After 20 issues, “Savage Hawkman” is finally put out of its misery, and if this has been the standard for the run, then it’s a good time for it to go the way of the dodo. Tom DeFalco and Joe Bennett are doing, at best, paint by numbers work in “Savage Hawkman” #20, and it shows on every page in one way or another.
Painfully overwritten, DeFalco’s narration is repetitive and banal. There’s no attempt to let the reader infer anything; rather, it’s all spelled out, in over the top, exclamation point-filled dialogue and narration. The exposition adds nothing to the story or character building and instead shows an absolute lack of faith in the artist’s abilities to convey any information. Pages upon pages of purple prose litter the book, and when actually considered (as opposed to glazed over), the brutal reality hits that much of it doesn’t even make sense. Add to that a handful of miserable back story info dumps, and the writing can be referred to as nothing short of abysmal.
Joe Bennett and a team of inkers (Marc Deering, Ruy Jose, and Richard Zajac) deliver acceptable visuals that tell a clear enough story, but they’re definitely on the soulless side. There’s some promise early on as Carter comes to in a deep well and struggles to escape while resisting being taken over by his Nth Metal uniform. However, once we’re out of the well and away from Carter, the pages become silly and bombastic, filled with bad acting, awkward, uneven finishes and poor storytelling choices.
Different inkers make some pages better than others, but since the pages aren’t broken down clearly in the credits, it’s hard to know who is responsible for what. There’s also a general sloppiness in the details — for example, the plot claims Carter has been stripped of his wings — but we see no evidence of this: no scars, no blood, nothing. Though the writing claims Carter’s body is “aflame with an infinity of agony” (?!), we see zero physical evidence to support it. Oh, well, his pants are torn to shreds and he’s minus a shirt. But other than that and a few surface scratches (none on his back), he looks as if he just woke up from a nice nap.
For his part, Guy Major is able to add some soul (and beauty) to the book via his dark, greenish wash of colors early on as Carter tries to escape from the well, but it’s certainly not enough to rescue this book.
The issue closes, linking Hawkman up with his “new team” of the Justice League of America. Here’s hoping he recieves better treatment there than he did in “Savage Hawkman” — the character certainly deserves it.