Hawkman #22 – Robert Venditti, Writer; Fernando Pasarin, Penciller; Oclair Albert, Wade Von Grawbadger, Inkers; Jeromy Cox, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: After several strong episodes that sent Sky Tyrant around the galaxy with Carter Hall as his unwilling echo and his friends in hot pursuit, Hawkman #22 pulls back to do what’s essentially a bottle episode.
But it hasn’t lost any of its momentum, even as it keeps its action mostly confined to a single spaceship. The possessed Hawkman is trapped behind glass, while Adam Strange, Atom, and Hawkman struggle to come up with a way to cure his infection. But the mysterious stone that was captured on the last mission turns out to have more to it than it appears, and it starts calling out to Hawkwoman. When she touches it, we’re treated to a stunning double-page spread as Shiera gets the same treatment Carter did at the start of the issue – a full recalling of all her thousands of past lives. Venditti continues to expand the mythology of the Hawks in a way no writer has done since Geoff Johns.
But this causes its own problem, as it leaves Hawkwoman in a stupor and makes her easy prey for Sky Tyrant to manipulate. As the only other person who has this kind of reincarnation cycle, he offers to guide her through it and answer her unsolved questions. He manages to manipulate himself free, and that creates a wild three-way battle in Hawkman #22 as Sky Tyrant attempts to send her into her next life and Carter battles to exert enough control over his body to keep Shiera safe.
Eventually the ship is compromised, Adam Strange and Atom enter the fray, and the battle for the future of Hawkman is just getting started. Equal part spacefaring adventure and complex story about identity, this title has taken the Year of the Villain tie-in and used it to deepen the character’s own storyarc. If the first year of this series was about Carter reckoning with his own evil past, this arc is about the ever-present threat of relapse.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.