Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Waiting In The Wings -- 1/2/2009

New comics don't come out until Friday this week, thanks to the holidays this week and last, but I figured I would post them today anyway as it is going to be hard for me to get them up later in the week.  (Wow, 2009 already!)

Final Crisis Secret Files #1 -- I'm not sure if Hawkman has a role in this anthology or not, but since he has now shown up in the main title, he could be in here.  This book looks interesting anyway, at least from the preview pages we have seen focusing on Libra.  Hawkgirl shows up on the first page if nothing else!

Justice Society of America #22 -- This one is a safe bet.  "In The Name Of Gog" bows here, and while I have several predictions about what will go down, one thing I have learned on this title is that the unexpected often happens.  So I am just going to wait and see.

Trinity #31 -- Hawkman has been a regular in the backups, so I imagine he has a good shot of appearing here.  Trinity is a title which I cannot justify buying, but looks so darn neat that I am tempted quite frequently.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Read: Flash Comics #9

Issue: Flash Comics #9 (Reprinted in The Golden Age Hawkman Archives v.1)
Title: "The Creatures From The Canyon" (suggested title)
Published Date: Sep 1940
Generation: Golden Age Carter
Retcon Status: Out Of Continuity (A lot of this is way out there.)

Summary: George, a friend of Carter Hall, is on his way to visit his friend when a pair of strange creatures emerge from the sea and kidnap him.  The creatures, called Kogats, read George's mind and go to kidnap Carter Hall, only to run into Hawkman instead.  Saying they will kill George unless he cooperates, Hawkman is taken under the sea by the Kogats, by way of a clear helmet which lets him breath underwater.  Hawkman is brought before the towering King Jupo, who uses a hard light gun to vaporize George.  Jupo boasts that with this weapon, he will conquer the surface world, and then throws Hawkman down a deep chasm from which no one can escape.

At the bottom of the chasm, Hawkman winds up running into the god Poseidon, who grants him the abiity to breathe underwater as well as giving him the knowledge on how to beat the Kogats.  By placing an unusual rod at the "needle of rock" underneath the Kogats' cavern, Hawkman causes their entire city to collapse, ending their threat forever.  Poseidon tells Hawkman to come and see him again sometime, as he can now breathe underwater, while Hawkman muses that while some ships may have been sunk when he destroyed the Kogats' cavern, it was worth it.

Review:  Wow, this is a strange one.  It starts off simple enough, with the undersea civilization set to invade the surface world (like all good undersea civilizations are apt to do), then takes a hard right turn halfway through and pretty much turns into an Aquaman story!  Not really sure what Fox had in mind with this one.  The main strength and appeal of the issue is Moldoff's art, which really shines.  There's a few panels which are downright breathtaking, including a close up of the hulking King Jupo which really stands out.  An interesting feature begins in this issue: the "Weapons of the Past" stamp, which is the final panel of the story, illustrating an ancient weapon which Hawkman might use.  In this case, it is a Whip Mace.  This feature would continue on and off for a while in Hawkman's solo adventures.

Image: Flash Comics #9, 1940, Sheldon Moldoff.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Received: Hawkman Companion

Just in time for Christmas (that is, waiting for me when I returned from New York!) is the Hawkman Companion, from TwoMorrows Publishing.  Now, I've blogged about this book before, so you guys know the skinny.  But I actually received this copy from Doug Zawisza, the author himself!  So hopefully I will be able to spend some quality time with this tome (along with The Flash Companion, a Christmas gift from my wife) in the next few weeks and give all of you readers the down low.  From first impressions, this book looks like a tremendous resource for any Hawkfan, filled with interviews and articles, and plenty of great artwork.

Thanks, Doug! I'll be adding your name to the hallowed list of those who have earned the Honor Wings!  

Monday, December 22, 2008

Waiting In The Wings -- 12/24/2008

Just in time for Christmas, we do have a couple of Hawkman-related comics coming out this week.  And yes, this post is earlier than normal!

Rann-Thanagar Holy War #8 -- The series bows here, which means I can start combing the solicitations for the trade paperback.  I don't know if we will get it in one volume or two, or what, but it should be interesting to see what Starlin is doing with Carter/Katar, and if that get resolved or is left as a big ole dangler.  

Trinity #30 -- Hawkman's appearances in the backups have been on and off, but mostly on from what I gather.  Has DC made any announcement one way or the other on how this series will be collected?  I'd like to read it but not if I can't get the backups.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Upcoming: Justice League Unlimited Hawkman T-Shirt

This might as well be subtitled 'chick magnet.'
Seek and ye shall find! In this month's issue of Previews, what is featured but a Hawkman logo t-shirt! From Graphitti Designs, who have been dressing nerds in nerd clothes for Lord knows how long! I probably don't need a second yellow comic book shirt (I already have the Reverse Flash one), but this is just too cool!

And for those who are more of the green variety, be sure to check out the other awesome logo shirt being solicited this month -- the Martian Manhunter (woo)!

Image: Justice League Unlimited Hawkman T-Shirt, retrieved from

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Read: Hawkman v.3:no.1

Issue: Hawkman v.3:no.1
Title: "Winged Fury"
Published Date: Sep 1993
Generation: Modern Katar
Retcon Status: In Continuity

Summary: In Chicago, a new-look Hawkman swoops into action, first diffusing a hostage situation by snatching the armed hostage-taker off the roof he had holed up on, and then wiping out a group of gangbangers looking to hurt some pedestrians.  Meanwhile, the city is abuzz with the return of Hawkman, who disappeared seven months earlier, but no one is sure who is behind the helmet.  A reporter is on the scene in Netherworld, which was Katar one of Katar's old haunts.  The reporter can't find much information, but soon the haven is invaded when the mercenary known as Deadline, a metahuman who can phase his body and is also armed with high tech weaponry including anti-grav discs, attacks the Netherworlders seemingly at random.

Seeing the attack on the television, Hawkman (in his civilian identity as a busboy), runs and leaps to his hideout (an abandoned church), dons his uniform, and streaks to Netherworld.  When he engages Deadline, the mercenary tells Hawkman that he is the real target, and his benefactor wants to see who is under the helment -- by removing it from the Hawk's shoulders.  Hawkman is able to damage Deadline's anti-gravs and knock the fight out of his opponent, who gives up the name of his client.  As Hawkman flies away, Netherworld Feralyce asks him which Hawkman he is, to which the mysterious hero replies, "The current one."

Elsewhere, the Justice League dispatches Green Lantern Hal Jordan to get to the bottom of this new Hawkman's identity.

Review: Ahhh, the very first Hawkman comic book I ever purchased!  Several months after Hawkworld ended, we were treated to this pretty big-time relaunch of Hawkman, complete with a new costume design, a flashy embossed foil cover, and a mystery of just which Hawkman we were reading about.  Overall the effect is a positive one, as the comic itself holds up pretty well some 15 years after its publishing.  The art its dated more by the paper and coloring technique than Duursema's pencils, which are appropriately kinetic.  His look for Hawkman is very striking, especially the sweeping golden wings.  Ostrander and Truman (who handled the script) tell a simple but effective story, and refamiliarize old readers and introduce new readers to some of the basic history of the character with a news report motif to help disguise the exposition.  Another nice touch is the odd weaponry Hawkman uses, including a pair of nunchuks as well as three sorta-but-not-really Wolverine style claws on his left gauntlet.  The oddest element is Hawkman's new speech patterns, which take on a psuedo-mystical tone about the spirits guiding him to his prey.  For a debut issue, this is well done -- of course, in retrospect we know this direction wouldn't last too long, but it got off on a good step.

Image: Hawkman v.3:no.1, 1993, Jan Duursema.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Waiting In The Wings -- 12/17/2008

Is there any Hawkman stuff coming out this week?  Let's take a look!

DCU Holiday Special 2008 -- What holidays does Hawkman celebrate, I wonder?  I don't know.  But I think there is a chance he will pop up in this Holiday special in some form or another.  

Trinity #29 -- Hawkman has had a regular spot in the backups in this title, and did appear last week, so odds are pretty decent that he will put in an appearance this week as well.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Read: The Atom #7

Issue: The Atom #7 (Reprinted in Showcase Presents: Hawkman v.1)
Title: "The Case Of The Cosmic Camera!"
Published Date: Jun/Jul 1963
Generation: Silver Age Katar
Retcon Status: Changed Generations

Summary: Hawkman begins to notice that the migration patterns of various birds has suddenly changed.  He is able to detect a strange radiation which is causing this odd behavior, and he and Hawkgirl decide to track it back to its source.  The unusual radiation is also detected by Professor Ray Palmer, who regales his girlfriend Jean Loring with the science behind bird migratory patterns.  But such pursuits must wait, as he is needed in his alter ego of the Tiny Titay known as The Atom!  Atom is called in to help catch a group of thieves who use hot air balloons to escape silently in the night.  Hawkman runs into the Atom as he is preparing to stop the crooks and the two decide to join forces.  They are able to group the thieves, who are arrested by the Ivy City police.

Hawkman then finds the source of the radiation: a strange device called the Cosmitron, which resembles an ordinary camera.  The Cosmitron is able to absorb seismic energy, and then produce pictures which are seismically charged; any damage done to a picture taken by the Cosmitron will effect the subject as well!  Ancient beings known as the Thalens are enacting a plan to use the Cosmitron to conquer the Earth.  Unable to get past their defenses, Hawkman calls upon his new ally to slip past the Thalens and steal the Cosmitron.  The device out of the Thalens' hands, the two heroes out-punch their foes, and Atom renders the device inoperable.  Later, a chance meeting between Professor Palmer and Ms. Loring with visiting Midway City Museum Curator Carter Hall and his wife Shiera leave both heroes with an odd sense of familiarity, but they decide it's just coincidence.

Review: The first team-up of Hawkman and the Atom!  That alone makes this story worth reading.  It's also worth noting that we sort of get a team-up of Jean Loring and Shiera Hall as well, for you fans of the ladies.  While this is a feature length story, it reads more like two seperate adventures teaming the two heroes up.  Beyond that, this is also the first time we see Hawkman as depicted by Gil Kane, and it's a good look.  Clearly this is an Atom story guest starring Hawkman, as we get a look at how much of a hardcore nerd Ray Palmer really is.  I mean, you can pretty much see Jean yawning as she feigns interest in the detailed explanation he gives her about bird migratory patterns.  But, that's The Atom for you.  Neither the thieves nor the Thalens make for much of a threat, and the Cosmitron is pretty bizarre even by the standards of the era, but a lot of the story revolves around the team-up, which was immensely satisfying to me. I like seeing Hawkman and The Atom team-up!  A fun and historically significant issue, the latter of which is rare for either of these heroes given their "second tier" status.

Image: The Atom #7, 1963, Gil Kane.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Egyptian Prince Vs Space Cop

That is, which of Hawkman's classic depictions is the "definitive" version of the character?

When a character has been around for as long as Hawkman, there inevitably are different takes and interpretations which come along.  In the realm of DC Comics, the very nature oftheir history gives rise to multiple versions -- Golden Age versions, Silver Age versions, post-Crisis versions, post-post-Crisis versions, and so on and so forth.  And Hawkman is no different.

Now, for most characters, coming up with what Dan DiDio calls the "definitive" version of the character is pretty straight-forward.  The main line version of, say, Green Lantern is a guy with an alien power ring which can't effect yellow (whether this is Hal Jordan or John Stewart or whomever), while the main version of The Flash wears a red suit and yellow boots and has a lightning bolt on his chest.  The have been the lasting, "real" versions of these characters for fifty years -- the earlier versions are valid, but not the mainstream definition.  Characters who have changed a lot over the years still typically have one version which stands out.  A great example is Supergirl; of the myriad versions of the character introduced after Crisis on Infinite Earths, "Superman's cousin" is the most well-known take.  This is not a value judgement (I was and still am a big fan of the Matrix Supergirl), but a statement of familiarity and timelessness; Supergirl is Superman's cousin.

Hawkman is something of an abberation (beyond being a member of the Abberant Six...).  For many years, pretty much from the early 1960s straight through the turn of the century, Hawkman was an alien police officer fighting crime on Earth.  The older version -- the modern reincationation of an Egyptian Prince -- was still kicking it around as an alternate, but for the most part the charcter was the Space Cop archetype.  Of course, this was not entirely cut and dried, as within the Space Cop motif we had two drastically different approaches -- the Silver Age version with his classical fantasy look, or the post-Crisis (that is, Hawkworld), modernist take with his metallic wings and militarisitc uniform.  Both versions, again, are valid.  The main difference between the two versions is the underlying theme: the Silver Age Hawkman was a police officer from a Utopian planet, while the Hawkworld Hawkman hailed from a Dystopian planet.  So the question is how do you like your Thanagar?

Speaking unscientifically, it seems that the Dystopian Hawkman is more in line with what readers identified as the definitive Hawkman.  For one thing, the totaltarian background better speaks to Hawkman's "my way or the highway" mentality.  And, I suppose, an imperfect Thanagar is more compelling than a perfect one.  So, it seems that the Space Cop archetype (specifically the Dystopian Space Cop version) makes a play at being definitive.  of course, that's relative, as Hawkman became so mixed up and muddled due to all of this revision that DC basically stuck him off into limbo in the late 90s.

Enter James Robinson and Geoff Johns, co-writers of DC's successful 2002 JSA revival.  And you can't do the Justice Society without Hawkman, so in the second year of the title, they brought him back. And, keeping with this being the Justice Society, they went back to the Egyptian Prince motif, ditching the Space Cop trappings for the most part (while Thanagar still played a big role).  And this new take not only brought the character back into the spotlight, it made him popular enough to get his own title once again, while continuing to figure strongly in JSA.  Suddenly Hawkman was more prominent and popular than he had been in years -- but now he was an Egyptian Prince, not a Space Cop.  And for a whole new generation of Hawkfans, this became the "definitive" version of the character, now steeped in history and reincarnation myth instead of sci-fi and high tech.  And, this take on the character re-aligned his appearance with the classic Golden, Silver, and Bronze Age style, which was abandoned during Hawkworld and slowly inched back towards through the 1990s.  So, for all intents and purposes, DC had achieved their goal, and Hawkman was back.  

At least, it looked that way, until this year when Jim Starlin introduced doubt once more -- a dangling plot point which has not yet been resolved at this time.

So that leaves us where we began: what is the definitive version of Hawkman?  The reincatnated Egyptian Prince?  The winged sleuth from the advanced alien civilization?  The tough as nails Wingman of a totaltarian state?  It's hard to say at this point.  I think the attempt in Zero Hour to combine all of the various versions into one merged Hawkman had some promise, but ultimately failed to satisfy much of anybody.  I think it's safe to say that the definitive look of the character is the bare chest and feathered wings as opposed to the more modern designs.  But regarding what version of the character hits this mark is more complex.   I believe that the two Space Cop versions hold what most fans consider the definitive elements; further, both satisfy the concept of the definitive version being easy to explain.  But the work of Robinson and Johns to update the original version should not be ignored or discounted.  So what is the "definitive" take of Hawkman?  Sorry, but your opinion is as good as mine.  Hawkman is a character with many flavors and varieties, and that probably is not going to change any time soon.

Image: Hawkman sketch, ???, David Beck.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Upcoming: DCUC Hawkman

Here is one I have been waiting for: Mattel's DCUC Hawkman.  Amazingly enough, though I have purchased several toys in this line for other people, I do not own any of them for myself.  It looks like this is going to change once Wave 6 comes out, featuring the Winged Wonder here.  The rest of the Wave includes Captain Marvel, Killer Moth (!), Mister Miracle (with a Doctor Impossible variant), and Mullet Superman (with Black Suit variant).  The Build-A-Figure is Kalibak The Cruel, of all people.

Other upcoming DCUC toys tied to the Hawk mythos include The Atom in Wave 5 (though I am not sure if it is Ray Palmer or Ryan Choi), Dr. Fate both modern and classic, modern Hawkgirl, and Gentleman Ghost, all in Wave 8.  JSA teammate Mr. Terrific is also scheduled for that Wave.

Looks like it will be toy hunting season next year!  Oh well!

Image: DCUC Hawkman, retreived from

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Read: Flash Comics #8

Issue: Flash Comics #8 (Reprinted in The Golden Age Hawkman Archives v.1)
Title: "The Sunspot Wizard" (suggested title)
Published Date: Aug 1940
Generation: Golden Age Carter
Retcon Status: In Continuity

Summary: Professor Kitzoff, an inventor, has created a machine which can cause sunspots to flare, altering the way they influence people and objects on Earth.  After the Professor uses his beam to crash a plane, Hawkman investigates.  At first the Professor lies to him, saying it is just a high powered searchlight, but Hawkman sees through it and destroys the device.  Kitzoff shoots Hawkman in retaliation, and has his body boxed and packed up to experiment on.  Our hero is not dead, however, just stunned, and is able to escape.  In the meantime, Kitzoff relocates to South America and builds a new version of his sunspot device.  Arming himself with a Norman-era mace, Hawkman tracks the Professor and once more destroys the device.  In the fracas afterwards, Kitzoff is shot and killed by his own men by accident.

Review: Most notably about this Fox/Moldoff story is that this is the first time we see Hawkman use what would become his signature weapon, the mace (although technically I suppose this a flail). There's also the incredibly goofy image of Hawkman flying around in the coffin, with his wings sticking out of the box.  All in all this is a pretty average Golden Age superhero story, though Moldoff's art is still appealing and seeing the mace in action is always nice.  

Image: Flash Comics #8, 1940, Sheldon Moldoff.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Waiting In The Wings -- 12/10/2008

Between the holiday and work-related travel, I haven't had a chance to go to the comic shop in a few weeks, so there should be some nice Hawk-related stuff coming out.  Here's what's on tap for this week.

Final Crisis #5 -- Earth has pretty much gone to hell in this series, with Darkseid and his evil New Gods reborn and controlling the entire planet.  So where is Hawkman?  I suppose he might be out in space dealing with the Rann-Thanagar Holy War, but hopefully he will make an apperance here.

JSA v.3: Thy Kingdom Come HC -- Now this is one I can easily say has Hawkman in it.  Because I own the issues in question!  Geoff Johns announced that he was leaving JSA after the Black Adam storyarc which follows after the Gog saga, but we can still enjoy his work, especially in revitalizing the Winged Wonder.

Trinity #28 -- Hawkman has been one of the regularly recurring heroes in the backups of this title, so there is a chance he will pop up here this week.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Read: Rann-Thanagar War

Issue: Rann-Thanagar War #1-6 (Collected in Rann-Thanagar War TPB)
Published Date: Jul 05-Dec 05
Generation: Modern Carter
Retcon Status: In Continuity

Summary: A rogue Rannian uses an advanced Zeta Beam to transport the entire planet of Rann into orbit around Polaris, in the same solar system as Thanagar.  The gravitational changes caused by Rann's new presence alters Thanagar's orbit, turning the planet into an inhsopitable hell.  Despite efforts by the Rannians to rescue the citizens of Thanagar, war soon breaks out between the rival planets, drawing various allies and mercenaries into the fray as well.  Rannian hero Adam Strange rides a Zeta Beam to Earth and retrieves Hawkman and Hawkgirl from St. Roch to help ut an end to the conflict.  But there is a greater threat on the horizon: the Thanagarian Cult Of The Seven Devils has resurrected the evil god Onimar Synn, a towering force of terror with a body composed of Nth metal who feeds on death.  The growing crisis also draws the attention of the Guardians of Oa, who dispatch Green Lantern Kyle Raynor to the sector.

The already intense battle quickly escalates.  Onimar Synn uses his vast powers to animate an army of dead Thanagarians, sending them throughout the galaxy to get ahold of a Zeta Beam.  Tamaranian Queen Komand'r (Blackfire) forges an alliance with the essentially deposed Thanagarian government as a power-grab, and the "traitor" Shayera Thal (Hawkwoman) escapes execution to help our heroes.  Synn intends to use the Zeta Beam to transport himself anywhere in the galaxy, spreading his cult and increasing his power off the charts.  In the end, Adam Strange, Alanna, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Captain Comet, and Tiggor of the Omega Men use miniature Zeta Beam devices to teleport parts of Synn to the centers of seven different suns.  The price, however, is great, as Hawkwoman is killed in the line of duty.

The threat of Synn is overcome, but the galaxy is still in peril: Komand'r now controls the Thanagarian battle fleet, and a mysterious tear in the fabric of space has appeared...

Review: I am tempted to call this DC's answer to Marvel's Annihilation, except this series sorta came first.  Still, the stories are pretty similar, with lots of characters and planets being juggled around as a modern space opera.  Dave Gibbon's story has lots going on -- this easily could have been twelve issues -- and is written in a condensed style which does lead to some flipping back and forth to remind yourself of certain elements.  Still, it's a grand tale of war, alliances, and betrayl, helped out tremendously by Ivan Reis' meticulously detailed pencils and the bold coloring choices of John Kalisz, which illustrate the conflict in strong shades of reds, oranges, and yellows.  

The main downfall is the unfinished nature of the story.  Between the cliffhanger with Komand'r, and then the 500-pound gorilla of Infinite Crisis, the result is like the ending of a big popcorn movie being spoikled by the setup for the sequel.  And while Thanagar and its culture play a main role, the Hawks themselves are primarily supporting characters.  This is an Adam Strange story (appropriate, as this series is predicated on the Planet Heist series) featuring Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and Hawkwoman.  Still, even with these faults, Rann-Thanagar War is a fun sci-fi book.  Not really all that deep, but if you like the characters involved, you will probably be satisfied with the read.

(Silver Age fans will no doubt recognize that the idea of Rann being teleported into a different solar system and threatening a planet is a reference to the classic Hawkman-Adam Strange team-up in Mystery In Space #90 , "Planets In Peril," which featured Rann's presence around Sol threatening both it and Earth.)

Image: Rann-Thanagar War TPB, 2005, Ivan Reis.  

Monday, December 8, 2008


Well, yeesh, that was pretty bad, wasn't it?  I had intended to make some updates last week, but obviously, that did not end up working out. My wife and I returned from visiting her family on the Sunday after Turkey Day, and then I turned around on Monday and flew to beautiful San Jose, CA for a business trip.  Imagine my surprise when the hotel we were staying at was charging a fee for Internet access!  How very 90s!  So, needless to say, no updates, but we should be back on track this week.  Sorry for the delay!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Turkey Day Hiatus

Well, with my wife and I heading out for Turkey Day tomorrow in the (very) early morning, this will be the last chance I get to update before next week.  And, just to make it even more fun, next week I am going to be in beautiful downtown San Jose, CA for a business trip.  I'm bringing along a few Hawk-related trades (including JSA v.10: Black Vengeance, and Rann-Thanagar War), so if I get a chance at the hotel I might be able to update some.  If nothing else I'll get the chance to read some new (to me!) comics.  So there may be updates, even if they are sporadic.  

Anyway, have a happy and safe holiday (those celebrating) and I will see you guys later!

Waiting In The Wings -- 11/26/2008

Is there any Hawkman related stuff coming out this holiday week (well, it's a holiday here in America, anyway!)?  Let's take a look.

Justice Society of America Kingdom Come Special: The Kingdom -- Hawkman made a cameo appearance in last week's Magog one-shot, and I figure he will have a spot here, as well.  This all leads up to Justice Society of America #21, out next week, which will seems to promise a confrontation between Hawkman, Flash, and Green Lantern.  Johns has really concocted a very compelling modern superhero series in this version of the Society, and it just keeps getting more and more throught provoking as it goes on.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Batman: The Brave And The Bold S.1:Ep.2: "Terror On Dinosaur Island"

Those who have been watching the altogether awesome Batman: The Brave And The Bold cartoon were in for a treat this past Friday, as who should pop up in the opening segment but the one and only Jim Craddock himself, the Gentleman Ghost!

Even more fun was how Batman (with an assist from fellow Justice Leaguer Fire!) managed to subdue the spectral crook: Nth Metal Knuckles to the face, followed by Nth Metal Handcuffs!  Oh, why must you tease me so?  I am really enjoying this show and really hope that Hawkman shows up soon, either on his own, with Hawkgirl, or with the Justice Society.  

If you haven't been watching this show, you owe it to yourself to check it out.  A ton of fun in true "All Ages" fashion, this is like a Silver Age comic book come to life.  

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Read: The Brave And The Bold #44.2

Issue: The Brave And The Bold #44 (Reprinted in Showcase Presents: Hawkman v.1)
Title: "The Men Who Moved The World!"
Published Date: Oct/Nov 1962
Generation: Silver Age Katar
Retcon Status: Changed Generations

Summary: In Midway City, three strange humanoid creatures -- each with the head of a different animal -- break into the Midway City Museum to recover a special disc.  Hawkman intervenes, but the trip is able to elude him long enough to escape with their prize, which they intend to use to alter the orbit of Earth to what it had in the year 10000 BC.  The humanoids leave a faint trail of radioactivity which allows the Hawks to track them to the ancient city of Petra, in the Trans-Jordan region.  Using the disc, the humanoids have activated their Oribtron device, which will shift the poles and thus the oribt of Earth after running for one full day.  Their motivation?  The humanoids hail from the lost city of Lansinar, which once dominated the planet until a "rogue planet" passed too close to Earth 12000 years ago and altered it's orbital path.  The gravitational effects shifted the Earth's poles, freezing Lansinar under tons of Arctic ice.  The Lansinarians (?) put themselves into hyper-sleep at that time, and now finally have the disc they need to thaw out and re-establish the rule of Lansinar.

The Hawks come upon the Lansinarians hideout, and are counter-attacked by the humanoids in small jets.   The Lansinarians refuse to communicate with the Hawks, and draw the fight out as long as they can.  Receiving a signal that the Orbitron has been activated for a full day, they gloat over their victory to the Hawks.  But the Winged Wonders have a trick up their sleeve as well: the rotation of Earth 12000 years ago made the day only 18 hours instead of 24; the Lansinarians have miscalculated.  With the Orbitron deactivated, the Hawks round up the Lansinarians and hand them over to the UN.

Review: Definitely the "A" story of this issue and one of the all-around better Silver Age Hawkman stories I have read so far.  The science-fiction aspect of this story, with its strange villians and literally world-shaking implications, really helps it stand out.  Fox seems to have really put some thought into this one, as we get a lot of background on the humanoids and their city; of course, we'd never see them again!  I'm seriously surprised that we didn't see some variation of the lost city of Lansinar show up under Geoff Johns.  Although, apparently they did show up over in Wonder Woman at some point, so there you go.  The twist to defeat them is fairly novel as well, with the Hawks once more using that all-important Absorbascon knowledge to outthink their foes.  I also want to call out Joe Kubert's wonderful art, including that cover.  Wow!  Great fun all around.

Image: The Brave And The Bold #44, 1962, Joe Kubert.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Now Avilable: The Hawkman Companion

Besides the Four Color offerings available this week involving the Hawks, I'd also like to call your attention to this title now available from TwoMorrows Publishing.  From the description:

"Instantly recognizable among comic fans, Hawkman is one of the most iconic heroes ever created. Inspired by tales as old as mankind and those much more recent, this four-color legend has left an indelible mark upon the comic industry. Behind a fabulous CLIFF CHIANG cover, this collection contains interviews and commentary from many who have helped Hawkman soar through the ages, including JOE KUBERT, GEOFF JOHNS, SHELLY MOLDOFF, TIMOTHY TRUMAN, JUSTIN GRAY, JIMMY PALMIOTTI, RAGS MORALES, STEPHEN SADOWSKI, DON KRAMER, BEN RAAB, TONY ISABELLA, DAN JURGENS, ROY THOMAS, STEVE LIEBER, MURPHY ANDERSON and many other top comics creators. Also included is a copious image parade, profiles on the Hawks through the ages, as well as their allies and adversaries, and a timeline of Hawkman's storied existence throughout the DC Comics Universe. With insight into the character and the creators who made him what he is, the HAWKMAN COMPANION is certain to please any Hawkfan. Written by Doug Zawisza!"

Sounds like a winner to me!  You can order it through Amazon, or direct from TwoMorrows at this link.  I'm definitely jonesing for this bad boy now!

Waiting In The Wings -- 11/19/2008

Any Hawk-related stuff this week?  Let's take a look.

Justice Society of America Kingdom Come Special: Magog -- Hawkman was not in last week's Superman Special, but it was worth picking up anyway, so I am going ahead and giving a nod to this Special as well.  The big Gog storyline which Johns is working in JSoA has been going on for a while now (especially since "Thy Kingdom Come" was essentially the prologue for it) but I have not grown tired of it yet, so I am happy to see it continue for now.

Rann-Thanagar Holy War #7 -- Now this one I can pretty much guarantee Hawkman will be in.  What does Starlin have in mind, and how does it tie into what Dan DiDio has been telling us?  The return of Adventure Comics to the DC lineup further fuels speculation: Will Mystery In Space, perhaps featureing Hawkman and Adam Strange, be the next "classic" title to make a comeback once again?  We all have to wait and see, unfortunately.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Read: Hawkman v.4:no.10

Issue: Hawkman v.4:no.10 (reprinted in Hawkman v.2: Allies & Enemies)
Title: "Snow Blind"
Published Date: Feb 2003
Generation: Modern Carter
Retcon Status: In Continuity

Summary: Following the note pinned to the yeti's body at the end of the last issue, Hawkman and Hawkgirl (along with Jayita and Danny) head to the Himalayas to track down Speed Saunders.  They are lead by a mysterious sherpa named Rajak Darkraven, who's raven guide helps him navigate the treacherous climbs.  Hawkman is cool and professional to both Hawkgirl and Jayita, which makes both women shake their heads at his stubborness.  

Back in St. Roch, Chief Nedal continues to dig deeper into the case of Kendra's murdered parents, and is warned by Officer Isabella that he is becoming obsessed with her.  Nedal dismisses it and claims he is trying to clear a cold case.  At Stonechat Museum, Jeremy Barlow has found that Susan Morrison has snuck one of her sculptures (a rude one of Jeremy at that!) into a display and removes it, but the two get a scare when a familiar ghost with a monocle and top hat appears before them.

In the Himalayas, as the team begins to crest onto a planteau, they suddenly are attacked by a ferocious band of yetis.  The fight is furious in the wind-driven snow, until the yetis cries cause a small avalanche, burying the entire team... except Darkraven, who has lead them to an ancient temple.  Here we find the person who hired him: Helene Astor, the re-incarnation of Hath-Set!

Review: Things take an interesting turn here as old school Hawk baddie Helene Astor pops up.  I suppose this should not be too much of a surprise as Johns and Robinson pretty much told us about her in the profile of Kristopher Roderic in the Secret Files & Origins issue.  It's fun to get another exotic setting, and Morales has plenty to keep him busy this time out between the snow, the winter gear for most of the team (save the Hawks, naturally, thanks to the effects of the Nth metal!) and the yeti tribe.  The appearance of Gentleman Ghost at Stonechat doesn't get resolved for a while, but does tie in to issue #7, which I will have a write up for later.  All in all another strong issue.

Image: Hawkman v.4:no.10, 2003, Rags Morales.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Justice League Unlimited Hawkman

Adama, who of course runs the finest Green Arrow blog on all the intarweb, Dispatches From The Arrowcave, picked up this Hawkman toy for me down in his hunts in Atlanta.  And I am glad he did, as this figure has been completely impossible to find up here.  Needless to say this act of selflessness is what earned Adama his Honor Wings.

The figure itself is very nice.  The Bruce Timm-esque proportions don't always work on all characters when translated to three dimensions, but for Hawkman, the barrel chest and trim waist are spot-on.  You can practically hear James Remar's voice coming out of this guy.  The helmet is the classic design, as used on the television show, and the colors are perfect.  His mace accessory is nice, echoing the similar weapon included with the old Super Powers toy (oddly, since Hawkgirl used the mace exclusively on the show, Hawkman was never shown to use this weapon on Justice League Unlimited!).  His wings give the character a nice heft and have the added benefit of acting as a sort of counter-weight.  I had Hawkman standing on an end table in my living room all weekend and he only fell over three times, which is quite amazing if you know these figures.  Still, I may have to invest in a stand for him.  

The main gripe I have about the toy is his wing harness.  Not his wings, which although they are static look quite sleek and eye-pleasing, but the harness itself.  Since the nature of the Justice League line is to reuse as much as possible -- fitting, considering the similar build of most of the characters as designed by Timm and company -- his harness and Nth metal chestpiece are painted on rather than sculpted.    Add to that fact that the chestpiece itself is a little too big, and it's kinda disappointing.  But, given that it is still a Hawkman toy in the form of his very cool DCAU character model, I cannot complain too loudly.  If you can find him, I recommend him.  Now Mattel needs to get busy with Gentleman Ghost and Shadow-Thief!

Image: Justice League Unlimited Hawkman, retreived from unknown.  

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Read: Flash Comics #7

Issue: Flash Comics #7 (Reprinted in The Golden Age Hawkman Archives v.1)
Title: "Czar, The Unkillable Man" (suggested title)
Published Date: Jul 1940
Generation: Golden Age Carter
Retcon Status: In Continuity

Summary: Scultper Boris Nickaloff has discovered a special clay, called plasm clay, which allows him to bring his sculptures to life.  He sculpts a hulking man named Czar, which he uses to commit crimes for him.  Czar's golem-like body allows him to shrug off normal weapons.  Hawkman's first thought is that the being is a vampire, but his silver bullets have no effect.  So the Winged Wonder tracks Czar's creator, where he overhears his one weakness: that the artificial man needs to breathe.  Armed with this knowledge, Hawkman picks a bolas from his arsenal, and sets out just in time for Shiera to be kidnapped by Czar.  Meeting again, Hawkman throws his bolas at Czar, but Boris dives in the way, saving his creation but at the cost of his own life.  Czar tries to make his escape, but another well-placed throw takes down the unkillable man for good.

Review: We're back in the city for this adventure, which is nice after the change-up in the desert for the last two issues.  Another strong villian in Czar (who, like the Thought Terror, would never appear again, sadly) makes this B-movie like story very fun.  Czar's look, while simple -- he is an albino-pale, bald humanoid wearing red shorts and boots -- is really brought to life by Moldoff, who imbues the baddie with plenty of menace.  We continue the trend of killing off the villians, although whether Czar was truly alive or not is debatable.  It's nice to see Shiera again, although she has little to do; it's almost as if Fox wanted to remind us of her after two months of Ione Craig.  Hawkman also takes the showcase spot on the cover, the first time since Flash Comics #2

Image: Flash Comics #7, 1940, Sheldon Moldoff.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dan DiDio: 20 Answers, 1 Question

DC Comics Executive Editor Dan DiDio mentioned Hawkman in his Q&A column over at Newsarama:

(Newsarama) 5: But what about when you end up with seemingly different versions of the same character? The Joker for instance – he's different between how Grant Morrison treats him in Batman to his other DC U appearances to how Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo treated him in their graphic novel. Hawkman has gone two different ways...

DD: Hawkman has not gone two different ways. ...As with Hawkman, we were trying to create a sensibility that there might be more to the story of Hawkman – that was a story concept. If we go back to that particular story by Jim Starlin, nothing really changed – it just brought questions up to the front, and those questions will be played out later in the year.

Oh, and let me finish that statement – they will be played out to the satisfaction to everybody who enjoyed and embraced the origin that Geoff Johns put forth when the character was reintroduced. Everything works together.

Interesting!  Perhaps there is something to the fannish notion I had about there being two distinct Hawkmen, one for Johns to write and one for Starlin to write.  Or maybe the Carter Hall Hawkman goes back to Earth-2?  Should be interesting to see if nothing else.  

Waiting In The Wings -- 11/12/2008

Wednesday is usually a good day for finding new Hawkman stuff at your local comic book shop, so let's see what we have this week.

JLA/Avengers TPB -- The epic worldbender by Busiek and Perez.  I picked up the first three issues of his back at HeroesCon but have not had a chance to read them yet.  But with this many characters you know the Hawks are in there somewhere.

Justice Society of America Kingdom Come Special: Superman -- Hawkman didn't show up in last week's issue of JSoA, annoyingly, but since this special (followed by two more the next two weeks) focuses on the Gog storyline instead of the Earth-2 storyline, I have to imagine that he will be more involved this time out.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Read: The Brave And The Bold #44.1

Issue: The Brave And The Bold #44
Title: "Earth's Impossible Day!"
Published Date: Oct/Nov 1962
Generation: Silver Age Katar
Retcon Status: Out Of Continuity (This is a guess, from all of the Thanagarian culture on display.)

Summary: On Earth, Katar and Shayera discover that the United States' Independence Day falls on the exact same day as their Thanagarian holiday of Impossible Day.  The gist of the holiday is that all Thanagarians must perform three "impossible" tasks to honor an ancient Thanagarian by the name of Rhon Dhu.  Deciding to go on a picnic for the holiday, the Hawks discover a forest fire, and use their wings to make a giant water column to extinguish the flame; by making it "rain" upwards, they have done an "impossible" task.  Later, the duo comes across a pair of bak robbers fleeing in their getaway car which they have protected with an electric forcefield.  The Hawks shut them down, however, by throwing bolts of lightning at the crooks -- which seems impossible, but in actuality, by using rocks made of fulgarite to generate electrical current!  Finally, after the Midway City Museum is robbed by a crook who seems to make his loot disappear, the Hawks give chase.  Hawkman is able to see the crook's "invisible" bullets thanks to having studied the scene of the crime and determining that the items disappeared thanks to a chemical spray, which he created a counter-compound for.  Thus, Hawkman and Hawkgirl are able to honor their Thanagarian holiday by performing three seemingly "impossible" tasks.

Review: A fun 12-pager, a typical sort of Silver Age story where the heroes are not really menaced all that much but still provide us readers with entertainment.  The goofy way which Fox establishes Thanagarian "culture" is so pitch-perfect for the time period that you can't help but smile at it's quaint nature.  And I am still a little shaky on how the fulgarite bit worked, but that's okay.  One does wonder, though, how you manage to perform these "impossible" feats without having the Hawks' Nth metal wing harnesses and full access to the Absorbascon!  

For those interested, you can get a more in-depth breakdown of this story over at Dial B For Blog.  

Image: The Brave And The Bold #44, 1962, Joe Kubert.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Image: Jack Kirby's Hawkman

Today we have this very interesting piece provided by Rick, of Comic Book Letterheads, Plastic-Man Platitudes, Let's Rap With Cap, and Mail It To Team-Up fame (whew!).  According to Rick, this Jack Kirby Hawkman piece was done as a part of a proposed Hawkman cartoon series which never saw the light of day.  How far along this proposal got, what network it was for, and so forth, I do not know.  But seeing Jack Kirby's rendition of a character so atypical for him is a real treat for me, a fan of his work in general.  A Kirby Hawkman no doubt would have been a very powerful, imposing figure.  I especially like the stoic look on his face in this piece.

A very big thumbs-up to Rick, who has been gifted with the Honor Wings for finding such a worthy contribution to the blog!  Do you have something Hawk related?  Send it along and you too can earn your Honor Wings!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Read: Flash Comics #6

Issue: Flash Comics #6 (Reprinted in The Golden Age Hawkman Archives v.1)
Title: "Sheba, Queen of The Desert" (suggested title)
Published Date: Jun 1940
Generation: Golden Age Carter
Retcon Status: In Continuity

Summary: Fresh off saving secret agent Ione Craig from the Cult of Assassians, Hawkman has to land in the middle of the desert to check his wing harness.  Returning to the skies to scout, Ione is promptly found by desert riders and kidnapped.  The American agent is brought before Sheik Abdullah, who plans to sell her into slavery.  Hawkman tracks her down, but is promptly subdued by Abdullah's men and thrown in the Sheik's dungeon.  There, the Winged Wonder runs into Major Brent, who recently had lead an Army mission in the area and is thought dead.

Sheba, "Queen of the Desert," is interested in Hawkman as a slave and demands Abdullah give him to her as a gift.  Hawkman is able to escape his new mistress and meet up with Major Brent's unit outside the city limits.  Together with the Army, Hawkman lays seige to the palace of Abdullah, and rescues both Ione and the Major.  Sheba had tried to escape, but Hawkman dropped her in a tall tower for easy capture later.

Review: As promised, the story here picks up right where "The Kidnapping of Ione Craig" finished, and appropriately, the story is comparable.  Moldoff once more delivers the goods in a pulp-y, non-modern setting, and Gardner Fox's story, while simplistic, is fun and colorful.  The villians of the piece are definitely products of the era which this was published, but they are so broad that I think they hold up nicely -- this is aided once more by the pulp style storytelling.  Despite her big role in the last two tales, I do not believe Ione Craig would ever appear again... are you listening, Geoff Johns?

Image: Flash Comics #6, 1940, Everett E. Hibbard.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Waiting In The Wings -- 11/05/2008

Is there any Hawkman related stuff coming out this week?  Let's take a look and see, shall we?

Justice Society of America #20 -- With the argument about Gog's presence on Earth starting to grow, the cracks in the team's unity are starting to get bigger and bigger.  On one side is Flash and Green Lantern, along with the old guard of the Society.  And on the other is Hawkman, and the younger members.  And what about the Justice Society Infinity coming to crash the party?  Promises to be an insane series of events starting here and spinning into the upcoming JSoA specials this month, and Carter is playing a key role.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Acquired: Swag From Greenville Comic Con

From my adventures at the Greenville Comic Con this past weekend, I managed to find some nifty (and thrifty!) Hawkman treats to enjoy.  The Hawk doesn't have much presence in the back issue bins in the shops around here, so I am hoping to make a big run at it next year at HeroesCon.  Anyways, here's the goods.

Hawkman v.2:no.1 -- Continuing my trend of finding the first issue of a new series which spun out of a miniseries without finding the miniseries.  I have heard a lot of good things about the Shadow War so I am hoping this is good as well.

Hawkman Special -- This ties into the second ongoing, dealing with more fallout from the Shadow War.  Definitely looking forward to this one.

Action Comics #588 -- Believe it or not, this crossover with the Big Blue Boyscout takes place squarely inside the second volume of Hawkman's solo title, and, keeping with the trend, ties into the Shadow War plot.

Secret Origins #11 -- Featuring the Golden Age Hawkman and Power Girl.  I like that this one specifically calls out that it is the Golden Age Hawkman, because at the time of publishing (Feb 87), we were still in the grey area about the Thanagarian Hawkman.  Also, should be fun to read Power Girl's now out of continuity Atlantis origin.

Showcase #101 -- If I remember correctly, this is from when DC brought back Showcase for a little while in the late 70s.  In any event, this one features Adam Strange guest-starring with the Hawks and looks like a lot of fun.

Rann-Thanagar War TPB -- Well, I kept threatening to buy it, and I am glad I held off until now, since I picked it up for $5!  Woo!

A pretty good haul, I'd say!  And all of this for less than ten bucks, so it was a pretty good deal to boot.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Acquired: Justice League Unlimited Hawkman

Purchased in Atlanta for me by my good friend Adama, he of the Dispatches From The Arrowcave.  I had never seen this figure anywhere around where I am, so I am very much grateful for his assistance.  As such, Adama has been awarded the Honor Wings!

I'll have a more in depth review of the figure once I get it opened up and played with a bit, hopefully this week.

Do you have something cool or noteworthy featuring Hawkman?  Send it along to me and you too can earn your Honor Wings!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, everybody!  In honor of the one night a year where it's perfectly acceptable to dress up in a ridiculous costume AND beg for candy throughout your neighborhood, here's a few Hawkman costumes I found online.  He's a bit tougher to put together a costume for, but it's doable.

Have a happy and safe Halloween folks!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Read: Hawkworld v.2:no.1

Issue: Hawkworld v.2:no.1
Title: "Thanagar's Hero"
Published Date: Jun 90
Generation: Modern Katar
Retcon Status: In Continuity

Summary: With Thanagarian criminal mastermind Byth exiled to the primitive planet of Earth, Wingman Katar Hol is hailed as the latest in the long line of "Thanagar's Heroes," including his own father, Paran Katar.  This makes his growing disillusionment with the rigidly structured Thanagarian society troubling for both Katar and his superiors.  The Wingman chief, Andar Pul, doesn't want Thanagar's Hero risking his life on patrol, but Katar will hear nothing of it.  Andar responds by ordering Katar's partner Shayera Thal to keep her eyes on him, and take him out if need be, because "Thanagar's Hero" can always be replaced.  Afterwards, after Katar checks with his government mole Kanjar Ro, Shayera gives Katar a piece of her mind, telling him that he has to get over his "liberal guilt" about his station in life and do his duty.

On a patrol, the Hawks investigate a pair murder victims who have had their faces skinned off -- the calling card of the Manhawks.  Their investigation is interrupted when they run into a Downsider kid who Katar knows.  Katar wants to help the boy, but he leads them into an attack by another Downsider named Bladebat, whom had lost his hand in a previous fight with Hol and replaced it with a knife. Things get more complicated as they are then ambushed by the Manhawks.  After a brutal three-way battle, the Manhawks retreat, Bladebat loses his other arm, and the boy is killed.  As Shayera says, they don't know any better, because "Once a Downsider, always a Downsider."  The Hawks are then given their new assignment: Earth.

Review: Well this certainly is a change of pace from what we've been reading on this site, huh?  A dark and grimy tale of corruption, totaltarianism, and class warfare, this is very clearly a very different take on Thanagar and it's resident heroes.  Truman is in full allegory mode here, turning what was once a pretty simple science fiction property and using it as dystopian social commentary.  It's not bad, I just wasn't expecting it to be this thick, honestly.  It's very odd to see Katar feeling guilty about being considered a "hero," but considernig the Post-Crisis landscape I guess it's unavoidable.  Graham Nolan's artwork is very nicely done, giving a sort of British, understated vibe to the proceedings which works well.  I especially like the redesign of the Manhawks, which loses the grace of the Silver Age design in exchange for a horrific, Cronenberg-like appeal.  As a launch for a new series, this is pretty good, but after this initial reading of the Hawkworld continuity, I still like Silver Age Katar better.

Image: Hawkworld v.2:no.1, 1990, Graham Nolan.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Waiting In The Wings -- 10/29/2008

What new funnybooks are coming out this week that feature the Winged Wonder?  Let's take a look!

DC Universe Decisions #4 -- The final issue.  At least DC got it all out before Election Day.

Justice Society of America: The Next Age TPB -- If you missed the start of the new (but still aweomse) JSoA series and thought the HC was too prciey, now is your chance to get caught up.

Rann-Thanagar Hol War #6 -- As this series goes on, I keep getting more anxious to get the trade to read it.  What will become of Hawkman as we know him?  Will Katar be back?  Will Carter stick around?  What about my pet theory?  I need to know this stuff!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Read: The Brave And The Bold #43

Issue: The Brave And The Bold #43 (Reprinted in Showcase Presents: Hawkman v.1)
Title: "The Masked Marauders Of Earth"
Published Date: Aug/Sep 1962
Generation: Silver Age Katar
Retcon Status: Out Of Continuity

Summary: In Midway City, an entire jewelry store is bizarrely stolen by even more bizarre thieves: giant hawks wearing vaguely humanoid masks who shoot beams from their eyes.  The store is returned, but with two large rubies missing.  Police Commissioner Emmett contacts Hawkman on Thanagar, who recognizes the thieves as the Manhawks, a roving band of criminals who introduced the concept of theft to Thanagar years earlier.  This new rash of crimes -- Thanagarians committed thefts for the sheer thrill of it -- forced Katar Hol's father Paran Katar, to turn his anti-gravity belt and artificial wing inventions (originall devised to study birds) in the tools of combat.  Katar used his father's invention and infiltrated the Manhawks, then stole one of their masks and reverse-engineered it's weapon, developing a counter-measure: the Hawk helmet, complete with shields against the Manhawks' eyebeam attacks.  Rendering their weapons ineffective, the Manhawks were quickly put in prison, but the damage had been done; crime was now on Thanagar, and thus Paran's inventions were used to arm the new police force.

The Hawks make their way to Earth, armed with the same counter-measure Katar had used earlier against the Manhawks.  But, their foes have deduced this one, and their eyebeams are now resistant to the Hawks weapons.  Planning to strike at Thanagar, the Hawks probe their Earth history, and figure out that rubies are needed to make a laser beam.  They attack the Manhawks ship, then use a black chemical rain to negate the Manhawks' eyebeams (not having enough light to properly amplify, the attacks are not very dangerous).  The Manhawks are captured and imprisoned on Earth.

Review: The second feature-length Hawk adventure in a row is as good as the previous one.  We get more great Katar and Shayera interaction, a crazy new set of villians, and more Thanagarian backstory, which is always welcome.  Plus, this story will always be remembered as the case on which Hawkman earned his Honor Wings, and regained his classic winged helmet look.  There's some typically murky Silver Age Science going on, but the story is fun enough that you roll with it, which has been my experience with such SAS so far in reading DC's from the period.  The Manhawks would eventually return a couple more times to menace Katar and Shayera during the Silver and Bronze Age, and would be re-imagined in a substantially more gruesome manner in the Hawkworld series.  Really fun DC science fiction tale.

Image: The Brave And The Bold #43, 1962, Joe Kubert.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Read: Hawkman v.4:no.9

Issue: Hawkman v.4:no.9 (reprinted in Hawkman v.2: Allies & Enemies)
Title: "In The Hands Of Fate"
Published Date: Jan 2003
Generation: Modern Carter
Retcon Status: In Continuity

Summary: Arriving back at Stonechat after his dinnre with Ray Palmer, Carter is surprised by the arrival of his son Hector, AKA Dr. Fate.  Hector explains to his father that he has now been caught up in his parents cycle of reincarnation, and takes Carter on a mystical trip back to Ancient Egypt, where he explains that not only are Khufu and Chay-era destined to be reborn again and again, but their treacherous high priest Hath-Set is destined to kill them again and again.  Fate then warns that the circumstances behind Carter's resurrection, and other changes such as his presence in the cycle, have made the future unpredictable and dangerous.

Meanwhile, tossing and turning in her bed, Kendra has flashbacks of her own, as she remembers a traumatic attack by a pair of police officers on her and her mother when she was only a child, which resulted in the death of one of the officers.  Not wanting to be alone with her memories, Kendra goes to Stonechat seeking out Carter, where she tells Carter that his complete withdrawl from her life hurt her.  But the discussion is interupted as the dead body of a Yeti is dumped through the roof, with a message about Kendra's uncle Speed attached to it.

Review: It's weird to get a guest star again after just having one last issue, but considering the new connection between Fate and Hawkman I guess it's okay.  Johns is clearly doing his worldbuilding stuff here and that's just fine with me, because it's really well done.  The idea of Dr. Fate being part of the resurrection cycle is interesting in that it is a bit of a departure for the character, who typically was passed to helm-bearer to helm-bearer; I get the feeling that Johns was trying to make the "true" or "definitive" version of the character like he was doing with Hawkman.  Does anything even need to be said about Rags Morales at this point?  

The Yeti seems to me to be a sly reference to the Silver Age story "Valley Of The Vanishing Men!"

Image: Hawkman v.4:no.9, 2003, Andrew Robinson.

Friday, October 24, 2008

DC Cosmic Teams Trading Card

This trading card is a part of DC's 1993 "Cosmic Teams" cardset. This set was interesting in that it was almost entirely focused on teams, as the name implied. Since Hawkman was a member of the then recently released from Limbo Justice Society of America (before Zero Hour where most of the team was killed or otherwise weirded up), he is featured on his own card, as well as on the Justice Society's triptych, which I will post another time. Note that he is called out as the Golden Age Hawkman.

DC Cosmic Teams Hawkman card frontDC Cosmic Teams Hawkman card back.  Also: Gentleman Ghost!

The card art is by none other than Mike Parobeck, who draws a pretty sweet pair of Hawks, I must admit! Maybe I can make a banner ouf of it or something.

Image: DC Cosmic Teams Hawkman trading card, scanned from personal collection.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Long-Lived Look Of Hawkman

The main appealing feature of Hawkman is, to me, his appearance.  Moreso than any element of his personality, history, or back catalog, the look of the character is the most easily identifiable aspect of what has made Hawkman viable for 70 years.

Hawkman stands among fairly rarified company when it comes to his look -- that is, how his look pretty much resisted change.  Of the DC Golden Age characters who were revived in the Silver Age, very few retained their classic apperance: Aquaman changed his gloves, Green Arrow and Black Canary stayed pretty much the same, and the the Hawks.  In fact, one might even argue that Hawkman (and Hawkgirl) stands nearly alone in this aspect, since, like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Green Arrow had been published continually since the 40s, while Hawkman disappeared with the end of the Justice Society's run in All-Star Comics in 1951.  So Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and Black Canary alone went idle and then came back with the same look as they had in the "old days."

And why shouldn't Hawkman have retained his classic look?  His is amongst the most striking heroic character designs of any era.  The barechested warrior, with a fearsome helmet, a large weapon, and broad, raptor-like wings is a distinctly unmodern style, instead tying itself to classic fantasy elements, giving Hawkman a timeless quality.  Appropriate, considering that the Golden Age Hawkman is a "timeless" character, dealing with reincarnation and ancient civilizations.  And, at the same time, the science-fiction setting of the Silver Age Hawkman does not negate this historical aspect -- tales ranging from John Carter to Buck Rogers and beyond utilize fantastical styles in a science-fiction setting, and the Silver Age Thanagarian Hawks fall into this category as well.

In the 80s, when Tim Truman redesigned Hawkman for the Hawkworld miniseries (and later, ongoing), he moved more into a "hard" sci-fi design, with the black body suit and space-age weaponry.  But even in this iteration one can make the fantasy connection, simply filtered through a modernist sci-fi approach.  And even with the sci-fi elements, the same basic appearance remained unchanged, with the wings and menacing helmet in place.  Clearly this look has it's fans; after all, that's what first attracted me to the character.

It's appropriate for a character like Hawkman, who has had two wildly different approaches during his existance, to have had such a consistant look over the same period.  Comics are a visual medium, and having a striking look is just as important as a compelling story when trying to make a hero popular.  The looming figure of a warrior, looking like he stepped out of a time warp, armed with ancient weapons, his face covered with the helm of a bird of prey, and sporting a set of wings from his back will simply never go out of style, and remains a key element of Hawkman's long-lasting appeal.  

Image: Hawkman sketch, Mike Grell, date unknown.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hiatus... Yet Again...

Hey everyone, heading to DC for a few days for work.  I'll be back Wednesday night so I hopefully will have some stuff for your enjoyment on Thursday.  Sorry for the inconvenience.

Washington DC, huh?  Does Themyscira still have an embassy there?

Read: Flash Comics #5

Issue: Flash Comics #5 (Reprinted in The Golden Age Hawkman Archives v.1)
Title: "The Kidnapping Of Ione Craig" (suggested title)
Published Date: May 1940
Generation: Golden Age Carter
Retcon Status: In Continuity

Summary: After reading about several assassination attempts on heads of state, including the President, Carter Hall happens upon an attempted murder on the street.  Saving the young woman, he soon learns that her name is Ione Craig, and that she is a secret agent.  Her mission is to go to Araby and get to the bottom of the Sect Of Assassians, who are behind the assassination attempts.  Carter decides that she needs a bodyguard and follows her as Hawkman.  Ione is kidnapped from the market district in Cairo, and taken to the palace of Hassan Ibn Sadah, the head of the Sect.  Sadah plans to kill off the leaders of several countries at once and place Sect puppets in their place, effectively making him ruler of the world.  Hawkman infiltrates the palace nd kills one of the assassians with his sling, but then retreats before Sadah's archers can get him.  Returning after dark, Hawkman attacks the hundreds of assassians head-on, frees Ione, and kills Sadah with one well-placed sling shot.  With Sadah dead, Hawkman figures the Sect will soon fall, and he and Ione escape to the desert.

Review: A short and sweet yarn, which is appropriate considering Hawkman himself expresses similar sentiment about the adventure!  Taking Hawkman out of the cityscape gives Moldoff a chance to draw some more fantastical elements, including an Arabian palace and lots of assassians and thugs who look like they stepped out of a Sinbad movie.  Hawkman is especially brutal this time out, killing two men in the span of ten pages.  Worth noting is that the story in the next issue of Flash Comics actually picks up right where this one left off, a first for Hawkman.

Image: Flash Comics #5, 1940, Jon L. Blummer.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Read: The Brave And The Bold #42

Issue: The Brave And The Bold #42 (Reprinted in Showcase Presents: Hawkman v.1)
Title: "The Menace of the Dragonfly Raiders"
Published Date: Jun/Jul 1962
Generation: Silver Age Katar
Retcon Status: Out Of Continuity

Summary: Katar and Shayera return to Thanagar to report to the Chief of Police, Andar Pul.  After debriefing the couple on what they have been up to and what they have learned on Earth (allowing for a recap of previous adventures, including with Byth, who is in prison, and the Matter Master), he gives them some time off.  Soon they discover that Thanagar is being victimized by tiny thieves who ride dragonflies, and bizarrely use Terran criminal methods.  Soon it gets even stranger as it is revealed that the tiny thieves are actually robots, and the dragonflies commit the crimes themselves!

Katar suspects that somehow Byth, who had previously ingested a formula to change his shape at will, is behind the crimes, but he appears to be still incarcerated.  Stuck without a new lead, the Hawks pay a visit to the Veil of Valmoora, which is where Katar and Shayera first met years ago.  On that case, the rookie Shayera saved the older and more experienced Katar's life, which helped create the bond between the two of them.  Inspired by her memories, Shayera devises a plan to bring the robbers into the open by displaying a "gem tree" the dragonfly raiders can't resist.  The raiders do as suspected, and the Hawks trail them by following the trace radioactivity planted on the gems.  They discover that Byth is behind the crimes, having had the necessary elements for his formula smuggled in on envelopes.  A furious battle begins, with the raiders changing into all sorts of strange alien creatures.  It the end it comes down to Hawkman and Byth, who has changed into a Mirage Bird, which is able to create a falsh duplicate image of itself.  Katar is able to outwit Byth, and the mastermind is once more locked up -- this time without access to envelopes.  For his bravery in solving the crime, Katar Hol is awarded the Honor Wings, which are permanantly attached to his helmet.

Review: We get a lot of Thanagar in this issue, the first full-length Hawkman story since the character was revived in 1961.  Although I do wonder why there was a year between Hawkman stories?  Did they want to retool him into being a straight space hero with adventures on Thanagar, perhaps?  I don't know.  The addition of the Honor Wings brings the costume back full-circle to the original, Golden Age look, as well as the look that most fans think of when they think of Hawkman.  The team of Fox and Kubert are very easy to read on the Hawks, this story included.  The extra legnth allows them some time to play around and add details which are appreciated, including the "meet cute" of our couple.  I really enjoyed the history between Katar and Shayera and the explanation for the wing harnesses.  And it's good to see Matter Master again, even if it is a flashback.

Image: The Brave And The Bold #42, 1962, Joe Kubert.  

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Upcoming: DC Infinite Heroes Hawkman Three-Pack

This three-pack from Mattel's 3 3/4" "Infinite Heroes" collection, features a modern Hawkman along with a pair of Thanagarian Wingmen to back him up.  This inclusion of "Army builder" type figures is not new to the line: a currently available three-pack features Commissioner Gordeon and a pair of GCPD officers.  I do think it is interesting that they went with the modern Hawkman look, complete with the weapon-festooned belt, instead of the Hawkworld-era costume.  But then again, that was a long time ago, and maybe I should just let it go, huh?  

Of course, they could have also gone with a true "Hawkman" three-pack, with Golden Age Carter wearing the mask instead of the helmet, Modern Carter, and Hawkworld Katar, but now I am just pipe-dreaming again.

I have not yet seen this set in stores, but I plan to buy it, if only because how many other chances will I have to get some Wingmen toys?!  Probably not too many I imagine!

Image: Infinite Heroes Hawkman and Wingmen, retrieved from Joe

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Waiting In The Wings -- 10/15/2008

Is there any Hawk-related stuff coming out this week?  Let's find out!

DC Universe Decisions #3 -- I don't even know if Hawkman is in this or not, but a series about politics in the DCU pretty much is going to feature him at some point.  Don't wait up looking for a review here, folks.

Justice Society of America #19 -- This is more like it!  As the Gog storyline proceeds, it's clear that Geoff Johns has plans in store for the Winged Wonder.  What will go down this month?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

DC Identity Crisis Hawkman

One thing DC Direct is pretty good at doing is reproducing a good likeness of an artist's work in three dimensions (some artists better than others, obviously).  That's what we have here with this toy, from the Identity Crisis line, based on the cover artwork of the miniseries by the late Michael Turner.  I never cared all that much for Turner's sequential work, or for his female form, honestly, but as far as doing pinups and covers, he had a good style which really looked unique, and the DCD boys do a good job of capturing that unique style here.

This is a tall figure, standing about 7" at the tips of his Honor Wings, which are about even with his actual wings.  Between that and his base, he easily stands head and shoulders above a lot of other toys.  The sculpt itself is very nice, reproducing the lean and musclular look which Turner was known for.  I like the broad chest tapering down to the narrow waist -- an uncommon look for Hawkman, but put to good use here.  The helmet is overstated and a bit exagerated, with very tall Honor Wings and piercing red eyes peering out from the slits.  But, like the covers, this look works for him, making Hawkman look inscrutable and not a little ticked off at the world.  His colors are bright and vibrant, and the morningstar accessory well-proportioned, though I would have liked a wrist loop.

I want to specifically talk about the wings, which are my favorite part of this toy.  Though not the broadest set of Hawkman wings ever, they are extremely well sculpted, with the details of each individual feather pulled out very nicely from the paint and wash applications applied to them.  They mount on ball joints, and thus are very posable.  The sleek look of the wings does a lot to sell the Turner look for the figure, which to me is a big selling point for lines like this.  If it's based on the artwork of an artist, it should look like the artwork of the artist.

This is a good representation of both the character and the artist.  So I would recommend this toy for both Hawkfans as well as Turner fans (along with the rest of the Identity Crisis line), but be forewarned -- these can be pricey, as I paid $15 for Hawkman.  But if that price doesn't make you balk, this is a good purchase.

Image: Indentity Crisis Hawkman, retrieved from DC Direct.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Read: Flash Comics #4

Issue: Flash Comics #4 (Reprinted in The Golden Age Hawkman Archives v.1)
Title: "Thought Terror"
Published Date: Apr 1940
Generation: Golden Age Carter
Retcon Status: In Continuity

Summary: A man has his future foretold by the Thought Terror, and is informed that he will become intoxicated and then die when he is hit by a car.  Later that evening, the man begins to feel drunk even though he has not had anything to drink.  As a car bears down on him, the man is saved by passer-by Carter Hall, who takes the man home, thinking it strange that he acts drunk but has no alcohol on his breath.  Carter figures that the Thought Terror was hypnotizing his clients and then making the predictions come true.  Hawkman flies off to investigate, first interrogating the driver and then going after the Terror himself.  He runs into trouble with the Terror's mesmerized guards, who in their hypnotized state are unstoppable.  He is captured and thrown in the dungeon.

Shiera finds the dungeon, and then brings Hawkman a blowtorch by which he manages to escape.  Hawkman then tries to find his shield, which he will use (like Perseus and Medusa) to avoid the hypnotic stare of the Terror.  Finding his weapon, Hawkman uses the shiny shield to reflect the Terror's hypnotic stare back on himself, changing him mentally into a harmless kitten.  With the Terror's mind no longer able to control those he hypnotized, his victims and henchmen return to normal.

Review: Much better than the previous Golden Age adventure, this tale of hypnosis and extortion was a lot of fun despite being a fairly quick read.  The Thought Terror makes for an interesting villian (who sadly never re-appeared), and his come-uppance at the end was well deserved and amusing.  This is the first time that artist Sheldon Moldoff would provide art for Hawkman, and he is a good fit, building upon the Alex Raymond look which Neville had in the previous installments but starting to move away from the science fiction look into more of a fantasy style.  It fits the characters very well, especially here with the hooded and robed baddies and Hawkman wielding an ancient shield.

Image: Flash Comics #4, 1940, George Storm.