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Military Comics Issue No. 5

December 1941

Writer: Dick French, Artist: Chuck Cuidera (Cover art by Cuidera)

The Scavengers of Doom: This story introduces one of the strangest villains I've seen in a Blackhawk comic. The story begins by showing the ruin and rubble left behind by the battles of the war. Through this moves a group of things that are depicted as barely human, all alike in dress and appearance. They wear strange red robes with spotted yellow scarves that give them a vaguely Oriental look (Oriental in the sense of the stereotypes of the period), and their facial features are very rat-like with pointed faces, wiskers and even pointed, hairy ears. They are the Scavengers, and they go through the ruins left behind the war, stealing what they can from the dead, and killing any living survivors they come upon. They are so dispicable that even the Nazis look down on them when they first capture them, but then the Nazi leader decides to use them to capture the Blackhawks. The Scavengers set traps in Oslo for the Blackhawks, who are there on a unspecified mission. The Scavengers are aided by a beautiful female Nazi agent, Red Laura. She serves as bait for Blackhawk, pretending to be a woman in peril. He and Chop Chop are captured after a fierce battle. The Scavengers torture Blackhawk to learn the location of Blackhawk Island. Of course, he tells them nothing, but the inhuman treatment he endures touches Red Laura's heart and she begins to reconsider her loyalties. Meanwhile, the Scavengers trick the other Blackhawks into splitting up, since they have been told by the Nazi commander that the only way to beat the Blackhawks is individually. They are unstoppable as a team. The Scavengers nearly have Zeg (one of the Blackhawks who did not survive past the first few issues) but in the next room, Olaf is too much for his would be capturerers. Dragging them along, he crashes through the wall to free Zeg, and continues through the next wall to find Blackhawk. Together the three mighty Blackhawks beat back the Scavengers. Then Hendrickson and Chop Chop drop through the ceiling of the room (I guess the structure had been weakened by Olaf's destroying the walls, but it doesn't really matter how it happens) and the reunited team soon has the Scavengers piled like cordwood. The Scavenger leader is calling the Gestapo for reinforcements. The Blackhawks retreat to the airfield and Blackhawk tells his men to take off while he holds off the enemy. But Red Laura conks him from behind and tells Olaf to take Blackhawk, she will stand off the Scavengers so the Blackhawks can make their escape. When Olaf objects to leaving a woman and says he'll stay behind, she parts his hair with a pistol shot. Red Laura is about to be overwhelmed when Blackhawk regains consciousness and insists they go back to help her. Their planes (the strange, modified Skyrockets with generic, inline engines and standard tail that Chuck Cuidera introduced) strafe the Scavengers and Red Laura makes her escape. She sighs wistfully as she watches the Black Knights fly off into the sunset.

This was a pretty weird story in some ways. I found the Scavengers particulary effective villains, even though they have no individual characters. They are loathsome like a plague of rats. It's a good, action filled story. It is signed by 'Chas. Cuidera'.

Other stories:
      Shot and Shell
      Death Patrol, by David Berg
      Yankee Eagle, by John Stewart
      The Blue Tracer, by Fred Guardineer
      Loops and Banks, by Bud Ernest
      On Silent Wings (a text story), by Tex Blaisdell
      Secret War News: Floating Death, by A. McWilliams

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