I know this is a new universe, with new history and that new history should accommodate a new Hawkman, but this Hawkman lacks any appealing qualities beyond the change in costume. That costume change, by the way, is full of 1990s Image comics homages, including a bunch of unnecessary and quite dangerous (even to Hawkman) spikes.
I’m a big Hawkfan, but for the past four months I’ve found myself consistently disappointed by this book. That is the only consistency this series has provided to this point. In this very issue, over the course of twenty pages, there are no less than two blatantly contradictory pieces in the storytelling. While trying to attack Morphicius, Hawkman disappears under a swarming sea of Morphicius-spawned, alien-Venom-wannabes, seemingly lost to an overwhelming foe. Inexplicably, two pages later, he saves Askana, the lizard-woman shapeshifting assistant to his evil counterpart, Dr. Kane.
The issue opens with Hawkman lamenting, “enough people have died because of me.” He turns his pity party around and vows to be consumed by hell itself before anyone else dies because of him. Half an issue later, however, Hawkman indicates that he wasn’t at all concerned about his foe — Dr. Kane — being consumed, and ultimately killed, by Morphicius. Against his better judgment, he saves Kane, who flees the scene as Hawkman battles Morphicius. Later Hawkman abandons Kane in an in-flight, pilotless helicopter, effectively sentencing the (almost) mysterious man to perish. Wow. Good thing it’s just comics. Throw in another mystery man who Kane was keeping in a deep freeze sleep, and you have more another head-scratcher to add to this collection of oddities.
Hawkman displays some ingenuity in his methods for defeating the villain in this issue. The foe had the ability to transform Hawkman’s greatest strength — his Nth metal — against him and actually convert it to be a source of power. Hawkman’s virtually non-existent knowledge of his own arsenal is disturbing. It reduces the character to little more than another guy in a suit, with little or no motivation or purpose, which is further emphasized by the method Carter Hall uses against Morphicius.
Philip Tan needs to work on his storytelling, but his cover has a very pulpy feel, as his style is very compatible to that style. The art of the book serves as a nice, compact statement of the title itself: a lot of spectacle, but no substance.
SomeÂ other characters had a nice launching point for this new universe from the waning days of “Brightest Day.” Aquaman essentially kept on going from his path there. Swamp Thing, with a few speed bumps morphed into the tale Scott Snyder is telling. Firestorm is dynamically changed, but the roots of the character and the supporting cast of his universe share common history. Hawkman, however, slid the farthest and continues to slide. There was a wonderful refocusing on what made Hawkman so distinct, but that was washed away and replaced by contradictions, mediocrity, and dullness. Why does Hawkman do what he does? What is it that he does? There’s just not enough here for me to find reason to continue on.