Issue: Hawkman v.4:no.21 (Reprinted in Hawkman v.3: Wings of Fury) Title: "The Headhunter Part 2: Taking Off The Mask" Published Date: Jan 2004. Generation: Modern Carter and Kendra (See Note below) Retcon Status: In Continuity (See Note below)
Summary: Kendra is just finishing up the movie she and her date were seeing (Buster Keaton's The Cameraman) when she sees emergency vehicles speeding towards her apartment complex. She gives chase, while inside the apartment the Headhunter has Hawkman at his mercy. Ranting to himself about the ability of Hawkman's spirit to survive, Headhunter is about to decapitate our hero when Kendra bursts in. She lays into Headhunter, including burying a hatchet in his mask, but the mysterious villain throws a strange dust in the air and escapes. Kendra angrily demands to know why Hawkman is in her apartment, but he has no answers for her before he leaves, taking the Headhunter's Hawkman voodoo doll.
Later, temporary Professor Carter Hall gets a phone call from Ray Palmer, who informs him that the dust used by the Headhunter is actually finely ground Nth Metal. The voodoo doll is covered with traces of embalming fluids and soil, which leads Ray and Carter to deduce that it had been in a graveyard recently. Inspecting one of St. Roch's above ground graveyards, Hawkman is ambushed by Headhunter once more. The masked foe throws Carter's rubbings of his former graves at him, claiming that he now controls all of Hawkman's past lives. Headhunter throws a series of bones into the earth, and the decayed forms of all of Carter's former lives rise up to kill him!
Review: The danger level gets pumped up a notch in the middle chapter of the story, with things going from bad to worse for the Winged Wonder. I like the angst we get from Kendra as well, and cameos from the Atom are always welcome. I thought the close-quarters combat in Kendra's apartment was well handled and not overlong, but the best part of this issue (to me anyway) was tying the stand alone issues from earlier in the run with the present. Those single issue stories where Carter learned about his past lives were nice, but it made me happy to see that information used again, revealing them to be actual foreshadowing and not just filler. Strong installment with a great cliffhanger.
At this point I don't think I can add anything more about Rags Morales on this series other than we get to see a bit more full body shots of the Headhunter and he certainly looks menacing. Something like a South Pacific tribal witch doctor mixed with a Caribbean voodoo priest. Watson's cover is super striking as well, with the blood and gore put to great use.
Note: In light of the New 52 relaunch, Generation and Retcon Status are going to be getting new categories very soon. Keep watching this space to stay informed!