Art by Adam Kubert

Jul 27, 2018

Hawkworld Comic Review: Flash Comics No. 1



Comic: Flash Comics No. 1
Cover Date: January 1940
Released: November 10, 1939
Writer: Gardner Fox
Artist: Dennis Neville
Cover Artist: Sheldon Moldoff

Summary: Carter Hall, wealthy collector of weapons and research scientist, receives a Nth Metal knife from Egypt. The knife causes Carter to remember his former life as Prince Khufu and his love, Shiera and how they were murdered by Hath-Set. Carter runs into Shiera and they remember their past life together. Carter becomes Hawkman to defeat Doctor Hastor, the reincarnation of Hath-Set. 

Best Panel:

Best Quote: "The Hawkman: Beginning the tale of a phantom of the night, The Hawkman, who from time immemorial has fought the cause of justice against the force of evil. The Hawk fights the evil of the present with the weapons of the past."
Characters: 
--Carter Hall/Prince Khufu/Hawkman
--Jim Rock: Carter Hall's associate in Egypt who sends him the Nth Metal blade
--Hath-Set/Doctor Hastor: The Egyptian priest who kills Carter and Shiera with a Nth Metal blade, supposedly triggering the Nth Metal reincarnation cycle. 
--Kolar: Hath-Set's warrior who is killed by Prince Khufu
--Shiera: Prince Khufu's lover who is killed by Hath-set and reincarnated later. 
--Anubis: The Egyptian Hawk-god
--Attar: A Semitic deity Hastor calls on.

Interesting Facts/Trivia:
--Carter Hall is a wealthy collector of weapons and also a research scientist
--Carter at first thinks the Nth Metal knife is glass.
--Carter gives the taxi driver the address "88 Rimble Road", but no such road exists anywhere. The word "rimble" means the inner most thoughts and dreams of a severely intoxicated person. 
--The Nth Metal knife triggered Carter's memories, but what caused Shiera to remember?
--Carter used a Dynamo detector to find Doctor Hastor
--Carter dressed up a Hawk "as a grim jest."
--Carter's powers and weapons are "derived from" the Nth Metal.
--Hawkman's first weapon of choice is not a mace but a wooden quarterstaff.
--Nth Metal repels electricity.
--Hawkman takes a net made from Nth Metal and a crossbow.
--Hawkman kills Hastor, who promises to return. 

The first story of Hawkman by Gardner Fox is fascinating by how much information Fox was able to cram into 12 pages. Several things have always stuck out when I read this. 
The "Hawk-god" Anubis is mentioned as "the god of evil" in the story, but Anubis is a dog-faced god who basically was the god of the dead. I often wonder if this reference was a mistake. Horus, the god of kings and the sky, had the head of a falcon so it seems this god fits better but he is never referenced. 
Shiera says she also was having dreams of her previous life, but what triggered it? I've often thought that this is a story that could have fascinating potential as a story. Especially after the Metal series, this unresolved part of Hawkgirl's origin could be very interesting. Maybe Robert Venditti or Scott Snyder will tackle it someday.
Carter Hall receives a Nth Metal knife and this triggers his memories as Prince Khufu. So this was his first contact with the Nth Metal? Later on in the story, he has a net made from Nth Metal ready to use. Either more time between panels had passed than we realized, Carter has been a very busy guy since receiving the knife, or he already had Nth Metal in his possession but he needed the knife that was used to kill him to make him remember. Carter seemed to know a lot about the Nth Metal (repels electricity, etc..). How did he know so much?  That's another possibility for exploring the origin of Hawkman.
Flash Comics No. 1 is a great introduction of one of DC Comics' most iconic heroes. The issue was sold for $450,000 so pick up a copy if you have some spare change! 

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