Saturday, 6 October 2018
Atom and Hawkman #45 (DC/1969)
The Atom and Hawkman #45 (DC)
No credits (w) & (a) Joe Kubert (c)
Two of more of my favourite DC characters shared a book following low sales which cancelled Hawkman and could have done the same to the Atom, but the publishers did something unusual for American comics, they "merged" the titles.
That's something British readers were used to so many lesser selling comics over her in the UK suddenly told us that "there's good news inside for all our readers". These combined our "favourite features into a combined comic e.g Buster and Jet or Lion and Eagle.
The numbering of the combined comic continued from The Atom.
The "feature length" story in this issue was Queen Jean: Why Must We Die?. An adventure that starts in the courtroom as Jean Loring (the Atoms's girlfriend) suddenly starts hallucinating seeing the face of a criminal that she defended and lost who was sent to the death chamber. The judge sensing her illness adjourns for the day.
Ray Palmer (the Atom's real identity) finds Jean in a distressed state and takes her home where he discover radiation effecting her behaviour and turns into his superhero alter-ego to make a journey into the centre of her rug . Here a hostile alien appears and the mystery commences.
Defeated Ray rings Hal Carter (the Hawkman and travels down the phone to ask for help. (always amused me that little trick!). Off they go to the desert to rescue Jean. Here they are attacked by aliens of mechanical birds and travel to the microscopic world where the miscreants live.
here they discover Jean Loring has been made their Queen and is quite crazy ordering her subjects to capture and enslave our intrepid heroes. Of course they escape and turn the tables rescuing Jean. They discover these aliens once lived on Earths surface but disease had forced them into micro-verse (or one of them anyway).
They had awoken from suspended animation and chosen Jean as a descendent of the right type of human to become their Queen. Tradition had it that she had to be mentally unbalanced. (Yeah go figure that one). The Atom and Hawkman return to Earth taking Jean with them..
It is from this issue that Jean begins to have mental health problems that decades later would lead to murder in Identity Crisis.
Sadly this was the last issue of a seven issue run. One more comic with this name appeared during Blackest Night, one of DC's best epics.