To start, apologies as I do not usually create these comic series discussion threads. However, I wanted to rant about some obscure references in Peacemaker Tries Hard! #1 by Kyle Starks with art by Steve Pugh and I discovered a thread didn’t exist yet. So… here I am creating that thread. Here’s the official solicit description for issue #1:
“Having earned his release from the Suicide Squad, Peacemaker wants to try and do normal superhero stuff for a change. Unfortunately everyone, including the bad guys, thinks he sucks at superhero stuff. But when busting up a terrorist ring introduces Christopher Smith to the cutest thing to ever walk (awkwardly) on four legs, he finds the unconditional love he’s been denied his whole life. That is, until the dog is kidnapped right out from under him by a super-villain who has some very un-super-heroic plans for Peacemaker’s brand of ultraviolence. Will he help an infamously unstable super-powered criminal steal the world’s most valuable-and dangerous-DNA? Honestly, Christopher’s pretty lonely, so it probably just depends on how nicely they ask…”
Issue #1 hit the stands on 5/2 and will be released on DCUI Ultra on 5/30. … Okay, I think that’s sufficient info on the series. Would anyone like to discuss it? …Oh! Moth. Do you have something to say?
Yes, Moth, indeed I do. And may I say you’re looking particularly handsome today!
Oh, Moth, you devilish flirt… But, please proceed.
Thank you, Moth. So, as I mentioned, I primarily want to talk about a couple of obscure references found in issue #1 because that’s what I do. Both references are callbacks to classics found in Quality Comics which was bought out by DC in 1956.
The first reference comes when we meet Peacemaker’s Task Force X Patrol Officer who introduces himself as Richard Raleigh. If that sounds familiar to you, that’s because Richard Raleigh is the secret identity of The Red Bee which explains why he gifts Peacemaker with a jar of honey. The Red Bee was a masked vigilante who used trained bees to fight crime. He first appeared in Hit Comics #1 from July, 1940. In his civilian guise of Rick Raleigh, he was an assistant district attorney, so it makes some sense that he’s now a parole officer even if that’s a step down from his career path.
The second reference comes from Richard when he quips, “And I always get my man. Except for the… War Wheel.” The War Wheel is a wheel-shaped superweapon that first appeared in Blackhawk #56 from Sept., 1952. In its first appearance, the War Wheel was an unstoppable machine created to win a war in the fictional, European country of Malkaria. When DC acquired Quality and began publishing its own Blackhawk stories, the War Wheel was retconned to have been a Nazi super weapon deployed in WWII.
While Richard is brooding over the War Wheel, we see him imagining a war scene with troops and planes suggesting that he ran into it during military service in some armed conflict. I thought this was interesting because, despite the fact they were both published by Quality, The Red Bee never ran afoul of The War Wheel. The Red Bee’s final Golden Age appearance occurred in Hit Comics #24 from Oct., 1942 which was almost ten years before The War Wheel debuted. Also, to my knowledge, Rick Raleigh never served in the military despite being a hero during the WWII era.
However, maybe this all suggests what became of The Red Bee in this particular universe. Maybe Rick Raleigh left his career as The Red Bee and as an assistant DA to join the military where he was traumatized by an encounter with The War Wheel. That would explain both The Red Bee’s disappearance in 1942 (America’s first full year involved in WWII) and the reason he’s now just a parole officer instead of a DA himself. Maybe. That’s just a theory.
Despite the fact that The Red Bee has no prior history with The War Wheel, I should note that the super weapon does have prior history with Task Force X. In Secret Origins #14, Task Force X did battle with a recreated War Wheel in the United States. Being unable to make a dent in the unique tank with their fighter jets, Task Force X’s field commander, Rick Flag Sr., sacrifices himself to destroy The War Wheel.
Alright! That’s out of my system. What did you think of Peacemaker Tries Hard #1? Opinions on Christopher’s new sidekick? Why is it so hard for him to make normal friends? Do you think he’ll succeed on his next “suicide” mission? Please, let us know!