece. The sniper leads the Blackhawks into a series of traps, but they set up the linings from their uniforms as decoys and surprise the sniper and his men. In the fight, the sniper falls off a cliff to his death.
Chop Chop: Chop Chop helps out a friend who owns an icecream shop to find out how two gallons of ice cream disappear every day. Of course, Chop Chop goes through a series of slapstick hijinks and discovers the icecream is missing because he ate it.
The Crawler!: An incredible giant steel snake invades the peaceful democracy of Vanadia. When the Blackhawks try to bomb it, it splits into sections to evade the bombs. The Blackhawks try to fight it on the ground but barely escape with their lives. Then the Crawler disappears to appear the next day in a distant city where it wreaks havoc. The day after it attacks a third city, but no one has seen the huge device traveling between the cities. Blackhawk figures out that it is secretly traveling by railroad, splitting up with each segment in a separate car. They uncover it and the Crawler rejoins its segments and attacks a city. The Blackhawks drop big steel hooks from their jets, catch the Crawler on one side and flip it over onto its back. The Red operators abandon the helpless machine and are knocked out by the flying fists of the Black Knights. The Crawler is very similar to the giant steel worm that appeared in the Evanier/Spiegle series. This was a good story up to the unconvincing defeat using the hooks. The Blackhawks jets would have to be able to hover like helicopters for the trick to work.
Prisoners of Space!: When the Blackhawks investigate a base in the Urals that is launching rockets into space, Blackhawks plane is pulled beyond the reach of atmosphere and gravity when it is caught in the suction of a rocket (which is obviously a German V2). Blackhawk and Chop Chop only have twelve hours of air in the jet's pressurized cabin. The rest of the team flys back to Blackhawk Island to come with some way of saving their comrades. Andre comes up with a wild scheme but it's all they have. They gather materials and return to the Urals. The air defense radars around the rocket base pick up incoming targets that turn out to be a huge flock of wild geese. They let down their guard only to discover that the geese were released by the Blackhawks to cover their attack. They strafe the base and wipe out the defenders. After landing, part of the team welds magnets to a rocket while the rest find the commie scientist and convince them to launch the rocket. The magnets snare the drifting jet in space and brings it back to Earth. The plane is falling out of control because Blackhawk and Chop Chop have blacked out from lack of air. Chuck, the master air gunner, shoots holes in their canopy, letting in fresh air to revive them in time for Blackhawk to land the plane safely. Aside from some very questionable science and improbable events, this was an original and exciting story well told and illustrated.
Thanks to Harriette Stresewski for providing this issue.
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