Issue No. 67

August 1953

The Weapon of Doom ! - Although not the cover story, this is the longest, most involved tale in the book.

General Hodds summons the Blackhawks to truce talks in the “neutral zone behind the [North] Korean battle lines”. Here they meet with General Kwan Yi and Dr. Cuda, “a scientist sent by our glorious Soviet protector”. The talks quickly break down as the North Koreans demand surrender within 24 hours or they will unleash a secret weapon. The Blackhawks are seized but their capture is only momentary. Blackhawk grabs a rifle from a guard, and our heroes, backed up by General Hodds and his men, break free and return to their jets. Dr. Cuda and General Kwan Yi escape in the confusion.

Before they can take off, the tanks guarding the Hawkjets are dive bombed by a very well drawn MiG-15. The bomb looks like a depth charge and releases a strange green liquid, which melts the armor plate of the tanks and leaves the crewmen smoking skeletons. Blackhawk dons a “plastic armor” suit from the built-in lab in his plane and checks the wreckage with a Geiger counter. In a few moments he reports that the contents of the bomb is radioactive sea water. Chuck notices that the bomb casing was glass and that the wooden ammo crates were not damaged by the bomb. With a firm handshake, Blackhawk asks General Hodds to protect all ordnance with wooden shields.

The Blackhawks take off to inform headquarters but encounter another MiG right over UN HQ. They force the plane off but the pilot crashes into the bay near a battleship. Blackhawk radios a warning and the crew abandon ship in time.

After another radioed demand for surrender, the General puts Blackhawk in touch with Colonel Ho Wan, “the daring guerrilla chief”, who tells of a cargo plane loaded with strange apparatus. An hour later, the Blackhawks have found a landing spot within walking distance of the “secret Red airfield”. Unable to follow the plane (which looks a lot like a B-24) in the air, the Blackhawks instead attack on foot. The pilot's flight map shows the destination to be Chongyn Bay and examination of the cargo reveals parts for an atomic reactor! Blackhawk instructs Colonel Ho to destroy the aircraft and its cargo.

The Black Knights fly to Chongyn Bay, where heavy flak damages Blackhawk's plane, forcing him to land. On the ground, Blackhawk and Chop Chop are again made prisoners of General Kwan Yi and Dr. Cuda, who makes the fatal mistake of so many evil geniuses - keeping Blackhawk alive while he explains how he uses twin atomic piles to make sea water radioactive. At an opportune moment, Blackhawk and Chop Chop rip explosive buttons from their clothing and throw them into the complicated machinery, destroying Dr. Cuda's life work.

Just as they are subdued, the rest of the team appears wearing radiation armor. Blackhawk had left his belt radio open and the team was able to follow events. Hendrickson reveals that they built a raft of wood and paddled across the deadly waters of the bay protected by their radiation suits. Olaf offers to shield Blackhawk and Chop Chop with their suits, but the leader reveals that he faked the damage to his plane. They take off and dive bomb the bay, splashing radioactive water all over the atomic plant and its operators.

Chop Chop - The smallest member of the team studies magic tricks in order to entertain his niece and nephews. He starts out with a “disappearing” fishbowl on his head and ends up hypnotizing himself instead of the kids he is supposed to be babysitting.

Who is the Future Fuehrer? - Nazism is on the march again in Eastern Europe. Uniformed soldiers wearing the dreaded Swastika are seen in the streets proclaiming “Hail the Future Fuehrer”. Among their ranks is the Blackhawk, Hendrickson, working undercover. He soon reports by radio and directs the Blackhawks to a uncharted island, where the Future Fuehrer has set up headquarters and appears to be the same old Adolph. The Black Knights are captured but Hendrickson breaks them out of the dungeon. Blackhawk tricks the “Fuehrer” into revealing that he is a former SS man and one of Hitler's many doubles. He attempts to escape by helicopter, but a well placed shot by one of his followers, a Prussian officer who does not appreciate being deceived, causes him to crash into one of the fortress turrets. The double is crushed by the large steel Swastika from the roof of his headquarters.

The Hitler double was a recurring plot device in several of the Blackhawk stories throughout the 40's and 50's.

Text Story - Dedication to Death - A young man goes to Europe to study but is recruited by “the party”. He works his way into several menial jobs which put him into position for espionage on ships, trains and finally aircraft. One day at the airport he is recognized by an old friend from his home town, panics, and backs into a whirling propeller. This story really shows the flavor of the times.

Death Rides the Guided Missile - In Eastern Europe, the Republic of Brone's anti-aircraft defenses detect the fast approach of what appears to be a Hawkjet. When it crashes into the palace, killing President Droga and his cabinet, the Blackhawks swing into action. On the way to their planes, Blackhawk Island becomes the next target! This time the jet looks a lot like the Vought F7U Cutlass prototype. A crosswind blows it off the runway just before it explodes. Blackhawk plunges into the smoking wreckage but finds only an automatic pilot.

By projecting back along the two courses, Blackhawk triangulates the launch point. Once again, the Black Knights end up “over the bleak wilderness of North Korea”. Olaf locates yet another hidden landing strip and is captured while investigating. The others land “a short time later” and find Olaf's plane already mounted on a takeoff ramp with RATO apparatus fitted and Olaf unconscious in the cockpit.

“Dr. Vornov, the Soviet guided misssile expert”, launches the plane before he can be stopped, but Blackhawk and Chop Chop in one plane and Andre in another take off in pursuit. They are soon within sight of Blackhawk Island (!). Blackhawk wingwalks (!) onto Olaf's jet, opens the canopy, and disconnects the autopilot. He then climbs in and takes over the controls, reversing course. “Minutes later” they are back over North Korea, strafing the Communist soldiers. One particularly gruesome panel shows bullets passing right through the enemy's body. Olaf is sufficiently recovered to turn Dr. Vornov into “a flying missile”.

This story is significant because it appears to show Blackhawk Island's “top secret” location as less than an hour's jet flying time from North Korea.

Thanks to David Chapman for submitting the cover scan and to Al Glew for the synopsis for this issue.

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