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Peacemaker Acknowledges His Respect for DC’s Most Underrated Hero

by Lidia Lucovic

Peacemaker has a reputation for not respecting many characters in the DC Universe, but there is one obscure hero from DC’s past that he at least admires. In the series “Peacemaker Tries Hard!,” the titular character slowly comes to terms with the fact that he is not well-liked or respected by most people. However, he finds solace and friendship in a dog he encounters, whom he affectionately names Bruce Wayne.

When Bruce Wayne is kidnapped, Peacemaker assembles a special team to rescue him in “Peacemaker Tries Hard! #4,” written by Kyle Starks, with artwork by Steve Pugh, colors by Jordie Bellaire, and lettering by Becca Carey. In the pursuit of rescuing the dog, Peacemaker forms an unexpected alliance with the Red Bee, who leads him to Johnny Blackhawk. Johnny Blackhawk is a throwback character to the legendary Blackhawks team that originated in the 1940s, consisting of WWII-era pilots. Created by Chuck Cuidera, Bob Powell, and Will Eisner, the Blackhawks made their debut in 1941’s “Military Comics #1.” They were a diverse group of pilots from various nationalities, operating under the leadership of the enigmatic hero, Blackhawk. It is revealed in this issue that Johnny joined their ranks as a very young man.

Initially, Peacemaker has doubts about Johnny Blackhawk, mainly due to his advanced age and small stature. However, as the team embarks on their mission and successfully overcomes various challenges, Peacemaker is pleasantly surprised. Uncharacteristically, he openly admits his initial misjudgment. The team’s capabilities, particularly those of the Red Bee and his utilization of bees, also surpass Peacemaker’s expectations. When they face capture by Snowflame, a powerful villain, Michael the Bee proves to be strong enough to break them free, and Red Bee skillfully takes down Snowflame’s henchmen. With some assistance from a poisonous frog, Peacemaker ultimately defeats Snowflame.

In this unlikely collaboration with Johnny Blackhawk and the Red Bee, Peacemaker discovers a newfound appreciation for these underrated heroes from DC’s past. As the team achieves their objective and demonstrates their unique abilities, Peacemaker learns to respect and value their contributions to the mission. This encounter challenges Peacemaker’s usual brash and overconfident demeanor, illustrating the growth and development of his character throughout the series.

Johnny Blackhawk’s presence in the series perfectly aligns with its underlying themes. As a DC property, the Blackhawks are among the most obscure and overlooked characters. The last notable mention of them was five years ago when Steven Spielberg attempted to develop a Blackhawk movie, which unfortunately never materialized. Nevertheless, the fact that the Blackhawks are underrated, underseen, and undervalued serves as a meaningful connection to the central themes explored in “Peacemaker Tries Hard!” The series revolves around Peacemaker’s realization that he is also underseen and undervalued by society within the broader DC Universe. In this context, the characters of Red Bee and Johnny Blackhawk become highly relatable to Peacemaker.

Both Johnny Blackhawk and Red Bee are remnants from a bygone era. As they have aged, they have been relegated to the sidelines and overlooked as time progresses without paying much attention to them. This sentiment is particularly profound for Blackhawk, not only within the fictional DC Universe but also in real life. The very name “Blackhawk” is gradually fading into obscurity as time passes. Both individuals have experienced a sense of disrespect due to their advanced age for quite some time. However, they have come to terms with this reality, especially Red Bee.

As Peacemaker becomes increasingly aware of the disrespect he has faced for entirely different reasons, he finds common ground with Johnny Blackhawk. Their shared experiences of feeling undervalued and ignored create a unique bond between the characters. The interactions between Peacemaker and Blackhawk allow them to see eye-to-eye and forge a deeper understanding of each other’s struggles.

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