THIS REVIEW OF ‘HAWKMAN’ #2 CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS.
By Jami Jones. Dark Nights: Metal broke the Source Wall and the consequences have continued to reverberate throughout the DC Universe. New heroes have emerged (Immortal Men, Sideways, Silencer) while others have found a new lease on life. Following Metal, Carter Hall stands renewed and at the center of a mystery that compels him to reach back through his earlier incarnations in the new DC series, Hawkman. Robert Venditti returns planetside after going cosmic with Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps and joins artist supreme Bryan Hitch, inkers Andrew Currie and Daniel Henriques, colorist Jeremiah Skipper, and lettering team Starkings & Comicraft in examining the history of Hall and how it holds the key to a threat that only the Hawkman could possibly hope to stop.
When DC launched its Rebirth initiative Hawkman was among a number of notable absences in the fallout of its post-New 52 reconstruction. Metal not only heralded the return of Hawkman, but Plastic Man and the Martian Manhunter, as well, fan favorites ready to rejoin the publisher’s pantheon. Rather than just rely on an amorphous origin story, DC has entrusted Venditti with the task of untangling Hall’s multitude of lives in a story that will entice new fans and satisfy long-time Hawkman aficionados.
Hawkman #2 opens with an early incarnation of Hall, Khufu, who flies alongside his eternal compatriot Chay-ara via alien Nth metal, an otherworldly element common in every one of Hall’s multitude of existences. Later, Hall travels to a museum to examine the physical remains of his distant past. It’s there that he’s drawn into a daydream of another life which soon becomes all too real, and comes out of the experience holding a new clue that proves he’s on the right path towards getting the answers he seeks.
Taking on characters with hefty mythos is not a new challenge for Venditti, but navigating the immense, and at times confusing, Hawkman lore is a task that he seems to excel at. Venditti considers himself a “good puzzle piece writer,” one unafraid of the challenges inherent to this character’s byzantine backstory which dates back to comics’ Golden Age. Venditti’s attention to detail and ability to tell stories on an epic scale is what makes this story so compelling. We’re invested in learning more about a character who’s tied so closely to the beginnings of the DC Universe, but it doesn’t feel like an undertaking.
Beautiful illustrations accompany Venditti’s scripts, as expected when said artist is Bryan Hitch. His masterful attention to detail suits Hawkman; his settings are simultaneously realistic and fantastic—Hitch has no problem moving between the intricacies of ancient Egypt to a seemingly mundane ride through the London tube—and his characters’ dilemmas resonate on the page. (While he hurtles through the air Khufu attempts to understand visions he believes have been given to him by the gods; the sequence is a juxtaposition of technological advancement and dedication to religious rote, expressed through confident lines and character work.)
Hawkman soars through time and space, his flight guided by a creative team determined to bring sense to his fractured timeline. New revelations lead to uncharted destinations, obscured secrets are etched in the psyche of a man driven to seek out the truth of who he is. Rather than rely on twisted and murky hints, Venditti, Hitch, Currie, Henriques, Skipper, Starkings and Comicraft forge ahead with clear ideas, projecting their winged hero across the skies, stars—and future.
Written by Robert Venditti.
Art by Bryan Hitch.
Inks by Andrew Currie, Daniel Henriques, and Bryan Hitch.
Colors by Jeremiah Skipper.
Letters by Richard Starkings and Comicraft.
7.5 out of 10
‘Hawkman’ #2 is in stores now.