I can count the number of “Darkhawk” comics I’ve read on one hand and still have fingers to spare. I read “Darkhawk” #1 when it was first published, and decided the book wasn’t for me. And earlier this year, I read the “War of Kings: Darkhawk” two-issue mini-series. Now that I’m finally at “War of Kings: Ascension,” though, I must admit that I’m a tiny bit puzzled. Are we supposed to be cheering or booing Darkhawk?
Reading about Christopher Powell is, well, cringe-worthy. He whines, he explodes in anger, he’s forever complaining that things aren’t his fault. He’s hard to like as a main character. So seeing him along with Talon (the other remaining Raptor, the order of which the Darkhawk armor is from) learning how to fight in the Negative Zone? It’s hard to not wish for something bad to happen to Darkhawk. Even when he’s learning how to do new things, he’s defensive and pouty, exactly the kind of character that you want to see punched in the face.
That leads me to the big question, then, on if Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning are deliberately making Darkhawk unlikable or not. It would certainly explain a lot. After all, a pretty bad thing happens to him at the end of the issue, and I cheered when it did. Will this make the remaining issues of “War of Kings: Ascension” a lot more entertaining? Or will the annoying Christopher Powell live to complain another day? At the moment, I can’t help but hope that the answer is no. It’s not clear, though, which side of the fence you’re supposed to be on. That’s a shame, because if it was a little more blatant that Abnett and Lanning were presenting Darkhawk as a tool to be laughed at, I think I’d have enjoyed this issue a lot more. But it’s hard to avoid that sneaking feeling that somehow he’s still the hero of “War of Kings: Ascension.” That’s a pity.
Wellinton Alves and Scott Hanna do a nice enough job on the art. It’s perfectly average, solid art; they do a good job of keeping the two Raptor armor characters looking distinctly separate, and Alves’ designs for the different armor configurations that show up work well. It’s a shame Alves didn’t get to draw more Negative Zone craziness, but hopefully that will come with time. In the end, “War of Kings: Ascension” straddles the middle of the road. Next issue if Abnett and Lanning give us more cues on how we’re supposed to feel about Christopher Powell, that could change. But it seems to be playing it a little safe in that regard, at least for now. Still, we can always hope. Maybe next issue even worse things will happen.