For the most part, I enjoy reading well written comics that utilize the medium for all it’s worth. Although I love these types of stories, it can be exhausting at times. Especially if it’s been a long day and I’m just looking for some good old fashioned escapism. That’s where my Nostalgia Collection comes in. This collection of comics is largely based on toy lines and cartoons from the 1980s. These books are nothing short of commercials. The dialogue is simple and the plot is insulting. Regardless, they’re always fun to read.
Today I’d like to talk about Silver Hawks #1. A horrible cartoon, and a horribly wonderful comic. In its defense, Silver Hawks was a great toy line. I always had fond memories of this franchise as I was growing up. The toys were too expensive for my single mother to afford. So, they always held a bit of mystique for me as well. So, you can imagine my disappointment as I tried to revisit the cartoon as an adult. In retrospect, this cartoon was really cheesy (in a bad way). Now I know some of you are thinking, “Dude, the Silver Hawks are awesome!” Yeah, they were really cool to a child growing up in 80s. Although, as an adult it’s hard to watch a hick, proudly sporting a silver onesie with a cowboy hat and an ascot, shoot pink lasers out of a hand held synthesizer. Haven’t made my point yet? Then journey with me, to an era when it wasn’t illegal to sell commercialized propaganda. It’s time to put on your silver lamé unitard and pop those lateral wings, and fly high with me to the galaxy of the Silver Hawks!
The issue opens with a splash page of all the archetype characters from the 80s: the token girl, the muscle bound jock, the blond male leader, the cutesy comic relief kid, the new wave cowboy in a neckerchief (OK, points for originality there), and the animal sidekick. All the while, the vehicle and the fortress fill the background of the opening page. It’s a beautiful advertisement for a toy line. From the start of this book, it’s very evident that the artwork in the comic is more detailed and ascetically pleasing than the cartoon. For a mindless nostalgic head trip, we’re off to a great start.
The story begins with the main villain of the series, Mon*star (yes, you read that correctly), who looks like a mutated circus lion in pirate clothes. He hurts my eyes.
Mon*star is in a prison cell, and the guards are trying to block out the ominous light of something called the Moonstar. If Mon*star is exposed to its luminous rays, he goes through a ‘Mumrah‘-style transformation (complete with monologue). Post-metamorphosis, he looks like a cherry Skittle disguised as a robotic gimp. After his ‘big change,’ he escapes his cell and battles a giant squid who is aimlessly flying through space. Crimson Gimp shoots the inner-stellar calamari with an eye laser called the ‘light-star.’ Upon being hit, the squid dawns a cybernetic outfit with a saddle, and Mon*star hops on Mr. Squiddy’s back, never skipping a beat.
Comic Attack side note: I would like to respectfully apologize on behalf of Steve Perry, the writer of this comic, for his overuse of the word ‘star.’
Next we are treated to an uncomfortably forced origin story, that is narrated by a Skrull with a dick-nose (not exaggerating). Meanwhile the technicians go through a detailed checklist that reads exactly like this:
Technician #1: Head?
Technician: #1 : left hand?
This goes on for a few panels. I’m no doctor or anything, but those diagnostics seem a bit vague for grafting robotic organs to live tissue. Also, two of the patients’ hearts go out, and dick-nose is all like, “no biggie, they just won’t be able to feel as much emotion.” To add insult to injury, the two characters that suffer heart failure are named Will and Emily Heart (code names Steelheart & Steelwill). After the new mechanical hearts are in place, someone in the lab muses, “now their code names really fit.” Now that’s a stretch, but for the sake of moving on, I’ll suspend my disbelief.
The next scene is an active demonstration of the Silver Hawks outlandish gear. It’s really mild on the dialogue and heavy on the imagery. Other than the opening splash page, this is the first time the Silver Hawks are fully decked out in their outfits. There is this cone-headed chicken in a toga who’s watching the demonstration. I’m not sure what his purpose is other than to serve as a vessel to introduce the characters one by one. All the Silver Hawks shake his hand and introduce themselves. Without further ado, here are the Silver Hawks with paraphrased intros:
Lt. Quicksilver: Hi, I’m Duke from G I Joe, and my creator has chosen to dip me in silver and pass me off as a new character.
Steelheart and Steelwill: We are twins and we are strong. Did I mention we’re twins?
The Copper Kid: I’m from planet anime. I’m the comic relief (trips on banana peel). Insert comedic sound effect here.
Bluegrass: Hello, I’m Reeee-dic-you-luss! YEEHAW!
The story climaxes as the Silver Hawks have an epic confrontation with Mon*star and his goons. It carries on for a bit, but I’ll give you the short version. The good guys beat the living crap out of the bad guys. Then the bad guys fly away, swearing vengeance. As Mon*star and crew disappear into space, the group is laughing (like at the end of a Scooby-Doo cartoon). Then Bluegrass makes a logical suggestion, asking Lt. Quicksilver if they should follow the goons. To which their fearless leader responds, ‘Nah.’ The saga begins.
If you’re a child of the 80s or a fan of cartoons from that time period, this is an absolute must read. It’s completely void of substance, but an incredibly indulgent guilty pleasure. It’s mindless fun and best enjoyed with your favorite sugary cereal! Hope to see you back for my next nostalgia comic review. After these messages, I’ll be right back.