365 Reasons to Love Comics #136

Because the readers demanded it! No, I didn't intend for this week to be a 90's-fest, but we may as well finish off the triumvirate, eh? And it was a good series, so here it is. Of course, borrowing from yesterday's logic, they'd probably call this one "Miracleman done right."


136. Darkhawk

I liked Darkhawk. I am not ashamed to say this. But look at him. Shoulder-pad thingies. Claws. Seems very 90's, eh? But really, it was a good comic. At least, I thought so at the time.

Created by Tom DeFalco, the series was written by Danny Fingeroth, and featured, for quite a while, some spiffy Mike Manley art. The main character, Chris Powell, was a regular guy who found a magical amulet that transformed him into the armored Darkhawk. Later, it was revealed that he simply switched bodies with an armored alien creature who was held in suspended animation on a ship somewhere. Shades of Miracleman, yeah. Anyway, being Darkhawk gave Chris the ability to wage his vendetta on crime.

His powers came from the "see what sticks" approach: grappling claw, wings, energy blasts/shields, etc. My favorite gimmick, however, was his constant helmet-removing to freak out his opponents. Apparently the alien under the armor was so hideous it was damn near repellant. I don't think the readers every got to see its face, though. Shame. But then, they didn't have Basil Wolverton to draw it in all its hideous glory, so I suppose that's for the best.

I can't say his rogues gallery was the best. He borrowed quite often from Spider-Man's villains, but then you had wonderfully named baddies like Lodestone, Evilhawk, Overhawk, Portal, and gangster Phillipe Bazin. Yeah, well... it was the 90's.

I'm not exactly selling the series here. Hmm...

One could say it was about a son trying to hold his family together while fighting crime. Or you can just go with how Warren Ellis put it: "Magic amulet turns kid into robot." It'd be the best Japanese TV show ever! (Of course, it's surely been done multiple times on Japanese television. Shh.) Ellis even said he could write a MAX treatment of the character for laughs. He hasn't gotten around to it yet, but you never know... I wouldn't stop him.

Darkhawk is currently appearing in the mini-series "Loners," as a member of a superhero support group. And, of course, he starred in the same Marvel Team-Up arc from Robert Kirkman I've been referencing these past few days.

It was a fun book. I'm not ashamed to say that. A bright spot in 90's Marvel. But you know me; the sillier a book is, the more I'm bound to like it. I love most of the old "quarter bin series" that I picked up over the years, precisely because they're just rollickin' good superhero comics. Darkhawk was never high literature, but even an elitist like myself has to have a few wacky books that he enjoys. Just be glad I haven't written a column on Ravage 2099 yet.

The series lasted an astonishing 50 issues. I never saw it through to the end, though. Does anyone know how it finished?

(As always, more info is to be had at Le Wiki.)

Coming tomorrow: Something that isn't a 90's Marvel superhero comic!

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