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.


Diabolu Frank said...

So is the energy hawk some manifestation of the Hawk-God from the post-Zero Hour Hawkman?

Luke said...

Frankly, Frank, that makes just as much sense as any other theory I have thought up or heard. I'm thinking maybe some sort of "imprinted instinctual memory" of the Thanagarian race.