The War Wheel was a recurring enemy superweapon, in at least three different versions of Blackhawk history.
Earth-One, Merson Model, 1940
The War Wheel was invented by Prof. Merson, an American academic who had willingly defected to the Nazis.
The machine first saw action in May 1940, wrecking a town in Belgium. It was a gigantic wheel, spiked and heavily armored. Buildings and vehicles were crushed as it inexorably rolled along. Blackhawk conceived his own scheme for stopping the great Wheel. He attached high voltage wires to a fence in its path. When the Wheel struck it, the shock killed the men within and the huge machine stopped and crashed to Earth.
Later, when Blackhawk was on a mission to trap Domino, the other Blackhawks received word that the War Wheel was active again - this time in a Spanish town against people there giving aid to the forces fighting the Nazis. The Blackhawks did find out how the War Wheel vanished - it was lifted by a group of dirigibles, with artificial cloud cover. This time, they defeated it by luring it into quicksand, where it bogged down. The men inside surrendered.
Quality Universe, Soviet Model, 1952
The War Wheel was propagandized to have been invented by Professor Dekker, a prominent Malkarian scientist and outspoken patriot. In truth, Dekker had poisoned himself, after being kidnapped by the Reds. The true designer(s) of the Soviet superweapon remain unknown.
In 1952, Malkaria was invaded by conventional armed forces, from one of the countries in the Soviet Bloc. This incursion was driven back, with assistance from the famous Blackhawks. But the follow-up attack was the colossal War Wheel, and enormous destruction was inflicted, on civilian buildings and on armored tanks alike. Blackhawk jet-mounted weapons were ineffective against it, including bombs. Artillery fire had no effect. Trickery prevailed, when Blackhawk landed, sprinted past the Wheel on foot, and lured the weapon's crew into following him. The War Wheel ran into a deep, wide pocket of quicksand; no crewmen emerged.
In 1957, this museum piece was reactivated by Blackhawk and re-disabled by Stanislaus, who threw a bomb into its exhaust port.
- The original War Wheel appeared in 1952 in Malkaria, in Blackhawk #56. The Merson Nazi War Wheel appeared thirty years later, but chronologically earlier, in Blackhawk #252.
- An earlier appearance (chronologically) of a weapon called "The Smasher", featured in Tomahawk #105, was very similar to the War Wheel. It was originally designed by Leonardo Da Vinci but was never built until King George had it constructed "somewhere in the South" during the American Revolution.
- The War Wheel makes its appearance in the Justice League three-part episode "The Savage Time", where it was one of many superweapons designed from future technology by Vandal Savage and were used by the Axis Powers during World War Two and were fought by the Justice League. In the Justice League Unlimited episode Justice League Unlimited (TV Series) Episode: I Am Legion, a War Wheel was among the enhanced weapons that were captured and stored on Blackhawk Island by the Blackhawk Squadron, and incorporated into the island's defense systems.
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