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Military Comics Issue No. 15

January 1943

Writer: Bill Woolfolk, Artist: Reed Crandall (Cover art by Crandall)

The Men Who Never Came Back - This is another story with a supernatural framing device as was used in Issue No. 12. This time it's three witches. The first witch calls herself "Trouble" and puts the Blackhawks into it by sending them to India. As soon as they arrive they have to fight off a bunch of Indians attacking a Allied post. As the natives are driven off, Blackhawk comments that it doesn't seem like the work of Gandi. A young soldier says it is not, that it is Japanese infiltrators stirring up trouble. The young soldier asks Blackhawk to buy a war bond with his last pay check, then falls dead. In the city, Blackhawk stops to look at a fakir charming a snake, but the fakir is really a Jap agent who sics the cobra on Blackhawk. But Blackhawk is knocked clear by a beautiful woman in an outfit that looks more Arabian than Indian. She and the Jap run off, leaving the Blackhawks bewildered. The Allied commander asks the Blackhawks to locate a battalion of Scottish Highlanders who have gone missing near the Burma border. He is giving them a clue when another Japanese agent stabs him in the back and then commits "hara-kiri". The next witch introduces herself as "Terror". Immediately, the Blackhawks' aircraft are caught in nets suspended from balloons. The team are unscathed but their planes are wrecked. They are taken prisoner by the Japanese and subjected to several torture sessions. Their steely nerves are not effected by repeated firing of blanks by a firing squad, and they sing songs to drown out the dripping water torture. The Jap commander releases them into the jungle so he can hunt them down like foxes. The rest of the team tires and urges Blackhawk and Olaf to go on. The two strongest Blackhawks escape and reach a small Indian village. A fortune teller tells them to find a plane on the town's edge and rescue their comrades. Sure enough they steal the plane (without a second thought for the rights of the owner, apparently), a rickety biplane, and fly back into the mountains. They crash in some ruins where they find the Highlanders surrounded by the Japanese (the Highlanders are drawn wearing kilts, full dress uniform as if they were on parade, rather than the fatiques they would have actually worn in the field). A mysterious woman who looks like both the witch and the fortune teller advises the Japanese commander on a strategy to defeat the Scots, but Blackhawk sees through her plan and devises a counter strategy that gets most of the battalion away free. The last panels reveal that the mysterious woman is actually a Japanese agent who has betrayer her own side because she has fallen in love with Blackhawk.

This is another disjointed story that doesn't make a lot of sense. Are the witches real or supernatural? If the latter, then how can the female agent be both a witch and an agent? Supernatural elements seem out of place in Blackhawk stories, which were generally realistic, but they were obviously fairly popular with the writers since they were used in four of the first fifteen issues. Crandall's artwork shines in this story. His depiction of the witches foreshadows the work he would do later for EC. His depiction of the Highlanders is especially nice. But my favorite thing in this issue was Crandall's drawing of the the Blackhawks' aircraft as actual Skyrockets, rather than the mutated versions seen in previous issues.



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All characters, pictures, and related indicia on these pages are the property of DC Comics. All text is 1998-2001 Dan Thompson, except where otherwise noted. This homepage is not intended to infringe on the copyright of DC Comics to its characters, but was created out of gratitude to all the wonderful writers, artists, and editors who created the Blackhawks.







Military Comics Issue No. 15

     

Thanks to David Chapman for submitting this issue.



Back to Military/Modern Index Page


All characters, pictures, and related indicia on these pages are the property of DC Comics. All text is 1998-2001 Dan Thompson, except where otherwise noted. This homepage is not intended to infringe on the copyright of DC Comics to its characters, but was created out of gratitude to all the wonderful writers, artists, and editors who created the Blackhawks.