As Star Hawkins series moves into the period 1964 – 1967: the New Look, it gets a new creative team. Dave Wood and Gil Kane keep things on the same keel, though, with the down and out private detective of the future, who can never seen to solve a case without the aid of his robot secretary, Ilda. Star Hawkins outlasted both the Star Rovers and the Atomic Knights, the other series it had alternated with in the pages of Strange Adventures, but he still wound up shutting his doors before the period ended.
Ilda gets a glamourous look in the story from Strange Adventures 173, as she takes up acting, and gets to read lines opposite a Clark Gable looking robot. But the talent agents are really hoods, pumping Ilda for information without her realizing it. Star Hawkins had captured a thief, but his loot had never been found. Star fortunately has a gossip monitor alarm on Ilda, and when she begins giving too much away, he gets alerted. Between what Star knows, and what the hoods know, he deduces to the location of the hidden loot, at a space golf course. It makes for a visually fun conclusion, and Ilda sheds her glamour look to help bring down the bad guys.
At the centre of the story in Strange Adventures 176 is a Martian band, the Cosmoniks, who provoke the kind of adulation that the Beatles did at the time the story came out. Ilda is a huge fan, but Star Hawkins suspects the band is connected to a series of robberies. Star is both right and wrong. The band members are innocent, but their bodyguard has been using the amplified music during their concerts to cover the sound of his thefts. Ilda is furious when she finds out how he betrayed them, and is the one to take the bodyguard out, with extending limbs.
Strange Adventures 179 does give Star Hawkins the main role in the story, unlike most of his tales, which focus on Ilda, but as he loses his memory in the first couple of pages, it's not like he does a lot of detective work. To be fair, at the outset of the tale Star had already done the work of finding out the next target for robbery by the Nine Planets Gang. But when he falls and bangs his head at a spaceball game, he forgets the information he had learned. Ilda tries to help Star recover his memory. It's the bill collectors that are always chasing Star that shock him back to normalcy. Then he catches the gang, and pays off the bill collectors with the reward money.
Ilda gets jealous of Star Hawkins in Strange Adventures 182, as Star falls for a buxom blonde. The woman, Lulu Lacey, hires Star Hawkins to go to Mars in order to retrieve some of her letters from blackmailers. Ilda does not believe a word of the woman's story, and is certain she is playing Star. She follows along, and determines that the letters are really Martian defense plans. And indeed, Lulu is using Star, but she is really a government agent, and was acting through Star to keep a low profile. And to make things worse for Ilda, Lulu is even genuinely attracted to Star! Lulu Lacey does not return in this series, which is a shame, as the rivalry between her and Ilda could have been fun.
Star Hawkins bids farewell with Strange Adventures 185. Ilda receives an electrical shick which completely scrambles her circuits. She sees a movie poster about a criminal called the Slinker, and starts to believe that this is who she is. So off Ilda goes to commit crimes as the Slinker. Star Hawkins winds up on the case, and is stunned to see that Ilda is the thief. She gets away from Star, but after hearing a news report about the Crime Clown, starts to believe that she is the Crime Clown, and dresses up as him. Star finds the real villain, and gets captured by him, just as Ilda appears. Seeing the real Crime Clown restores her memory, and she frees Star and helps take the bad guy down. It's one of the silliest Star Hawkins stories, but fun nonetheless, and a decent tale to go out on.
Star Hawkins and Ilda return in an issue of DC Comics Presents in the 80s.
Star Hawkins: Strange Adventures 173, 176, 179, 182, 185 (Feb 65, May 65, Aug 65, Nov 65, Feb 66)