Thursday, December 18, 2008

Read: Hawkman v.3:no.1


Issue: Hawkman v.3:no.1
Title: "Winged Fury"
Published Date: Sep 1993
Generation: Modern Katar
Retcon Status: In Continuity

Summary: In Chicago, a new-look Hawkman swoops into action, first diffusing a hostage situation by snatching the armed hostage-taker off the roof he had holed up on, and then wiping out a group of gangbangers looking to hurt some pedestrians.  Meanwhile, the city is abuzz with the return of Hawkman, who disappeared seven months earlier, but no one is sure who is behind the helmet.  A reporter is on the scene in Netherworld, which was Katar one of Katar's old haunts.  The reporter can't find much information, but soon the haven is invaded when the mercenary known as Deadline, a metahuman who can phase his body and is also armed with high tech weaponry including anti-grav discs, attacks the Netherworlders seemingly at random.

Seeing the attack on the television, Hawkman (in his civilian identity as a busboy), runs and leaps to his hideout (an abandoned church), dons his uniform, and streaks to Netherworld.  When he engages Deadline, the mercenary tells Hawkman that he is the real target, and his benefactor wants to see who is under the helment -- by removing it from the Hawk's shoulders.  Hawkman is able to damage Deadline's anti-gravs and knock the fight out of his opponent, who gives up the name of his client.  As Hawkman flies away, Netherworld Feralyce asks him which Hawkman he is, to which the mysterious hero replies, "The current one."

Elsewhere, the Justice League dispatches Green Lantern Hal Jordan to get to the bottom of this new Hawkman's identity.

Review: Ahhh, the very first Hawkman comic book I ever purchased!  Several months after Hawkworld ended, we were treated to this pretty big-time relaunch of Hawkman, complete with a new costume design, a flashy embossed foil cover, and a mystery of just which Hawkman we were reading about.  Overall the effect is a positive one, as the comic itself holds up pretty well some 15 years after its publishing.  The art its dated more by the paper and coloring technique than Duursema's pencils, which are appropriately kinetic.  His look for Hawkman is very striking, especially the sweeping golden wings.  Ostrander and Truman (who handled the script) tell a simple but effective story, and refamiliarize old readers and introduce new readers to some of the basic history of the character with a news report motif to help disguise the exposition.  Another nice touch is the odd weaponry Hawkman uses, including a pair of nunchuks as well as three sorta-but-not-really Wolverine style claws on his left gauntlet.  The oddest element is Hawkman's new speech patterns, which take on a psuedo-mystical tone about the spirits guiding him to his prey.  For a debut issue, this is well done -- of course, in retrospect we know this direction wouldn't last too long, but it got off on a good step.

Image: Hawkman v.3:no.1, 1993, Jan Duursema.

3 comments:

BentonGrey said...

You have to admit that the metal wings and jacket are a cool look for Carter. As a matter of fact, if my dream comes true and we get a restarted Hawkman one of these days, I'd like to see the artist play up the Thanagar angle with different clothes and costumes when he's home (like Gardner Fox and Kubert did). I actually really liked the uniform he wore when not in harness, so to speak, in the original series.

As far as the story itself...well, it sounds decent for what it does, but I'll always be a little wary of the Hawkworld stories.

Luke said...

"As far as the story itself...well, it sounds decent for what it does, but I'll always be a little wary of the Hawkworld stories."

Part of the conceit of this series, I think, was streamlining what had come in Hawkworld and making the character more of a superhero again. There's some interesting info in the ersatz letters page about motivations and background on the series which I will post at some point.

BentonGrey said...

Color me interested Luke. Hawkman can pretty much always use a little streamlining.