Hawkman #1 – Robert Venditti, Writer; Bryan Hitch, Artist; Andrew Currie, Inker; Alex Sinclair, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: The character of Hawkman has been a trouble spot for DC for a long time. With the exception of the top-tier Geoff Johns run that doubled down on his mythic nature, Hawkman’s mostly been reduced to team spots, been killed off for extended periods, and was generally overshadowed by the more popular Hawkgirl.
That changed with Dark Nights: Metal, where he wound up as one of the big players in Barbatos’ scheme to invade the DC Universe. Now, he’s back among the living and it falls to Robert Venditti to try to make sense of his complex history in Hawkman #1. Venditti, who is best known as one of DC’s dependable action-adventure writers, takes a clever tack on this front by making Carter Hall just as confused as we are. The issue kicks off in the middle of the action as Hawkman is on one of his archeological digs, searching out an ancient artifact with ties to Gorilla City and guarded by a giant winged Gorilla Golem.
It’s a great visual to start off the issue, and Bryan Hitch is having some fun with the concept of this massive stone guardian. I also liked the way this issue deals with the fact that Hawkman is an immortal of sorts – he’s got chips with families going back generations, from past incarnations. That’s how he gets a boat captain to bring him to the site of his hunt. However, the search for this magical nautilus is just set-up for the main plot of the series, which kicks off when he pays a visit to Madame Xanadu. The issue has some big reveals about Hawkman’s past and future in store, and both are revealed in a pair of fantastic double-page spreads. The story reveals that Hawkman’s past goes back far longer and further than anyone thought and that he may be key to events coming in the future. A new Hawkman series was always going to be a hard sell, but Venditti and Hitch give us a first issue that is exciting, intriguing, and easy to understand. That’s a good way to start.
Corrina: Hey, wait, Ray, when did Hawkgirl overshadow Hawkman in the comics? I can’t remember a time when she has. Even in the solo series by Johns, he had more of the characterization. Yes, she’s more famous because of the Justice League animated series. That version is, by far, the more interesting character for me, though, so, yes, making me interested in Carter/Katar Hol is going to be an uphill battle. (Note: however, I quite enjoyed the Johns Hawkman run that Ray references.)
Did this issue hook me on Carter Hall? Hmmm…. He’s still the basic “dude with many lives,” which is fine, but there’s nothing here that deepens his personality or shows me a new side of him. Yes, he wants to remember his entire existence. That’s fine, as far as it goes, but I was rolling my eyes at the plot bunny of “you must prevent this future disaster.” That plot device is too non-specific to make me worried about Carter or his world.
What I liked? Madame Xanadu (yes, I loved her solo series). She’s handled well in her appearance and I love her getting down to magical business quickly. The action sequence versus the giant flying gorilla is beautifully drawn and intense, with the art telling much of the story without dialogue. However, I was hoping that Carter would show more respect for something that ancient and would find another way to handle the threat than utterly destroying it. That did not endear me to Carter.
Bottom line: it’s a good start for a Hawkman series if you’re interested in Hawkman already.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.