Monday, May 21, 2012

Read: The Savage Hawkman #8

Issue: The Savage Hawkman #8
Title: "Strange Bedfellows"
Published Date: Apr 2012
Generation: New 52 Carter
Retcon Status: In Continuity

Summary: After being ambushed by the alien shapeshifter Aksana, Hawkman is on the defensive, with his foe not holding anything back.  Deciding that he must do the same, Hawkman grabs Aksana by the throat and prepares to finish her, when she gasps and pleads not to kill her.  Hawkman releases her, and hears her out -- agents from her homeworld have tracked her to Earth for a crime she did not commit, and she needs his help.  When Hawkman suggests that she go see her employer, Dr. Kane, Aksana says that he will simply sell her out.  Hawkman wants nothing to do with it, and turns to leave, but Aksana says that if he leaves, he might as well kill her now.  Angry, Hawkman caves and agrees to help her.

Meanwhile, a trio of lifeforms make landfall in Manhattan, scan the local population, and move out...

Carter Hall goes to visit Professor Ziegler, who had called him to look at something.  When he arrives, though, Emma informs him that there is nothing for him to examine, and it seems that the Professor's dementia is increasing.  

On a Midtown rooftop, Hawkman and Aksana meet up, Aksana having tracked the mental chatter of the agents.  She tries to psychoanalyze Hawkman, claiming that there is a black hole welled up inside of him, and that it is masked by the deep pit of hostility and anger he has.  Before the analysis can go any further, the three agents arrive.  They transform their arms into long tentacles filled with sharp barbs, and attack.  Hawkman throws himself into the combat, but soon finds that he is the target, not Aksana.  Hacking his foes apart, after the battle Hawkman calls out Aksana for her betrayl.  She claims that Dr. Kane forced her to do it, but at this point Hawkman doesn't care, and he wings off.  As he flies away, he thinks to himself that, despite his better judgement, he wanted to help Aksana.  And that if he is lucky, those feelings will be buried inside the black hole in his chest.

Review: In an effort to finish this issue before #9 comes out this week, here we are.

As a final issue for this creative team, this is sort of an odd turn.  In one sense, it does reflect on what has come before (with the return of a character from the first arc), and is seemingly setting up new threats for the next team, but the whole issue is fairly low key.  The insight into Hawkman is somewhat trite (he's angry, and the anger is a mask for the emptiness at his core), and the enemies are no real threat.  So what was the real point of this issue?  

I think that this was meant as a sort of transition issue, finishing up with some of the introductory Hawkman stuff and beginning the branching out of the story.  Of course, it still is, it just won't be this crew handling that new direction.

That having been said the action was just fine, and we get to see a lot of hack and slash.  Tan's art is very nice, but I am a fan of his work so that is no surprise.  The script doesn't really offer that much to comment on, as the story is very simple and straightforward.  But there is something I do want to comment on.

Now, I am not one of these reviewers who finds subtext in everything.  But it seems to me that the back and forth tension between Hawkman and Aksana is supposed to be a little deeper.  First off, the title is "Strange Bedfellows," a double entendre if there ever was one.  On the first page, Aksana says she is disappointed in Hawkman's "performance."  On the splash page, she is on her back facing up at the big, muscular Hawkman who is above her, his hand around her neck and her hands grasping at his arm.  Later, after the battle, both are covering in dripping goo, including Aksana having some on her face, and Hawkman's long, pointy Nth metal sword dripping with it as he levels it at her, for crying out loud.  I'm sorry, this seems pretty obvious to me.  Or am I being crazy?

In any event, this was a perfectly serviceable issue which doesn't really add that much to the narrative nor really give us much insight into our rage- and hatred-filled hero.  

I also want to say "Thanks" to Tony, Philip, James, and the rest of the crew.  I appreciate what you folks did even if it didn't last as long as I am sure you all hoped it would!

Image: The Savage Hawkman #8, 2012, Philip Tan.

1 comment:

Mr P said...

Yeah, not a great issue, mostly kinda blah. I was amused by how much Carter was going "This is probably a trap. I don't trust her. This is a trap. Nothing's on TV, I'll just go along anyway."

The threat certainly didn't feel dire and Aksana's double-cross was hard to suss out. (Why did she need to lure Hawkman out since the other aliens could scan for the Nth metal?)

I also read into it that there was supposed to be some sort of sexual tension between Carter and Aksana. WHY there was sexual tension between the two, that I couldn't tell you.

It sure would be nice to get some more character for Carter beyond "grrr, I'm so angry". At least with the previous Hawkman series we knew why he was often angry.