Issue No. 18

Spring 1948

The Realm of Yesterday: The Blackhawks on patrol over the Pacific (in Skyrockets equipped with floats) spot a man adrift on a log. They pick him up and hear a tale of an island that seems to be in the previous century. The man had been held prisoner there, a virtual slave. Of course, the Black Knights can't let such evil stand and fly north. They find a huge black cloud low on the ocean. When they fly inside the cloud, the engines of their planes stop, mysteriously. Inside the cloud they find an island where the Mr. Yesterday and the beautiful Miss Danger, dressed in 19th century clothing, rule with an iron fist. Mr. Yesterday hates everything about the modern world and has created a world as he likes it. The Blackhawks are captured but soon break free. They turn off the poisonous vapor that surrounds the island and prevents machines from working. They overcome Mr. Yesterday and free his slaves. Miss Danger, seeing that Blackhawk has won, offers herself to him as spoils to the victor, but he declines saying "I don't consider you as spoils worth taking."

Paragon: In the tiny country of Cornigo, a handsome man who calls himself Paragon thinks he is superior to all other humans, and as such is not subject to the rules or laws of inferiors. Murder is perfectly acceptable for him. He learns otherwise when he meets the Blackhawks. He discovers that, compared to Blackhawk, he is physically and mentally inferior, and reveals himself to be a coward as well.

Chop-Chop: Flying to meet the Blackhawks, Chop-Chop is shot down over an island, where he finds Circe. She threatens to turn him into a pig if he doesn't help her hijack an ocean liner. It's all a fake of course, and Chop-Chop arranges for the crooks to be caught. Way too many pages were wasted on this un-funny "comedy."

Sky Thief: A text story, Captain Franz Blok is using a dirigible hidden in a cloud to make armored cars "vanish." The Blackhawks blow the dirigible out of the sky without ever discovering who or how they are managing the feat. There is some weak science in the story (they think that because the dirigible is steam powered it would be invisible to radar, in the belief that radar detects electricity when it really detects reflected radio waves which would bounce off a steam engine as well as a gas powered one) and the resolution of the story is very unsatisfying in the way the Blackhawks never learn the secret of the dirigible, which is the whole point of the story.

The Merchant of Death: Paulus, an ex-Nazi turned arms dealer, is profiting on the turmoil in the world left in the wake of the war. Blackhawk goes off on his own and is captured by Paulus. When the rest of the team try to find him, they land on the villain's heavily defended private island but are tricked by Paulus, wearing Blackhawk's uniform and with his face bandaged, supposedly from a crash landing, into providing a fighter escort for his fleet of arms smuggling ships. Andre, realizing there is something wrong with his chief, leaves Chop-Chop behind. Meanwhile, the beautiful woman villain, in a slinky red dress, has fallen for Blackhawk and frees him. Blackhawk and Chop-Chop battle the bad guys on the ground and get a signal to Andre. Andre kills Paulus in a nicely drawn aerial dogfight. Then the Black Knights strafe the bad guys on the ground and save Blackhawk and Chop-Chop. Everybody takes off and they sink Paulus's fleet.

This issue worked hard to find villains in a post-war world without Nazis and succeeded fairly well, but it was already falling into the trap of formula stories. There were too many plots that involved Blackhawk getting captured and being rescued by the rest of the team. There was too much reliance on brawn over brains and the beautiful villainess falling for Blackhawk and betraying her cause. But it was still fun.

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