Superman: Our Worlds at War #1, Secret Files and Origins
Apparently, this is a cross-title maxi-series that involves a threat to Earth by a particularly nasty alien menace. The alien is so powerful that it takes all the superheroes of Earth, a bunch of alien allies, and all the conventional forces of Earth to counter him. This special issue introduces issue that alien menace and some of the alien allies that will help Earth. It also has a number of insert pages that describe the other forces involved, including the conventional forces of Earth. Part of those forces are a new Blackhawk team. The page at right (click on the thumbnail to see the full size page) shows the new Blackhawk uniform and aircraft. I can't say I care for either one. This is obviously another case of young artists with little or no familiarity with the original Blackhawks failing to understand what are the essential elements of the team. I would bet that the artists, Doug Mahnke and Duncan Rouleau, have never read any Blackhawk but the Chaykin mini-series and its spin-offs, if that. The uniform isn't too bad except for the grotesque, insectile helmet. That's just ugly. The aircraft are rather silly looking and are not in any way aerodynamic. They'd need antigravity to fly, but since they use technology from Brainiac 13 maybe that's what they do. The aircraft/spaceship Nest is kind of interesting, but note that it only carries five aircraft. It seems the number of Blackhawks has been reduced from the traditional seven. I will look for the actual use of these Blackhawks in the series, but my expectations are low.
Thanks to Doc Strangefate for notice of these new Blackhawks.
Peter David - writer; Leonard Kirk - penciler; Robin Riggs - inker; Bill Oakley - letters; Gene D'Angelo - colors
A Blackhawk makes more than a one panel cameo in this issue. Supergirl hitches a ride on a Blackhawk plane (apparently she lost the ability to fly sometime in the past) and then they both attack one of the alien robots. The Blackhawk's fighter is destroyed and he barely survives the fall when the robot slices up his parachute. After they land we don't see the Blackhawk again. He is never identified by name, but we are told that he is a "colonel". His brief dialogue is written in the popular culture stereotype of how a military man would talk.
The panel at right is a two page spread in the book and it shows a slightly different version of the new Blackhawk fighter. This one has larger wings and tail that show control surfaces that make it a bit more believable as an aircraft. The artist still shows little understanding of military hardware. The Blackhawk fires two missiles at the alien robot. The missiles look cool, sort of miniature versions of the aircraft. But that's the problem. They are equipped with air-intakes for jet engines, as are seen on cruise missiles. Cruise missiles are used to attack fixed targets at long range. For a moving, armored target at close range, something like a Maverick anti-tank missile would be more appropriate.
At least the Blackhawk emblem used is close to the original and not that designed by Chaykin.
Thanks to Kevin Ahearn for alerting me to this appearance.
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.