Tag Archives: DC Comics

Hawk and Dove: Countdown (#7, Dec ’89)

Hawk and Dove: Countdown (#7, Dec ’89) is written by Barbara and Karl Kesel, with Greg Guler penciling and Scott Hanna inking. This one is worth a look.

I think DC just made a new fan!

(Honestly, I never thought I’d say that. Make mine Marvel! Okay, okay, make mine Marvel and Dove. It’s just one exception. Oh, and Mouse Guard. Fine. Make mine Marvel, Mice, and Dove.)

Hawk and Dove #7

The Good

Hawk and Dove #7 was written by wife and husband team Barbara and Karl Kesel, and they represent the titular guy and gal duo perfectly. This issue opens with Dawn Granger (Dove) being chased through a spooky house by its occultish occupants and their pet tigers. Despite the danger, Dawn doesn’t swoon at the first sign of trouble or kick butt with abandon; she feels real enough, which helps the suspense build without the damsel-in-distress vibes we dudes are so fond of writing.

Dawn is the perfect partner for the brash Hank Hall (Hawk), who we meet next. He’s the muscle, she’s the brains. It might seem simple, but the tension in their relationship works and keeps the story flowing.

There’s no romantic twist to the story, at least not yet, which helps the team stand out from other comic teams. This isn’t Scott Summers and Jean Grey, or Peter Parker and Felicia Hardy, and I appreciate that. (I still love you guys!)

Overall, it’s a well-written comic.

Notable Points
Action on every page, drama, great art, monsters, mysterious villains, esoteric magic, this issue delivers all of that in spades.

Also, the fashion represented in this issue is far more tasteful, while still sexy, than anything I’ve seen in other DC comics from this era. No cringy 80’s music video vibes, and that’s worth a star all by itself!

Seek This Out
I’ll be looking for more Hawk and Dove for sure. They might not be as well known as Superman, Batman, or the Flash, but this team has something worthy of your attention.

4 out of 5 Cheeky Cthulhus!

4 out of 5 Cthulus

 


Flash: Red Trinity (#7, December ‘87)

Flash: Red Trinity (#7, December ‘87), by Baron, Guice, and Mahlstedt. This is gonna be fast, so try to keep up…

Flash: Red Trinity (Flash #7, Dec '87)

Yes, yes, yes, yes, and YES. Finally, some hot-blooded hero action, an engaging plot, and the character development we need.

The Good

Tina’s plight now has me hooked. Real consequences, that’s what we needed. This issue has action on most pages too, so the soap opera vibe of issues #2 and Flash #5 is gone. Joy!

I’m tempted to go back and fill out my collection, and if a comic can do that, it has won half the battle.

The Bad

McGee (Flash #5) was basically evil Flash. The new baddies, the Red Trinity team, adds three more Flash-wannabes. You can guess what Blue Trinity will give us. Is the concept of super speedy people that interesting that we need eight of them? I’ve also heard of this Reverse-Flash dude, and I know about Impulse. Impulse works because he has a strong character flaw: he’s impulsive. At this point, the villains seem like they were only written with super speed so they could keep up with the main character, and that’s boring.

What about a bad guy that could make Flash go even faster? Uncontrollably fast. Too-fast-Flash could be a real danger to himself and others. Doppelganger-Flash one through 7 is just repetitive and confusing. And I’ve lost track of who is who in Red Trinity already.

Synopsis

Flash’s powers make him the ultimate plot device; a master of the segue. Think about it. He’s able to reach the next scene before the reader. That must make him difficult to write. There’s no need for a shot of a jet flying off to the next mission, no pause before the next battle. Instant combat, just add water. As a writer, you probably need to spend a lot of time slowing the Flash down.

This ish gets a solid 3 out of 5 Cheeky Cthulhus from me. It’s worth reading if you can get your hands on it, but there really isn’t anything amazing going on here, so it’s not a must-have. If you’re a die-hard Flash fan, then maybe check out Flash: Red Trinity anyway.

3 out of 5 Cheeky Cthulhus


Flash #5: Speed McGee (October ‘87): #CritFail

Flash #5: Speed McGee (October ‘87), by Baron, Guice, and Torrance. Let’s take a peek.

You can find our look at Flash #2 here on the Rising Phoenix Games blog.

Flash #5: Speed McGee
Yes, yes you can judge this one by its cover.

Here we get to a well-known issue with older DC comics.

The Good

The comic opens on a scene of graphic domestic abuse, then goes on to blame the wife-beater’s violent streak on steroids. Well done to DC for tackling tough issues.

The Bad

Unfortunately, the story doesn’t make great use of the setup. Wally (Flash) meets Tina (whose husband is mainlining ‘roids into his increasingly angry brain) in a very public restaurant. You’d expect the big floppy hat, scarf in summer, and dark glasses, but still, would anybody really manage to meet in public? Especially when your appointment is with the Flash, the same guy who can be anywhere, instantly?

Wally and Tina are quick to hook up, even after she affirms her loyalty to her deranged husband, making the wife-beating feel like a thin excuse for Wally to get the girl. Was it necessary?

The Ugly

In 22 pages you get 13 boring shots of the Flash in his full kit, while you get 20 great shots of the villain being a bad Flash that takes only 4 pages. I thought I came here to see superheroes?

Still, I’d be fine with the villain flexing if the drama was good.

So, here’s the crunch.

In the Marvel vs DC showdown of the 80s, Marvel was known for writing identifiable characters we could sympathise with. Peter Parker having issues with his boss? We get that. Rogue trying to fit in? Been there. The Hulk struggling to manage his temper? Now you’re getting personal.

The Wally-Flash, on the other hand, has millionaire problems. He’s twenty, she’s 31. He’s single, she’s married. Should he? Shouldn’t he? Come on!

Overall, Issue #5’s tough-to-stomach premise made the millionaire-problems even more unpalatable.

Hard skip.


Flash #2 (July ’87) Savage Showdown

Flash #2: Savage Showdown (July ’87), written by Mike Baron, pencils by Jackson Guice, inker Larry Mahlstedt, letterer Steve Haynie, Carl Gafford on colors, and Mike Gold editing. Let’s take a look.

Flash Savage Showdown Cover

I’m a die-hard Marvel fan, but I was wondering about the Flash and gave this a read. I have a few more of these issues to read, but I don’t think this was the best place to start my DC journey.

The Good

Is Savage some sort of vampire? Or just immortal? For a first-time reader, I thought he was pretty cool, like a cross between Kraven the Hunter and Dracula, but I was baffled about his abilities. Flash’s girl, Francine, can push metal around like Magneto. I’m down for that.

The best part was the 80’s fashion in the flavor of Dead or Alive.

Side note: “You Spin Me Round” was a hit in 1985, and this comic was published in ’87. I was six. These are not my nostalgic memories.

The Bad

The Flash wins the Lotto. I guess he’s going to lose it all (gone in a flash?), or realize that money isn’t everything (it was just a flashy fortune).

The Ugly

The comic didn’t age well (oh look, a girl with powers who still needs saving, and what does “chez” even mean?). It can also get confusing, and I don’t just mean “you missed issue #1, you dolt!” kind of confusing. Did Flash run down the wall? I’m no physics major, but running down the wall is just going to get you killed faster, because gravity.

But okay, it’s a comic, and all’s fair in love and comics. If you love the Flash, this might be for you. Otherwise, give it a skip.