DC Comics 101: Who and What are the Blackhawks?


You’ve in all probability heard the information by now. Legendary director Steven Spielberg—a reputation that in all probability made you say “whoa!”—has his eyes set on the DC Universe with a model new stay motion film all about Blackhawk—a reputation which will have made you say “…wait, who?”

Yeah, we figured that might be the case for a lot of of you. But don’t fear! We’re right here to convey you in control on what you could find out about Blackhawk and why the man has a squadron of pilots named after him.

The Age of Aerial Aces

Created in the early 1940s throughout the months following America’s official entry into World War II, Blackhawk each refers to a individual who calls himself “Blackhawk” and a squadron of individuals often known as, you guessed it, the Blackhawk Squadron. Together they have been a group of fighter pilots on a mission to battle towards the Nazi scourge in dashing, Robin Hood-like fashion.

Like most war-centric comics of the Golden Age, BLACKHAWK was predominantly a option to get younger males and ladies enthusiastic about volunteering their time for the warfare effort. Pilots have been, fairly actually, all the rage at the time in the wake of Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart. Aviation was nonetheless a reasonably new, to not point out a reasonably novel factor and the concept that folks might grow to be well-known by being daring pilots was a fast and straightforward option to get anyone’s consideration.

In the 1930s and 1940s, pilots have been the closest factor anybody needed to what may be thought-about a well-known excessive sports activities athlete or perhaps a social media superstar. So, naturally, when comics started needing to look past characters like Superman (who could not very nicely be a part of the conflict effort in any of his personal tales—he’d win in the blink of an eye fixed) to promote the concept of the warfare, they began wanting in the direction of what amounted to the real-life equal of the time: America’s dying defying aerial aces.

The Blackhawk Squadron was born of this custom, mixing the strains between soldier and superhero in a approach that, theoretically, would make the concept of becoming a member of the model new and solely experimental Army Air Force a bit extra interesting.

Ironically, the unique origin story of the Blackhawks did not forged them as Americans, however as members of the Polish Air Force who have been up towards the ruthless Nazi Captain von Tepp and his ominously named Butcher Squadron. Blackhawk himself was given a really Batman-esque origin story the place von Tepp was personally answerable for the demise of his household in an air raid, which prompted him to dedicate his life to looking for vengeance.

The unique squadron oscillated from round 5 to seven members, largely because of the Golden Age’s unfastened idea of issues like continuity, however their motives and strategies have been all the time the similar. They acted as a kind of free-wheeling superhero staff, flying their squadron of jet black airplanes out of their secret base in the Atlantic, preventing off any Nazis they might discover in the air whereas meticulously searching down von Tepp.

In addition to Blackhawk himself, the most recognizable model of the group was made up of seven males generally known as Stanislaus, Olaf, Hendrickson, Chopper, Andre and Chuck.

The comedian was initially a big success and truly lasted properly past the finish of the warfare. Strangely, it wasn’t till 1952 that Blackhawk himself was given a brand new origin that made him a Polish-American volunteer who had eagerly left his house nation to volunteer for the Polish Air Force. The remainder of the workforce got minor updates as properly, however stayed fairly eclectic of their nationalities. Later nonetheless, in 1959, the workforce launched their first “official” feminine member in Zinda Blake, in any other case referred to as Lady Blackhawk, however her appearances in the title have been fairly rare and she solely loved “honorary” membership standing.

Post-Crisis to Now

Things received a bit of unusual in the years main as much as CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS. The Blackhawk comics had modified arms greater than as soon as, been canceled a couple of occasions over, and general struggled, like many conflict comics, to remain related in the ’70s and ’80s. The workforce was briefly given “superheroic” codenames like “The Big Eye” and “The Golden Centurion,” they turned spies, they have been made mercenaries—it was principally a revolving door of situations as creators tried to see what would stick.

The reorganization of DC’s continuity in the Crisis formally restored the workforce to their WWII roots and returned Blackhawk’s unique Polish origin whereas concurrently giving him a civilian identify for the first time ever: Janos Prohaska. The new continuity additionally shifted the Lady Blackhawk codename from Zinda to Captain Natalie Reed, a flight engineer who served to assist design the squadron’s trademark fighter jets.

Interestingly, for all the fanfare of their Crisis-level updating, the Blackhawk Squadron virtually instantly fell into obscurity in the ’90s as the age of conflict comics properly and really drew to an in depth. A wierd coincidence, nevertheless, allowed Zinda Blake, the unique Lady Blackhawk, to return to prominence after she was “lost in time” in the occasions of ZERO HOUR, DC’s ’90s-era continuity-altering miniseries. In 2004, Zinda joined the Birds of Prey beneath her Lady Blackhawk moniker, making her the solely Blackhawk to actually stay outstanding in the trendy period, at the least till the occasions of FLASHPOINT and DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1.

Today, we’ve a completely totally different idea of who and what the Blackhawks are. Both the New 52 and the Rebirth period have reinvented them as a paramilitary group with some…properly, as an instance less-than-normal leanings in the direction of the occult and the cosmic. Lady Blackhawk continues to be round, however she’s not Zinda Blake. Instead, the codename was very lately taken up by Kendra Saunders, aka Hawkgirl. You can meet up with this incarnation of the workforce by picking up this year’s DARK NIGHTS: METAL.

The final eighty years have seen some fairly dramatic, sometimes complicated evolutionary steps in the Blackhawk line, and if that historical past is any indication, loopy issues are simply going to maintain on occurring for them into the future. That’s all proper, although. If there’s one factor their topsy-turvy previous has confirmed, it is that the Blackhawks are, above every little thing, a reasonably adaptable bunch.



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