Filed under: Comic Reviews, DC Comics | Tags: DCNew52, PhilipTan, SavageHawkman, TheXFiles, TonyDaniel
Hawkman is back…and this time he’s savage apparently?! In a bid to give us a tougher, harder Hawkman, Tony S. Daniel and Philip Tan have teamed up to produce a #1 that’s one part X-files and two parts Superhero – sound like your kind of bag?
Hawkman is another of those characters that were part of the long list of comics I’ve never read before but would be willing to give a shot, along with the likes of Animal Man and Swamp Thing. So like these other superb #1s, I was anxious to find another favourite to add to the mix and to provide me with something to read between Batman comics. Issue #1 shows there is something to come back for, employing a similar technique used in the aforementioned Animal Man and Swampy issues: previous readers pick up from where they left off, and new readers don’t feel out of place without knowing too much back story.
It’s been interesting throughout the New52 to see the different ways of starting these new series’. There’s been a mixture of total character restarts, where what’s gone before is pretty much ignored and everyone starts on the same page (Superboy, Blue Beetle), as well as the re-telling of stories at different instances in the continuity, changing smaller details to give us fresh new plots (Action Comics, Justice League). Aside from the new character comics (including those using characters that haven’t seen much action of recent times and re-imagined as new characters) the bulk of issues do seem to take place pretty much where we left these characters pre-52, the Batman universe especially (which as we have found out makes up a LOT of the 52). I do find this a little surprising as we were sold the idea of a brand new DC universe, when really we’re just seeing some redesigns here and there and a merge of Vertigo/Wildstorm characters into mainstream DC. I’m not complaining mind you, just merely an observation, because personally it’s helped me jump onto titles I’d never have dreamed of doing reading without first picking up the back catalogue. If there’s a complaint to be had, it’s that my wallet is a lot lighter than it was a month ago!
Daniel has created a new (Savage) Hawkman for the DCnU, but one that appears to retain the history of the man and his suit. I’m guessing that his new ‘Savage’ title comes from the fact that he’s pissed off that he’s still Hawkman, after a failed attempt to finish off his alter ego at the start of the book: here’s a guy that doesn’t want to fight crime, but like John ‘Die Hard’ McClane, is in the wrong place at the wrong time, and can’t help but do the right thing. If done right, it’ll be an interesting dynamic, having Hawkman, Carter Hall, resent the fact that he doesn’t have much choice in the matter.
I was also glad that this first story didn’t fall back on any of the stereotypical archaeologist themed plots we’re used to seeing with the likes of Indiana Jones or Lara Croft, but instead introduced elements of sci-fi and supernatural, placing this book nicely against the likes of Wonder Woman as more of a horror title.
All of this is helped along by the interesting artwork from Philip Tan, a Filipino artist who’s done work on a Final Crisis tie in, the Agent Orange arc of Green Lantern and a few issues of Grant Morrison’s Batman and Robin – all of which have shown Tan as a detailed artist with that usual DC-style. Hawkman however showcases a different side to Tan’s work – a more indy and simplified style that helps make this book stand out from the crowd. There’s also a lot of credit due to the aptly named Sunny Gho, who colours the book terrifically, picking the right moments to really make the panels shine.
Once again, I find my self ending on a familiar after thought – here is yet another comic that I didn’t expect to add to my never ending pull list. As mentioned before, the New52 has done wonders for my reading list, and not so much my bank balance, but it’s great to see that so much good has come from this re-launch, with Savage Hawkman being such book.
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