Monday, 28 July 2014

Black Hawk, Part 14

NAME
Black Hawk, Part 14

FIRST PUBLISHED
Tornado Issue 17

DATELINE
14 July 79

This issue of Tornado also features The Angry Planet, The Mind Of Wolfie Smith, Wagner's Walk, The Lawless Touch, Storm, Captain Klep, Victor Drago's Black Museum of Villains and Victor Drago itself, with a cover by Eric Bradbury.

PAGE COUNT
5

REPRINTS
Black Hawk: The Intergalactic Gladiator.

SYNOPSIS
The Britons attack the Roman base and Crutus turns the tide.

FIRSTS & LASTS
None.

INFORMATION
Britons call their scythed chariots, Reapers.

BLACK HAWK
He requests the use of a chariots and some horses for some special training. He demonstrates to his men that they must jump over the scythes.

OTHER CHARACTERS
THE HAWK
She lands on Crutus' shoulder and when he need to jump the Reaper's scythes, he does. Whether she helps lift him just that little bit higher or whether he believed she did is not clear.

STRONUS
He drives the chariot for Black Hawk's special training.

BATUS
He affixes wooden stakes to the chariot for Black Hawk's special training, to represent scythes.

CRUTUS
Supply soldier and one of Black Hawk's men. He is infirm and walks with the aid of a crutch. He volunteers to attempt Black Hawk's special training, but is knocked to ground and mocked. Black Hawk puts him in charge of the field mess. When the rebels attack with their Reapers, Crutus stands firm, the hawk lands on his shoulder and he attempts to jump the scythes again. He succeeds and then jumps into the chariot itself. Crutus attacks the charioteer and takes control of the vehicle. He is killed by another charioteer armed with a spear, but not before the overturns the chariot in the path of the oncoming rebels. Black Hawk describes as the bravest man he has ever known.

DEATHS
Probably dozens. We see at least three Romans killed by the scythes of the Reapers, Crutus is speared by a British charioteer and the crash Crutus caused must have lead to a loss of life.

BEST LINES
None.

WORST LINES
Charioteer: "Curse you Roman dog! You did not look capable of such a feat!"

Uh, thanks.

CATCHPHRASES
A British charioteer screams an "Aiee!" and his victim joins in with a "Aieeeeeee!", when Crutus hits a charioteer with his crutch his victim lets out an "Aiieerrghhh!" and the crash Crutus caused elicits an "Aieee!".

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Unknown.

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: G.F. Day
Artist: Azpiri
Letters: Unknown

REVIEW
Hooray for Crutus. The most interesting character to appear in Black Hawk since it began. I hope he's around for a long time to come. Oh.

Next Week: Massacre!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Black Hawk, Part 13

NAME
Black Hawk, Part 13

FIRST PUBLISHED
Tornado Issue 16

DATELINE
7 July 79

This issue of Tornado also features The Angry Planet, The Mind Of Wolfie Smith, Wagner's Walk, The Lawless Touch, Victor Drago, Captain Klep, Victor Drago's Black Museum Of Villains and The Billy Preston Report, with a cover by Ian Kennedy.

PAGE COUNT
5

REPRINTS
Black Hawk: The Intergalactic Gladiator.

SYNOPSIS
Black Hawk and his men escape Londinium.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First appearance of Boadicea, although not explicitly named as such.

INFORMATION
Human beings can hold their breath for at least three minutes.

BLACK HAWK
He, Stronus and Batus demonstrate to the men that they can hold their breath for three minutes. He orders the men to hold their breath and swim underwater, and under the cover of the waterfowl on the surface, to avoid being caught by the rebels. They successfully traverse the river.

OTHER CHARACTERS
MISTRESS
She flies over he waterfowl on the river preventing them from flying off.

STRONUS
He, Black Hawk and Batus demonstrate to the men that they can hold their breath for three minutes. He stops a breathless Barabba from breaking the surface of the water. They successfully traverse the river.

BATUS
He, Black Hawk and Stronus demonstrate to the men that they can hold their breath for three minutes. They successfully traverse the river.

BARABBA
He runs out of whilst swimming underwater and Black Hawk forces him to breathe air from a discarded wineskin. They successfully traverse the river.

DEATHS
None.

BEST LINES
None.

WORST LINES
None.

CATCHPHRASES
None.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
A Roman mile is equivalent to 1620 yards or 1481 metres (see MISTAKES below).

MISTAKES
Black Hawk estimates the distance to swim as half a Roman mile, so about 740 metres. The current freestyle world record for the 400 metres is 3 minutes 40.07 seconds, so well over the three minute mark. The closest distance measured for which a world record is collated that I could find was the 800 metres freestyle and 7 minutes 32.12 seconds, so it's no wonder Barabba was running out of air. That said the current record for holding one's breath underwater (without resorting to breathing pure oxygen) is 11 minutes 35 seconds.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: G.F. Day
Artist: Azpiri
Letters: Unknown

REVIEW
This is dull. Black Hawk's demonstration of holding his breath and his yelling to Stronus and Batus whilst hiding from the rebels are both pretty daft.

Next Week: Chariots Of Death!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Black Hawk, Part 12

NAME
Black Hawk, Part 12

FIRST PUBLISHED
Tornado Issue 15

DATELINE
30 June 79

This issue of Tornado also featured The Angry Planet, The Mind Of Wolfie Smith, Wagner's Walk, The Lawless Touch, Victor Drago, Storm, Captain Klep and Victor Drago's Black Museum Of Villains, with a cover by Massimo Belardinelli.

PAGE COUNT
4

REPRINTS
Black Hawk: The Intergalactic Gladiator.

SYNOPSIS
Black Hawk and his men attempt to escape rebel occupied Londinium.

FIRSTS & LASTS
None.

INFORMATION
Following the Roman departure from Londinium, the rebel troops turned on the Romanised Britons.


BLACK HAWK
He and his men are trapped in Londinium and surrounded by British rebel forces. Black Hawk orders his men to wrap heavy chains around a Roman archway, he confronts the rebels alone and leads them back to the archway where his men pull it down on them. They move their position, but are trapped again by a rebel barricade. Black Hawk considers an escape by water.

OTHER CHARACTERS
THE HAWK
She hovers over a hiding Barabba and Pocus.

BARABBA & POCUS
He and Pocus hide in an outdoor Roman bath rather than fight. He is revealed by the hawk. This inspires Black Hawk to escape via water.

DEATHS
At least a couple of dozen. We see five British rebels buried in falling masonry from the archway and an unknown number of Romanised Britons drown when their boat sinks.

BEST LINES
None.

WORST LINES
Black Hawk: "You wanted to see Roman London fall, Britons - now you have it!"

CATCHPHRASES
The crushed Britons scream an "Aieeeeeeeeee!", Black Hawk uses Zeus' name in vain.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Unknown.

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: G.F. Day
Artist: Azpiri
Letters: Unknown

REVIEW
This strip achieves very little in story terms, but it adjusts the character of Barabba from conniving coward to comedy coward.

Next Week: The Way Out!

Friday, 25 July 2014

Black Hawk, Part 11

NAME
Black Hawk, Part 11

FIRST PUBLISHED
Tornado Issue 14

DATELINE
23 June 79

This issue of Tornado features The Angry Planet, The Mind Of Wolfie Smith, Wagner's Walk, Victor Drago, Storm, The Lawless Touch, Captain Klep and Victor Drago's Black Museum Of Villains, with a cover by Barry Mitchell.

PAGE COUNT
5

REPRINTS
Black Hawk: The Intergalactic Gladiator.

SYNOPSIS
Black Hawk heads into Londinium, out of Londinium and back in again.

FIRSTS & LASTS
None.

INFORMATION
The British used scythed chariots.

BLACK HAWK
He arrives in Londinium and is ordered by the governor to hold the city. He refuses, helps escort the governor from the city. Upon realising his hawk is not with him, he returns to Londinium and is caught in the governor's palace. He struggles with the rebels until his men come to his aid. They are trapped within the city by the rebel army and its scythed chariots

OTHER CHARACTERS
THE BIRD
The governor order that she be tied to a table in his palace and abandoned. She is freed by a rebel.

THE GOVERNOR OF LONDINIUM
He orders Black Hawk to hold the city, when he refuses the governor orders that his bird be tied down and left behind.

BARABBA
He and Pocus go looting in the chaos of Londinium.

POCUS
He and Barabba go looting in the chaos of Londinium.

DEATHS
At least one. We see a rebel shot with an arrow.

BEST LINES
Black Hawk: "Hold Londinium? With less than a hundred exhausted men against thousands of rebels? No, Governor!"
Governor: "That is an order! I-"
Black Hawk: "I take my orders from the military, not the civil powers! I was told to escort the citizens safely, not make a mad suicide stand to buy time for you to load more valuables!...I don't intend to remain in the city when the rebels come!"

WORST LINES
Roman soldier: "Pah!"

Yep.

CATCHPHRASES
British rebel scream "Aiee!", "Aieee!" and "Aeieeeeeeee!"

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
The British did apparently use scythed chariots and recalls scenes in films like Ben-Hur (1959).

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: G.F. Day
Artist: Azpiri
Letters: Unknown

REVIEW
Black Hawk's toing and froing in and out of London is a little odd. How does Black Hawk know the governor is responsible for his hawk's disappearance? Once again, Black Hawk is saved by his men. He is arguably becoming something of a liability.

Next Week: The Battle!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Black Hawk, Part 10

NAME
Black Hawk, Part 10

FIRST PUBLISHED
Tornado Issue 13

DATELINE
16 June 79

PAGE COUNT
4

REPRINTS
Black Hawk: The Intergalactic Gladiator.

SYNOPSIS
Black Hawk almost becomes a human sacrifice.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First appearance by a named genuine historical character, in this case Gaius Suetonius Paulinus.

INFORMATION
(according to established history this part ought to take place in either 60 or 61 AD)

While General Paulinius leads an attack on the druids of Mona, in the south, Boadicea stages an uprising.

BLACK HAWK
A druid tries to sacrifice him, but Lonus gives his life to spare Black Hawk. When freed from his bonds, he lifts the sacrificial stone slab above his head. He fights druids using their own sacred sickle. After the battle, the dying druid priest prophesies that Black Hawk will be trapped and surrounded by water. A despatch rider brings news from London of an uprising there.

OTHER CHARACTERS
THE BIRD
She grabs the druid's sacred sickle in her talons and flies at him aiming for his neck. The bird drops the sickle into Black Hawk's reach and he frees himself from his bonds.

BARABBA
Stronus and Batus force him to cross the water to Mona on foot.

LONUS
When Black is threatened with becoming a human sacrifice, Lonus leaps into the path of the sickle and dies saving Black Hawk.

STRONUS
He and Batus steal the Roman cavalry's horses and lead a crossing to Mona to save Black Hawk.

BATUS
He and Stronus steal the Roman cavalry's horses and lead a crossing to Mona to save Black Hawk.

GENERAL PAULINIUS
He leads the second wave attack. He gets word of an uprising lead by Boadicea calling all troops back to London.

DEATHS
At least two, possibly hundreds. Lonus jumps in front of the Druid priest's sickle and the priest dies of injuries possibly caused by the bird.

BEST LINES
Roman soldier: "Nobody can beat the Druids' power! I'm not setting a sandal on that hell-hole of an island!"

WORST LINES
Priest (as the bird seizes the sacred sickle in its talons): "What the-? The bird seizes the sacred sickle in its talons!"

CATCHPHRASES
Barabba screams an "Aiee!", Lonus an "Aieee!", while the Druid priest plumps for "Aieeeeeeeee!"

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Gaius Suetonius Paulinus (dates unknown) was genuine Roman general who lead an assault on the island of Mona in either 60 or 61 AD, a Druidic stronghold. The tribes of the south-east took advantage of his absence and staged a revolt, led by Boadicea or Boudica of the Iceni (dates unknown).

MISTAKES
Lona has now been renamed Lonus.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: G.F. Day
Artist: Azpiri
Letters: Unknown

REVIEW
The tying into genuine historical events is nice as is the camaraderie among Black Hawk's men. It's a shame we only learn that it is Lonus that literally sacrifices himself because we later discover that Lepus is still alive. It's odd that Black Hawk lifts the sacrificial altar above his head saying "I've another use for your vile stone slab!" and then whatever he does with it occurs between panels and is then never referred to.

Next Week: London...A City Under Siege!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Black Hawk, Part 9

NAME
Black Hawk, Part 9

FIRST PUBLISHED
Tornado Issue 12

DATELINE
9 June 79

This issue features The Angry Planet, The Mind Of Wolfie Smith, Wagner's Walk, Storm, The Lawless Touch, Captain Klep, Victor Drago and The Billy Preston Report, with The Mind Of Wolfie Smith on a cover by Vanyo.

PAGE COUNT
5

REPRINTS
Black Hawk: The Intergalactic Gladiator.

SYNOPSIS
Black Hawk arrives at Mona and is given a reconnaissance mission.

FIRSTS & LASTS
None.

INFORMATION
None.

BLACK HAWK
En route to Mona, he discovers a crude effigy of himself hanging from a tree which he destroys. Upon arrival he is ordered to find a suitable beach for a landing. He elects to use a small British craft and just two men. They are washed overboard by the waves. Black Hawk saves Lepus and Lona from drowning and follows his hawk to dry land, not realising it is Mona. The three of them are captured by the druids and threatened with sacrifice. The druids claim his arrival was ordained.

OTHER CHARACTERS
THE HAWK
She has been restless since arriving in Britain. When Black Hawk, Lepus and Lona are at sea, she guides them ashore on Mona.

BARABBA
He draws a long straw and is spared Black Hawk's mission to Mona.

BATUS
He volunteers himself and Stronus for the mission to Mona, but Black Hawk declines and decides that the men should draw straws.

LEPUS
He draws a short straw and accompanies Black Hawk on his mission to Mona. He can't swim. When the boat capsizes, Black Hawk saves him and they follow his hawk to Mona, where the druids threaten to sacrifice them.

LONA
He draws a short straw and goes with Black Hawk on his assault on Mona. He can't swim. When the boat capsizes, Black Hawk saves him and they follow his hawk to Mona, where the druids threaten to sacrifice them.

DEATHS
At least one. The druids make a sacrifice.

BEST LINES
Soldier: "What I'd give to be anywhere else than here, Gaius - I'd take garrison duties in Gaul, or even Germany!"
Gaius: "And we're supposed to cross to that thrice-cursed island - just thinking about it makes me shudder!"

WORST LINES
None.

CATCHPHRASES
A druidic sacrifice screams "Aieeee!" and "Aieee!"

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Ironically for depressed soldier, Gaius, means "to rejoice" in the Latin, while Lepus means Rabbit.

MISTAKES
A Roman legion was expected to march between 20 and 35 miles per day depending on terrain. Hear we see Black Hawk's men cover somewhere in the region of 48 miles over the most mountainous terrain Wales has to offer in the same time.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: G.F. Day
Artist: Azpiri
Letters: Unknown

REVIEW
Another interesting part that deals with the fear of "the black man" well, but the more certain Black Hawk is that he is back on the mainland, the more obvious that he isn't.

Next Prog: Sacrifice!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Black Hawk, Part 8

NAME
Black Hawk, Part 8

FIRST PUBLISHED
Tornado Issue 11

DATELINE
2 June 79

This issue featured The Angry Planet, The Mind Of Wolfie Smith, Wagner's Walk, Storm, The Lawless Touch and Victor Drago, with a cover featuring The Lawless Touch by Barry Mitchell.

PAGE COUNT
5

REPRINTS
Black Hawk: The Intergalactic Gladiator.

SYNOPSIS
Black Hawk arrives in Britain, prevents an assassination and witness a suicidal sacrifice.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First part set in Britain. First example of a supernatural phenomena in Black Hawk.

INFORMATION
(This part takes place in the first century AD and less than a hundred years after Julius Caesar's invasion of Britain in 55BC, so presumably between 1AD and 54AD).

In Britain, the followers of the Druids practice self sacrifice.

BLACK HAWK
He and his are sent to Britain to aid the local garrison in an assault on the Druid cult. He arrives in Londinium and heads to the Governor's villa, but is treated without respect and disarmed. When a group of Druid-followers attack, Black Hawk defends the Governor and follows his hawk to the location of only Druid-follower that escapes. Black Hawk witnesses this survivor sacrifice himself to the Druids causing the altar fire the flare strangely taking the appearance of a face.

OTHER CHARACTERS
CRASSUS
He watches Black Hawk leave the senate.

BARABBA
He does not enjoy the crossing to Britain.

MISTRESS
The hawk swoops into the governor of Britain's villa and picks up his food to reveal some hidden arrows. Later it finds the sole escapee beneath a bridge.

DEATHS
At least three. The Druid-followers kill the Roman guards and then the one that got away kills himself.

BEST LINES
None.

WORST LINES
Governor (as a bird flies through his dining hall and ostensibly steals his dinner): "Wait, something is wrong! A hawk never touches cold meat!"

CATCHPHRASES
A Druid-follower screams "Aiee!"

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Londinium and Mona are the Roman names for London and Anglesey respectively. Julius Caesar (100-44 BC) and his invasion of Britain are both mentioned.

MISTAKES
It seems very unlikely that Black Hawk would refer to Londinium as London.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: G.F. Day
Artist: Azpiri
Letters: Unknown

REVIEW
This is great, it's interesting to see Black Hawk on somewhat familiar territory and with something of a mystery beginning to unfold.

Next Week: The Power Of The Druids!