Friday, June 1, 2012

Joe Bennett's Savage Shayera?!

Normally, not being on Facebook is a good thing.  I tend to avoid the numerous annoying attributes of the service which folks who use seem to complain about endlessly.  By contrast, Twitter (follow @ljacone!) allows me to get the word out about things and keep up with folks in a substantially less bloated, more streamlined manner, and forces me to think of what I want to say before I say it.  So, no, I don't mind not being on Facebook.

Except at times like this.  Bearer Of The Honor Wings (and Twitter buddy) Matt Orr (follow @HawkmanFans) pinged me with a message over on Twitter about how Savage Hawkman artist Joe Bennett had posted some character designs on his Facebook page, including Shayera Thal!  (or, "Princess Shayera" as the sketch is labelled.)  But, being as I don't belong to Facebook, I couldn't see them!  Argh!

So here comes Matt to the rescue by reposting the pics over on his account, which, for some arcane and sure magical reason, I can access.  So everyone head on over to the album on Matt's Facebook page and check 'em out!  (In fact, check out all the albums, as Matt is constantly posting sweet Hawk images for everyone to enjoy.)

Now then: Shayera.  (Click to Savage-Ize!)

Wowzer!  She certainly has a Savage look to her, doesn't she?  This is one lady who will fit the "Warrior Princess" motif nicely.  I love the armored gauntlets and boots, plus the detail on the tops of her wings.  Her helmet is in the same vein as Hawkman's helmet, with all of the extra lines and detail, but I can still see a suggestion of the swoop of the classic Hawkgirl helm.  The belt buckle further connects her costume to Hawkman's currently look as well.

I also heartily approve of her choice of weapons!  Fans who primarily know Shayera from Justice League know that she always carried her trusty Nth Metal mace on that show, and she is sporting the same here, plus a sword, for times when a bludgeoning weapon just won't due.

I do want to talk about her breastplate as well.  The two hawk symbol plates over her breasts at first blush seem suggestive.  But then it hit me as a nod to a Valkyrie-esque armored breastplate.  Looking at it now, if anything, it de-emphasizes her bust and makes her look more fierce.  Combined with the Hawk emblem between them and the look is one which definitely says the ornate armor of a royal blooded warrior moreso than superheroine or adventurer.

The only thing I really don't like is the bared midriff.  I didn't like it on Kendra, I didn't like it in Brightest Day, and I don't like it here.  But I imagine I am in the minority on this front!  And the design does use the same busy, almost fussy design aesthetic that Hawkman has in this New 52 Universe, whilst I usually picture Hawkgirl/Hawkwoman as more sleek.  I'm willing to go with it, however, because what we know about the Nth Metal is that it is used as armor (in Savage Hawkman #9, Xerxes refers to the metal as the "armor" on several occasions), and thus it follows that someone who uses the Nth Metal would be armored up.

It seems from the little tease that we got in Savage Hawkman #9 and these design sketches that Shayera will be playing a big role in the series new direction, and I for one am eager to see her fully inked and colored and ready to kick butt.

But enough about me, what do you folks think?  Are you ready to see this new Shayera take flight?  Or would you prefer to see her grounded?  What do you think of Joe Bennett's character studies?  And what about the other pictures linked in the album, such as a Thanagarian Soldier (*coughcoughWingmancough*) and the Thanagarian ships?  Leave me some comments and let's talk about it!

Big thanks once again to Matt Orr for passing these along to me so that I can pass them along to you!


Megara said...

Big Thanks for the shout-out, and I just want to say that THE SAVAGE HAWKMAN, Seems, to be quickly becoming one of the best things in the new 52! I agree with you on the midriff, though I think the rest of her costume is pretty darn cool! But the "Princess Shayera" Thing reminds me of Princess Koriand'r of Tamaran!
But it seems that the new writing team, are laying out a pretty stellar Thanagar!! Thanks again for the shout-out!!!

Mr P said...

I also agree about the midriff. I didn'y mind it so much on Kendra as she was supposed to be very young (like 19 when introduced in JSA) and while impractical, it didn't especially detract from her general lithe and youthful demeanor.

For a heavily armored warrior, though, it bugs me a lot.

Like I said to Matt on FB, I'm pretty skeptical of the whole "princess" thing. It sounds very cliche. I've always really liked Shayera as a policewoman. It is exciting to see Thanagarians on the horizon though.

Unknown said...

I'm just glad to see her again! Hands down, she was my favorite Justice League character, and I've been waiting (patiently) for her return to comics. I'm surprised she's royalty now, but whatever. It's a reversal of sorts. In Hawkworld, Katar came from relative affluence, and Shayera was a "Downsider."

The Hawks are my favorite superheroes, but I haven't taken to this series yet. I never cared for Carter's new look. That said, #9 is as good a starting point as any. Joe Bennett is one hell of an artist, and Liefeld's plans sound interesting.

Unknown said...

i have not been a regular comics reader in about 15 year - but started reading comics in the early '70's.

that being said Hawkman and Hawkgirl/woman have always been at the top of my list as favorites.

these are beautiful versions of the Hawks costumes/armor but wouldn't be my first pick for the Hols to wear.

Juss said...

I too agree on the Great Midriff issue. If the Nth Metal really is an armoring system, and, it would seem reasonable to assume, one individually reactive and responsive to the bearer's needs, then it makes little sense to leave exposed one of the most vulnerable parts of the human anatomy.

I do enjoy Joe Bennett's art, and I think that, unique and special as the armor is, the elaborate decoration on Hawkman's armor is appropriate. Still, I personally think of Hawkman, and prefer that he be rendered as, lithe and supple, befitting a creature that can swim and swoop through the skies. Bennett's beautiful, gold armor makes him look like a slow-flying battle tank. It's a great look, per se, but presents a visual ambiguity: is he a swift, flying predator... or are those big wings just a transport system to get this heavily-armored menace to the combat site? Technically the Nth Metal may give him the ability to ascend quickly, regardless of lift from his wings. But he doesn't look like he could do so.

SHAYERA! Ohhh, I've waited, longed for this! Whee--oooo! Yes! It's really okay with me that she's apparently now a "princess," though I do most sincerely hope Rob doesn't follow the hackneyed route by first characterizing her as selfish, arrogant, dismissive, and spoiled, only to have her evolve into becoming more empathetic and warmly human in the end. But, on the other hand, princesses can often be very well grounded in social and political realities, and being one wouldn't necessarily prevent her from having the same pragmatic, logical, slightly cynical outlook as her former policewoman avatar.

Oh, and midriff issues aside–she looks great!