Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Waiting In The Wings -- 03/30/2011

Is there any Hawk-related stuff in stores on this rainy March Wednesday?  Let's take a look.

JLA / The 99 #6 -- Well, the collection of this miniseries should be solicited soon enough.  This mini has flown (no pun intended) under the radar for the most part... doesn't seem like it's not making much of an impact right now.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Brightest Day #23 Cover Revealed

DC has revealed the cover to the penultimate issue of the maxi-series Brightest Day, and it features Hawkman and Hawkgirl in... slightly different forms than the last time we saw them.

Definitely fuels the speculation regarding the "major" heroes which The Entity returned to life being reborn as Elementals.  Firestorm, at least, has some precedent in this field (as Honor-Wing Bearer Shag, who put me onto this image, has speculated).  The Hawks and Aquaman I can buy (but why are there two Air Elementals?) but Manhunter?  If he was an Elemental it would be for Mars I would presume and not Terra.  I'm still a few issues behind most of the rest of the blogosphere thanks to my monthly shipment schedule, but I remain super-interested in where things are going.  Especially in the light of the news that Geoff Johns is going to be writing an Aquaman series of some kind come this fall, which further supports the rumors regarding James Robinson penning a Hawkman book.  (Further speculation puts Peter Tomasi on a Manhunter book and... someone on Firestorm?)

Brightest Day #23 is due April 6.

Image: Brightest Day #23, 2011, Gary Frank.  

Monday, March 28, 2011

Read: Hawkman v.3:no.4

Issue: Hawkman v.3:no.4
Title: "The Return of Hawkwoman"
Published Date: Dec 1993
Generation: Modern Katar & Shayera
Retcon Status: In Continuity

Summary: In Colorado, Count Viper has swapped his current body -- Shayera Thol's -- with Katar Hol, giving himself Hawkman's body and trapping our hero in the body of his partner and lover.  Viper uses his telekinetic powers to knock Katar unconscious and takes "her" back east to his HQ.  While Viper begins the next phase of his plan to save America from itself, Katar is thrown into a cell.  As his guards consider having their way with "her," Katar lashes out and incapacitates all of them, noting that in some ways Shayera kept herself in better fighting shape than he did.  Stealing a motorcycle, he returns to the abandoned Church and interrogates the captive Dr. Moon as to the location of Shayera.  Moon tells Katar that she is being held in an asylum.  Right about then, Viper receives word of the escape and wings off to deal with his own plan, sending Airstryke and a team of Marauders to deal with "loose ends."

At the asylum, the old man who we have seen grumbling before manages to completely break his restraints and take out the guards -- and we find out that this is the body housing the mind of Shayera Thol!  Airstryke and his team are quickly dispatched by Katar -- who is then attacked by Shayera, thinking him to be Count Viper in her body.  A kiss convinces her otherwise.  Meanwhile, Count Viper arrives at Justice League America headquarters, quickly using his mental powers to dominate Wonder Woman... because if you want to reshape America, who can stand against the Justice League?

Review: More body jumping fun and games from Ostrander and Duursema.  It's a nice progression from last issue's cliffhanger, including some of the stuff you would expect (when Katar puts on a leather jacket, he comments that it is tighter across the chest than he would like) and some more imaginative stuff (Katar fighting with a lot of kicks rather than punches, adapting quickly to the different balances and strengths of Shayera's body).  Duursema's art is on par with previous issues and there are some very nice depictions of "Hawkwoman" this time out.  As a solo issue it's pretty good if you can get past the inane setup from last time, but lack of closure means this is better served being read as a middle chapter.  It does do a good job of building anticipation for the nest installment, which is admirable.

By the way, the cover image?  Not even CLOSE to happening in this issue.  And what's up with that depiction of Wonder Woman?  Not nearly as good as she looks inside, that's for sure.

Image: Hawkman v.3:no.4, 1993, Jan Duursema.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Waiting In The Wings -- 03/23/2011

There doesn't appear to be any Hawkstuff out this week, so let's take a look at what else looks interesting in the DC Comics lineup.

Justice League of America #55 -- Two things about this book stand out to me: first off, the Doomsday crossover's slow development, and the combination of the crossover with the regular story.  Maybe it's a symptom of the monthly comics shipments I am currently working with, but this Reign of Doomsday story really seems like it has fizzled.  Unfortunately I have only received the Steel one-shot; the Outsiders issue and this one are waiting for me from DCBS.  Maybe if I read all three in a row I'll get more enthused.  Now, I do like that the Doomsday appearance does not interrupt the Eclpiso storyline... why would supervillains wait their turn?  Should be fun to read this one.

Green Lantern #64/Green Lantern Corps #58 -- I don't think I can be less interested in a storyline than War of The Green Lanterns.  Except possibly Fear Itself but that's another company.

Titans: Villains for Hire -- This book is still published?  I am not being facetious, I seriously did not realize this book was not cancelled yet.  It's pretty apparent that DC is not sure what to do with with the Titans franchise and is just flailing around here.  Remember the highs the book had a few years back when Johns was on it?  Seems like ancient history at this point.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Read: Hawkman v.4:no.19

Issue: Hawkman v.4:no.19 (Collected in Hawkman v.3: Enemies And Allies)
Title: "Hunting For History"
Published Date: Nov 2003
Generation: Modern Carter
Retcon Status: In Continuity

Summary:  In Khandaq, Carter Hall and Daniel Evans have arrived in order to consult on an archeological dig being undertaken by an American University professor.  Once on the site, the party is attacked by an anthropomorphic bird man and Black Adam!  Carter quickly ditches his work clothes and dons the wings, taking to the skies to defend his friends.  Adam and Hawkman brawl a little bit, but Adam tells him that he is protecting his history -- the site is the tomb of Adam's family, who were killed while Adam was in Egypt helping Prince Khufu wage a war.  Adam tells Hawkman that he wants him to join the group he is putting together to liberate Khandaq, and proactively bring justice to those who need it.  Hawkman refuses to join, but honors Adam's request.  When inquiring about the bird man, Adam tells Hawkman that he is Northwind, Carter and Shiera's godson, who has now further changed into an avian form, and has joined him on his quest.  Adam uses his super breath to recover the site in sand and leaves.  Hawkman suddenly finds himself bleeding, as back in St. Roch, a mysterious figure stabs a Hawkman voodoo doll...

Review: Not much to recommend this issue, unfortunately.  It serves primarily as a transition from the Thanagarian storyline to set up both the Headhunter storyline as well as the big Black Reign crossover with JSA which was on the horizon.  In the end it makes for unsatisfying reading, offering little more than a quick introduction of Northwind and a little glimpse into the history between Khufu and Theo-Adam.  The art by Scot Eaton is pretty standard, neither especially good nor bad.  Safely skippable.

Image: Hawkman v.4:no.19, 2003, John Watson.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hawkman At C2E2

Hawkman did not get a lot of lip service at C2E2 this weekend, but we did get this comment from VP of Sales Bob Wayne on the DC Universe panel:

Wayne said that the main characters of Brightest Day, including Hawkman and Aquaman, will get a chance to receive more focus after the series ends.

Ongoing series for them after Flashpoint?  Along with Firestorm, perhaps?  We'll see, I guess.  Neither Flashpoint nor Fear Itself have me really excited so this is going to be a relatively light summer for me it seems.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hey everyone, go check out the latest episode of my Japanese giant monster podcast, Earth Destruction Directive! This is Episode 2: There's No Such Thing As Brainwaves -- give it a listen!

Waiting In The Wings -- 03/17/11

Any Hawk stuff available this week?  Let's look and see!

Brightest Day #22 -- Things are rocketing to their conclusion here.  I do like how Johns and Tomasi have managed to give most of the main players their own storyline and allowing those to play out while still keeping the overall story with Boston Brand moving as well.  I have said it before and I will continue to say it but this is the title which drives me the most nuts from the standpoint of getting my comics monthly.  This book will be missed once it is over.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Read: Flash Comics #19

Issue: Flash Comics #19 (reprinted in The Golden Age Hawkman Archives v.1)
Title: "Cold Light" (suggested title)
Published Date: Jul 1941
Generation: Golden Age Carter
Retcon Status: In Continuity

Summary: Carter and Shiera are at a dinner and hear a speech from the eccentric chemist Pratt Palmer, who talks highly about his "cold light" weapon.  Afterwards, the pair witness the chemist being kidnapped, and Carter is shot!  He was only grazed in the shoulder, however, and suspects that the near miss was intentional.  Carter and Shiera make a bet about cracking the case, with the loser having to pay for a posh dinner at an exclusive club.  Investigating, Hawkman comes across Palmer dying in the street a few days later, an apparent victim of the cold light.  Hawkman busts into the building Pratt staggered out of and runs into the criminal known as The Hood, who shoots Hawkman down.

The Hood then sends his men to rob a bank, sending a blob of cold light to take out any resistance.  Shiera spots them and tails them, intending on catching them in the act.  Meanwhile, Hawkman revives, the bullet having hit his helmet and merely stunning him.  He discovers that there are pictures of Pratt Palmer -- some thin, some fat -- on the walls.  He doesn't have much time to reflect, however, as the room he is in is invaded by cold light.  Hawkman escapes, while Shiera trails the hoods to the hideout and pulls a gun.  The thugs get the better of her, and bring her inside... to the waiting Hawkman, who wipes them and The Hood out. Hawkman reveals that Pratt had faked his kidnapping and death, with the corpse being a man who looked like Palmer.  Carter runs up a huge tab on Shiera at dinner, but mails her a check to cover the costs.

Review: Very strong Golden Age adventure, with a good pace and nice art.  After Shiera corners the hoods, the colors bleed into very appealing garish reds and greens, very eye-catching.  The Hood (hah) looks not dissimilar to the Thought Terror, and just like him would never appear again.  Pratt Palmer -- a relation to Al perhaps?  And once again Moldoff really gives Shiera her due, as she looks downright glamorous in this issue, plus her turn on the cover.

Fox's story is pretty straightforward but it works.  I like that after Hawkman is shot the second time, he quips that he is "collecting a lot of lead."  The use of the cestus is a nice touch too, and it is a weapon which would reappear in Volume 4 to be used by the modern Hawks.  One of my favorite bits is the bet between Carter and Shiera, with some of the prices she balks at, including the "$10 couvert charge" and how after a 30-someodd dollar meal she can't afford to eat for a week.  Ladies and Gentlemen, the 40s!  Overall a good solo outing.

Image: Flash Comics #19, 1941, Sheldon Moldoff.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Hawkgirl in Flashpoint: Wonder Woman and The Furies

From DC's Flashpoint Friday series today, who makes a cameo but Hawkgirl!

If she can't save the world – no one will!

Covers: Ed Benes
Writer: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Art: Scott Clark and David Beaty

Hmmm, Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl (and from the looks of it, Wonder Girl... and is that Skyrocket in the back there>) written by DnA and drawn by Scott Clark?  Sounds like this might be a worthwhile pick-up!  It certainly plays to Clark's skills if nothing else (not to mention Benes on covers).

I am still not sold on the Flashpoint storyline, but I am getting the main miniseries.  Of all of the tie-ins, only this one and The Outsider have intrigued me.  Still, you never know, right?  

Image: Flashpoint: Wonder Woman and The Furies #1, 2011, Ed Benes.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Logo Study: The Shadow War of Hawkman

Haven't done one of these in a while, but I figured I should drop a little logo love on the blog today.  This entry takes a look at the logo for Hawkman and Hawkwoman's return to the spotlight in the 1980s, The Shadow War of Hawkman miniseries.

The first thing which is most obvious about this logo is that it is built upon the classic Volume 1 logo, which suggested not only strength but also antiquity in an era of science heroes.  Since I have grown to dig that logo quite a bit, it is very welcome here.  The main change is the addition of the header above the logo.  "The Shadow War" itself is handled in the same style as the main logo, only smaller, of course.  You can see the wingtips and "foottips" on each letter, as well as the uneven symmetry of certain letters.  The W's and A's are the most noticeable letters with the uneven symmetry, as the thin sides are almost too thin.  But they work and maintain the right proportions, to my eyes, of the main title.

I'd also like to point out the E from "The."  I really like this E, with the downward curved wingtip and the upward curved foottip.  Combined with the double tips on the middle segment and you have a shape which is akin to the two talons of a raptor swooping in on its target.  Very sweet!  Similarly, the T and the F have two tips which point downwards, suggesting a bird's beak.  

Overall I like this one, certainly a lot more than the slapdash The Atom and Hawkman logo.  It retains the elegant power of the original logo but is still able to immediately differentiate itself thanks to the new additions.  It was clear that, much as the Shadow War story was an evolution of the Silver Age Hawks storyline, they were not trying to reinvent the wheel with this logo.  As further evidence, the Special and then Volume 2 would retain the same classic logo.

However, when DC did reinvent the wheel with regards to Katar and Shayera, they would also go with a radically new take on a logo.  But that is another story.

Image: The Shadow War of Hawkman logo, 1985, Richard Howell?.  

Waiting In The Wings -- 03/09/2011

No new Hawkstuff this week, folks.  And frankly, there's not much DC output which I didn't already talk about over on The Bunker this week.  This is going to be a pretty lame post, I must confess!  Maybe I will get something else up later...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hawkman And Hawkgirl On Zazzle

Zazzle, one of the sites where you can make your own shirts and other merchandise, seems to have surpassed the old school Cafe Press in this market, including their large population of official stores, including this one from DC Comics.  And as such we now have a store which sells a metric ton of Hawkman and Hawkgirl merch!  Shirts, caps, mugs, buttons, greeting cards, keychains, phone skins, the works!

And that's not all, as there are subpages for Aquaman, Firestorm, Green Arrow, captain Marvel, The Flash, and even DARKSEID!

The Zazzle stuff is not exactly cheap but where else are you going to get merch with this awesome stock art on it?

Thanks to Bearer of the Honor Wings Shag for passing this link along to me!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Read: Hawkman v.1:no.1.2

Issue: Hawkman v.1:no.1
Title:  Master Of The Sky-Weapons"
Published Date: Apr/May 1964
Generation: Silver Age Katar & Shayera
Retcon Status: Changed Generations

Summary:  Mavis Trent and her team of archaeologists send word to Carter and Shiera in Midway City that they have found amazing discoveries at a Maya site in Mexico.  But when they arrive back in the States, they have no memories of the dig -- or even of who they are!  Our heroes try the Absorbascon, but it does finds nothing in its memory probe.  So Hawkman and Hawkgirl wing off to the Yucatan to investigate.  They are not on the site long before they are attacked by Chac, who looks like an ancient Maya.  Chac uses a forked stick to pull strong columns of water from the sky.  The Winged Wonders are able to avoid being crushed, but are still tossed about by the water.  Using his sling, Hawkman is able to damage the stick and stop the attack.  Undeterred, Chac begins attacking with another device, which when spun creates tangible sound.  Hawkgirl disarms him with her boomerang.  Chac counterattacks again, using a third weapon to trap the pair in the underground of the temple.  

There, the Hawks read the pictograms (which they can decipher thanks to their knowledge of ancient languages due to the Absorbascon), and learn that Chac was a Maya chief who gained his weapons from a downed alien spacecraft.  He was later overthrown as a tyrant and made to forget his identity thanks to "memory herbs."  He wandered the Yucatan for centuries, and was eventually hired as a guide by Mavis Trent -- and once on the site he began to regain his memory and his weapons, intent on ruling the world.  Luckily, the hawks are able to use the sound weapon (which had been tangled onto Shayera's boomerang) to break free of their tomb.  They engage Chac, who is armed with his fourth weapon, a mask which generates intense wind.  Hawkman and Hwkgirl discard their wings and Hawkman is able to land a knockout punch before Chac can deploy his mysterious fifth weapon.  Chac is turned over to the police and the Hawks return home -- after they find an ancient recipe to counteract the amnesia.

Review: The cover story of the issue and the more action packed one for sure, this is the "A" story.  Pretty standard Silver Age Hawkman and Hawkgirl fare, with the heroes using ancient weapons to battle a strange villain.  Chac makes for a good foil for the two, being versed with an ancient civilization, but you would think an immortal Mayan chief would make more sense as a Golden Age Hawk opponent, right?  Chac would reappear briefly in a Dr. Destiny story over in JLA, but not after that.  Seems prime for a return to me!  (I may be more prone because my wife and I enjoyed a visit to a large Maya ruin while in Belize on vacation... helpful mental photo referencing for this tale.)

Some other nice touches include Mavis Trent leading the archaeological expedition and the quick mention of the Hawks' spaceship.  The Absorbascon makes a cameo appearance... to no effect!  Overall as introduction to the kind of adventures one can expect from our heroes (paired with the recap provided in the other story), this issue is a strong debut.

Image: Hawkman v.1:no.2, 1964, Murphy Anderson.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Hawkman Pencils By Murphy Anderson

Sorry for the lame post today folks, but things are hectic over here.  Enjoy this piece of original Hawkman art -- the splash page to v.1:no.15 by Murphy Anderson!

Image: Hawkman v.1:no.15 splash page pencils, 1966, Murphy Anderson, image obtained from Dial B For Blog.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

New Matter Master In Batman Beyond #3

According to this preview over on DC's The Source, the timeline inhabited by Terry McGinnis is also inhabited by a new version of the classic Hawk-foe the Matter Master.  Whether this young man has any connection to Mark Mandrill is unrevealed, although the Wikipedia entry for the Master doesn't seem to imply one.

At least they kept the green costume!

Batman Beyond #3 is in stores now.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Waiting In The Wings -- 03/02/2011

Anything with the Hawks this week?  Let's take a look!

Brightest Day #21 -- I doubt that the recently, ahem, "dusted" (groan) Hawks will show up in this issue but we might get some more hints as to just what the heck The Entity and his unwilling agent Boston Brand are up to.  I did like the revelation in #19 that the "main" characters -- the Hawks, Firestorm, Aquaman, and Manhunter from Mars -- really are the "main" characters!  Pretty amusing that the Entity had a pecking order which happened to coincide with folks who have held their own titles and been members of the Justice League (disregard Hawk for this joke please).  Anyways, looks like it might the Manhunter's turn to go powdered sugar on us...

Giant-Size Atom #1 -- Hilariously ironic name not withstanding, this looks intriguing.  If I had been picking up Adventure I would get this, but at this point I'll just wait for the inevitable collected edition.  Frank, did you have any thoughts on this story?