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Black Condor Takes Off

The recent UNCLE SAM AND THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS #3 comic introduced a third version of the minor superhero Black Condor. Last time he may have been a Native, but this time he definitely is.

The story opens with a nice retelling of the Navajos' Long Walk. It culminates with a young man climbing the wall of Canyon de Chelly, getting powers from "Tocotl the Spider-Woman," and becoming the original Black Condor. Cut to the present where another young Navajo, John Trujillo, does the same thing with the same results.

In Previewing UNCLE SAM AND THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS #3... you can read the five-page sequence introducing the Black Condor and see some early design sketches for him. In Recent Comics I Have Read, Hale of Angelthorne had this to say about the comic:

It's apparently Native American Superhero Revival Month at DC. I must say, though, Black Condor is considerably better-presented than (sigh) "Super-Chief." For one thing, Jimmy Palmiotti actually did his homework on the Navajo and grounded the origin in real history (The Long Walk; nice touch having Jonah Hex there, btw, though I always thought he fought for the Confederacy) and actual beliefs (the Spider-Woman). Of course, all Native American heroes have to have a magical/mythological origin (just as nearly all of them have to be either Navajo or Cheyenne) because there are no Indian scientists who might fall into a vat of radioactive chemicals or get bitten by a genetically-engineered wombat.Good points, but the premise and character have several problems:

In short, the Black Condor is nothing special in the pantheon of Native superheroes. He has a thin veneer of authenticity, but it crumbles if you look at it closely. If his origin was attributed to a genuine and appropriate Navajo deity rather than "Tocotl the Spider Woman," I would've liked him more.

In any case, this series isn't interesting enough for me to keep reading. No doubt we'll learn more about the new Black Condor eventually.

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Comic books featuring Indians

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