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    Review: Hawk and Dove #8

    By | April 6th, 2012
    Posted in Reviews | % Comments

    Like buying a ticket for Titanic 3-D, it is clear going in that this will be the end of “Hawk and Dove,” the series. We may still be sad, despite knowing what is coming, but like Jack said to Rose, we must never let go of this Rob Liefeld joint.

    Written by Rob Liefeld
    Illustrated by Rob Liefeld and Marat Mychaels

    Rob Liefeld writes and illustrates this intense issue as Hawk and Dove face down the mysterious Hunter! Secrets are revealed and lines are crossed in an epic you have to see to believe! The race is on as Dove battles the Hunter’s lethal poison and Hawk desperately seeks a cure! Could this be the end for Hawk and Dove?

    When “Hawk and Dove” was originally solicited as part of the New 52, the announcement of Rob Liefeld on pencils was a novel, almost cute idea. Liefeld has a history with these characters, and his involvement in the series was a nice nod to the characters’ past. They were coming off of a greater spotlight than ever after being two of the main characters in “Brightest Day,” and if there was any time to sell a Hawk and Dove book, it was now — so Liefeld and writer Sterling Gates were off to the races, with “Hawk and Dove” being part of DC’s ‘Young Justice’ line of books.

    Fast forward a few months: Gates is off the book, and Liefeld is the penciller and writer on the project. Fast forward a little more, and “Hawk and Dove” is cancelled. However, like Obi-Wan Kenobi before him, strike Liefeld down, and he will become more powerful than you could possibly imagine. Despite this title’s cancelation, Liefeld is plotting, scripting or drawing three books next month for DC. In addition, his Extreme Studios relaunch has been a critical success, and his best known creation, Deadpool, continues to be a hit for Marvel.

    Somehow, beyond all logic and evidence, Rob Liefeld is the biggest creator in comics.

    But before his victory lap, there was the little bit of business of tying up the loose ends of “Hawk and Dove” in issue #8. Our title characters are fighting “The Hunter,” the mysterious, unknown “High Priest,” along with the D’Yak army of faceless warriors, with Hawk leading the charge and giving Dove and Xyra a chance to do some real damage.

    Hawk begins with the dreaded football analogy, and continues unabated for 3 pages, explaining football to the reader as if it was Jai Alai. There are few clichés in the world more tired than football as an analogy for everything, but that doesn’t stop Writer Liefeld. In fact, this sets off a chain reaction of “you’ve seen this before” moments, including such greatest hits as: -The guy you thought was dead rising up and saving the day!

    -The villain basically shouting “He who fights and runs away lives to fight another day!” and vanishing

    -A serpent being a metaphor for evil

    -An “I won’t let them down” internal monologue

    -The “my partner’s not dead, I can feel it!” trope

    -“If that is what counts as your best shot, then this is far from a fair fight!”

    -“If I had a nickel for every time…”

    -A post-battle discussion on a rooftop

    -A dramatic leap off the building, letting the characters metaphorically ride off into the sunset

    For real you guys, each page is more predictable than the last, and this doesn’t just include the writing. Penciller Liefeld (with assistance from Marat Mychaels) showing off all his best tricks: the toothy grimace, the lack of feet, the muscles upon muscles. If you’re a fan of Liefeld’s work, I can’t imagine you not enjoying this book — but, alas, I’m not typically a fan of his work (although I think he’s created some great characters, but each of those characters have worked better in someone else’s hands — see Glory, Deadpool, Supreme, Prophet), and so to me, this book just seems silly.

    But its silliness is not offensive — this isn’t exactly “Green Arrow” under Ann Nocenti. Nor is it silly to the point of amazing, like “Batman: Odyssey” — it is just silly as in “Oh wow — DC is publishing this book. That’s so silly!”

    Continued below

    And so, as I was writing this, I began to feel a little sorry for Mr. Liefeld. He’s not my cup of tea, but people clearly like what he does, or else he wouldn’t be King of Comics right now (even if Eric Stephenson is challenging him for that crown). But then I remembered that he is, in fact, King of Comics, and I shouldn’t feel anything but envy for his place in the world.

    Unlike “Mister Terrific” or “Static Shock,” this isn’t a case of a beloved character not working in a new series. I mean, I guess there has to be at least one person out there who is a major H&D fanboy or fangirl, but I can’t imagine there are message boards and comments sections being lit up over this cancellation. Nor is this like “O.M.A.C.,” a good idea that couldn’t find its audience. This, like “Men of War,” or “Blackhawks,” is an attempt to give the audience something that they want — but the “they” I speak of is the DC brass — they want a war book (even if no one buys it), they want a GI Joe knockoff (even though there are actual good GI Joe comics), they want a Hawk and Dove series. And it actually pleases me that they don’t get to have what they want right now. The New 52, shockingly, is a relatively effective meritocracy: if you sell, you will succeed. That means that certain books (“Captain Atom,” I’m looking at you) are doomed to meet a similar fate, but it also means that editorial won’t carry a book along if it is clearly dragging the company down. Case in point: “O.M.A.C.” was written by the co-publisher and illustrated by a sometimes grumpy legend. If there was EVER a creative team you’d keep a book going to appease, it is DiDio/Giffen.

    So, as I’ve suggested before on “The Hour Cosmic,” maybe Liefeld is the Wolf of the DCnU — when you need someone to come in and fix your book, you call him in. If by fix, you mean mercy kill. Maybe “The Savage Hawkman,” “Deathstroke” and “Grifter” all are next on the euthanasia block, and so DC asked their best hit man to come in and kill them off, just like he did with “Hawk and Dove.” So, farewell Hank and Dawn, and we’ll inevitably see you in “Justice League International” soon enough.

    Final Verdict: 4.5 — Pass (get it — like you’d pass a football!)

    Brian Salvatore

    Brian Salvatore is an editor, podcaster, reviewer, writer at large, and general task master at Multiversity. When not writing, he can be found playing music, hanging out with his kids, or playing music with his kids. He also has a dog named Lola, a rowboat, and once met Jimmy Carter. Feel free to email him about good beer, the New York Mets, or the best way to make Chicken Parmagiana (add a thin slice of prosciutto under the cheese).