Friday, April 5, 2013

Matchup: Hawkman and Aquaman

    In my efforts to get caught up to "Way Of The Warrior" I have been of course reading Volume 3 of Hawkman, and after the exit of John Ostrander, I am now hip deep in the work of William Messener-Loebs.  After the first story arc, "Godspawn," and then the Zero Issue, which establish the new, merged Hawkman character, our hero moves into the "Eyes Of The Hawk" arc, wherein he battles various other Avatars of animal spirits.  The second part of this story, in issue #15, is entitled "Among The Minnow" and features, among other things, a throwdown between Hawkman and Aquaman.

    This issue is better known for the fact that it turns the Aquaman baddie Scavenger into a child molester and murderer.  Yikes.

    But the battle between the two heroes was a timely piece of reading considering the current debate about the two characters spinning out of Justice League of America #1.  So it got me thinking about the two characters and how they would match up in the New 52 universe.

    Most of the chatter which I have heard online tends to lean strongly towards Aquaman, with Newsarama calling the match up a "stretch," and others vocally questioning how Hawkman could hang with Aquaman.  This amuses me greatly because had this question been asked 10 years ago, the net marks would have been leaning the other way.  I guarantee it.  In 2003, Hawkman was one of Geoff Johns' darling characters, and Aquaman was still seen as an aimless joke of a character who did not deserve to have his own title.  Fast forward to today, and it's the opposite situation.  So I don't put much stock in that.

    In 2003, I liked both Hawkman AND Aquaman.  And that's still true today.  So I don't really think I am influenced one way or another in sizing up these characters in terms of a fight.  

    Both characters have their strengths and weaknesses in a straight up brawl.  Both have an enhanced level of endurance, and they can trade blows back and forth.  Aquaman has finally gotten the respect he deserves for how powerful he can be on land, and Hawkman has been put over as a powerhouse for a while now.  Both have also been consistently portrayed lately as skilled warriors with weapons -- trident and mace, respectively.  

    Aquaman obviously has the edge in the water, and Hawkman clearly owns the skies.  So that's a wash.  Both have also been shown to have a bad temper, and give into their warrior's rage, as well.  A battle between these two would be an epic, back and forth, down and dirty, knock down, drag out smash-em-up, in the mud and dirt.  This is not the kind of fight like Superman and the Martian Manhunter, where they'd be throwing continents at each other.  This is much more grounded and harsh.

    Given the crew on the team, Hawkman is the only one who can match up with Aquaman, and it makes perfect sense for Waller to put him in that slot.  

    So who would win?  Honestly, I think it's a stalemate.  Neither would ever give quarter, and neither would ever ask for any.  At the end of the day, it would come down to how the rest of the battle goes.  Because if Superman takes out the Manhunter, and the Justice League has the JLA on the ropes, Hawkman would eventually get taken down by the others.  Same if the JLA had the upper hand.  But one on one, sorry but that's too close to call.

    But one thing is certain -- it would be a clash for the ages, that's for sure.


Aelle3 said...

I honestly couldn't say. I'm also not totally sure on Hawkmans 52 power levels. I like to think that hawkman has a higher rate regeneration but I have a suspicion aquaman has more endurance these days, we have seen bullets bounce off him and just leave scratches. I think it will come down to who is the more skilled warrior (I thnk I would give hawkman the edge), who can take the most punishment (give it to aquaman) and where it takes place. Couldn't say but I hope it goes to hawkman.

Anonymous said...

I love Hawkman. He's one of my favorite characters, and he's just always been awesome. I like that he's got some attention in the last decade, and I like that there was an attempt to bring him up in the world, even if it was a version of the character that wasn't my favorite. I also love Aquaman, and he's probably my favorite superhero.

I think these two characters make an interesting pairing, both as friends and combatants. The fight of the Scavenger was part of a rather terrible story, but yeah, it's got an interesting rumble at its center. I think Aquaman's got the physical edge, but Hawkman has the greater tactical versatility. It would definitely be a great fight, but I think Arthur would take it in the end.