Hawkman deserves to be treated better than “Savage Hawkman” #0, a perfect example of the dull, lazy writing that writer Rob Liefeld saddled this legendary brand with.
In all fairness to Liefeld, co-writer Mark Poulton and the rest of the creative team on this title, the high concept of the relaunched “New 52” DC Universe is to investigate properties and characters in a new light. Concepts should be tested, risks and bold steps need to be taken, characters should be unashamedly re-imagined. Unfortunately, characters and concepts in “Savage Hawkman” #0 only get gently massaged. The letters in some of the characters names get shuffled so Thal Porvis (as he was known on Thanagar before the reboot) becomes Thal Provis. The name “Kalmoran” becomes “Kolamoran.” It’s lazy work from the get-go and definitely not a fitting tribute to the history of a comic character that includes industry luminaries such as Joe Kubert, Gardner Fox, Shelly Moldoff, Walt Simonson, John Ostrander, Timothy Truman and Murphy Anderson as contributing creators.
The writing isn’t neutered solely by the laziness in naming people and places. What was once a rich galactic array of characters, species and races is reduced to a handful of concepts and ideas, including the shameless plug of another Liefeld-saddled character in Lobo, the Czarnian. True, Lobo does not make an appearance, but the heavy-handed dialog all but tells readers to search for him. In fact, the dialog is so incredibly uneven throughout the book that it seems every single inhabitant of Thanagar is dreadfully, clinically, mentally insane. Nearly every character has at least one scene where they are both affable and kind only to become cruel and bitter before the next panel — heck, before the next word balloon! Readers do witness how Hawkman comes to possess the Nth metal, but that really seems dull compared to the rest of the misfired laziness that fills this issue.
This issue’s one star is completely attributable to Joe Bennett’s art. Bennett does a nice job of detailing the pages and filling the panels. His characters carry weight through their universe and his Hawkman is dynamic. Unfortunately, the story seemed to torpedo some of Bennett’s storytelling choices, like Katar — who is ill-equipped to save anyone, especially his more prepared comrade — shouting from across a sinking platform, “Steady Corsar! I’ve got you.” The shout fades off to a simple comment. That scene becomes even more laughable as the story intersplices a panel of the entire station containing that platform sinking between the panel of Katar saying he’s going to help his pal and a panel with the two of them looking off-panel to the cause of the sinking platform. That platform is the one they’re on, isn’t it? If so, it should already be completely destroyed as depicted in between those panels. Not a great storytelling choice.
I want nothing more than to be able to give “Savage Hawkman” #0 a five-star rating, but this simply isn’t a good Hawkman comic on any level. If DC can find the formula to make “Aquaman” a quality and commercially viable comic, why can’t the publisher apply the same equation to discover Thanagarian success? Maybe after the flaming exodus of Rob Liefeld, DC will be able to find the talent able to resurrect Hawkman from the ashes of mediocrity. Until then, if you’d rather spend three dollars on a huge pile of indifference, feel free to check this book out. If you’re more shrewd with your money, there are plenty of other charities out there.