Reblogged from jsarevisited
The Earth 2 Blackwing (Charlie Bullock)
First appearance : Wonder Woman #297
Once upon a time, there was a world where costumed men and women dressed in colorful costumes took to the streets and fought crime. The heroes flourished in the 1940s but their numbers had dwindled by the 1970s. Their hair had turned gray and one of the greatest of their generation — The Batman — had died (1978s ADVENTURE COMICS #462). A relative handful of heroes — including the Huntress, daughter of the Dark Knight — stood poised to replace them.
Its one thing to read about crime in the newspaper but its quite another to experience it first hand. Such was the case with Charles Bullock, a young African American lawyer recently added to the roster of Gotham Citys Cranston, Grayson and Wayne in 1981 (WONDER WOMAN #281-284, by Paul Levitz, Joe Staton and Steve Mitchell). When a super-villain named Karnage attacked the law offices in search of senior partner Arthur Cranston, Bullock rushed forward to oppose the intruder only to be swatted away like a fly (#286-287, by Levitz, Staton and Bruce Patterson).
Karnage was soon brought to justice by The Huntress (secretly Helena Wayne, another partner in the firm) and Arthur Cranston tried to assure Charles that he had nothing to be ashamed of. Youre a lawyer, he said, not a bouncer. The young man was not appeased, however. I have some heavy thinking to do … about the way Karnages attack is going to CHANGE my life (WW #289). Digging through the firms library, Charles found a fairly complete file on The Huntress in the clippings. Good. I wonder if it has everything I NEED … (WW #290, by Levitz, Staton and Mike DeCarlo).
Levitz plans for Charles Bullock were never realized and it fell to his successor, Joey Cavalieri, to resolve the subplot in the latter half of 1982. The Huntressepisode in WW #297 opened with Charles witnessing a pair of hoods harrassing a local grocer. What can we do about it? the old man asked. Were too small to fight them. In the old days, there was The Batman, God rest his soul. He was there to PROTECT people like us. Saw to it slime like that didnt get into the neighborhood. But now, who STANDS up for people like us? What can we do …? For Charles Bullock, it was a call to arms.
The following evening, a bat-scalloped shadow fell over the thugs, momentarily stopping them — and a concealed Huntress — in their tracks. The source of the shadow was a man in a variation of The Batmans costume — light blue replacing the gray, a more stylized bat chest emblem and utility belt, yellow bands around his wrists and calves and a sharply arched yellow-tipped face mask that evoked bat-ears in silhouette. His dark blue cape functioned as a hang-glider. Stand back! he commanded. NONE may threaten the people of this city while Blackwing stands!
Unhappily, Blackwing was grounded almost immediately when one of the thugs partially shredded his cape/glider. The would-be hero was beaten into unconsciousness and unmasked. Watching from a distance, the Huntress recognized Charles instantly (WW #297, art by Staton and Sal Trapani).
Blackwing was presented to the mastermind behind the gang, a snake charmer of sorts named the Boa. The Huntress crashed the party and was left to the mercies of a boa constrictor as the villains made their exit. Blackwing, whod been feigning unconsciousness, used a dagger to slash the serpent and free the Huntress (WW #298-299, art by Staton and Frank McLaughlin).
I was a top notch lawyer, he explained, but that only gave me a ring-side seat as I watched criminals slide through the revolving door of justice. I felt the need to do something MORE — something lasting! My hero had always been The Batman. The heart of this town nearly quit beating altogether when he died. But then The Huntress swung into action — and I knew in my guts that if SHE could do it — I could, too! (WW #298)
Maybe it was stupid but I became Blackwing to be that symbol for people again … to restore their pride in Gotham … and SPUR them to take charge of this city once more. I tried to THINK the way The Batman would. I had the presence of mind to keep my miniature tape recorder in my utility belt running ever since I was kidnapped.
Evidence! The Huntress exclaimed. Good work, Charley. Well nail them YET. You wouldve made The Batman very proud, Charley. Youve certainly made ME proud. The daughter of The Batman captured the Boa and his gang that night (WW #299) but Charles never took to the sky as Blackwing again.
And, yet, history may yet see the Bullock name enshrined as a costumed hero. A Gotham youngster named Charlie Bullock, possibly a namesake cousin of Charles, had crossed paths with Wildcat three years earlier on a late winters evening in 1979. Charlie proved to be a natural fighter and helped the Justice Society member take down a quartet of muggers.
Wildcat realized that kids like Charlie could achieve great things with a little positive reinforcement. Pulling off his mask, Ted Grant introduced himself to Charlie and decided, in that moment, that he would leave his JSA responsibilities to become a mentor to any of the youth in Gotham that he could help. Announcing his leave of absence, Ted noted that SOMEONEs gotta start worrying where the NEXT generation of super-heroes is coming from(ADVENTURE COMICS #464, by Levitz and Staton). Will Charlie Bullock return as the Blackwing of the current DC Universe? Only time — and future issues of JSA — will tell.