There are a lot of comics out there, but some just stand out head and shoulders above the pack. With “Don’t Miss This” we want to spotlight those series we think need to be on your pull list. This week, we look at the recently relaunched “Hawkman” that spun out of the events from “Metal.”
Who Is This By?
“Hawkman” is written by Robert Venditti, with pencils by Bryan Hitch and inked generally by some combination of Andrew Currie, Bryan Hitch, and others, with Alex Sinclair and Jermiah Shipper on colors, and letters by Starkings and Comicraft.
What’s It All About?
This being a “Hawkman” book on some level it’s what every post-Crisis Hawkman book has been about: trying to explain in a cogent narrative fashion how the Carter Hall and Katar Hol both exist, or don’t, at any given moment. On a less meta level, Venditti and Hitch’s “Hawkman” is an intergalactic mystery across time and space, a fusion of the two Hawkmen’s genre leanings, as Carter Hall explores his past lives to find a way to stop otherworldly Deathbringers from doing as that name implies.
What Makes It So Great?
For me there was a bit of a surprise factor to “Hawkman” as the series spun of out “Metal” into a New Age of Heroes. Despite a long tenure in the Lantern family of books, Venditti never really captured me the way his 50 issue run on the relaunched “X-O Manowar” did at Valiant. I also came into comics after Bryan Hitch had arrived with books like “The Authority” and “Ultimates,” and his more recent work in DCYou era “Justice League of America” didn’t grab me. Everyone involved was an able hand, it just didn’t exactly wow me.
There was also the Hawkman of it all, this is a character who is more mimetically known as a poster child of the effects of DC’s various Crisis and the will of fans and writers to force the exquisite corpse of DC published work into coherence. At the very least the reintroduction of this Hawkman in “Metal” and attempting to deal with the perceived baggage hadn’t really been done since Geoff Johns time on the book, since everyone has pretty much forgotten/written off the “Savage Hawkman” era. To Venditti and Hitch’s credit, they took the ball Scott Snyder setup in “Metal” and ran with it applying a very Geoff Johns Literalism approach to the core of Hawkman. Hawkman is a character who eternally reincarnates, for various reasons, and if he reincarnates across time he should be able to do the same across space! (Which helps explain Katar Hol.)
Hitch and Venditti have turned “Hawkman” into their own personal riff on Quantum Leap, with the series acting as a set of connected one shots as Hall revisits past lives in all manner of places. Most recently in issue #8 we got to meet the Kryptonian version of the character. Hawkman is in search of answers to a mysterious vision of doom he has received. While there is a formula to the book, it allows Hitch and Venditti to explore and play with various pieces of DC iconography rent free and to the books benefit.
Artist Bryan Hitch seems more at home and contained on “Hawkman” artistically. In “Justice League of America,” things felt big for the sake of big in an ode to original wide screen comics of the early aughts that has since gone out of favor. In “Hawkman” Hitch’s keen use of perspective and scale is still put to great use, but with Venditti’s script providing enough guidance that things do not read as overly indulgent. Despite having a variety of inkers on the title there is enough consistency that you wouldn’t really notice unless you go looking for it.Continued below
“Hawkman” was a title that slowly grew on me, after hearing all the positive buzz on the book month after month. It does Hawkman things without feeling beholden to all the old traditions with the Quantum Leap gimmick energizing the character and providing the book a sound episodic structure you don’t really see any more.
How Can You Read It?
The first trade paperback “Awakening” collects the first six issues of the series and is due out in August. Issue #9 is due out this week, and it’s still early enough that you might be able to find the back issues if you so choose.