WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Infinity Countdown: Darkhawk #3, in stores now.
Chris Powell's time as the superhero Darkhawk has been largely about rolling with the punches, a product of the cybernetic armor he wears to fight crime but has rarely ever been fully in control of. As Darkhawk, Chris's armor has allowed him to adapt to any threat thrown his way since War of Kings #2. Infinity Countdown: Darkhawk #2 took that power away from Chris, forcing him into a standard version of his Raptor armor. Now, Infinity Countdown: Darkhawk #3 returns the hero's ability to reconfigure in a way that leaves his sentai-inspired origins behind in favor of a lithe, deadly mecha that looks like it was pulled straight out of the Gundam franchise.
Chris's problems began recently, when he reacquired the power to transform into Darkhawk from Razor, the Raptor who gifted Chris the use of his cybernetic body. This time around, though, things were different. Chris was no longer connected to the Tree of Shadows, the ancient artifact that houses the amulets that allow the Fraternity of Raptors to transform. Instead of Chris's body being housed in the tree when he becomes Darkhawk, it is destroyed and rebuilt every time he transforms. The amulet only has enough storage to house the two bodily templates, Raptor cyborg and human, which means additional reconfigurations are a no-go.
This also means that when Death's Head, an intergalactic bounty hunter, delivers Chris to the newly reborn Fraternity of Raptors -- the real Raptors -- he is hopelessly outmatched. Gyre, leader of the Raptors, blasts a hole in Chris's chest and turns Robbie Rider, brother of Richard Rider, Nova, into the Dark Starhawk, a celestial being that rivals the Phoenix Force. Alone, dying and having failed in his mission, Chris receives a visit from Razor, who reveals that there is a way Chris can reconfigure and save his life -- he will need to merge with not just Razor's body, but also his mind.
The resulting reconfiguration can be seen on the last page of the issue and is teased in the cover art for the upcoming Infinity Countdown: Darkhawk #4. Overall, Darkhawk's transformation isn't a terribly surprising one. The character has operated as the Marvel Universe's defacto sentai -- costumed superheroes that originate from Japanese action-adventure television series and manga -- since his introduction in Darkhawk #1 in 1991. With this in mind, the most surprising thing about Darkhawk's reconfiguration is that it took so long for him to adopt a mecha form.
What remains to be seen is just how effective this new form is. Gyre has an army of Raptors, a fully stocked warship and a cosmic bird god that can reportedly best one of the most powerful forces in the Marvel Universe on his side. Darkhawk's new mecha form must be unbelievably powerful for him to think it stands a chance against such overpowering force. But, then again, that would line up nicely with mecha tropes, which have long established that the sentai hop into their mechas when they're done fooling around.
In stores now, Infinity Countdown: Darkhawk #3 is written by Chris Sims and Chad Bowers with art by Gang Hyuk Lim. Skan Srisuwan penned the issue's cover art.