Hawkman #18 – Robert Venditt, Writer; Pat Olliffe, Penciller; Tom Palmer, Inker; Jeremiah Skipper, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: Unlike Shazam, Commissioner Gordon, Donna Troy, and Blue Beetle, Hawkman and Supergirl have their own titles where their transformation into the acolytes of the Batman Who Laughs will be covered. Robert Venditti is up first with Hawkman #18, and he immediately gives us a clever twist that sells me on this transformation – this isn’t the first time Sky Tyrant has been at the helm of Hawkman. We kick off with a flashback segment to Earth 3 where the evil Hawkman is taken down by heroic versions of Cheetah, Gentleman Ghost, Shadow Thief and (I think) Dr. Alchemy.
Before the end, Sky Tyrant vows that he’ll return in a future incarnation and get his revenge – and he gets his wish when the Batman Who Laughs’ poison brings him out of Hawkman’s suppressed memories and into the realm of reality. It doesn’t take long before he starts wreaking havoc in the main Earth – but it seems Carter Hall may not be as gone as the villain hopes.
The idea of an evil incarnation of Hawkman undoing all the good work Carter has done in his endless quest for redemption is pretty clever, but the tension is undercut with the addition of Ghost Carter to the story. The rules of Carter’s presence aren’t quite clear – at some points he seems to be able to physically manifest, at other times not. It reminds me a bit of the presence of a ghost Peter Parker after Otto Octavius had taken over his run in the Dan Slott run, but likely to be much shorter term. They wrestle as Sky Tyrant tries to down a plane, then settles for terrorizing a bus. The return of a new Hawkwoman – definitely not Kendra, and it doesn’t quite look like the antihero version from Justice League a few months back – ups the stakes as the twisted Hawkman is pitted against one of the most important people in all his lives. It’s a clever idea, but the tone in this issue isn’t quite sure what it wants to be yet.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.