Saturday, August 27, 2016

Talking Head Week #4: Going Head to Head!

Punjab the Tailer having explained why CAW attacked the Midway Museum and the whole Talking Head/Solar Lamp schtick, the Hawks use the Absorbascon to determine the location of each.

The Absorbascon is sort of a search engine that plugs directly into your brain, somehow sucking in the collected knowledge of humanity and finding the piece you ask for.  Just like Bing.  But it can be a hassle to sort through it all, particularly for people who spend most of the day hitting people with maces while dressed in animal-themed dominatrix gear.  So basically, despite having a device that can tell or teach them anything, the Hawks use it only when it speeds the plot along.  I would make fun of them more for this were it not for the fact that most of us use the internet in exactly the same spotty way.



The Absorbascon whispers sweet somethings into your era, like an extremely informative Latin lover.


Can you imagine how this makes poor Batman feel? "Just give me FIVE MINUTES with it. This is Batman, BEGGING you."  Think of what a time-saver it could be for the World's Greatest Detective: "Where is the man who killed my parents? Who is the Joker?  What was Killer Moth thinking? And what about...Naomi?!" 

I'm sure it only works on superior Thanagarian brains or some such.  If you are wondering why they don't use the Absorbascon to simply ask where the damned lost treasure of the Nine Unknowns is, which is the reason they are looking for the Talking Head to begin with...




well, then, I'm sorry, you are too sensible to read Hawkstories.  Go back to something more logical, like the Martian Manhunter.

Speaking of logical, let's examine the Hawk's choices of weapons as they head off on their separate adventures.  Because every Hawkstory is really about:

  • choosing their weapons carefully and out loud, 
  • using them only once with limited effectiveness, then 
  • abandoning them so as to bash their opponents heads on a rock or a tree.  


All of which makes them perfect foils for CAW, who pretty much have the same M.O.


"I'll take Paris for my beat, while you hightail it to nab those Ratzis at the Dunkirk munitions factory!" Poor Hawkman; still thinks he's in a Justice Society story.


The Thermodetector is a high-tech heat-based magnifying glass formerly known as Prince; the medieval war mace (as opposed to the less popular PEACE maces made by Nerf) has been tricked out with disguised sci-fi tech, which completely spoils the whole point of using ancient weaponry. Hawkgirl demurely picks a delicate lady-like spiked caestus.  And no bra.  Hawkgirl never forgets not to wear a bra.

Hawkman arrives in Paris (right past the Eiffel Tower, because the Hawks are nothing if not showy) to the Montmarte Marche Aux Puces, where he discovers CAW has already beaten him to the Talking Head. It was sitting in a flea market basement as unsellable crap (which without the solar lamp to power it, it pretty much is).  The key thing to note is that CAW could have just bought it for a few francs.  But instead, they stole it.  Because they are not the Buyers Alliance of the World, you know.


"Strike back while the clue's hot." is an old Thanagarian saying. Weird people. If you hadn't already guessed that from the headgear.


But Hawkman was smart (?) enough to have brought along his Thermodetector, which allows you to trail the heat of, well, of things you want to find and not the heat of things you don't.  


I am sparing you Hawkman's three-panel lecture on how the Thermdetector works, and you are grateful to me for that.


A ... a CAR?!  Is there no END to their continental deviltry?!


Purely through heat-detectiong, Hawkman catches up with the CAW goons, who, because they are criminalizing in Europe, are driving a convertible, which is pretty much exactly the wrong thing to protect you from a winged flying guy.


Nothing says 'comic book getaway car' better than a bright yellow convertible.


Five francs just to buy the damned Talking Head would have fixed this, goons.  And there would have been nothing Hawkman could have done to stop you.  It's very CAW.  Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute.


What IS it with you, Pikachumobile?


Naturally, the CAW goons have another one-time high-tech hand-held weapon at their literal disposal.


"Fortunately, I keep my feathers numbered for just such an emergency."


Naturally, it doesn't work.

But where the sci-fi gun fails, the car top succeeds:


Did I mention before that the Hawks don't do dignity?  Because they don't.


It's kind of a wonder Carter Hall and Hal Jordan didn't hang out together more.  They're both clumsy meat-heads with sci-fi weaponry.  They should form a club.  Then get hit with it.


CAW goons, defeated by a blunt object. AND his mace. 


Right after Hawkman klonks one of these goons, the other decides to get sassy. VERY sassy.


Gurl, puh-lease.  A rear attack is NOT going to defeat Hawkman, Mr. Whipple.


If I had a franc for every time I've seen this sort of scene on the streets of Paris,
 I could buy a Talking Head!


The dialog seems to imply that this guy intends to ...throw Hawkman off a bridge?  Not the best plan.


Obviously.


So, Hawkman, with just a bit of fuss, has recovered the Talking Head.  And then he asks the question we've all been wondering...




"I wonder how Hawkgirl is making out?" 
With the mask still on, Hawkman; no doubt.

Which we will see for ourselves tomorrow.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Talking Head Week #3: Have a Nice Trip See You After the Fall!

When last we left her, Hawgirl was, as the Hawks are wont to do, flying headlong to meet an onrushing doom.  This time, it's at the hands--well, the feet, actually-- of a goon from CAW (the Criminal Alliance of the World).


Shoe-shopping with CAW:
"Well, yes, the red is stylish, and the death-needle fusillade is a great feature, but are they comfortable?"


Of course you can't avoid them, woman. Because, as always, you are literally flying headlong into death. Stupid Hawks.

What ingenious method does our extraterrestrial lawwoman use to save herself from this deadly (really?) attack?  

She trips.


The Hawks are about many things: sci-fi, archaeology, kink.  But they are not about dignity.


Actually, in all fairness, she doesn't trip. She IS tripped.  By none other than Punjab the Tailer, who, having her best interests at heart, trips her as a way of changing her pitch down, just beneath the flying feet-needles of doom.

Convenient. A bit embarrassing, though.  Still, even ignominiously splayed face down on the floor....she's still Hawkgirl.   


And, thus, she still kicks ass.



Gotta love the Hawks.  Sure, you can come at them with weapons that would make the Romulan Star Empire envious.  But, once those have failed, they will not hesitate for one second to crack your braincase open on the closest rock.



"Well, if not your skin, at least your shin.  Still."


So, Sargon-lite explains everything about himself and why he tailing the Hawks. Without mentioning his name.  Because that would take up precious exposition space.

Um,yeah... that's not creepy AT ALL.


Not to be outdone by the Nine Unknowns' invention of the Bronze Talking Head that contains all information, the Hawks remind us that they already have a sci-fi device that ALSO contains all information: the Absorbascon.


The Absorbascon? What kind of stupid name is that?


So the Nine Unknowns (we don't ever meet them by the week, they are the MacGuffin Clan) have been pumping out scientific marvels for over 2000 years, including ones that (somehow) told them who and what the Hawks were.

These are same people, I remind you, who simply forgot where their hidden treasure-trove is once they put the info into the Bronze Talking Head.  And they lost the Head.  And never built another one, or the Solar Lamp that powers it.  I guess some people just like to publish papers.



At first I thought it was a rubied turban. Now, given the brain damage all that exposition must be doing to his head, I suspect its actually a bandage and scab.
Remember: there is very little the Absorbascon cannot tell you, when used properly.


Tomorrow: see the Absorbascon IN ACTION!


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Talking Head Week #2: Mid-Day Melee at Midway Museum!

Now, thanks to enough acres of exposition to earn us three credits at community college, we know a great deal about the backstory of this Talking Head.  

Of course, we still have no idea how it works, what information it has and how it got in there, how it talks, or, well, anything useful.  But this is a Hawkman story.  So, for example, if you're told two identical ancient Egyptian statues of black pharaoh hounds have the power of and the hold the secret to teleportation, then, by the Veil of Valmorra, you darned well better just believe it.

But, meanwhile, as the last several thousand years of history were rolling by, a patient man in questionable headgear lurks in the shadows at the Midway Museum...


See, Shiera? This is the kind of stuff that happens when you share that much time and personal info on Tinder.  


While "That Bearded Guy the Hawks Don't Remember from that Wild Night in Punjab" lurks in hope of running into the Hawks, CAW goons also show up at the museum, emerging from their inconspicuous getaway limo, armed with futuristic weaponry and the fashion sense of an '80s aerobics instructor...

For a Hawkman story, that actually kind of makes sense. I mean, you know...terrorist-sense. 


I suppose it's easier for CAW goons to rob a museum in the broad daylight, for some reason.  I can imagine the meeting...

"The Division Head has delegated us the task of a creating a distraction for the Hawks with a decoy robbery at the Midway Museum!  We'll break in and steal something under cover of night." 

"We can't! That requires a lock-pick and a flashlight and black ski-masks!  All we have are incapacitator rayguns and our Captain Scarlet cosplay outfits."  

"Then noon it is!"


"Fortunately we caught them unawares in the midst of the Museum staff's annual frug contest!" 


Recognizing the CAW agents (because, who wouldn't in those outfits?) Punjab the Trailer sets off the security alarm in hopes of stopping them.

The 'tinkle!' really makes this panel, doesn't it?


The Hawks are peeved that (yet again) an emergency in their own museum has interrupted their mask-and-gear-time sexy-play.

 "Sigh! Why does the alarm always ring when you're in the sex club?"


The CAW goons seem quite pleased when the Winged Wonders show up right away.  Apparently the Hawks reputation as "instant action" precedes them.  Ahem.

"Ha! Let's see how they handle my Tri-Tronged Spinach Vermicelli Tornado Gun!"


This is CAW's M.O., by the way.  They use an endless array of hapax-phenomenal high-tech gadgets.  They use them to steal ancient treasures.  Ancient treasures that they can use or sell to make...more gadgets.  It makes sense to them, at least.  I think they all grew up in Central City or something.

Fortunately for Hawkman, the weapon's Anti-Matter Whirly Currents (pat. pend.) move at about the speed of a zamboni.

"Whirly Currents" would be a great quartet name, don't you think?


That's Hawkman's M.O. btw.  If you're any fan of Silver Age Hawkman you'll know that, despite being an extraterrestrial lawman from a highly scientific world of omnipotent gadgetry, he always fights high-tech attacks with ancient earth weaponry and low-tech combat.  There is some sort of in-house excuse for this (like, the Hawks use primitive earth weapons to fight crime in order to avoid any of their otherwordly god-tech falling into the wrong hands), but we all know it was just a way of reconciling the Golden Age Hawkman's ancient Egyptian origins with the Silver Age love of sci-fi.  

As a result, Hawkman shatters the Whirly Current Pistol with a stone hatchet and the CAW agent with a right hook.

Dang, I hate to admit it, but...yeah. Hawkman's really hot. And not in a nice way.


Meanwhile, as Hawkman is doing his rough trade act like he's in a Dark Alley Media porno, Hawkgirl is attacked by the Pink Bubble Gun. And, yes, I spelled that correctly.

Little-known Hawk Fact: Dr. Seuss used to work in CAW's R&D department.  


You know what makes it easy to fight the Hawks? The fact that they are always flying toward you at full speed in a closed environment.  Heck, even Green Arrow and that kid he hangs out with could defeat them by just holding up boxing glove arrows, without even firing them or anything.

Anyway, in true Hawk-style, Shiera just grabs an ancient and probably priceless shield and shoves it into Mr. Bubble's face at, oh, I'm guessing about 60 mph.  I'd hate to see how the Hawks would treat valuable antiques if they weren't MUSEUM CURATORS.

The Top Ten Places Safer for Your Priceless Artifact than the Midway Museum:
  1. The Firepits of Apokolips
  2. Barry Allen's lab during a storm
  3. In a Robin costume
  4. The Human Bomb's backpack
  5. The Globe atop the Daily Planet
  6. Hal Jordan's bed
  7. An Alan Moore story
  8. The Arkham Asylum Rec Room
  9. Solomon Grundy's toy box
  10. In a Haley's Circus trapeze act

  
So that's it for the CAW agent, right? Not so fast...!

From the Dick Dastardly footwear collection


What a heel! How will our pinioned pretty prevent those piercing projectiles from perforating her plumed personage?!

Find out tomorrow, same Hawk-time, same Hawk-channel.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Talking Head Week #1: Adventures in Exposition



"Mr. Trump does not wish to see the bust until AFTER the hair has been affixed, thank you."


It begins with everyone's favorite swingers, The Halls, returning from another one of their wild, ribald escapades.


Oh, those queens and their 'hollow worlds'.  The less said about that 'adventure', the better, Shiera.


Actually that's a lie.  It begins, like most Hawkman stories, with exposition. Lots of lots of it.  Like, World Fair's levels.

Find the Head. Find the Lamp. Save the Cheerleader.
It's always SOMETHING, isn't it?


Note that the opener mentions one my personal faves from the later Silver Age: the Criminal Alliance of the World, a.k.a. "CAW".  Unlike many such groups, "CAW" does have a perfectly reasonable acronym. It's nice and businesslike, and doesn't stink of strain (like, say, the Organization for General Revenge and Enslavement or the Hierarchy for International Vengeance and Extermination, both of which miss badly the personal nature of revenge/vengeance and the ungeneralizability of the concept of enslavement/extermination).  

But despite C.A.W. being a reasonable acronym, let it not be overlooked that having the Hawks fight an organization named "CAW" is hilariously onomatopoetic.  It's like having Batman fight S.K.R. E.E.. or Flash fight Z.I.P. or Hal Jordan fight K.L.O.N.K.


C.A.W. goons had matching jumpsuits, a love of visual symmetry, 
and enjoyed breaking the fourth wall. 


The story also features a bronze ancient mechanical oracle in the shape of a man's head and a light bulb from the Freeman Dyson Collection.  It's like what you'd get if Apple put Salvador Dali in charge of product development.


 Because nothing says "scientific research" like Olde Tyme Phonts.


Since name-checking noted killjoy Asoka the Sorrowless wasn't nearly historicalicky enough for a Hawkman story, the endless exposition also brings in noted geek and armillary aficianado, Pope Silvester, Junior (because a Bronze Talking Head is really the kind of thing he'd go for).


Oh, and a naked guy in an alley who probably partied with the Hawks the night before.


What on earth could all this have to do our favorite Flying Furries?  We'll find out tomorrow.

Or more likely, we WON"T, since, after all, this is Hawkman story...

Sunday, August 21, 2016