Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Black Hawk, Part 1

For convoluted reasons, here's the first part of Black Hawk...

NAME
Black Hawk, Part 1

FIRST PUBLISHED
Tornado Issue 4

DATELINE
14 Apr 79

This issue of Tornado bore a Black Hawk cover by Alfonso Azpiri and also featured The Angry Planet, The Mind Of Wolfie Smith, Wagner's Walk, Victor Drago, Storm, Captain Klep and Tornado's Gallery of Heroes.

PAGE COUNT
5

REPRINTS
Black Hawk: The Intergalactic Gladiator.

SYNOPSIS
A dispirited slave has his fortunes turned around by an act of kindness to a desert hawk and mutiny aboard a slave ship.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First Black Hawk strip, first appearances of Black Hawk, the Huntress and Crassus.

INFORMATION
(This strip is set in 50 BC, over the course of more than ten days)

The Roman Empire extends across Europe, Asia Minor and into Africa.

BLACK HAWK
A Nubian. He has been captured by the Romans and feels shame at the dishonour. He saves the desert hawk from being killed by Crassus. A week later he is put about a Roman galley to be taken to Rome. When the Roman's colonial auxiliaries mutiny, he fights back and throws his lot in with the Romans. Governor Marcus appoints him an officer of the Roman auxiliary troops, writing out a scroll just before he dies. As Crassus steals it from the slave, the Huntress steals it from Crassus. Crassus' superior officer chooses to honour Marcus' wishes. The Huntress accompanies him wherever he goes. Three days later, he arrives in Rome and is fed, clothed and put in charge of 100 men, but told he must find the men himself. Many refuse to fight under a Nubian. He is nicknamed Black Hawk by the Romans and decides to take the name and make it his own.

OTHER CHARACTERS
ZEUS
An eagle. The mascot of a Roman legion. The centurion orders that Zeus be let loose on a desert hawk and they fight, but the hawk wins.

'THE HUNTRESS'
Centurion Crassus orders that Zeus be set upon the black desert hawk. They fight and the desert hawk wins. Black Hawk prevents Crassus from killing the hawk and it escapes. A week later, Black Hawk sees the bird again believing it to be what his people call The Huntress, a friend to great warriors.

CRASSUS
Roman centurion. He sets Zeus against the Huntress and is embarrassed when it loses. He is offended when a slave prevents him from killing the victor and embarrassed further when Governor Marcus agrees with the slave. Following the mutiny, he attempts to steal the scroll that governor gave the slave, but the Huntress

GOVERNER MARCUS
Roman governor. He is mortally wounded during the mutiny aboard his galley, but he is so impressed by Black Hawk that he appoints him an officer of the Roman auxiliary troops, writing out a scroll just before he dies.

DEATHS
Many. Zeus the eagle is killed by the Huntress. Several Romans, their auxiliaries and the governor are killed in the mutiny.

BEST LINES
Black Hawk: "Back yo mutinous crocodile dung! Taste the wrath of a free Nubian warrior!"

WORST LINES
None.

CATCHPHRASES
Roman auxiliaries scream "Aieee!" and "Aieeeeeee!"

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
The Nubians are an ethnic group that are originally from what is now northern Sudan and southern Egypt. Zeus is named after the father of the Greek gods. Crassus means Thick in the Latin.

MISTAKES
Technically, the Roman Empire didn't exist in 50BC and in its place would have been the Roman Republic with Julius Caesar as Dictator. Crassus is initially spelt Crasus.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: Gerry Finley-Day
Artist: Alfonso Azpiri
Letters: Unknown

REVIEW
Black Hawk has a fascinating beginning and squeezes a lot into those first five pages: slavery, dishonour, mutiny, freedom and all without shying away from the racism inherent in the concept.

Next Week: Legion Of The Damned!