Blackhawk #56: "The War Wheel!"

Blackhawk #56
"The War Wheel"
September, 1952

Story: Unknown
Art: Reed Crandall

It came from the enemy camp, an aggressive spiky juggernaut, intent on smashing democracy! With its teeth, it tore a path of destruction through lines of defense! Even the Blackhawks saw their own plan of attack fail before the approach of ... The War Wheel!

The Blackhawks soar over European skies in their jetplanes for Malkaria, where the aggressor nation has just invaded it! At that very moment, the Malkarian Air Force is fighting a losing battle against the faster enemy planes! Help comes from the Blackhawks, who dive in, and get them on the run! With the air battle won, the Blackhawks prepare for battle with the invading army! They prove to be as sharp with their feet on the ground as they were in the air! "HAWKAA-AA!" The rallying cry of the Blackhawks gets the enemy infantry's attention! Andre does not take kind to having his handsome face smashed in and Hendrickson puts two enemy heads together until they have one brain between them!

Blackhawk fences with a bayonet-wielding enemy soldier, while Chop Chop proves quite clever with his cleaver! The Malkarians, inspired by the Blackhawks' example, charge at the retreating invaders! Later, the airmen receive the gratitude of Malkaria! The democratic nation has been given time to prepare for a swift victory! In a nearby house is the man who can assure his country of victory! Professor Dekker is one of the world's greatest inventors and scientists who turned down offers if he would come to the United States! He is working on plans for many secret weapons -- secret from even his own country! Tomorrow, at the council meeting, Dekker will present the plans for the first of his new weapons! The following day at the council chamber finds a messenger informing the members that Dekker is gone, and an envelope was left in his room!

Professor Dekker's note tells how he is convinced that democracy and capitalism are decadent and only bring on further wars. He is giving his inventions to Malkaria's enemies so that they can use them to bring about peace to the world. It is hard to believe that Dekker has become a traitor and his daughter is convinced that the letter must be a forgery! She insists that her father would die first before revealing his weapons, and would activate a hollow tooth filled with poison to take his secrets with him! Days pass as Malkaria awaits further attack from the enemy! Just as Blackhawk voices his suspicion that the enemy is up to something, the ground trembles, and an awesome sight comes suddenly into view!

The monstrously toothed wheel roars on, like an engine of destruction, and flattening everything that is in its path! Steel tanks that are used against the oncoming wheel are steamrolled as it continues to roll forward... Two of the largest Malkarian tanks are destroyed within a single minute! The Blackhawks get a shell into an artillery cannon, but the shell has no effect against armor that is several feet thick! It is now coming right at the Blackhawks, whose leader has just slipped on the mud, and who falls right into the path of the oncoming wheel! Hendrickson screams at the sight of the wheel going right over Blackhawk!

For one minute, the Blackhawks are shocked by the sight, and then something emerges from the mud! Blackhawk is alive because he had seen the spikes coming at him, and he dived into the mud, placing himself so that the spikes spanned him, but never actually touched him! The wheel's weight did not harm him because it only pressed him into the soft mud! Having had his own share of luck, Blackhawk wants to speak with Lilis Dekker about her father and this secret weapon! At the emergency council meeting, the wheel's appearance seems to prove that Dekker has joined the enemy and has shared his secrets with them! The War Wheel is but the first of more deadly weapons to come! Since they cannot hope to hold out against such weapons, Malkaria must admit defeat, and lay down their arms!

Blackhawk urges the council to reconsider and to hold off the surrender for one hour! Before he goes, Blackhawk asks Lilis for a picture of her father! A single Blackhawk jet flies high over the enemy stronghold! Andre hopes that Blackhawk knows what he is doing! He does and tells Andre to meet him at the rendevous point in half an hour! Blackhawk hits the silk with a black chute that is almost impossible to see at night! At a staff meeting of the invading military, Professor Dekker makes an appearance!

They stare in disbelief at his sudden appearance because they know he died by his own hand of poison when they captured him! As they prepare to make his death permanent, Blackhawk whips off his disguise! Having learned what he wanted to know, Blackhawk overturns a table and declines their hostile hospitality! Thanks to Lilis' photograph of her father, Blackhawk was able to pull off the masquerade! After eluding the search party, he meets Andre at the rendezvous point! They take off for the Malkarian council!

Lilis learns of her father's sacrifice for his country and the council realizes the War Wheel was an enemy invention! Dekker was kidnapped in an attempt to demoralize their war effort and wanted them to think that resistance was useless! The Malkarians are ready to fight and win, just as the ground shakes once more as the War Wheel appears once more! The Blackhawks get airborne to see what they can do with their aerial bombs! Once the bombs have been dropped over the spiked wheel of destruction, nothing happens because the wheel still rolls! There is only one thing left to do! The crew within the War Wheel watch a running figure heading for Dekker's secret workshop in the woods! The War Wheel follows Blackhawk into the woods!

Blackhawk is on the run, with the massive wheel at his heels, and if he makes a single slip, he'll be a goner! As Blackhawk swings across what appears to be an open stretch of ground, the War Wheel becomes stuck -- and as more speed is applied, the wheel begins to sink into the quicksand! The giant War Wheel has been swiftly defeated by Mother Earth and Blackhawk hopes that someday all warmakers will one day disappear without a trace, leaving a peaceful earth! The invaders are demoralized by the destruction of their weapon and flee in blind panic! Thanks to studying maps of Malkaria's terrain, Blackhawk employed strategy against the War Wheel, and won! "Where democracies make their stand, we come to lend a hand --- WE'RE BLACKHAWKS!"

On the cover of Blackhawk #56, the monstrous War Wheel bears down upon a helpless town, with Andre and Blackhawk firing their rifles against the armored juggernaut!

The enemy invaders' uniforms have purple tunics, green pants, and gold boots.

Blackhawk is no stick-in-the-mud, but it did help to save his life against the War Wheel.

Blackhawk employs a purple hat, a green cloak, a false beard, and glasses to pass himself off as Professor Dekker.

Blackhawk turns the tables on the enemy staff by overturning the table on them!

The crew aboard the War Wheel were among the quick and the dead in the quicksand.

The Blackhawk motion picture starring Kirk Alyn and Carol Forman was advertised in this issue.

Steve Chung
"The Review Wheel!"