Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hawkman Secret Files & Origins #1- Hawkman Profile Page (October, 2002)

Secret Files & Origins is something of an odd duck for me.  I first became aware of them some time after I got back into the DCU "whole hog" following Identity Crisis, and I think the first one I purchased was for Infinite Crisis.  I discovered that there was a Hawkman one when I borrowed the first collection of Volume 4 from my local library, and found the short story piece from it reprinted therein.  I don't remember whether I own the actual issue or not; I think I do but I cannot be certain because my punchlist is still in my backpack from last weekend at HeroesCon.

All that having been said I like character profiles like the ones contained in SF&O, and this Hawkman one is pretty good.  For one thing the art is by Rags Morales, who readers of this blog will know was kicking it hardcore on the Hawkman title when this was published.  Rags was always good at making Hawkman look powerful and well built without being a brick or Hulk-like.  The 5 weapons (6 if you count the shield) are a nice touch as well, demonstrating this iteration of Hawkman's predilection for waded well-armed into combat.  The pose and the sweeping nature of the wings and Honor Wings all combine to give Hawkman a look which is both powerful and, if not graceful, then certainly agile.

Geoff Johns and Jim Beard join forces to handle the profile, and generally I think it is well handled.  Hawkman is a difficult character to boil down to a few paragraphs... if you want those paragraphs to make any sense.  That is deftly handled here by avoiding some of the more... esoteric details and sticking to the basics.  The complete avoidance of Katar Hol and Shayera Thal is probably for the best as well.  As befits that this is SF&O and not Who's Who, the talk is mostly of Carter's origins and how he got to where he is today.  It's concise enough that I could give this to someone who was not reading the comic and they could be somewhat caught up.

I'm not thrilled with the last paragraph, though.  The vague hints of future threats make sense in the context of when the book was published, but now simply stand out.  I would have greatly preferred if the last (compound) sentence had been left out.

That having been said, considering the fact that there was a Hawkman book on the shelves being written by Geoff Johns and James Robinson with art by Rags Morales was a reason to be excited, and DC clearly wanted to help give the book a push by publishing Secret Files & Origins.  I don't think we'll ever get such a "superstar" team on the character's solo book ever again, so it's appropriate that DC pulled out some extras to help hype things along back in the Volume 4 days.

Thanks to Anj for coming up with the idea and Frank for getting me involved in this crossover!  


Diabolu Frank said...

That's a great looking picture, and Rags did just as swell on the Hawkgirl entry and a spread of both characters in a JSA SF&O. Because there was often an overlap of entries for major characters and the SF&Os were cranked out yearly, they often tended to swing heavily toward of-the-moment entries and teases for upcoming arcs. I'd say Hawkman got off light in that department.

That book's creative was a curious mix of quasi-hotness. Rags had been toiling for years in relative obscurity, with fill-in work on JSA his highest profile prior work and Identity Crisis yet to come. He's been like Dave Gibbons, who is mostly famous for one huge mini-series, but never managed to parlay that into anything lasting afterward. I suppose Action Comics is changing that, though. James Robinson made his name with Starman and The Golden Age, but those were cult successes, and Hawkman ended up being his swan song out of comics until he returned from Hollywood years later to be reviled by unfamiliar mainstream readers. Geoff Johns was still the kid from "Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E." co-writing books with bigger names like David Goyer. If this book came out today, it would probably be doing as well or better than Aquaman, but I recall middling sales back when I carried it at my shop.

Luke said...

"Geoff Johns was still the kid from "Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E." co-writing books with bigger names like David Goyer."

Yes and no. This book was cover dated October 2002; by that point he had been the solo writer on Flash for almost two years, and was getting recognition for his work on that. By this time we were hip-deep in his Flash stuff, including the first of the always popular Rogue Profiles. I believe right about this point there was a huge article in Wizard explaining the "Top 10 Reasons You Need to be Reading The Flash," for instance.

I'll agree with you about Rags, but Johns was already something of a hot property when Hawkman Volume 4 launched.