This almost feels like an experiment. How far can Rob Liefeld push us in a DC comic and still not be charged for his perceived offences? This isn’t a bad comic — there are elements that will niggle, and they are nearly uniformly contained within the art — but it isn’t an especially good comic. The ‘heroes fight, team up, conquer, and begrudgingly go their separate paths’ formula is strictly adhered to and nothing new is added nor attempted. This is a rote comic and you’ll either enjoy it for the comfort or take the opportunity to delve into Liefeld’s craft once more to test your theories out.
To address the story first, there is not a lot of anything happening. The eponymous heroic duo are chasing after Blockbuster — a grimacing and hulking brute — who is summarily wiping the floor with them. He absconds, the Dynamic Duo turn up to show them how it’s done in Gotham, and then they all get the job done. There is no intricacy to this plot, there is no depth. Muscly people punch lots; that’s it.
It must be noted that Liefeld’s inner monologue for Hawk is unlike near anything else you might read this month. He starts off trying to use an almost meta technique but flubs the execution. The general concept is there but it doesn’t make much sense. Later, Hawk calls his assailant a “butthead” and then kicks him in “the jewels.” This is anachronistic to a degree and not for any great purpose or outcome.
At what stage should we start looking at Liefeld’s toothy grimaces and warped anatomy as stylistic choices instead of artistic faults? It could be forgiven as a personal choice were it not for the fact Liefeld seems to want a realistic style and then passes off the results as hyper-realistic. Let us count the ways things go wrong here:
- Bicep muscles don’t connect to halfway down the forearm.
- If Dove is in the foreground, then through depth of perception she should not appear so amazingly small compared to the admittedly large, but not gargantuan, villain.
- Why does Hawk do nearly everything with his chest parallel with the ground? He could be talking, running or punching and he’ll be doubled over like a school boy in class with the attractive sub.
- Why does Damien Wayne look like he’s about 20?
- Dove only has two looks: lips pursed or slightly parted.
- Batman is able to kneel on air with his feet on a pole supporting his forward leaning mass…?
These inconsistencies are glaring and would not be tolerated on the page of any other artist.
However, there is plenty of fun on these pages. Liefeld makes some very cool choices with Batman’s cape, and the action certainly is kinetic in an ethereal manner.
Liefeld’s solo romp on “Hawk & Dove” reads like a fever dream of an energetic 12 year old after a busy afternoon playing with his toys. If you can manage to get swept up in the flow then you’ll kill five minutes having thin and calorie free fun. If, however, you are after anything resembling a cohesive narrative with layers or art showcasing the maturing form of comics then you are flat out of luck. I’m pretty sure you’ll know if this comic is for you or not before you even pick it up; search your feelings, you’ll know them to be true.