Issue: The Savage Hawkman #10 Title: "War Games" Published Date: Jun 2012 Generation: New 52 Carter Retcon Status: In Continuity
Summary: In the gladiator pit, Hawkman faces down five enemies hand picked by Xerxes to showcase his Nth Metal armor. Hawkman wades through the first four, taking them down with his fists and his wings, until the last foe remains: the captain of the guards and the arena champion, Ironside. After a back and forth brawl, Hawkman uses his gauntlet claws to slash Ironside's armor, defeating him.
Demanding his release to Xerxes, the alien enters the fray himself, telling Hawkman that he has decided to keep the Nth Metal as his own. The crowd cheers wildly for their hero Xerxes as the two warriors clash repeatedly. Xerxes holds the size and strength advantage, but Hawkman catches him off guard, grabbing his ankle solidly. He then takes to the air, and tosses Xerxes into a steel support strut, bending it wickedly with the impact. Hawkman then swoops to where Emma is being held and makes short work of the guards. Grabbing Emma, the Winged Wonder swoops down to Ironside, then slashes his armor. The damage severs some sort of fuel line, and Ironside's suit catch fire. Tossing him into the roof, the subsequent explosion gives Hawkman and Emma an escape route. Xerxes vows that this is not the last time they will cross, saying that the next time he will send him "headlong to Chinvat."
Investigating the warehouse the next day, Hawkman finds no trace of the gladiatorial arena or his captors. Carter meets up with Emma at a motel, and they make travel plans -- first by ship and then commercial air. Elsewhere, a mysterious, sunglasses wearing man (whom we had previously seen at the arena) uses strange technology to contact one of his charges, whom he refers to as the "Kherubim mongrel." He gives orders to the man to obtain the Nth Metal at any cost.
At the dock where Carter and Emma are boarding their merchant ship, they are spied on by the "mongrel" -- a well armed and outfitted operative named Pike, who says that it is his destiny to to kill the Hawkman!
Review: This issue is much more fast-paced than the last, but that is understandable as the majority of this issue takes place in the pit with Hawkman fighting first Ironside and the gladiators, then Xerxes himself. The action is fast and furious, and Joe Bennett, Art Thibert, and Jason Wright are up to the task. This team is really bringing Hawkman to life, and when you consider the amount of physical violence on display here, they seem really in their element and hitting it out of the park. Rob Liefeld's cover is not my cup of tea, although better than the previous one, at least. Liefeld's story, on the other hand, is straightforward, but he still makes the dialogue crisp and drops a few little character bits in there as well. Pike's seeming obsession with destiny is unusual for a wetwork operative, for instance, so I am very curious what his deal is.
Furthermore, we get a continually widening mystery around our hero. Who is this new player interested in the Nth Metal? What or who is the "Chinvat" which Xerxes referred to? (As an aside, in Zoroastrianism, the "Chinvat Bridge" is the "bridge of judgement" which separates the lands of the living and the dead. Hmmm...) What is the Kherubim's connection to all this? (I do have to laugh at one of the Image founders using a race created by another Image founder, heh.)
The second issue of the Liefeld/Bennett era of Savage Hawkman continues to deliver the goods. I like that the story is told in as many pages as it needs to be told: there is not some decompression of the story to make Hawkman fight in the pit for 3 issues or something. And now that he has escaped from Xerxes capture, we're off on a new adventure. To say that I am enjoying that sort of pace is an understatement, and to say I am eager to see what happens next is an even bigger understatement.