Blackhawk #242: "My Brother-My Enemy!"

Blackhawk #242
"My Brother-My Enemy!"
August-September, 1968

Script: Bob Haney
From A Plot By:
Marvin Wolfman
Art: Pat Boyette
Editor: Dick Giordano

On the outskirts of Washington, D.C. stands the headquarters of
G.E.O.R.G.E., the government's secret spy agency.  Even now, a stealthy
group of intruders are making their way through the defenses without so
much as triggering an alarm.  Now, the radar scopes are tracking their
every move, computer controlled laser beams focus in preparation to fire,
but as the alarms sound...nothing happens.  The sentries within the
installation have been given some deadly spansule drugs earlier, and now
the deadly substance has taken effect.  With all going as planned, the
thermo-charge is primed... and the order is given...

On a faraway island, Chuck, aka the Listener tells Chop-Chop to summon
Blackhawk, and tell him that G.E.O.R.G.E. isn't returning his call.  With
the G.E.O.R.G.E. transmitter off-line, the vacation of the Blackhawks has
reached its conclusion, and they are on the move within the next five

Condition Red is sounded, with Andre and Olaf joining their leader.
Three hours have passed, with the Magnificent Seven surveying the quarter
mile crate, in awe at the sight of G.E.O.R.G.E. gone from the face of the
Earth.  Their records, their new fighting identities, all their fantastic
equipment is gone.  Nothing remains to show that the Blackhawks had ever
existed.  They can only wonder who was responsible for such an act.  The
answer to Blackhawk's question will be found when he meets with "My
Brother-My Enemy!"

What lurks from the smoking remains of G.E.O.R.G.E. over the lives of the
Black Knights?  Who is the mysterious foe who is now holding their fate
in his hand?  His presence will soon be felt in the here and now... when
the Blackhawks meet the Black Mask.  Hendrickson finds that one of the
surveillance cameras has remained intact, even as Blackhawk sees that the
thumbtacks had been disintegrated in the blast.

Its condition suggests that the camera was meant to be found, and Hendy
figures it was meant for their eyes only.  Since villains have large
egos, this baddie must have one as vast as the crater.  The Magnificent
Seven are seated, as the film begins to roll.  They see a masked figure
leaving them a warning written in flame.  Hendrickson doesn't know why
this Black Mask has decided to wipe out G.E.O.R.G.E., but the Blackhawks
have never turned away from a challenge, and they're not about to start
now.  The Black Knights are now donning their original uniforms at a
government storage depot.  Andre is unimpressed by the style, while Hendy
thinks that his uniform has shrunk, and Olaf wonders about his friend's
belt, too.

Since their newer outfits were destroyed with G.E.O.R.G.E., these will be
their uniforms from now on.  The Leaper, The Golden Centurion, M'sieu
Machine, Weaponsmaster, and the others are now officially dead.  They are
now back where they had first started, and the Black Knights will soon be
showing Black Mask that they're far from dead.  In a deserted valley,
they find the Hawk Kite, but wonder what has happened to Zinda.  They
find her aboard, and learn from Zinda that their foe has left them a
message.  "Blackhawk!  Rendezvous me alone Ft. Fear!  1800 hours!  Jack."

When Andre asks who Jack is, Blackhawk recognizes the handwriting on the
wall as being from someone who is long dead.  It was during World War II
that he and his kid brother were getting ready to hit the Nazi heavy
water factory.  Their drone ships were to be dropped by bombers some two
miles from their target.  Both he and Jack would lock in, then bail out
from the ships, with the explosives taking care of the job.  Nazi
fighters soon appeared, with Jack's drone ship being released far too
soon by the bomber.

Blackhawk watched in horror as his kid brother's drone flack and enemy
fire, but then his own drone was shot forward.  After locking on target,
he parachuted to safety, but Jack's ship was falling down from the sky.
Blackhawk confronts the General about his brother being used as a decoy
for enemy fire.  The military man hadn't known that Jack was related to
him, and learns that he was underage when the kid brother had enlisted. 

The painful memories have ended for Blackhawk, as he rides a motorcycle,
and wonders if somehow his kid brother is still alive as Black Mask.
Within the fallen confines of Fort Fear, he calls out to his brother, and
hears a familiar voice coming from a most unfamiliar form.

Jack Hawk is alive, and he is now known as Black Mask.  Unfortunately for
Blackhawk, Jack is no longer the man he had been before.  His own heart
has become as hard as the titanium helmet he now wears, and his need for
vengeance is as sharp as the rapier arm he now wears.  Jack had survived
both the Nazi fighters and the flak, falling into the icy waters before
his drone ship had exploded.  Broken in body, his was a world of pain,
and Jack wondered why his own brother had betrayed him.

With Bart no longer by his side, Jack Hawk was soon rebuilt by the
doctors into the Nazi warrior now known as Black Mask.  With his
allegiance to Hitler and his enemy now Blackhawk, the disfigured Jack
Hawk sought vengeance on his own brother.  At that very moment, the
Blackhawk Squadron appeared over the enemy airfield.

Blackhawk orders his men to open fire, with Hendy hitting the ice cliffs,
and burying the entire base under an avalanche.  The bombs had caused the
frozen wastes to head for the Nazis, with only a few escaping its icy
grasp.  The leader of the Blackhawks pauses only to remember that his own
brother had died at this very spot.

The Nazi base had been buried under tons of ice, as well as burying Black
Mask in a icy cocoon.  His own life had been preserved by the ice for
years, while his titanium helmet had protected him. Now awakened from his
long sleep, Black Mask begins to build his own army of outcasts, and
start his own campaign of evil.  The driving force behind his new lease
on life was to gain revenge on his own brother.  Bart Hawk tries to tell
his brother that he hadn't known about the decoy plot.  After his
brother's death, he had quit the Air Corps, and formed the Blackhawks.
Bart would have gladly died in Jack's place if he could, and had sought
such a fate in numerous battles against an awesome array of foes.  Black
Mask is unimpressed by his brother's sentiments, and will listen no more.

Blackhawk wants his brother to listen to reason, but all Black Mask wants
is for him to take a sword, and defend himself.  The masked villain
slices at his opponent, who does not even try to defend himself.  Now,
Black Mask is ready to send his brother on his final journey, but one
which is interrupted by the arrival of the Blackhawks.

The Black Knights leap upon their mysterious foe before he can deliver
the fatal strike, but cannot hold onto him.  After leaping onto a wall,
Black Mask tells them that he will be waiting for their arrival on
Blackhawk Island.

The Magnificent Seven have returned to Blackhawk Island, their original
base of operations, and one which has been deserted for some time.
Blackhawk knows that Black Mask must be somewhere on the island.  ROMMM
As they move inland, the Black Knights see the approach of the War Wheel.
Hendy had forgotten that the enormous weapon was one of the items stored
on the island.

Hendrickson and Blackhawk enter a nearby cave, where they climb into the
Flying Tank.  It turns out that the vehicle is still good for another
trip, and they see that the others are unable to fire at Black Mask's
men, with the War Wheel in the way.  With Blackhawk at the controls,
Hendy calls the shots, and the Flying Tank stays on course.

WHUMP  CRASH  The Flying Tank takes out the turret on the War Wheel, then
slides along the sandy beach to a stop.  With the way cleared, Andre
leads the other Blackhawks to the attack.  Now on Blackhawk Island, a
famous battle cry is heard once more ... HAWK-AA AAA!

Hendy emerges from the remains of the Flying Tank, with Blackhawk
determined to head off Black Mask before the others can reach him.  The
War Wheel has begun to move once more, with brother confronting brother
once again.  SOCK  Blackhawk delivers a left hook to Jack's jaw, but even
so, his kid brother insists that Black Mask is supreme.

Both men tumble out of the rampaging War Wheel, which crashed into the
side of a cave.  Seeing the prone body of his brother before him,
Blackhawk is caught off-guard when Black Mask zaps him with his
electrified sword.  The villain's evacuation copter has arrived, and he
bids farewell to his fallen brother.

Hendy arrives to see Black Mask getting away in the copter, when
Blackhawk asks for the bazooka he's carrying.  The older Blackhawk asks
his leader why he's holding his fire.  CLICK  It would seem to be a
misfire, but when Hendy aims it along the beach... BOOOM

The others have caught most of Black Mask's men, but Hendy wonders why
Blackhawk didn't want to stop their masked leader.  Andre reports that
the evil army have surrendered, but it's too bad that Black Mask made his
escape.  Blackhawk now knows what had happened to Jack, and finds himself
in a nightmare where his kid brother is now his enemy.

On the cover of Blackhawk #242 by Pat Boyette, the Black Knights have
made their triumphant return, and are just in time to confront the
mysterious Black Mask.

Bye, G.E.O.R.G.E., I think they got it! 

With the destruction of the secret spy organization, the Blackhawks have
been returned to their former glory.

The origin of Black Mask reminds me of what had happened with Captain
America and Bucky in Avengers #4.

After barely surviving the destruction of his drone plane, Jack Hawk is
rebuilt into a Nazi warrior, and is then placed into suspended animation
after an aerial attack from the Blackhawks.

The Flying Tank and the War Wheel were but two of the awesome weaponry
which had previously appeared in the pages of Blackhawk.

In the Blackhawk By-Lines Letters Page, Howard Leroy Davis of Pitman, New
Jersey writes:

"Dear Editor,

I miss Zinda in the stories.  She's not really the type to sit home on
that iceberg and knit!  Perhaps while she's been alone on the iceberg,
she has been becoming an expert in make-up and disguise!  Miss CHAMELEON
could be her code-name... maybe...

Anyway... how about some stories where BLACKHAWK needs a make-believe
wife as a spy cover?  Or a femme fatale to go along to gather

I realize that Zinda is still recovering from her drug-inspired mental
illness which caused her to be QUEEN KILLER-SHARK, but I'm sure she wants
some action."

The editor replies:

"I bet she does!  And she'll get it, too, in future issues!  And that's a
solemn editorial promise, but first we have to lay the groundwork for
this new series of Blackhawk adventures.  Be patient."

For those who read Comic Effect #41, Howard Leroy Davis reviewed Charlton
Spotlight #1, which was dedicated to the late Pat Boyette.

Mr. Davis wrote about the time the artist was called by Dick Giordano to
keep Blackhawk from falling behind schedule, and did so by producing an
entire 23 page comic book (complete with penciling, inking, and
lettering) in a single weekend.  Pat had told Howard that he had done the
story so fast that the artist wasn't able to figure about what it was
really about! 

This particular review of mine was inspired both by that of Howard Leroy
Davis in C.E. #41 and Bill Henley's review of Blackhawk #197 by Arnold
Drake, Dick Dillin, and Chuck Cuidera with the introduction of the 1st
"New Look" Blackhawk.

Steve Chung
"My Brother-My Enemy-My Review!"