Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Read: Hawkman v.4:no.14

Issue: Hawkman v.4:no.14 (reprinted in Hawkman v.2: Allies & Enemies)
Title: "Killers, Part 2"
Published Date: Jun 2003
Generation: Modern Carter
Retcon Status: In Continuity

Summary: In the swamps of St. Roch parish, the Gentleman Ghost appears before the half-crazed Chief Nedal, telling him that he will help the officer if he does him a favor -- one which involves reloading his gun.

Meanwhile, Hawkman and Hawkgirl are still fighting, with Hawkgirl demanding vengeance on Nedal for murdering her parents.  Just as Hawkman manages to pin her down, the Ghost appears to the heroes.  He taunts them, since a mortal cannot touch a spirit, and explains to them that when he met them for the first time, it was in the mid-1800s, when "they" were known as Nighthawk and Cinammon, respectively.  "Gentleman" Jim Craddock's death at the hands of Nighthawk (who thought Craddock was forcing himself on Cinammon, when in fact they were tussling over an attempted larceny) transformed him into the Gentleman Ghost, forced to wander the Earth forever since the souls of those responsible for his death cannot pass on.  He cruelly tells them that he has sent Nedal to their "temple," the museum, because it amused himself.

Back at Stonechat, Nedal almost immediately opens fire, hitting Jayita in the gut and clipping Officer Isabella in the shoulder.  Danny and Nedal struggle, with Nedal chasing the young man throughout the museum.  The Hawks arrive to save Danny, and Nedal is on the run from the Winged Wonders.  With the Chief subdued, Hawkman wants to hang him with Craddock's noose for killing Jayita, but Kendra stays his hand.  That doesn't stop the Gentleman Ghost, however, who does the deed himself, leaving Nedal hanging off the widow's walk of Stonechat.

The truth about Nedal is made public and the Hawks given a pass by the media.  But one new arrival wants to get to the bottom of this new Hawkman, and readies to make herself known: Shayera Thal, Hawkwoman of Thanagar.

Review: The art in this issue is handled by guest penciller Don Kramer, who has done some work on Batman and Detective Comics, as well as the current JSA vs Kobra miniseries.  His work is straightforward and trim, a big visual change from Van Sciver's work in the last issue.  Other than the complicated manner in which he draws the lenses on the helmets, his work is not a bad fit for the Hawks, although his Gentleman Ghost is not afforded the same special effects coloring that EVS got.  Anyway, I really like this issue, as it wraps up a major plot point, brings back a major bad guy, and has one hell of a last page teaser.  

Johns does a good job of detailing the Ghost's motivation and point of view.  It is not very surprising that after Johns essentially brought him back around this time that his stock has risen considerably in the larger DCU, including his various animated appearances.  

All in all a good, concise two-parter and a very strong Hawk adventure.

Image: Hawkman v.4:no.14, 2003, Andrew Robinson.

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