Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Read: Hawkman v.4:no.1-4

Issues: Hawkman v.4:no.1-4, Hawkman Secret Files And Origins #1 (Reprinted in Hawkman V.1: Endless Flight)
Title: "First Impressions," "Into The Sky," "Lost In The Battlelands," "Beasts Of Burden," "Hidden Past and Hidden Future"
Published Date: May-Oct 2002 (trade paperback released Feb, 2003)
Generation: Modern Carter  
Retcon Status: In Continuity

Synopsis: Hawkman and Hawkgirl relocate to the city of St. Roch, LA -- Kendra to investigate the murder of her parents, and Carter to hook up with the Stonechat Museum, whose curator, Oliver Evans, he knows from his previous life.  Evans' son Daniel is the museum's resident archaeologist is in India hunting a rare gem which they hope will keep the museum from being closed down and purchased by mysterious collector Kristopher Roderic.  Roderic makes the first move by sending his assassian Bloque after Hawkman, but the hit-man is easily defeated.  Heading to India in a Thangarian ship, the Hawks find Danny, along with his guide/translator Jayita being chased through the jungle by a trio of mercenaries -- Shadow-Thief, Copperhead, and Tigress -- as well as the local military.  Stumbling onto the temple containing the "Third Eye Of Shiva," Hawkman, Thief, Copperhead, and Jayita are transported to the Battlelands, where the offspring of Ganesha wage war on one another.  Hawkman is enslaved after he discovers the brutal nature of the ruling class, then helps stir an uprising
among the oppressed before being saved and returned home by Hawkgirl, who herself had her hands busy avoiding the military and recapturing the gem from a bloodthirsty Tigress.  The two return to Stonechat, where they agree to stay on, and Carter tells Kendra that he wants to work as partners, and that we will not force her past lives upon her.

Meanwhile, the mysterious Roderic sends Shadow-Thief and his team hunting for various powerful relics all over the world.  The Hawks get wind of this and confront Roderic, who threatens them but takes no overt action.  The encounter, coupled with an ancient dagger recovered by the Thief, triggers memories deep in Roderic's subconscious, as he re-discovers his heritage as Hath-Set, the cruel high priest of Prince Khufu and Princess Shay-Era, and their murderer.

Also included are profiles on Carter, Kendra, Roderic, and the Stonechat Museum.

Review: I ended up finding this through my local library after trying in vain to find it locally for purchase.  I was not disappointed with this collection, and if I see it for sale I intend to buy it.  Johns and Goyers, who get co-credits on the plotting, (along with James Robinson who pitches in as well) nicely establish a new home base and situation for the Hawks in the "City That The Saints Forgot" deep in the bayou.  Stonechat also makes for a modern update to the classic Midway City Musuem.  The interplay between Carter and Kendra is rife for conflict and really sets the tone of the relationship early on.  Appropriately, even though his name is on the cover, Hawkman and Hawkgirl get equal treatment within, and are seen as equals, with Kendra saving Carter's bacon more than once.  Roderic makes for a good villian, slimy and sleazy as a relic collector but substantially more menacing as the modern Hath-Set.  Also quite well done are his team of mercenaries, all three of which shine.  Tigress, whom I knew from the Injustice Society in the pages of JSA, makes a worthy adversary for Kendra.  I had never read anything with Copperhead in it, but I knew him from Justice League, so seeing him in his post-Neron form was cool.  And everyone loves Shadow-Thief.  Rags Morales' rendition of the Hawks is equal parts grace and furious power; the "Conan With Wings" motif is taken to it's only logical conclusion to great effect.  Heck, Patrick Gleason's turn from SF&O is even beefier, if you can believe it.  As far as launching a new series, this is one heck of a way to pull it off, with plenty of action, drama, menace, humor, character, and plenty of open threads to pick up and run with.

Come back tomorrow for the other story collected in this trade!

Image: Hawkman v.4:no.1, 2002, Andrew Robinson.


Diabolu Frank said...

Rags FTW, and I really liked Pat Gleason's work on the SF&O story, as well (or was it just bio pages in the trade?)

This series launched shortly before I closed down my shop, and I didn't find the scripts compelling enough to continue with on my own dime.

rob! said...

i LOVED those Hawkman covers by Robinson. beauties!