Issue: The Atom And Hawkman #46 Title: "Bye Bye Birdie!" Published Date: Mar 2010 Generation: Modern Carter Retcon Status: In Continuity
Summary: During the Blackest Night, Ray Palmer is conscripted into the Indigo Tribe for his ability to feel great compassion. His new status comes to the front quickly, as the tribal leader Indigo-1 tells him that she intends to contact the rest of the Lantern Corps in order to bring reinforcements to Earth. However, she needs to concentrate and meditate, and Ray has to keep her alive. Ray is assaulted by the Black Lantern versions of Hawkman and Hawkgirl, who taunt him by saying that their lives were defined by death, not love. Ray resists, and is able to tap into the power of an Orange Lantern (it sounds like Larfleeze), and creates Orange Light constructs to battle the undead Winged Wonders, shouting "I WANT MY FRIENDS BACK!"
His success is short-lived, however, as Black Lantern Jean Loring soon arrives, and shrinks into Indigo-1's ring. Ray follows after, only to find himself in the Dibney's kitchen, reliving the murder of Sue Dibney. Jean then summons a swarm of Black Lantern Morlaidhans (the tiny race Ray joined during Sword Of The Atom), who pin him down and attack him. Facing his demons of his relationship with ex-wife, Ray taps into the power of a Green Lantern and destroys the Black Lantern Jean.
Indigo-1 has managed to summon the various corps, while Ray tells her to keep his involvement quiet, since he likes to keep a low profile. He then asks her a favor: to help him figure out how to bring Hawkman and Hawkgirl back to life.
Review: Despite the title, this really is an Atom comic. I suppose I should have let The Mighty Mite handle it? But Hawkman and Hawkgirl factor heavily into the preceedings, and Atom is one of the true blue (and red) Friends Of Hawkman, so here we are. I like The Atom and this story did a good job of demonstrating that he can do more than think and shrink. The taunts volleyed at him about hiding from life, never getting over Jean, wanting what the Hawks had, and so forth, ring very true, so that by the point that he stands up to Jean and takes some semblance of control back, the reader has invested enough into him that you feel his exhileration. It's a well put together tie-in, which is neither gratitous nor transparent.
Anyways, As I have already taken the hook on Blackest Night, this was something of a no-brainer for me. Geoff Johns delivers a tale which sets the ball rolling to rectify Ray's personal demons and begin the healing process. Sook and Pasarin split the art duties, and while the split is somewhat noticeable, I dig both of their styles so I am more than okay with. Would I have liked more Hawkman? Yes, but this is one heck of an Atom story and hopefully Johns has more in store for both the Titan and the Fury.
What do you say, DC? The Atom And Hawkman as a $3.99 double feature?