Hawkman #4 – Robert Venditti, Writer; Bryan Hitch, Penciller; Andrew Currie, Andy Owens, Daniel Henriques, Inkers; Jeremiah Skipper, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: Another Chapter In Hawkman History
Ray: Robert Venditti’s Hawkman #4 continues Carter Hall’s strange journey through his past lives with a trip to arguably his most famous setting – Thanagar, where he encounters hard-boiled Thanagarian policeman Carter Hall. But first, we get a view of a distant world where Hawk-like Gods are worshipped, particularly one specific figure known as Gold Hawk. All is well and good, until the sky opens and a massive race of winged beings known as the Deathbringers reduce the world to ruin in search of someone known as the Great Betrayer. In only a few pages, Venditti and Hitch make the Deathbringers far scarier than most cosmic villains. On Thanagar, Carter gets a quick crash course in just how stubborn and difficult he can be. Katar is convinced he’s actually the shape-shifting villain Byth, who played a role in the death of Katar’s father. No matter what he tries to explain, Carter won’t stop implacably pursuing him. This takes up the first half of the issue, but Bryan Hitch’s depiction of Thanagar is a visual feast that makes it well worth the chase.
It’s only when Carter manages to get enough of a lead to explain just how much he knows about Katar and that he has questions about the mysterious Thanagarian hero Kalamoran that Katar starts to believe. It turns out that word of the Deathbringers is not new, and it’s a legend that’s struck fear in the heart of Thanagarians before. When Shayera shows up – causing no small amount of stress for Carter – Katar resolves the situation in an amusing way that gives Carter the chance he needs to get away. A series of issues where Hawkman encounters his past lives could easily have become repetitive, but so far Venditti has given each one a unique dynamic as he slowly unravels the mystery of Hawkman’s past. Next issue promises to change things up, as Hawkman’s mission takes him to the Microverse to team up with Ray Palmer. Was there a past Hawkman who was in the Microverse? We shall see. This story of reincarnation and ancient enemies has been a fascinating and unpredictable experiment with some of the best art in DC Comics at the moment.
Corrina: I like leaning into Hawkman’s many lives. It’s been a great hook for this series and Hitch has been magnificent in depicting all the different settings. His Thanagar makes me wish for him to become the artist on a Hawkworld miniseries.
I had a different reaction to the Deathbringers. Have we gotten so jaded in reading comics that it takes villains who can destroy a whole world and its peoples before we take them seriously as a threat? The mass violence was a bit of a turn-off in what I was enjoying as an excellent and adventurous mystery through the many corners of the DC Universe. Yes, genocide did harsh my mellow.
The appearance of Shayera temporarily made me think we might see some of her this series but it seems she was just a cameo appearance. Darn.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.