Look, I’m no expert here, but if I was running a comic book company and I had a story where Adolf Hitler returned from the grave to re-start World War II…
…I would probably put that shit on the cover.
But no: Blackhawk #115′s “The Tyrant’s Return” is bumped to interior pages so that we can focus on the mind-bending terror of that time the Blackhawks found a hand on the beach. And it’s a shame, too, because it is without question one of the best stories in the entirety of the Blackhawk Showcase. I mean, Hitler comes back! The ultimate villain of the 20th century! Even in the world of comics, that’s not the sort of thing you get every day!
So here’s how it goes down: It’s July 4, 1957, and while Blackhawk and his crew of international aviators are celebrating Independence Day (because, you know, the fifties), more sinister forces are at work announcing the return of der Führer, who has hired a dynamite PR firm this time around:
Flyers, people. That’s how you know it’s serious.
Clearly, this is the sort of thing that’s going to require the intervention of a skilled team of highly-trained independent super elite fighting men whose weapons are the most powerful science can devise. But since Megaforce wouldn’t be created for another 25 years, the Blackhawks will have to do.
Thus, they leap right into the fight against the resurrected Nazis, although one has to imagine that they’re only doing it to counterbalance their previous record of racial tolerance, which wasn’t all that great.
Before long, though, Hendy, the team’s erstwhile Dutchman, is shot down and crash lands on the Nazis’ uncharted island, where he proves his mettle by punching Hitler so hard that it knocks his moustache off.
Or not, really.
As it turns out, the rumors of Hitler’s death weren’t exaggerated at all, actually, and the whole thing’s just a plot to make a loyal Nazi who escaped after the war with $25 million in gold show up to hand over the money to a gang of what I can only assume are extremely desperate criminals.
As to just why they’re going to such lengths to pull off the crime of the century, we may never know. And it’s that question, I’m sure, that drives Hendy to attempt to infiltrate the ersatz Nazis (ersatzis?) disguised as the guy who’s disguised as Hitler, but before he can get to the bottom of things, he trips, bumps his head, and–because this is always what happens when you bump your head in comics–loses his memory and thinks that he’s Hitler.
Fortunately, Blackhawk himself is able to figure out exactly what’s been going on just by seeing the bandage around Hendy’s head, and once the Real Fake Hitler shows up and conks him one on the noggin again, everything eventually works out okay.
Except that I’m still pretty damn confused. I mean, yeah, there’s $25 million in gold on the line here, but the Ersatzis already have enough money that they’re able to find an uncharted island, set up a perfect recreation of a WW2 German airfield–complete with planes, artillery, and a full staff of pilots and ground crew–and make a pretty good show of attacking ships and dropping leaflets, all for the off chance that a fanatical ex-SS officer’s going to show up and hand over a pile of cash.
Admittedly, we’re talking 25 mil in 1957 dollars, but… well. Comics. Whatcha gonna do?