Wednesday, 5 May 2010


The second of Titan's hardcover collections of Jeff Hawke collects another five stories of the British space ace, starting with the time-bending 'Pastmaster' and running through to the whimsical 'A Test Case'. Again all the stories are written by Willie Patterson and beautifully illustrated by Sydney Jordon. These are stories #18 to 22 and comprise the strips from 3rd August 1961 to 2nd January 1963.

The first story 'Pastmaster' relies on the old, familiar idea of someone from the future trying to change the past. Patterson's script and Jordan's art lift this story of the future (or non-future) of Earth's first manned Lunar base above the science-fiction cliche.

Next up is one of Jordon's personal favourites, 'The Immortal Toys'. Once again relics from the distant past show up in the present day ala Volume One's 'Wondrous Lamp'. This story includes some of Jordon's finest art, inspired by Patterson's imaginative story.

Story three is the humorous 'The Ambassadors' in which Earth is visited by two avian emissaries from another world. When the owl-like aliens appear on TV promising to abolish work with a device called a 'quiggifier' people start to take notice, until an unfortunate accident results in the two birds leaving the Earth for good.

Another science-fiction stand by, the sub-atomic world, is used in the next story 'The Gamesman' in which Hawke and Mac find themselves transported to another world, where they are hunted by an alien overlord. Very reminiscent of 'The Most Dangerous Game'. A slight twist here is that it is EARTH that is the sub-atomic planet, existing in a piece of amber on the alien world.

The fifth and final story is 'A Test Case', in which some bumbling alien students arrive on Earth and try to impart some of their knowledge to the 'backward' planet. Unfortunately their first test subject has his own ideas on what to do with the alien knowledge, and it isn't necessarily what is best for the rest of the world. One minor flaw with this story is that the aliens look like various earth animals (the students teacher is elephantine for example) which would be fine, but maybe a bit too soon after the owl-like aliens of 'The Ambassadors'. Still, a whimsical story, with a race against time to save the world ending.

Sadly, this is the last of Titan's collections to date. Between the two books only nine of the sixty-nine Hawke stories have been reprinted. Hopefully more volumes will follow. In the meantime the Jeff Hawke Club have been reprinting more stories in their magazine 'Jeff Hawke's Cosmos'.

More details of the Jeff Hawke Club can be found on their website at

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