Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Read: Hawkman v.3:no.6

Issue: Hawkman v.3:no.6
Title: "War Cry"
Published Date: Feb 1994
Generation: Modern Katar and Shayera
Retcon Status: In Continuity

Summary: The battle between the Hawks and Wonder Woman against Count Viper and his allies continues.  Airstryke is game against Wonder Woman, but he is still injured, and otherwise outmatched against the Amazon.  Shayera, in the old man's body, faces down Bloodwynd, but the mystical hero is able to break Viper's mental control, and helps fight the Eradicator.  This leaves Katar (in Shayera's body) to confront Count Viper (still in Katar's body... you with me?), and the two strike furiously at each other.  Katar beats Viper into unconsciousness, and the heroes take him to Katar's mother Naomi Carter (despite Eradicator's desire to kill Viper for controlling him).

After a quick flashback of Katar's parentage, Naomi puts Katar and Shayera into a trance, where they find themselves in the spirit world.  Immediately they are confronted by the spirit of Count Viper, which has taken the shape of a giant serpent.  Katar's spirit forms into that of a hawk-man and attacks Viper.  Naomi's voice filters in, and she tells Shayera that her spirit is not that of a hawk, but of a predator -- a wolf.  Shayera's spirit becomes a wolf-woman, and together the two heroes tear apart Viper's spirit.  They wake up back in the real world... and back in their correct bodies.  Katar and Shayera embrace and kiss, the ordeal finally over.

Review: Jan Duursema is greatly missed this time out.  Liber's pencils are good in the spirit world sequence, but his fights and the flashback don't look all that good, really.  I don't know if it's his pencils or rick Magyar's inks over them, but they are much less visually interesting to me.  Still, the final sequence looks good, and the art is still clear and understandable, so that's good enough for me.  Ostrander's story is very dense, with a lot of information crammed in there -- this definitely would have been three modern issues -- but he handles all of it nicely, without reading like a data dump.  The final page is a nice send off to Ostrander's run on Katar and Shayera, as well.  Although, it's not clear what happened to Count Viper, I can only assume he is in the old man's body now?

Looking back on the first arc (which, oddly, lasted 6 issues... writing for the trade, huh?), I thought it was good.  It went in a lot of different directions, and kept me guessing.  The body swapping bit is a gimmick, but it's Count Viper's gimmick, so I can't knock it too much.  Overall, I liked these books more than I thought I would, but it's not surprising that this series was not a runaway hit when it was first published.

Image: Hawkman v.3:no.6, 1994, Steve Lieber.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Turkey Day Hangover!

Alright folks, Turkey Day was a heck of a thing, with my infant son being sick and plans having to change at the last minute.  So needless to say, Hawkman blogging was sadly low on the priority list.  So I am hoping to get back on track shortly.

-- The Savage Hawkman #3 should be in my hands early next week, thanks to DCBS not shipping until this week.  Expect a review shortly after I get it!

-- I will have a review of the next issue of Volume 3, the conclusion of the opening story arc of that volume, later in the week.

-- Also this week I am hoping to get a chance to open up the long awaited two-pack of DCUC Hawkgirl and Gentleman Ghost.  Maybe I'll save Gentleman Ghost for when he reappears in a few months?

-- Finally, go check out Shag and Rob Kelly's Fire And Water Podcast episode 8!

Thanks for your patience, everyone!  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Savage Hawkman #2 Sales Figures

Sales figures for the comic book direct market have been published for the month of October, and The Savage Hawkman has cracked the Top 50 for the second straight month.

According to Comichron, Savage Hawkman #2 sold 42,987 units, enough to place it in 49th spot for the month.  In September, Savage Hawkman #1 sold 50,359 issues, which put the title in 41st spot.  This represents a 14.6% dropoff from #1 to #2, which seems about average if not a little higher than average.  Still, it is not unexpected to have a decrease in sales from #1 to #2 of any series.

For reference, volume 4 of Hawkman, released in 2002, had sales of 52,298 for #1, which placed it an amazing 15th position for the month of March '02.  Issue #2 moved 44,459 units, a drop of... 14.9%.  Pretty close huh?  

Also, it's pretty telling that moving 52k units in 2002 netted a Top 20 book, but moving that many books last month would have placed the title in 33rd spot.  

Anyway, it's still too early to tell what the future holds for the title, but one thing is for sure -- The Savage Hawkman is certainly not a flop, nor is it one of the breakout books of the New 52.  It's right where I figured it would be -- in the middle.

All sales figures from Comichron!

Savage Hawkman #3 Preview!

Comic Vine has an exclusive 4 page preview of The Savage Hawkman #3!

Carter Hall, better known as THE SAVAGE HAWKMAN has embarked on a crazy solo adventure since the start of DC's 'New 52,' and in the upcoming third issue written by Tony S. Daniel and illustrated by Philip Tan, Hawkman will have to do a little bit of detective work.

I am not checking out the preview, but please feel free to do so!  Hawkman doing detective work?  Are we back in the Silver Age all of a sudden?

The Savage Hawkman #3 is due out November 23rd!

Image: The Savage Hawkman #3, 2011, Philip Tan.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Savage Hawkman #6 Advanced Solicit!

DC has released a preview of their February solicitations for most of their titles, including the one starring our very own Winged Wonder!  (Thanks to Newsarama!)

Art and cover by PHILIP TAN
On sale FEBRUARY 22 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Hawkman comes face to face with Jim Craddock, a.k.a. the Gentleman Ghost, a malevolent spirit obsessed with finding an ancient relic called the Mortis Orb. Can Hawkman stop Craddock from using the power of the Orb to unleash hell on Earth?

Wow!  That's the new Gentleman Ghost?  Definitely a different take on the traditionally spectral foe.  I am guessing he is tied in with the zombies on the cover to #5?  The how and the why of this new "Gentleman" Jim Craddock definitely has me itching to read this story.  Readers of this blog will remember that Gentleman Ghost was one of my predictions for classic Hawkfoes who would show up in the new series sooner rather than later, and it looks like I was right on that front.

Philip Tan is really knocking it out of the park on these covers.  I'd really like a "Savage Hawkman Cover Gallery" special.  What do you say DC?

Also, James Bonney is once more credited as a co-writer with Tony Daniel.  How long will this collaboration last?  We'll have to wait and see!

Image: The Savage Hawkman #6, 2011, Philip Tan.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hawkman by Joe Jusko

I first became aware of Joe Jusko back in the 90s with the Marvel Masterpiece trading card sets. For those who don't know, they were a set of fully-painted cards and was Marvel's first "prestige" card set. So whenever I hear Jusko I think of Marvel Masterpiece. But here we have a rather striking Convention Sketch of the Winged Wonder!

Man, can you imagine Jusko on a Hawkman series? Would be something to see!

Joe Jusko Thursday

Image: Hawkman, 2011, Joe Jusko, Image Retrieved from Comic Art Fans.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

First Savage Hawkman Collection Announced

DC has announced the first round of collected editions of the New 52 (well, mostly... Wonder Woman is missing for some reason...Frank, get on this!), including The Savage Hawkman!  

Writer: Tony S. Daniel and James Bonney
Artist: Philip Tan
$14.99 US, 144 pg

Collecting six issues for $15 is pretty standard, so that's no surprise.  Makes me wonder if the zombie threat introduced in #5 will be wrapped in #6, thus not ending in the middle of a story.  Or perhaps #5 and #6 are stand-alone stories?  (Also note that Jim Bonney is listed as a writer; according to solicits for #5 he is credited on that issue.  We'll have to see if he continues on beyond that.)

For what it's worth, the first collection of Hawkman v.4 featured 6 issues for $15, and was a 4-part story followed by a 2-part story.

Besides the omission of Wonder Woman (which by most accounts seems to be a popular title), the strange part of this announcement to me is the mix of softcovers and hardcovers.  14 of the 51 are hardcovers, and most of them are the usual suspects: Justice League, Batman/Detective, Superman/Action, Green Lantern, Flash.  Clearly these are the big "money maker" titles for DC so putting them into the more prestigious HC format makes sense.  What's worth mentioning is some of the other titles which make the HC cut, including Aquaman, Batwoman, Batgirl, and nearly all of the supporting Bat-Family and GL-centric books.  Clearly DC still has faith in the Bat and GL brands and feels they can sell these HCs.

I also wonder if the books will have similar trade dress (something related to "New 52") or will each one be branded uniquely?  Maybe some combination thereof?  And will the HCs eventually be put out in TP format as well (seems like a no-brainer to me).

What are your thoughts on how DC is collecting the New 52?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Read: The Savage Hawkman #2

Issue: The Savage Hawkman #2
Title: "Wings of Darkness"
Published Date: Oct 2011
Generation: New 52 Carter
Retcon Status: In Continuity

Summary: Morphicius is trying to absorb all of Hawkman's life force and the Nth metal, but it is burning him severely.  Finally, the metal erupts into a fiery bird of pure energy, knocking the alien back.  Hawkman faces Morphicius again, but the alien teleports outside of the building.  Hawkman gives chase and the two clash once more.  Morphicius is already beginning to take control of the Nth metal he has absorbed, and the metal begins to retreat from Carter's skin!  Unarmed and unarmored, Carter can do nothing as Morphicius leaves the wrecked scene.

Meanwhile, at the Manhattan office of the Non-Lethal Alternative Studies (NLAS), Mr Hogarth Kane is called upon by two federal agents who want an update on his progress.  He shows them his primate experiments, which involve temporarily erasing the memories of combatants on the battlefield, when his assistant Aksana tells him he has a phone call. The call involves a loose "subject," but Dr. Kane puts his best hunter on the project.

At the hospital, Carter meets with Emma, Prof. Ziegler, and Terrence, and they talk about the men who died at the lab.  Prof. Ziegler gives Carter some pictures of the markings on the craft to translate.  A nurse tells Carter than the police want to see him, but he makes an escape out the window before they arrive, the Nth metal creating his costume once more.

We then catch up with Morphicius, who is struggling with his newly acquired Nth metal powers when suddenly he is mentally pulled to the ground by a pale skinned man. Morphicius claims that the only beings who could invade the mind of a Xenusian such as himself is a Vexaphonian, but that they are all dead.  The pale man, who's name is Waker, claims to be the last Vexaphon, and that he has been sent to save Morphicius's life.

At Carter's apartment, our hero finds the landlord evicting him, but is able to bribe him with a chest of valuable artifacts.  Carter studies the pictures of the alien markings, and strangely, the longer he looks at them the more sense they make.  Emma shows up with dinner in tow.  Emma asks some questions trying to figure out why Carter was so eager to jump into danger to save the men at the lab, and the two end up fighting, with Emma leaving angrilly.  

Back at NLAS, Dr. Kane has Morphicius in a tube, while Waker says that Morphicius's vitals are slowing down as if he had been poisoned.  He says they must act quickly, but Dr. Kane says that he can get what he needs from an autopsy.  Waker disagrees, but he is quickly disabled by Aksana, who's arm has changed into a large black claw.  Dr. Kane says that they may now get to work on their project: The Extinction Virus.

Review: Well, there's no shortage of stuff going down in this eventful issue!  I had expected to get a brawl between Hawkman and Morphicius, but instead we get a short encounter between the two and then a whole lot of new plot developments and characters.  Who are Dr. Kane, Aksana, and Waker, and what connection does the NLAS have to the government?  Why is Dr. Kane creating an "Extinction Virus?"  What is going on with the Nth metal in the first place?  Lots of questions are raised and none are answered.  

Everyone's motivation seems to be shrouded in darkness for the time being.  Daniel is building up a bigger storyline here so everyone has to behave in mysterious fashion.  The inclusion of another alien character (Waker), along with a character who may or may not be an alien (Aksana), is giving this series a definite science fiction feel, a big change from the more historical and mystical sort of vibe which permeated a lot of Volume 4.  Hawkman has been a sci-fi character before so these elements are not unwelcome to me, and the use of all of these new characters is keeping me guessing as a reader, which is always good.  I just hope that Daniel brings it all together satisfactorily.  This issue is a dense one and had a lot of plot and a lot of action, but definitely is a "middle chapter" kind of story.  It does have it's own little arc with Waker and Morphicius, so it's not completely a "middle chapter" but you do need to have read the first one.  

Tan's art is pretty excellent throughout.  The double page spread of the Nth metal firebird is pretty insane, really.  The only negative I can find is the end of the battle between Hawkman and Morphicius.  Morphicius says that the "Nth metal is giving up on you," but it's not entirely clear what is going on.  Is the metal retreating into Hawkman's body?  Or is it sloughing off and going to Morphicius?  I can't tell for sure.

Still, I am enjoying this story and now I am eager to see what the heck Kane and his compatriots are up to, and how the Nth Metal is effecting Carter.  So bring on #3!

Image: The Savage Hawkman #2, Philip Tan, 2011.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Quick Thoughts: The Savage Hawkman #2

I got home late last night (I went to the WWE Smackdown! taping at the Bi-Lo Center... look for me on Friday night on SyFy, I'll be the guy wearing the Big Show t-shirt), but I did get my box from DCBS and did get a chance to read The Savage Hawkman #2.  

Quick Thoughts: After the first issue, I was expecting something totally different than what we got.  Tony Daniel is building up to something but at this point I have no idea where it could be going.  Philip Tan's art is still fantastic.  I liked the issue but definitely leaves the reader with more questions than answers.  Very eager to see where the heck this story goes next.

A more full review will be forthcoming!