"Blackhawk: "The Curse of Xanukhara"":
- I've followed your name and this briefcase around the world ... and I've seen enough to know that the world will be better off without either of you !!
- — Blackhawk, punctuates it with a SLAP!
- 1 Synopsis for Blackhawk: "The Curse of Xanukhara"
- 2 Appearing in Blackhawk: "The Curse of Xanukhara"
- 3 Synopsis for Sniper: "The Trial of Count Grubber"
- 4 Appearing in Sniper: "The Trial of Count Grubber"
- 5 Synopsis for Shot and Shell: "Fruitcakes in France"
- 6 Appearing in Shot and Shell: "Fruitcakes in France"
- 7 Synopsis for Loops and Banks: "The Mess in Tokio"
- 8 Appearing in Loops and Banks: "The Mess in Tokio"
- 9 Synopsis for X of the Underground: "The Gestapo's Costume Ball"
- 10 Appearing in X of the Underground: "The Gestapo's Costume Ball"
- 11 Synopsis for Phantom Clipper: "The Mikado's Fishing Trip"
- 12 Appearing in Phantom Clipper: "The Mikado's Fishing Trip"
- 13 Synopsis for Inferior Man: "Torpedo Tussle"
- 14 Appearing in Inferior Man: "Torpedo Tussle"
- 15 Synopsis for Death Patrol: "Deathtrap For the Death Patrol"
- 16 Appearing in Death Patrol: "Deathtrap For the Death Patrol"
- 17 Synopsis for Blue Tracer: "The Thing"
- 18 Appearing in Blue Tracer: "The Thing"
- 19 Synopsis for Secret War News: "Saga of the USS Marblehead"
- 20 Appearing in Secret War News: "Saga of the USS Marblehead"
- 21 Synopsis for Atlantic Patrol: "Navy Blimp K-3"
- 22 Appearing in Atlantic Patrol: "Navy Blimp K-3"
- 23 Notes
- 24 Trivia
- 25 See Also
- 26 Recommended Reading
- 27 Links and References
Synopsis for Blackhawk: "The Curse of Xanukhara"
- A bearded narrator opens the story by breaking the Fourth Wall to directly tell the reader what is at stake here, that there exists in the world a brown leather briefcase, whose contents are such that the entire predetermined plan for human existence will be disrupted if they are disclosed. He shows us the recent history of the briefcase, passing from one murderous owner to another, until it ends up in the hands of Blackhawk. Then he steps back into the darkness.
Blackhawk visits Major Brandon's office in the War Department in Washington, D.C., and hands him a brown leather briefcase, which he has searched for halfway around the world. Neither of them knows what's in it. Brandon's orderly is a spy, he snatches the briefcase and jumps out a window, falling ten stories to his death. When Blackhawk and the Major arrive at the body, the word "XANUKHARA" has been scrawled on the sidewalk, and the briefcase is gone. Blackhawk finds a clue that leads him to Quake Island, and with the Major's connivance, he informally requisitions some government supplies, then flies to a hidden airfield in the Rockies; from there, all the Blackhawks fly to Quake Island.
At the airbase at Quake Island, they find everyone at their posts, dead. Chuck finds a still-smoldering cigarette in an ashtray with the word "XANUKHARA" printed on it. Based on this clue, the Blackhawks then fly to Tokyo, and land on a busy street. At least three of their planes are crashed in this process. Undaunted they continue on to the Emperor's palace.
Meantime in Borneo, an armed team of white men are ambushed by a stunning redhead with a handgun, who kills all of them, only to be shot by an archer, who in turn is struck down with a pick-axe, by a black man who is stabbed in the back, by Xanukhara, who escapes with the brown leather briefcase.
In Tokyo things are very lively, with the Blackhawks dashing between fires, firefights, and explosions, to eventually arrive at an aerodrome, where they steal a two-engine bomber and fly away, to China. There they get shot down by Allied antiaircraft defenses and crash in some trees near Mandapore, City of Mystery, in which they meet Xanukhara, and her pistol-packing assistant Zara. Xanuhara is the same stunning redhead from the shoot-out in the jungle, in Borneo; now she's here, with no arrow wounds. She hands the brown leather briefcase to Blackhawk and proposes that the two of them should team us to rule the world. Blackhawk slaps her, and throws the briefcase into the fireplace. Xanuhara is yanking out her handgun when there's an explosion, source not clear, that knocks everybody down. When they get back up, the briefcase and Xanukhara are both gone.
- The bearded narrator returns to tell the reader that he now has the contents of that briefcase, and that they shall remain a secret forever, because there is no punishment so terrible as revealing a man's future.
Appearing in Blackhawk: "The Curse of Xanukhara"
- The "Briefcase Bearer" (unknown bearded narrator) (First appearance) (Disappears)
- Colonel, U.S. War Dept., Brandon's boss
- Major Brandon, U.S. War Dept.
- Xanukhara (First appearance) (Disappears)
- Zara, pistol-packing assistant
- Korz (Dies)
- his crew (Dies)
- Hammil Zorrex (earlier briefcase bearer) (Dies)
- assorted other earlier briefcase bearers and briefcase seekers (All die.)
- Blackhawk Island
- Washington, D.C., War Department, Brandon's office
- Rocky Mountains
- hidden Blackhawk airfield
- Quake Island
- U.S. military airfield (staff wiped out)
- Quake Island
- Tokyo, Japan
- Domwalai, Borneo, Indonexia
- Mandapore, City of Mystery, China
- brown leather briefcase containing the pre-determined plan of human existence (Disappears)
- six Blackhawk modified Grumman fighter-bombers (crashed and abandoned)
- Japanese 2-engine bomber (stolen & destroyed)
Synopsis for Sniper: "The Trial of Count Grubber"
- Sniper introduces and narrates his own story.
In France, the Sniper hunts down and captures Count Grubber, and puts him on trial before a jury of his victims, some or all of whom are dead. Sniper himself prosecutes. Crimes are re-enacted and stories are told. Grubber is clearly guilty but the jury sits silent, except for the foreman, whose hand twists around in a "thumbs down" gesture. Grubber dies of fright.
- Sniper breaks the Fourth Wall and questions whether the jury foreman's motion was just the onset of rigor mortis, or not.
Appearing in Sniper: "The Trial of Count Grubber"
- Count Grubber, Gestapo (Dies)
- Professor Martier, Jury Foreman (seemingly dead)
- eleven other jurors (seemingly dead)
Synopsis for Shot and Shell: "Fruitcakes in France"
Shot and Shell are in southern France being chased by the Gestapo who catch them. They get away again, with the help of a French hypnotist, who then hypnotizes Sam and Slim into walking upside-down, on their hands. The Gestapo catches up and there's a scuffle and Shot and Shell get away again. They search fruitlessly for the hypnotist. Some Macquis mistake them for Nazi tricksters, and give them very bad directions, into a land-mined local grove, and when the real Nazis again catch up, they get the same bad directions. The Nazi leader knows a shortcut, plus they're not walking on their hands, so the Nazis get to the grove ahead of their prey, and get caught in a big explosion. The noise breaks the hypnotic spell on Shot and Shell. They stagger into town and are arrested, and in their cell is another vagabond, who turns out to be the same hypnotist who pranked them earlier.
Appearing in Shot and Shell: "Fruitcakes in France"
- Gestapo Officers
- Dr. Loosnit, hypnotist
- misinformative townspeople
- local gendarme
- Southern France
- small town
- Squirrel Grove (secretly mined) (blown up)
Synopsis for Loops and Banks: "The Mess in Tokio"
On a carrier-based bombing mission over Tokio, Loops McCann pilots a bomber and Banks Barrow is his navigator. The bomber group gets intercepted by a squadron of light scouting seaplanes, biplanes actually, which nevertheless attack the well-armed Martin B26 bombers. One Japanese pilot deliberately crashes his biplane into McCann's bomber, and both fall out of the sky. The bomber crew bails out but McCann makes a pancake crash landing and Banks remains on board for it. They survive the crash and get captured by Japanese soldiers, and locked in separate cells.
Loops escapes by using one sock-garter to make a slingshot and knocking out a guard with it. Banks escapes by charming a geisha girl into giving him the key. They almost shoot each other but team up and escape the building, then make their way to the airport, where they knock out a sentry, and almost steal an airplane, but the wings shear off when Loops taxis it between two trees. On their second try, they steal a much faster plane, get it aloft, drop its bomb load onto Tokio, and flee the area. They make it back to the carrier, then have a fistfight on the flight deck over who should get more credit for the raid.
Appearing in Loops and Banks: "The Mess in Tokio"
- Carrier C.O.
- Geisha Girl
- carrier-based Martin B-26 Marauder medium bombers (one destroyed)
- Nakajima type-95 search seaplanes (one destroyed)
- Mistubishi model 96 (stolen)
Synopsis for X of the Underground: "The Gestapo's Costume Ball"
X and her Russian ally Sonya and their Jugoslavian Underground girls infiltrate a costume ball, thrown by the occupying Nazis, in order to prevent a meeting between two important officers from different German services. Jimmy Gray shows up and gets romantic with X, but she stays on task and her girls kidnap a German general. They drive him away in a staff car, but X and Sonya's Underground team has been compromised, and ambushed, and now really the Gestapo has captured them!
The Underground girls fight their way free of the trap, and destroy a carload of pursuers with a pre-planted mine in the road.
Appearing in X of the Underground: "The Gestapo's Costume Ball"
- Sonya, of the Russian Underground (First appearance)
- Jimmy Gray, of the New York Globe (Final appearance)
- General Rottenbum
- his soldiers
- at least 8 girls, of the Jugoslavian Underground:
- Marie (Disappears), Olga (Dies), Gerta, others
- German Staff Car
Synopsis for Phantom Clipper: "The Mikado's Fishing Trip"
Off New Guinea, the Phantom Clipper exchanges gunfire with a Japanese cruiser, and sinks it. Then a radio news report comes in that the Emperor is on a fishing trip, in Bungo Strait. They sail deeply into Japanese territory to confirm this news, and hopefully, to act on it.
In Bungo Strait they sight the imperial yacht, and pursue it, into a trap. Heavy warships have ringed the open waters beyond the strait. A one-sided gunnery duel ensues, and the Clipper is driven aground on a rocky reef. Tiger Shark and Jewaldri disembark, with dynamite, to try to blast the ship loose. While they're at it, Japanese marines capture the Clipper and its crew. Tiger and Jewaldri wait for an opportune moment to sneak back aboard, and knock out the prize crew, but the marines and their shipmates have moved on to a nearby Japanese sub tender. Jewaldri swims to that ship and sneaks aboard it. The Emperor is on board! Jewaldri finds a compressed gas cylinder and breaks off the valve, creating great havoc aboard the small ship, amid which the captured Yankee Clippers fight a melee with their captors. While that goes on, Tiger Shark sets off the dynamite on the reef, blasting the Phantom Clipper loose! He steers it toward the sub tender, slips alongside, and rescues his crew. The Phantom Clipper eludes the remaining warships and escapes the scene.
Appearing in Phantom Clipper: "The Mikado's Fishing Trip"
- Yankee Clippers:
- Lieutenant "Tiger" Shark, USN
- Captain Seth Parker, formerly Perkins (has a peg leg)
- Hook, First Mate (has a hook)
- Erik, Engineer
- Sea Biscuit, Bosun
- Jewaldri, Cook
- Little Billy, Recruit
- Emperor Hirohito, the Mikado
- his officers and their troops
- his captains and their crews
- Phantom Clipper
- Japanese Cruiser (Destroyed)
- Japanese sub tender
- other Japanese warships
Synopsis for Inferior Man: "Torpedo Tussle"
Appearing in Inferior Man: "Torpedo Tussle"
Synopsis for Death Patrol: "Deathtrap For the Death Patrol"
A Nazi agent plants a gas bomb in Del Van Dyne's cockpit, and while he is flying on a rescue mission, it explodes. The gas puts Del to sleep, and he drops into a power dive. Del has an elaborate hallucination, in which three of his dead colleagues instruct him to deal with the power dive and inform him that they aren't really dead. The three voices steer him step by step thru a seemingly-impossible aerial maneuver by which he redirects a traveling torpedo away from its target and back onto its source. He flies back to the airbase and flies directly into the Death Patrol's hangar, disrupting a Nazi hit-squad from wiping out the Patrol. When they open his cockpit, the Death Patrol are astonished to find Van Dyne inside, sound asleep. They then are even more astonished to see three familiar aircraft land on the runway outside, and out climb their formerly dead compatriots, Gramps, Hank, and King Hotintot!
Appearing in Death Patrol: "Deathtrap For the Death Patrol"
- Death Patrol
- Del Van Dyne
- Frere Jacques
- Mademoiselle from Armentieres
- Prince Totinhot
- Gramps (formerly thought dead)
- Hank (formerly thought dead)
- King Hotintot (formerly thought dead)
- Del Van Dyne's custom-built warplanes
- three more custom-built warplanes
- refugee steamship
- U-boat (Destroyed)
Synopsis for Blue Tracer: "The Thing"
The Japanese build a giant mechanical man, armed with magnetic rays, to combat the Blue Tracer. They carry it to California in a giant submarine. The machine walks ashore and smashes some farm houses. Police and Army guns are ineffective against its magnetic defenses. Fighter planes, too. The Blue Tracer arrives, and tries to ram the giant, which leaps aboard it and rides it like a bronco. Dunn shakes off the Thing by getting airborne, vertically. Boomerang Jones leaps out of the Tracer and parachutes into throwing distance of the mechanical giant, and takes out the human operator with a thrown boomerang. This immobilizes the big machine long enough for Dunn to ram it with the Blue Tracer, which smashes it to pieces.
Appearing in Blue Tracer: "The Thing"
- Emperor Hirohito
- his factories
- his military
- California civilians
- California cops and soldiers
- The Thing (Japanese military fighting machine) (Destroyed)
- Blue Tracer
- Japanese giant submarine
- U.S. fighter plane (Destroyed)
Synopsis for Secret War News: "Saga of the USS Marblehead"
(nonfiction account of the USS Marblehead's 13,000 mile transit from Macassar Strait to the U.S. East Coast, in Feb 1942)
Appearing in Secret War News: "Saga of the USS Marblehead"
- Arthur G. Robinson, Marblehead C.O.
- Marblehead crew: CDR Coggins, CDR Van Bergen, LCDR Drury, others
- Pacific Ocean
- Indian Ocean
- Atlantic Ocean
- An Eastern U.S. Port
- USS Marblehead, light cruiser (heavily damaged)
- other U.S. surface warships
- many Japanese surface warships
- 6 Dutch surface warships
- 54 Japanese medium bombers (some destroyed)
- Japanese scouting seaplane
A coastal patrol blimp destroys an enemy submarine with depth charges.
- merchant ship crew survivors
- Atlantic Ocean
- near U.S. East Coast
- U.S. Navy Blimp K-5
- U.S. merchant ship (Destroyed)
- German submarine (Destroyed)
- Atlantic Patrol destroys another U-Boat.
- "The Curse of Xanukhara" is partially reprinted in The Blackhawk Archives, Volume One.
- Blackhawk's hair is miscolored blond in some panels.
- Chop Chop appears on the cover but not in the story.
- The Blackhawks have a (temporary?) base in the Rocky Mountains. We either never see it again, or when we do its location is not identified.
- At least three Blackhawk planes are crashed while landing on a street in Tokyo. All six planes are abandoned. Also, all the planes are a dull orange color, vice their usual blue and red.
- Blackhawk slaps Xanukhara.
- Both the mysterious Narrator and the even more mysterious Xanukhara will return in Military Comics #29, May 1944.
- Blue Tracer
- Per panel 1 of page 1 of this story, Boomerang Jones' first name is "Aloysius." This is the first time it's mentioned.
- Japanese military officers' uniforms are festooned with rising suns, swastikas, and jolly rogers.
- Dunn and Jones were last seen in Alaska; this story shows them at their home base, but doesn't tell us where that is, when they get the message about the giant monster. Wherever it is, they've got a modern aerodrome, and the Blue Tracer is sheltered in a hangar, with its name above the door.
- Last issue for Death Patrol, for the time being.
- The series will return, with a very different art style, in Military Comics #20, July 1943.
- King Hotintot, Hank, and Gramps were each, individually, unambiguously, killed dead, earlier in the series. Now they are back.
- One more enemy submarine is destroyed.
- Loops and Banks
- Martin B-26s were never really flown from U.S. aircraft carriers in WWII. Doolittle and his raiders, right around the same time as this story, took off from the USS Hornet in Mitchell B-25s.
- Tokyo is spelled "Tokio" in this story.
- Loops and Banks both survive another aircraft crash.
- Loops and Banks both get head-konked unconscious with rifle stocks.
- Phantom Clipper
- Last panel of the story is a note from the editors, about the "tremendous popularity of our Hindu friend Jewaldri" and introduces a Hindu vocabulary builder. Jewaldri dresses like any other South Asian of that era, but he wears a fez, and is constantly invoking and petitioning Allah, which is not a Hindu thing to do.
- Secret War News :
- "This is an actual story based upon inside facts gathered from U.S.N. Information Bureaus."
- Marblehead's rudder was jammed, thus had to be steered by alternately stopping and starting the port and starboard engines.
- Bottom 1/3rd of the last page features U.S. Hero Stamp: "LIEUT. COL. BUZZ WAGNER"
- Shot and Shell were last seen driving into Switzerland from Germany; we are not told why or how they got to France.
- The Sniper narrates his own story, breaking the Fourth Wall at the beginning and end.
- X of the Underground
- Bob Gray is back to being called "Jimmy Gray." This is his third name-change, in this six-issue series. In this episode, Jimmy simply shows up at the costume ball, wearing the same costume as X, smooches X once, and drops right out of the story. He also won't be back next issue.
- Sonya breaks the Fourth Wall, in the splash panel, to introduce the story, but after page 1 she stays in-universe. Apparently Sonya is X's 2nd-in-command.
- Also appearing in this issue of Military Comics was: "Death To the Killer!" (text story)
- Bob Powell signed his Loops and Banks stories as "Bud Ernest".
- World War II Recommended Reading
- Adventures in the Rifle Brigade (Volume 1)
- Adventures in the Rifle Brigade (Volume 2)
- All-American Men of War (Volume 1)
- All-Out War (Volume 1)
- Blackhawk (Volume 1)
- Blitzkrieg (Volume 1)
- Capt. Storm (Volume 1)
- Four-Star Battle Tales (Volume 1)
- G.I. Combat (Volume 1)
- Men of War (Volume 1)
- Military Comics (Volume 1)
- Our Army at War (Volume 1)
- Our Fighting Forces (Volume 1)
- Sgt. Rock (Volume 1)
- Sgt. Rock (Volume 2)
- Star-Spangled War Stories (Volume 1)
- Unknown Soldier (Volume 1)
- Weird War Tales (Volume 1)