Comic Review: Hawkman #10 (DC Comics)

It’s the showdown that everyone has been waiting for, it’s Hawkman against the Deathbringers!!!! And London is falling apart as the Deathbringers scour across London wreaking chaos as Hawkman confronts […]

It’s the showdown that everyone has been waiting for, it’s Hawkman against the Deathbringers!!!! And London is falling apart as the Deathbringers scour across London wreaking chaos as Hawkman confronts his past.

Throughout his journey, Hawkman has lived many lives and has seen various iterations of his former selves. Can Hawkman prevent the past from destroying the present? Or will his future shot at redemption drown in the oceans of the past?

Venditti’s Hawkman series has been making waves since last year, and this issue is an example of the hype that Venditti has breathed back into the character. Hawkman is usually a cult favorite amongst comic fans but has never had a lot of stories that really gave him a definitive spotlight outside of the ol JSA books and some of the pre-new 52 content. Even with that material, it wasn’t enough to really get general readers to gravitate to the character. Which is ironic because one could argue that in many ways, Wolverine isn’t so different from Hawkman given that these are characters who have lived varied lives, who’s past couple to haunt them. But that’s where the similarities end because Hawkman when given a chance, is a compelling character that has much to offer in terms of storytelling than majority of the comic community tend to give him credit for. In the same way that Peter David and Geoff John’s gave a definitive stamp on Aquaman, I think that Venditti has put a definitive stamp on Hawkman. And this issue shows.

What makes this issue great is that if you haven’t read any of the issue prior, it provides enough exposition and context that readers could easily navigate through the book. There is enough information at the beginning of the issue to give readers enough to jump into that it’s accessible to new readers as it is too invested readers that have been keeping up with the series thus far. Venditti does a fantastic job at introducing the conflict and showcasing the extensive consequences of Hawkman’s past decisions giving a bit more weight to the situation that Hawkman faces. I think some of the reason why it works is because Hawkman isn’t as popular as the other primary mainstays of the DCU. Due to that, it ups the stakes a bit for his character, making the gravity of the situation all the more intense and keeping the readers invested.

Venditti writes some really strong moments that shines a new light on Hawkman and his place as a character within the DC Universe. Whether or not the device that Venditti introduces will play a larger role within the rest of the DCU remains to be seen, but with what he has showcased in regards to Hawkman abilities, it makes for an exciting direction for the character. Idamm is an interesting character due to the fact that he is a direct contrast and reflection of what Hawkman once was when he was once a Deathbringer. This entire series revolves around reflection be it internally and externally/metaphorically.

Whether it’s Hawkman, Madame Xanadu, or the antagonist Idamm, each character feels three dimensional, and the issue itself in regards to story, pace and dialogue feel packed to give the reader enough content despite it only being 19 pages. There are a ton of good character moments that had me going back to reread over and over again just to let moments sink in like a scene in a movie. To be honest, if there was ever a Hawkman movie, I wouldn’t be surprised if it took inspiration from this series due to how well it’s written. That’s credit to Venditti’s ability to unravel the story in a way that feels fully fleshed out and realized. Nothing feels like it’s filler nor a waste of space and that’s thanks to the masterful work of Bryan Hitch.

Bryan Hitch’s art manages to fill any voids, providing enough detail and work that the book feels as full as a refreshing cup of water. With each panel, Hitch’s pencils flows through the panels like a winding river, providing twist and turns that give readers a blockbuster experience that compliments Venditti’s cinematic scale of writing. I feel that this issue along with the rest of his work on this series rivals his Ultimates and Authority work.

You can tell that Hitch really put his heart and soul into every nook and cranny that is found in each panel and page. And thanks to the inks by Andrew Currie, Hitch, and colors by Jeremiah Skipper, the book is given an aesthetic that feels like a fully realized film on a two-dimensional surface. Everyone brings their A-game and it shows in this issue and title.

I usually would go for team books from time to time or a Batman-related book, but I think that a book like this, it’s worthwhile to give characters a chance that most people would otherwise not. If you’re looking for something that is grand in scale, yet personal in character, then Hawkman is truly the book for you. It’s a character piece that is as large as a blockbuster film, yet doesn’t fall in line with the usual superhero conventions that most superhero books have (ie: Batman, Superman etc). Whether you’re a fan of Venditti, or Bryan Hitch, or interested in good character studies of obscure characters, I think there is something that people can easily gravitate to in this issue and series. Definitely pick it up and add it to your pull list, because whether you like good writing or good artwork, it has all of that and more.

PS: there is a moment where I was reading the issue listening to Tool’s “Parabol and Parabola” and “46&2” and man did it match the double page spreads in the middle of the issue which made it all the more epic.

Anthony Andujar Jr.

About Anthony Andujar Jr.