Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Robert Venditti
Artwork: Bryan Hitch, Andrew Currie (inks), Alex Sinclair (colours)
Lettering: Skarkings & Comicraft
Release Date: 13th June 2018
A quick disclaimer before I get started: aside from the odd appearance in group books like Justice League, I don’t think I’ve ever read a Hawkman comic before. As such, I have no expectations or prior knowledge of Carter Hall, his backstory or his motivations. In fact, all I really know about him is the fact that he has, y’know, wings.
However, right from the get-go, this issue grabbed my attention with a bit of Tomb Raider/Uncharted-esque archaeological exploration, with the issue opening to Carter delving into a hidden sea-cave to get his hands on a mysterious relic. Y’see, as someone who has been reincarnated time and time again over the years, he finds himself desperately trying to find some hidden meaning in himself and his personal history.
So far so fun, and frantic action set-piece with Hawkman and the cave’s guardian helps to give the early portion of the book a real sense of attention-grabbing dynamism – always a bonus when you’re kicking off a brand new series. This sequence is brought to life by series artist Bryan Hitch, who conveys a tremendous amount of scale and motion throughout, with the measured inks of Andrew Currie and typically stellar colours of Alex Sincliar bolstering what is a striking visual package. Sure, it’s very much in the DC ‘house style’, but the approach works well for a story like this, particularly when the title character is as unmistakeably ‘superheroic’ as Mr Hall.
For me though, the book loses a little bit of its momentum right at the end. Carter delving into the magical side of the DCU to help with his examination of the relic yields some enjoyable back-and-forth dialogue, but the resolution sees the story veering sharply from what is ostensibly a personal story of self-discovery to what feels like yet another off-the-shelf “save the world” superhero yarn.
I mean, not every superhero story needs to have the fate of the universe hanging in the hero’s hands, and after the sprawling, epic-scale ensemble storytelling of No Justice and Dark Nights: Metal, it feels slightly unconvincing that the future of everything would now fall on a man who is, let’s be honest, something of a B or C-list DC hero. That said, writer Robert Venditti does an admirable job of selling the premise, and the abrupt change in tone almost feels worth it for the fantastic double-page spread where Hawkman finally gets a glimpse at his true history.
At the end of the day, this new Hawkman series is an intriguing prospect. It looks great, the writing is solid, but I’m just not sure there’s enough here to rope in new readers or those unfamiliar with the character. The early Tomb Raider-y portion is fun, even if any real threat is negated by the fact that the hero can fly, and there are some strong characters beats throughout.
If anything, it feels like this series will fare better moving forwards if it keeps flying fairly close to the ground, rather than trying to soar too high towards a payoff it hasn’t necessarily earned. Still well worth a look, though, particularly for Hawkfans.