Review – Hawk the Slayer #1 (Rebellion)

Publisher: Rebellion Publishing
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Henry Flint
Colourist: Rob Steen
Letterer: Greg Staples
Release Date: 13th April 2022

Fantasy movies were a big thing for me when I was a kid, and while at the tender age of six years old I couldn’t go to see this at the cinema, my mum had a surprisingly liberal, if idiosyncratic view of what we could watch at home. Case in point, horror movies were okay but Grange Hill was the sole source of the decline of discipline and respect in society during the ’80s. As a result, and much to my enjoyment, Hawk The Slayer was a regular rental from our local video shop.

There were dozens of similar titles that we used to watch regularly; Ladyhawke, Krull, Conan, Red Sonja, Beastmaster, The Dragon Slayer (which gave me nightmares) and Willow to name a few. But Hawk The Slayer is one I remember fondly, particularly for Jack Palance’s trademark over the top performance which, for a young boy, was truly terrifying.

I’m always a bit dubious and often disappointed by comic adaptations of movies, with a few notable exceptions (Mike Mignola’s adaptation of Dracula, and Dan Abnett’s Captain Kronos being up at the top of that list), but just look at the team that has produced this particular adaptation. Simply put, you need to pick this up if for no other reason than Ennis, Flint, Steen, and Staples are the creators behind it.

The first third of this issue is taken up with a synopsis of the film, and whilst in other titles this may seem extravagant, I think it’s time we’ll spent here. After all, this is based on a film that came out 42 years ago (yes I’m that old), and unless you’re purely and specifically targeting middle-aged men as your audience, it definitely requires some sort of introduction. For me, being in that middle-aged target audience, this section provided a warm and comforting sense of nostalgia mixed with the excitement of getting a new instalment of the tale of Hawk and his dysfunctional band of companions.

With Garth Ennis penning this series you know you’re in good hands, and this first issue certainly doesn’t pull any punches. It settles the backstory efficiently and gets straight into the next chapter at a good pace, giving us action and well-defined plot and character development in short order. If he will forgive me the use of the word, Ennis is a master storyteller of old, and knows exactly how to get to the heart of things without leaving us twiddling our thumbs. If the first issue is anything to go by, the rest of the series should be a riot.

I’m a huge fan of Henry Flint’s work, and have been for years. While it might not necessarily be to everyone’s tastes, I really liked the artwork here. I love the fact that while I’m probably going to be horribly disappointed to find to the contrary, there is a huge amount of detail here, and it still looks like it was lovingly hand drawn with pencils and ink.

Most importantly for me is the fact that this feels like a continuation of the story. The tone is right and the characters appear at first viewing to be true to those we saw on screen back in 1980. This is not a reimagining or a “hot take”, this is an exciting new chapter from a team that clearly has a genuine appreciation for the source material.

Rating: 4/5.


The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek ‏

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