The Savage Hawkman #1
Written by Tony S. Daniel
Art by Philip Tan and Sunny Gho
So I bought this book by accident.
Yup, forgot that I checked off the first issue on my pull list, and I wound up buying it. I don’t like Hawkman…well, no, I take that back. I haven’t liked Hawkman in a while, but I was a fan for a time when Geoff Johns was writing the character back in what feels like the long long ago. I thought about that as I lingered on this book, heck, that’s why this is the last review this week. I said I’d do it, but I stalled and delayed and tried to get out of it. It’s not that I hate Hawkman, I just have been conditioned to find him hard to like. You see, once Johns left the title it just completely fell apart, and the character has been a mess ever since. In Brightest Day I’d call his story the lowest point of it, and then when I heard of the relaunch I figured it was time for Carter to get yet another reboot to try and justify keeping him around.
But I’m not sure if he got one. Carter Hall mentions early in the issue that he’s been Hawkman in the past, and then he sets out to destroy his wings and armor. This is how the book opens. With the Nth metal exploding out, like a fiery hawk consuming Carter. Cut to Carter’s job, where he has yet to show up, and they have just pulled an ancient alien ship from the water by Bermuda and they need him and his expertise in cryptology. Carter isn’t dead though, despite the fire hawk and explosion, he;s knocked out, beaten, and bruised on the floor of his own house. His gear is gone and the memories are hazy, but one thing he does notice is that the damage is healing itself relatively quickly. Going to work, shit happens, and we find out something that could be guessed relatively early on…that his armor is inside of him now.
Carter comes across like the classic Hawkman, he’s savage, brutal, and doesn’t pull his strikes. He’s a warrior unafraid of any opponent, and willing to throw his own life down in a fight if need be. It’s funny, the longer you spend reading the issue the more the fan knowledgable on Carter is going to see that…there isn’t an overly obvious reboot. He mentions being born in America instead of focusing on resurrection, but Carter Hall was born in America…he was just reincarnated. The big thing that stands out here is a complete lack of mention of any sort about Shiera. Is he married? Was he married? Did Brightest Day still happen and now he’s alone without his curse of reincarnation? Inquiring minds want to know!
I’m not a fan of Philip Tan’s work generally, and that doesn’t change with this issue. There are some cool visuals, but for the most part the book looks pretty muddy. Faces look weird, emotions look hollow, and I get the same basic feeling that I have when looking at Daniel Acuna’s work. The kind of thing I wouldn’t mind seeing on a cover, but completely kills my mood once I get a few pages into it. The visual of Hawkman himself at first looks great, but it’s also a very poster or cover like image. I wish I could say the action looks great, but there’s really not that much of it. The best visuals are that first image of Hawkman in armor, and the fire hawk consuming Carter.
So I’m still not sold on Carter having this book, but I will admit that it wasn’t awful. There are interesting questions raised, and I am curious about his new status quo and if Hawkgirl is still a part of it. Tony leaves the readers with quite a few questions, and the plot itself is interesting enough, but the art drains the issue quite a bit. As does that the issue really feels like it’s cramming in everything into the first issue to get it over with. It’s not that bad, but really…I think this is another Hawkman book that I’m checking out of.
Tags: DC Comics Relaunch, Hawkman, New 52 (DC Comics), Reviews, Savage Hawkman, tony daniel