DC Comics Relaunch: DC Doubles Down On Rob Liefeld! Deadman Dies? Batman’s Partner Swap?

Folks going through DC Comics’ February and March 2012 solicits noticed that writer Sterling Gates was nowhere to be found on upcoming issues of Hawk and Dove. It would appear that DC editorial wanted to “go a different way” and had the second half of January 2012’s issues re-written and Sterling’s February 2012 script was tanked all together. And, leading that new way is Rob Liefeld on art chores and writing chores. Here’s some of what Sterling Gates has to say about his time on Hawk and Dove and his partnership with comics luminary Rob Liefeld:

We laid a lot of foundation in those first few issues, things that can be delved into indefinitely: creating new characters, reintroducing old ones, or looking deeper into the origins of the avatars that power Hank and Dawn.

Rachel Gluckstern, my editor at DC, phoned me up a couple months ago and said they were interested in taking the book in a different direction. As a result, my script to issue six was spiked, and the back half of issue five was rewritten in order to completely clear the decks for Rob’s run. Rob came in and co-wrote issue #5’s climactic battle with Condor and Swan to help make the transition as smooth as possible.

I can’t wait to see where Rob takes Hawk and Dove next, either. He’s got a vision for those characters, and hopefully I’ve managed to get enough pieces on the board for him to really dig into their mythology.

Regardless of what the “elite” fanboys may think, because it still seems to be in-style with the vocal keyboard warriors to bash Rob Liefeld’s work both sight-unseen and after leafing through his projects, DC appears to be freeing Liefeld to be Liefeld. Like with writer Jeph Loeb, Rob Liefeld does big-bang “movie blockbuster” type comic books. They are fun and escapist fantasies. They are comic books on steroids. Its not everyone’s cup of tea nor is Scott Snyder’s Batman, but Liefeld has an audience. And, having Liefeld go virtually solo on Hawk and Dove will allow an unfettered Rob to do what he does best: fun comics (with feet now).

So, how will things change with Rob Liefeld solo at the wheel? Well, more action, more romance, more intrigue… simply put… “MORE”. Here’s some of what Rob revealed:

I’ll be bringing more story to Hawk and Dove, and by that I mean better utilizing the 20 pages that each book provides…

…As to what I will bring to the characters: a greater glimpse into their private lives, more conflict, more romantic friction, more tension but hopefully more laughs as well as more fun…

… [We’ll see] more self-contained stories that provide them with a greater variety of conflicts and dilemmas. It’s a bit of the menace of the month in the first few issues, pitting them against a variety of nemesis. We have Mr. Hyde and a sorceress in issue 6 and the mystery of The Hunter in issue 7. Issue 8 has a new villain. Each of these menaces provide a unique challenge for our heroes..

Looks like Hawk and Dove #6 is a new start for the book with Batman coming by to attract new readers to the book. Here’s what else we learned:

  • Personal tragedy is coming for Dawn Granger, Dove’s alter ego, and Hawk will need to be her emotional anchor.
  • When Dove and Batman team-up in Hawk and Dove #6, looks like Hawk and DC’s current Robin team-up and hilarity ensues.
  • The new character on the cover of issue #7 is The Hunter.

My thoughts on the above in order:

  • So, is the romance between Deadman and Dove over? Does he, um, die? Leave the book? Or does this tragedy Dawn will be dealing with involve someone else from her life?
  • Two hot-heads teaming up with Hank Hall (Hawk) and Damian Wayne (Robin) should be at the very least explosive and in H&D tradition, “fun”.
  • I wasn’t sold on The Hunter’s costume, but as we all know this hunter-type character is a comic book archetype and the industry is all about new takes on the archetypes or doing more or emulating winning formulas, e.g. Batman begets Batwing, etc. So, I’m intrigued where Rob will take this and I’m curious who hired The Hunter. BTW, Rob said he was inundated with e-mails asking if The Hunter was related to similarily clad DC character. I’m drawing a blank. Who does The Hunter’s togs resemble in the DC Universe? BTW, Kraven The Hunter isn’t the answer since he belongs to Marvel. 🙂

It’ll be interesting to see who else will pop up in Liefeld’s run on Hawk and Dove. Maybe Superman and the Justice League? Rob has drawn Superman before (see last pic on the right hand side of this column), but not regularly. DC is taking a calcuated risk on Liefeld and it’ll be interesting to see how the book is doing by the summer of 2012.

Hawk and Dove is currently in the Top 100. At #90 in November 2011 it outsells Marvel’s Hulk, X-Factor, Avengers Academy, and even DC’s Captain Atom, I Vampire, and other books. So, Hawk and Dove is doing “ok”, but can do better. Is an all-Liefeld book the answer? Time will tell.

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