Review: Blackhawks #1 by Mike Costa and Graham Nolan

Blackhawks #1

Written by: Mike Costa
Penciled by: Graham Nolan
Inked by: Ken Lashley
Lettering by: Rob Leigh
Colored by: Guy Major

Published by: DC
Cover Price: $2.99

Note: This review is for the digital version of the comic available from DC Comics on Comixology

I want to say up front, Blackhawks was not a bad comic book. It wasn’t loaded with bad art, cringe inducing dialogue, or dull characters that couldn’t hold my attention. But, at the same time, this was one of two books of the new 52 that really did nothing for me (Men of War being the other one).

Some people might read this review and just assume that I am one of those comic fans who only likes superhero books, and that could not be further than the truth. I am a huge Crossgen fan, and have always read a wide range of books ranging from Arrowsmith to Fables to Sandman to Soulsearchers. I do happen to enjoy superheroes, but at the same time, I always want to see as many genres as possible covered by the comic industry, especially big companies like Marvel and DC that can help make a market for these titles. Because of this, I was really looking forward to the horror, western, and war titles from new 52.

But while the very presence of these books is a great start, these books still need to have the same care given to them as DC gives their superhero line. Blackhawks was a perfectly serviceable comic, but it really could have been so much more.

Summary (contains spoilers): This issue starts with a quick mission profile introducing us to the Blackhawks team. Blackhawks is a covert team working for the UN. They are on a covert mission to stop terrorists in the country of Kazakhstan. During their actions, someone snaps a picture of their logo on the side of their vehicles. Rule number one of covert operations, NO OBVIOUS LOGOS!

We find out about a metahuman Supermax prison, where nanocites have been slipped into a prisoner by a mysterious group. This group helps the prisoner escape. These scene is never really put into context with the rest of the issue.

We find out that one of the females on the Blackhawks team is knocking boots with one of the other team members. And this female seems to have been infected with nanocites giving her superpowers when she was bit earlier in the issue. So of like Spider-Man, though it was a radioactive terrorist, not spider.

Review: The cast of the book wasn’t all that memorable.  I genuinely could not remember the name of any character in the book. I remember “there was a purple haired girl who seemed to get superpowers” but no one else stood out for me, and that is never a good sign.  They did all have a unique visual style, which puts this book better than Men of War, but it still wasn’t enough to really grab me.

Same with the story. It’s not a bad story, but nothing that I will really care about not long after reading it. When I originally wrote this review last night, Comixology was down, and I could not remember the characters or story well enough to write a summary on my own.  After re-reading it this morning to add the summary, I still couldn’t find myself making any real connection to this book.

Even the art on this book was fine, but not great. I especially thought the dogfighting scene was a mess, and it wasn’t really clear what was going on. I understand that this could be a difficult scene to do right in a comic, but if you want to see a dogfight done right, go back issue diving and look for GI Joe #24. The whole comic is an extended dog fight between Ace and Wild Weasel and easily ranks among my all time favorite comic stories.

Hell, I can think of many issues of G.I. Joe comics that did things similar to this book, just in a more compelling and memorable way. Really, this book could have taken a lot of lessons from G.I. Joe. A quick wiki check showed that Mike Costa actually has worked on IDW’s G.I. Joe books. He should definitely have looked back to some of Larry Hama’s classic work here, or even Doug Murray’s brilliant work on The ‘Nam.

This genre is ripe for potential, especially in our post 9-11 world, but the quality needs to be there. And everything about this book just felt average. It’s very unlikely I will be picking up the second issue of this comic.  There is just too many other DC Relaunch books I enjoy much more and were more deserving of my comic money.

Final Score: 6.0 Not a bad book, but doesn’t seem interested in being anything beyond a decent comic. I was looking for a lot more here, and it just could not deliver.

Tags: , ,