Issue No. 230

March 1967

The Junk-heap Heroes, Part 3: We are introduced to the rest of the Blackhawks' new identities; Olaf becomes the "Leaper" (with a costume of super rubber that let's him bounce high), Andre becomes "M'sieu Machine" (utilizing his till now infrequently mentioned mechanical skills), and Chop-Chop becomes "Dr. Hands" (with titanium gloves to augment his martial art skills). Only Stanislaus can't seem to find an identity, until he faces down the Emperor who is wearing his gold-plated, atomic-powered armor. Despite the armor, Stan defeats him and takes the armor for his own, becoming the "Golden Centurion." The story is meaningless, just a mechanism for introducing the new identities of the Blackhawks. Unfortunately, none of this really helps. The Blackhawks are changed from a team with a unique identity into a second rate Justice League or, an even better comparison, a second rate Avengers (the Golden Centurion is obviously DC's Iron Man, but like most attempts by DC to emulate Marvel's success in this period, he's not quite as good). This whole plan seems ill founded from our perspective, but at the time perhaps it seemed like a good idea. Judging by the letters in the next few issues, I don't think this was true even thirty years ago. Only the very young readers seemed to like the secret identities. Long term fans of the Blackhawks disapproved of this direction. Of course, the Blackhawks were really in a no-win situation. The only period in which they could be truly successful was back in World War II, but in the late '60s with the anti-war sentiment roused by Viet Nam, war comics were not popular.

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