Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hawkman Families: Nephilim of Hawkworld

So, yes, evidently I still run this blog, despite my absence over the last few weeks.  And what better way to get back into the swing of things than with another tenuously connected Hawkman Family post?!

"Zauriel was called back to Heaven before the 4 King Host and was told by the Eagle Host that the Presence has a special mission for him, but he did not know what it was. Zauriel was told by the Presence himself as to not let any of the others know of this mission, Zauriel was to find and take a Nephilim under his wings. Zauriel was shocked as he did not know any fallen had ever mated with a human. Zauriel was told of the Guardian Angel Christopher from the Human Host who fell in love with his charge and fell from grace to be with her. The two had together had a son, who is now coming of age and his heavenly gifts are about to be bestowed upon him and his father was killed by Asmodel during his attack on Earth. The young boy would be at the center of a battle, his blood would revive the Angelic powers of the Fallen who were stripped of their powers by the Presence, and allow them access to Heaven once again. Young Christopher has no idea of what he will face in the days to come."

Oh boy.

I still don't buy this whole "Zauriel is part of the Hawk Family" stuff, even less than I buy the shoe-horning of the later Hawk and Dove in there.  All this angelic stuff is fine, but it has no real basis in anything we have seen in the various Hawkman comics over the years.  The only really religious stuff we got was not of the Judeo-Christian variety, so this stuff just seems to come out of left field for me.

His art looks more like an update of the X-Man Angel than anything related to the Hawkman mythos. Although I guess he does have a touch of St. Bastion in there as well.  (Wonder if/when we will see him again?)

Be sure to check out the other Families posts today!

The Atom's Family: Bumblebee @ Power of the Atom

Lady Shiva @ DC Bloodlines

Image: Nephilim, 2010, NightwingTAS, Image Retrieved from Super Buddies.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Savage Hawkman #17, Earth 2 #9, JLoA #1 Solicits

Every month, DC's Justice League solicits are the first ones posted, which means we get an early look at both Savage Hawkman and Earth 2 covers and teases.  So without further adieu...

Written by FRANK TIERI
Art and cover by JOE BENNETT and ART THIBERT
On sale FEBRUARY 27 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
• THE SHADOW THIEF makes his first appearance in The New 52!
• Hawkman's mission to uncover the secrets of Thanagarian weapons on Earth leads him into the path of a deadly of Xerxes!

The wonky grammar in the last sentence not withstanding, there is a lot of stuff to whet one's appetite in this solicitation.  First off, the Shadow Thief!  Man oh man, do I like the Shadow Thief.  And this version of Hawkman, a very... hands-on sort of hero, will be double frustrated by the Thief's lack of dimensionality.  Will it be Carl Sands, or will it be a new Thief?  We have to wait and see.

The second bit is the presence of secret Thanagarian weapons on Earth.  I am assuming this is spinning out of the events of "Hawkman: Wanted," and sounds like a good story engine to me. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that the Thief's powers will be the result of Thanagarian tech (Dimensiometer, anyone?)

Finally, Xerxes is sticking around.  I for one approve.  I like his look and I like Hawkman getting a new bad guy who is not a reiteration of an older one.  We got some of this in Volume 4, and back in Hawkworld/Volume 3, so I hope that Xerxes can make a good enough impression to stick around for a bit.  (Any chance of St. Bastion coming back as well?)

Now then, on that other Earth...

EARTH 2 #9
Art and cover by NICOLA SCOTT and TREVOR SCOTT
1:25 B&W Variant cover by NICOLA SCOTT and TREVOR SCOTT
On sale FEBRUARY 6 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
• As a new story arc begins, DR. FATE makes his Earth 2 debut!
• Supernatural powers are emerging on Earth 2, and that means new heroes on the scene—not to mention new villains!
• Plus: The debut of the new Wotan!

Well there you go.  Dr. Fate!  To say I am excited to see a new Dr. Fate is a bit of an understatement.  I imagine that Juan over at the Tower Of Fate is equally excited.  I have been in the mood for some magical comics lately so hopefully this will help me scratch that particular itch.

Of course, Hawkman makes one more appearance in these solicits as well...

Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by DAVID FINCH
On sale FEBRUARY 6 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Combo pack edition: $4.99 US
• The march toward TRINITY WAR begins with part one of "WORLD'S MOST DANGEROUS"!
• Green Lantern! Green Arrow! Catwoman! Katana! Vibe! Hawkman! Stargirl! They aren't the world's greatest super heroes—they're the most dangerous! But why does a team like the JLA need to exist? What is their ultimate mission? And who is pulling the strings?
• Plus: Find out why Martian Manhunter is the most dangerous of them all. Period.

The new Justice League of America debuts in flashy fashion, with 52 variant covers -- one for each state of the union!  (You'd better believe I intend to buy the SC one!)  What brings this team together is anyone's guess, and what Hawkman's connection will be has be intrigued.

In addition, we also have solicits for the new team over on the book of Hawk frenemy Green Arrow, Katana's solo book bowing (with a reference to the Outsiders?!), and Vibe's starring turn.  Sounds like some strange things are afoot in the DCU!

Image: The Savage Hawkman #17, 2012, Joe Bennett.  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hawkman Families: Zauriel of Hawkworld

Sorry about last week, but we're back with more of Hawkman Families from NightwingTAS!

"Zauriel was assigned a new charge by the Presence, something he never knew existed."

Uh... huh.

Look, I like angels as much as the next guy (I do play White in Magic: The Gathering), but I nver bought Zauriel as a replacement for Hawkman.  And I buy him even less as a member of the extended Hawkfamily.  Add to that his very brief little write up, and really, there is nothing to go on here.  Moving on...

The Atom's Family: Ant @ Power of the Atom
Z'Onn Z'Orr: Matrix</a> @ <i>The Idol-Head of Diabolu</i></li>

Image: Zauriel, 2010, NightwingTAS.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Interlude: War Comics Month!

Hey everyone! In honor of Veterans Day coming up here in the USA next week (November 11th, though it is being observed on the 12th this year due to it falling on Sunday), I am going to be reading War comics all through the month of November! And I want you to get in on it as well.

While War comics are a tiny subgenre now, they used to be a thriving part of the comics markets both here in the United States as well as in the UK and continental Europe. While War comics are often derided as jingoistic or simplistic, some of the most compelling and human stories of war are told in their pages. Many of the most popular War comics including Sgt Rock, Haunted Tank, Nick Fury & His Howling Commandos, the Unknown Soldier, and others were written and drawn by veterans who drew upon their experiences to show both the horrors of battle and the courage and bravery of the soldier. As a comics fan I think that raising awareness of these stories is a small way to honor the service and sacrifice of our servicemen and women who have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice in order to protect us and our way of life.

I am using the hashtag #WarComicsMonth on Twitter and Google+ to share my thoughts and I need your help to keep the discussion going. So please feel free to read or promote your favorite War comics stories and use the hashtag to get in on the topic. I will RT or Share any posts I see with the hashtag.

A great source for pre-Code, public domain War comics (along with tons of comics from other genres) is Comic Book Plus, which has a built in reader so that you can read the comics right in your browser. Plus they are all free and legal.

Thanks for listening and I hope you will take a few minutes to read, tweet, and share your thoughts on your favorite War comics.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

    Gentleman Ghost says: Have a happy and safe Halloween!  

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Joe Kubert Presents #1 Preview

Hawkfans are getting an extra treat this month as tomorrow sees the first issue of Joe Kubert Presents being released by DC.  The late comics legend is one of the artists who handed the Winged Wonders in both the Golden and Silver Age, and Hawkman figures into this anthology of Kubert stories.

As a fan of Kubert's work on his superhero, war, fantasy, and other properties, to say that I am looking forward to this series is a gross understatement.

Newsarama has a preview which you can see right here, and the book should be on the shelf of your Local Comic Shop tomorrow.

Image: Page from Joe Kubert Presents #1, 2012, Joe Kubert, image obtained from Newsarama.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Just Read: The Savage Hawkman #13

I am still waiting on my DCBS box, but I did manage to read The Savage Hawkman #13 this weekend.  "Hawkman: Wanted" kicks off with a bang, and it's an action packed issue.  Besides the not-unexpected throwdown with Shayera, we also get the return of another baddie from earlier in the series which had me cheering.  The art continues to look amazing, and Frank Tieri's dialogue works well.  

Overall, I enjoyed the issue and cannot wait to see what is next.  Expect a full review after I receive my comics in the mail.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hawkman Families: Falcon of Hawkworld

We're back with another installment of the Hawkman Families thanks to NightwingTAS. After the retcon-rific last few entries, I don't know what to make of this one. Falcon? Isn't he a Marvel character? Read and be enlightened...

"Sasha Martens grew up as a Military Brat. Her father, Colonel Michael Martens of the U.S. Air Force, came from a long line of military men. When Sasha was a child, she thought she almost died of leukemia and was cured with an experimental drug from the government.

When Sasha met Wiley Wolverman at his rock concert for his local band known as the Doves. A riot broke out, Sasha and Wiley escaped the mayhem together. Sasha and Wiley learned they were both part of the same military experiment and searched for answers to their past at a nearby military base. Discovering Dr. Thurber Avian's "Operation Raptor," Sasha learned that civilians were used in these experiments. Sasha and Wiley encountered a bird-man creature while accessing the files, and soon the military police arrived and a scuffle ensued. Sasha and Wiley eluded the police and retreated to Wiley's apartment. Upon awakening, Sasha and Wiley sprouted wings, which they learned to mentally control, manifesting or retracting into their backs. They vowed to track down Dr. Avian as the government began to hunt them as fugitives.

Sasha and Wiley were told by Dr. Avian that they called him insane all the while exploiting his research. He claimed that all the others were failures but them, because the Godwave coincided with their developement. But Dr. Avian wasn't fully honest with them, neglecting to mention that he was actually a H'San Natall agent sent to locate the sleeper agent from his Avian Race of the H'San Natall, and furthered their research into human/H'san Natall hybrids.

After the Blackest Night Argent followed leads that lead her to Dr. Avian, who she made tell her about the Avian H'San Natall. He told her that Sasha Martens was the actual hybrid and that Wiley Wolverman was enhanced and healed using her DNA. Argent found Sasha and informed her of who she really is which lead Sasha to fly away. Sasha found Dr. Avian and forced him to expose his true self, their battle caught the attention of Golden Eagle who stopped Sasha from taking Dr. Avian's life. Using an orb left on Earth by his father Golden Eagle contacted Thanagar and set up an exchange for Dr. Avian for the lifting of the grounding of his parents.

Sasha was lost, everything she ever knew was a lie. Charley Parker held his hand out in friendship, telling her his story. The two spent time together and with Charley's urging Sasha joined the Teen Titans East and decided she wanted nothing to do with the name hawk and took the new name Falcon."

Oh boy.

Grafting the Hawk & Dove mythos into the Hawkman mythos is not an idea I can endorse. And doing it with a pair of losers best left forgotten is even worse, as far as I am concerned. The bird motifs are not interchangeable, and the backstory as presented here is so convoluted that I can't imagine anyone caring one lick either way. I liked what Sterling Gates and then Rob Liefeld did with Hawk & Dove in the New 52, and what is teased as continuing to unfold, but this little mash up is best left to the wayside.

Visually, Sasha looks alright. I like the use of the handgun which stays true to her time in the comics as Hawk. The criss-cross pattern on the red looks really strange though. I am reminded of the Python Patrol, and as cool as the Python Patrol is, I don't think it is appropriate for someone named Falcon to have a snakeskin pattern on their uniform. Yeesh.

Let's just move on and check out the other Families Posts you can find today...


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Waiting In The Wings -- 10/24/2012

It's a big day for the New 52 Hawkman, so let's get right into it...

The Savage Hawkman #13 -- After all the hype, build up, and Liefeld drama, "Hawkman: Wanted" bows today.  Now we get to see if all that has come before has been worth it.  While I don't think this will be the next big thing at DC Comics, it is still encouraging to see a big story featuring Hawkman and Thanagar unfolding not only in the pages of Katar's own book but also crossing over and touching on other titles as well.  I think the last time that a Hawkman title crossed over with another one was with JSA when Johns was writing both titles.  Plus this story seems like it is going to be a game changer for the Winged Wonder, and hopefully lead to bigger and better things for him in the future.

The Savage Hawkman TP v.1: Darkness Rising -- Along with the start of where Hawkman is going, you can also check out where he has come from in this New 52 universe.  This volume collects Savage Hawkman 1-8, which is the entirety of the Tony Daniel/Philip Tan run.  This includes his tangle with Morphicius, teaming up with Static to battle Gentleman Ghost and his army of zombies, and battling the alien shapeshifter Aksana.  We also get introduced to Emma Ziegler, her father, and Carter's neighbor Singh.  We may never see most of these characters ever again, and to be honest the book has improved quite a bit from some of these early stories, but those just getting into Hawkman now would be well served to pick this one up.

Also, when you head out to your LCS to pick these up, go ahead and grab a copy of Fury Of Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #13 as well.  Dan Jurgens has taken over the book and it looks like we are going "back to basics" with Ronnie and Jason.  But I'll let Shag tell you about that.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Read: The Savage Hawkman #0

Issue: The Savage Hawkman #0
Title: "Those Who Rise Above Us"
Published Date: Sep 2012
Generation: New 52 Carter/Katar (see Note)
Retcon Status: In Continuity

Summary: On Thanagar, a long period of war has finally ended, with the Thanagarian emperor Thal Provis ushering in a new era of peace.  Surrounded by his family, including his son Corsar, his daughter Shayera, and her lover (and Thal's adopted son) Katar Hol, he welcomes representatives from many worlds to Thanagr to celebrate the new peace.  Corsar is a haughty warrior, proud of his status, while Katar is more reserved, preaching humility.  But despite their differences, the two regard each other as brothers and both serve their father well -- it is under Katar's advice that Thal begins the path to peace.

The glory is short-lived, however.  One of the empire's new "friends," the Daemonites, secretly unleash a virus called The Plague on Thanagar, and grounding the inhabitants as their wings wither and die.  Thal Provis does not survive, and the mantle of leadership is passed to Corsar.  The new ruler sees an opportunity, and is advised by the heretical Great Old Ones to recover the legendary Nth Metal.  Katar advises against this, but supports his brother.  In the Kolarmoran region, a sample of Nth Metal is recovered, but shortly afterwards the entiring mining rig collapses, trapping and killing hundreds of workers.  Katar claims the cost is too high, but Corsar and Shayera ask what is a few lives compared to the survival of the entire race?

Corsar becomes more and more obsessed with the Nth Metal, and arming his warriors with armor and weapons made of the material.  During one argument, the Nth Metal seeks out and bonds to Katar, forming his familiar Hawkman uniform and restoring his wings.  Corsar sees this as validation of this course of action, and orders more mining.  The mining operations are met with similar setbacks, including a Kolamoran slug eating an entire rig.  Corsar, desperate to mine more of the metal, lashes out at Katar, accusing him of treason.  Katar defends himself, calling Corsar a tyrant.  As the two tussle, Corsar lunges at Katar, who dodges.  Corsar's Nth Metal sword impales itself into a computer console, and is electrified, dying instantly.  That is the choice moment when Shayera enters the scene, and demands that Katar be arrested for murder.  Katar flees with the armor, stealing a Thanagarian vessel and disappearing.  Shayera says that she never stopped searching for him, and now that she has found him, she wants to pay him back for the pain he caused her -- with the death of a loved one.

Review: First things first, it's quite refreshing to get a cover from someone other than Rob Liefeld again.  And Bennett's cover is quite striking, with Carter/Katar coming right at us.

Also, it seems that the naming of Katar's former love as "Sheyera" in #12 was a simple mistake, as she is called "Shayera" here throughout.  

I liked this issue.  I thought it was an interesting change on the more traditional alien Hawkman origin as a police officer.  Here, he Katar is a man of peace and tolerance, a far cry from his "smash first, ask questions later" approach both before Flashpoint and here in the New 52.  But by divorcing itself from the previous Thanagrian origins, it does an admirable job of trying to cover new ground rather than rehashing the past.  

The change does raise a lot of questions for me, including the obvious one of "just how the heck did he make it to this point psychologically?"  Of course, there are some other issues as well -- what the heck happened to his Thanagarian ship, for one.  Does he have it hidden away somewhere like in Volume 4?  Or perhaps it is sitting in geosynchronous orbit like the Silver Age?

Some oddities: Is Thal Provis (and Corsar, for that matter) a King, or an Emperor?  I guess both?  The titles are used seemingly interchangeably throughout.  Also, are all Thanagarians born with wings?  Traditionally, Thanagarians typically looked human, and wore artificial wings, save for the Downsiders anyway.  The presence of organic wings reminds me of the Justice League cartoon.

The art from Bennett, Thibert, and Major is top notch once again.  The trio really get to flex their muscles this time out, with alien species and environments on display.  There is one panel flashing back to the war which shows the heavily armored Thanagrian troops with their angelic white wings which looks simply fantastic.  Shayera is still blonde this time out.  I am neither totally sold on nor totally opposed to; the only thing I will say is that with her haircut and the color of her tresses, she reminds me of Cassie Sandsmark, facially.  Which is really neither here nor there, but there you go.

The dialogue is a little on the grandiose side, but as this is a flashback to the royal family of a race of winged, imperialistic aliens, I am willing to let that slide.  The plot was straightforward but sensible.  I also really liked the continues fleshing out of the alien races of the New 52 DCU -- with the Daemonites playing a big role in the downfall of Thanagar.  I imagine that Katar will be playing a good sized part in the inevitable showdown between Superman and Helspont in the coming months and years.  I did like how the dialogue showcases Shayera's mixed emotions: in the one sense she agrees with her brother about the greatness of Thanagar and the cost of restoring that greatness, but on the other hand she also counsels Katar about Corsar's motives and what Katar perceives as arrogance.  Then her fury at the end, which is not a good sign for Katar in the next issue!

Overall, this was a very strong issue which I think did a good job of telling the origin of our new Katar Hol/Carter Hall and setting the stage for "Hawkman: Wanted."  The few niggling complaints I had didn't take me enough out of the story to spoil it, so I am pleased with this issue.

Note: As you can see on the Generations, this is the New 52 Katar Hol and Carter Hall.  In keeping with the way which I handle the Silver Age books, going forward our hero will be tagged as "New 52 Katar" until or unless there is some reason that "New 52 Carter" makes more sense.  At least, that is my thoughts; what do you folks think?

Image: The Savage Hawkman #0, 2012, Joe Bennett.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Savage Hawkman #13 Preview

It's the fourth week of the month, which means that it's time to get Savage!  The Savage Hawkman #13 is out this Wednesday, October 24, and "Hawkman: Wanted" is going to get started!

Multiversity Comics has a preview which you can check out right here.  

My my does Sheyera look like the proverbial woman scorned on that cover!  The preview also confirms that Rob Liefeld is credited with the plot and Frank Tieri is credited with the dialogue.  Does this suggest that Liefeld was doing plots and Mark Poulton was doing scripts back during their collaborative efforts?  Does it really matter at this point?  I'm not so interested in the past as I am in the future, and this story looks hot.

I, for one, cannot wait to get my hands on this.  The set up for it in #0 (yeah... review coming soon...) coupled with some of the hype we have gotten for it has this one shaping up to be a really special Hawk event.  What do you folks think?  Are you excited for "Hawkman: Wanted?"  Or burned out on all the drama?

Thanks to Matt Orr (follow @Hawkmanfans) for the tip!

Image: The Savage Hawkman #13, 2012, Joe Bennett.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hawkman Families: Sharon Parker of Hawkworld

If you have read the last two of these entries, you might be able to guess who is next...

"Sharon Parker lived a pretty normal life until she met Carter Hall Jr, who at the time she didn't know was really a secret agent from Thanagar named Fel Andar. Sharon didn't know until Fel Andar was called back home, but she went with him knowing she loved him and would give up everything to be with him. Leaving their son with family planning on returning, not knowing that Fel Andar was sentenced to never leave the Planet Thanagar again."

Poor Sharon doesn't even merit a code name. If you have Fel Andar and Golden Eagle you kind of have to have Sharon, although in an animated setting it does give Shiera someone else to fight, which is nice. But I have gone on at length about trying to shoehorn the retcon characters into something streamlined and don't feel the need to repeat myself...

I like her colors though, despite the potential Christmas connotation from the mixture of green and red.

Be sure to check out the other Families posts!


Image: Sharon Parker, 2010, NightwingTAS, Image Retrieved from Super Buddies.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Savage Hawkman #16, Earth 2 #8 Solicitations

DC's Justice League family solicitations are up over on Newsarama for the month of January, so that means the new solicit for The Savage Hawkman and Earth 2!

Written by FRANK TIERI
Art and cover by JOE BENNETT and ART THIBERT
On sale JANUARY 30 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
• "HAWKMAN: WANTED" crashed to its conclusion!
• Carter Hall can't escape his past!
• Two worlds collide — with Hawkman caught in the middle!

Some thoughts:

Looks like it is indeed Frank Tieri after all who will be picking up the reins from Rob Liefeld.  I am perfectly fine with this turn of events given my past enjoyment of Tieri's work on characters such as Iron Man and Hercules.

The art team is, for now, the same.  I personally am hoping for this crew to stay on for the foreseeable future, but who knows with the way that art teams shift around at DC these days.  I also want to mention that the cover itself is beautiful.  So nice to get a non-Liefeld cover once more.

The solicitation text itself is pretty coy, but from the bit about Carter not being able to escape his past, that suggests to me that his past will become a known entity.  Between this story and what is going down with Hellspont over in Superman (including the Annual), it seems that Carter's alien origins may not be a secret for very much longer.

And over on that alternate Earth, we have the following...

EARTH 2 #8
1:25 B&W Variant cover by YILDIRAY CINAR and ART THIBERT
On sale JANUARY 9 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
• The alien war criminal Steppenwolf returns! It's been five years since he lead the forces of Apokolips against Earth — learn what he's been up to since then!
• Plus: What is the dark secret behind the last Amazon of Earth 2?

Okay, all I have to say is that Yildiray Cinar and Art Thibert look like one hell of a team.  I had said that I would love to see Cinar on a Fantasy or S&S title ever since first seeing his work on Firestorm, and this cover -- with who I am assuming is Mars (Earth 2 using the Roman gods) and the "last Amazon" -- looks like it would be just as much at home in the pages of Sword of Sorcery.  Fantastic (no pun intended).  

Who is the "last Amazon?"  Donna Troy, perhaps?  Artemis?  Someone new?  I have no clue.  Robinson's world building so far with this title have been really quite impressive so I am very much looking forward to seeing what he has in mind for this new Amazon.

No information in this bath of solicits on potential "Fourth Wave" books, although I suspect that DC may be holding this until the end when they reveal the full solicitations.  At the very least there should be a replacement for GI Combat, which was solicited with "FINAL ISSUE" last month.  

So what do you folks think?  Do these sound like books worth reading to you?  Or will you pass?

Image: The Savage Hawkman #16, 2012, Joe Bennett. 

Hawkman Tidbit From NYCC

    I have been very lax at the wheel of the blog lately, with October being a dead-run between work, family, and other professional obligations.  But I did want to share this super insightful comment from Geoff Johns, noted Hawkman scribe who will be handling the character in the upcoming Justice League of America title some time next year.

    From Newsarama:

Johns promises "a lot of big Green Arrow stuff coming up," not just in JLA.Stargirl is the "only one who's really excited to be there," Hawkman "just shows up, beats someone up, then disappears and no one knows where he goes."

(Emphasis mine)

Well, that certainly sounds like a deep and meaningful character arc for Carter, doesn't it?  Show up, beat people up, and wing off.  Sounds like he should be wearing that old "Stone Cold" Steve Austin shirt, which read "Arrive.  Raise Hell.  Leave."

I'm sure Johns has something good in mind for Hawkman, as he does seem to be one of his favorites.  So I assume that this tease is meant entirely in that vein: as a tease.  Johns further described this new JLA as "the most dangerous superheroes in the world," which sounds somewhat ominous.  

Justice League of America is starting sometime in the new year.  It is assumed it will be part of the "Fourth Wave" of the New 52 along with the newly announced Snyder/Lee Superman title (which I am assuming is going to be titled Man Of Steel or some variant thereof) and most likely a few other books.

What do you folks think?  Do you like Hawkman as the brute force muscle of the new JLA?  Is this more of a swerve from Johns?  Leave a comment and let's discuss!  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Read: The Savage Hakwman #12

Issue: The Savage Hawkman #12
Title: "Revelations"
Published Date: Aug 2012
Generation: New 52 Carter
Retcon Status: In Continuity

Summary: In Rome, as Hawkman and Emma regroup following the battle with St. Bastion, the Winged Wonder is shot in the shoulder by a high powered rifle, and then tackled by the mercenary known as Pike.  Pike claims responsibility for the bombing of Carter's apartment back in New York, and lays into Hawkman.  The two combatants tangle back and forth, trading blows, as Hawkman tries to use his ability to fly to his advantage.  Pike is ready for it, however, as he has an alien-tech flying motorcycle at his disposal.  Taunting his foe incessantly, Pike puts up a good fight, but Hawkman eventually out-manuvers him and is able to take down the operative, and demands that he tell him about who hired him.

At Pike's cloaked ship, Hawkman and Emma restrain the mercenary, who claims to be the offspring of an alien known as a Kherubim and a human woman.  Pike is defiant to the last, claiming that they won't hurt him because he is the only lead that they have for who is hunting down Hawkman.  Pike tells them about the Daemonites, led by the cruel Hellspont, and how Thanagar is at war with them -- and it's all Carter's fault.  Hawkman is not sure what exactly that means, but the name stirs a memory.  Pike is smarter than he looks, however, and uses the ships automated defenses to gas Hawkman and Emma and capture them.

Shortly after, Hawkman awakes to see Pike preparing for the arrival of his benefactor.  Saying that it's good that Hawkman is awake for this, a huge Thanagarian warship lands nearby, and Pike presents his prisoner to the person who hired him: Princess Sheyera of Thanagar.  Carter's memories snap back, and he remembers Sheyera, the woman he loved, who now wants nothing more than to kill him!

Review: Another issue of Savage Hawkman, another tightly assembled superhero comic book.  It's a shame that Rob Liefeld and DC had their falling out because Rob seems very well suited to writing this book.  It's straightforward and unabashedly an action comic, and for this character, in this story, that's a great fit.  And I can't say anything more about Joe Bennett's lovely art, other than to add that his alien designs, including Pike's "hog," and Sheyera's warship, are just as nicely handled as his people.

Pike is sort of a less-annoying version of Deadpool.  He seems to be able to read Carter's thought baloons; at one point in their fight, Carter has several caption boxes about his situation, which Pike seemingly responds to, asking "What is this, a young adult romance novel?"  And at the very end, when Carter's caption boxes detail his once lovey but now dangerous relationship with Sheyera, Pike interjects with an amusingly off-panel "Awkward" to end the issue.  He's a fun character as a foil, but couldn't they at least colored him a different set of colors than black and red?  His origins are interesting (Kherubim/human half breed) and his belief in destiny is an interesting angle for a soldier of fortune.  I wonder if we will see more of him going forward now that Rob is not on the book?

The twist at the end is nicely done.  "Sheyera," as she is named here, is blonde, which is odd because she really looked like she had red hair back in issue #9.  The expansion of the cosmos to include both Thanagar and the Daemonites is welcome, especilly given some of the revelations about Carter we will get in the next issue.  

Overall I liked this one.  It had a nice mix of action, backstory, and cliffhanger, and Pike's snide commentary made me laugh.  Really can't wait to see what's next.

Image: The Savage Hawkman #12, 2012, Rob Liefeld.

Hawkman Families: Fel Andar of Hawkworld

If it's Thursday, it must be time for more Hawkman Families courtesy if NightwingTAS! And considering the sorry state of my blog at the moment (October has been insanity... pure insanity...), I am very glad for his efforts! Take it away, maestro...

"Fel Andar was born on and raised on Thanagar as a part of the planet's defense against the H'San Ntall, as a Human/Thanagarian hybrid. Fel was sent to Earth where he assumed the name Carter Hall Jr, the son of the original Hawkman and Hawkgirl. While on Earth Fel Andar fell in love with a human woman named Sharon Parker, and the two were married. Shortly after they debuted as the third Hawkman and Hawkgirl. The two had a child, Charley, which they kept to themselves. When Charley was 4, Fel Andar was called into duty when the H'San Ntall abducted 9 Earth woman. Fel had to return to Thanagar, to answer for how the H'San Ntall had been able to achieve this goal. Not wanting to let him go Sharon wanted to join him, but Fel feared his son growing up on Thanagar and being trained as a property of the government to be used as he had been. Sharon agreed, and they left him in care of family, who they didn't know had shipped him to an orphanage shortly after."

The inclusion of Fel Andar makes sense, considering that Golden Eagle was included previously. If you have the son, figures to have the father, right? But the problems of a character like Fel Andar come to the forefront when you lay it all out in the open and examine it. He's Thanagarian guy who pretends to be the son of two humans and becomes a superhero and marries a human girl who becames his superhero partner, and so on? It gets a bit convoluted as we go, yes? But that's his deal, I suppose. I think there is a story to tell with him, but I think in a setting like this, he would require some changes. Maybe have him move in as the "new" Hawkman while Carter and Shiera were off-planet? Or something like that, I'm sort of shooting from the hip. It's hard with a character like Fel Andar, a retroactive inclusion, to make sense of it in a streamlined sense for a TV series. Maybe he would only appear in flashbacks in episodes focused on Golden Eagle? Maybe?

Changing the color of the straps and adding the gauntlets is not really all that creative from a visual standpoint. If I was going to include Fel Andar in a Hawkman-centric animated series, I would have changed his look somewhat, more akin to how Hawkman looked in the later pages of Volume 3, with the blue uniform. I think that would work, and it would visually differentiate the two Hawkmen more.

Still, hey... Fel Andar!

Check out the other Families Posts today as well!


Image: Fel Andar, 2010, NightwingTAS, Image Retrieved from Super Buddies.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hawkman Families: Golden Eagle of Hawkworld

It's time once again for another installment of the Hawkman Families! In this series, web artist NightwingTAS has created a series of Bruce Timm/Paul Dini styled characters for use in theoretical DCU animated series. And this being the blog that it is, we are looking at the fantasy series Hawkworld!

"Charley Parker never knew who he was until he died. When one of the Wildebeast Society killed him Charley had a near death experience where he seen the truth of his life before the Nth Metal snapped him back to life. Charley is the son of Fel Andar and Sharon Parker, the two of them were known to the world as Carter Hall Jr and Sharon Hall, and better known as Hawkman and Hawkgirl."

Golden Eagle is an odd character to me. I don't know much about him, and have never read any of his appearances. I have the Volume 4 trade where he makes his, ahem, big splash back in the modern era, but I haven't gotten there yet. His origins are a strange result of continuity calesthenics, as DC tried to twist and contort everything to fit in the Post-Crisis era. I don't know that I would even try to tackle that in a "DCAU" style show, when the hallmark of those shows was thei ease of digestion. (Entries for Fel Andar and Sharon Parker are forthcoming. Not sure how the HECK they will work, either.)

As far as a design, though, I can get behind this one. The Honor Wing-less helmet makes sense for a young man still getting started on his heroic journey. I also like the big spikey axe-thing, which looks like it would fit in nicely on the pages of Savage Hawkman, ironically. The different chest symbol is a good touch -- clearly Charley is part of the Hawk legacy, but his own man as well.

I still think that having the character of Golden Eagle can work as part of a streamlined Hawk story engine, but I question whether a Golden Eagle with this origin can really work. What do you folks think? Does Golden Eagle fit in with this sort of series?

Be sure to click through below and check out the other Families Posts today!


Image: Golden Eagle, 2010, NightwingTAS, Image Retrieved from Super Buddies.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Regarding Savage Hawkman #0...

DCBS, the online mail order service from which I get my comics, has changed their shipping policy. They used to ship after the final Wednesday of the month. This was perfect for Savage Hawkman, because the book shipped in the fourth week, so there wasn't too much time between release and my receipt of it. Now, however, they have asked all of their subscribers to switch their ship week. For me, they are shipping after the first Wednesday of the month. What this means is that there is an extra week's delay between the release of the new issue and it shipping to me. I know I am not the most timely reviewer, but this will cause another delay. Of course, in this case it does mean that I get another week to finish my review of Savage Hawkman #12...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hawkman Families: Hawkling of Hawkworld

We're back once more in the world of NightwingTAS' theoretical Hawkworld animated series, starring the whole family of the Winged Wonders. Today's entry is something new, something different, so let's take a look and see how our new family member takes wing.

"Mia never knew her mother was Kendra Saunders, let alone that she was Hawkgirl. Kendra gave birth to Mia when she was really young and gave her daughter up for adoption so she may have a better life. What Kendra didn't expect was that giving her up would lead her life into a downward spiral that included her trying to take her own life, which bonded her soul and her Aunt's to be bonded for years until the Blackest Night. During the Blackest Night, Mia found out who her birth mother was and decided to become her sidekick taking on the name Hawkling. Mia and her mom are starting to form a bond which is filling a space that had remained empty in both their lives."

Interesting take on giving Kendra more of a family, and continuing the expansion of the Saunders/Sanders clans. Hawkling sounds like the kind of Teen Titans character which Golden Eagle was never going to be. My main problem is the ages. Kendra was always portrayed as a young woman; would she be old enough to have a teenaged daughter? Even if she had her early in life, I never pictured Kendra being even 30. So the ages get fudged a little bit here.

I'm not thrilled with the midriff (again) but the blue is a nice color, a good compliment to all of the green and yellow, and it helps Mia stand out from the other designs we have seen so far. Her big spiked flail is a good weapon. It reminds me of Bruce Timm talking about how on Batman: The Animated Series they made a point to have Batgirl be a brawler and not use little dainty attacks. Same idea here, I think, as Hawkling doesn't get a sophisticated, subtle weapon, instead choosing a heavy bludgeon as her tool of the trade.

In any event, I think this addition to the Hawk "family" is one which has some merit. The Hawks have, as I said, never really had a good Teen Titans aged member, and Mia here looks like she could fill that role nicely.

Get Familiar

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Savage Hawkman #0 Preview

(Click to Savage-Ize!)

The first preview of Savage Hawkman #0 is up and ready for your perusal! You can check it out over at iFanboy by clicking right here!

The Savage Hawkman #0 Plotted by Rob Liefeld Scripted by Rob Liefeld & Mark Poulton Art and Cover by Joe Bennett & Art Thibert Color/32 Pages/$2.99 • Discover Hawkman’s connection to Thanagar and why he came to Earth!

Big thanks to Honor Wings Bearer Matt Orr (follow @HawkmanFans on Twitter!) for making me aware of the preview!

Image: Savage Hawkman #0, 2012, Joe Bennett.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hawkman Families: Hawkgirl of Hawkworld

We're back for another installment of NightwingTAS' "Hawman Families" images, this time taking a look at the "modern" Hawkgirl, Kendra Saunders. How does she fit into this new take on the continuity?

"Leading up to the Blackest night Kendra Saunders felt feelings for Carter growing, but was unsure if they were her own, or those of her Aunt Shiera. When the two were seperated and Shiera's soul was reunited with her body and brought back, Kendra realized that the feelings were her's, which conflicted with her feeling for Arsenal. During the Blackest Night, the Black Lanterns went after the families and loved ones of the heros which included Kendra's daughter Mia, who up until that point had no idea Kendra was her mother. "

Visually, Kendra doesn't look that much different from Shiera, which is not surprising considering how much Shiera's modern look was based on Kendra's uniform. The main difference is the use of green over the yellow which was on Shiera's look. I would have given her a spear or other non-bludgeoning weapon, but that's just me. I do, however, like the gauntlets, a very Rags Morales touch for Kendra.

As for her character... eh. I don't know how I feel about Kendra pining for Carter while he and Shiera are off being the premiere Power Couple on Hawkworld. It's an interesting take, but I never like female characters who are defined by how they feel about a man.

Considering Kendra's frail mental state before her aunt's spirit inhabited her body, I imagine a reborn Kendra would be similarly troubled. There's stuff to mine there, I think, but it might be outside the scope of this project.

Be sure to check out other Family posts today as well!


Image: Hawkgirl, 2010, NightwingTAS, Image Retrieved from Super Buddies.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Joe Kubert Interview on TCJ

The Comics Journal is usually a little high brow for me, but after some clicking yesterday and this morning I have come across this wonderful interview with the late, great Joe Kubert.  Kubert goes into great detail about his career, including getting started asa pre-teen working for MLJ and Harry "A" Chesler.  

The following passage is what made me decide to share this interview:

Because comic books is rather singular in that it allows you to take chances. It allows you to make mistakes. In a 16-page story, all of it doesn't have to be perfect. You can really go out on a limb and take chances. And, sometimes, those chances work great! And that makes you feel good. If it fails, fine. The majority of the effort does work OK. So it encourages you to take more chances and a lot of guys were able to do exceptionally good work in that way. Comic books also gives you a bigger canvas upon which to work. 'Cause when you're doing syndication or advertising, there are six guys sitting on your back giving their suggestions. "Turn this a half an inch," or, "Move this figure to the-left about three inches." That's what they' re getting paid for and that's what they're gonna do. But there isn't enough time for those small changes in comic books. So you had more freedom. To let your imagination run. I find that there is no other area in commercial art that allows you this kind of freedom. To design pages. To design complete books. To generate emotion into a story.

It's a long read but definitely worth your time.  

Image: Panel from The Brave & The Bold #36, 1961, Joe Kubert.

Nicieza Not Writing Hawkman After All?

More information in the ever-growing Savage Hawkman soap opera!

From Newsarama's "What We Learned From DC's December 2012 Solicitations" slideshow, on slide #6:

When Rob Liefeld left all three of his DC books -- The Savage Hawkman, Deathstroke and Grifter -- many questions remained about who would be coming on board those titles next.

Though the solicitation for The Savage Hawkman #15 lists Fabian Nicieza as scripter, Frank Tieri wrote on Twitter that he's "doing Grifter AND Hawkman. DC solicits have it wrong."

Frank Tieri is a guy who's work I have enjoyed over on the Marvel side in years prior.  He wrote a very fun, high energy run on Iron Man, and a really good Hercules miniseries.  He also did a couple of arcs on a personal favorite modern series of mine, New Excalibur, along with a few excellent issues of Batman And The Outsiders in the intermezzo between Dixon and Tomasi.

If this is true -- and honestly if Tieri claims he is writing Hawkman I am willing to believe it at this point -- then I am somewhat more enthused than I was for Fabian Nicieza.  I am more familiar with Tieri's work and think that he has a good handle on writing action, which is a must for this series.  He also has shown me that he is not one to make things too grim, which can be a problem, especially at DC lately.  I think a Hawkman who has fun while he is on his adventures was what Liefeld was starting to turn Carter Hall towards, and I can see Tieri continue on that path.

Do I think Frank Tieri is the long term writer on the book?  Again I am going to say "no."  I think that if this proves to be true, that as I suggested yesterday, Tieri will finish up "Hawkman: Wanted," and then a new writer (and possibly art crew) will come on afterwards.

For now though, I'm just sitting back and enjoying the ride.  GI Combat solicited it's final issue yesterday, which is disappointing, but there are lots of seeds being planted for an Eclipso return, so there is that.  All things considered, I am still very much enjoying the New 52 and can't wait to see what is going to go down in "Hawkman: Wanted."

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hawkgirl In The Spotllight in Earth 2 #7

We have another Hawk-related solicitation today, and despite being on a completely different vibrational frequency, they are both part of the same preview!

EARTH 2 #7
1:25 B&W Variant cover by IVAN REIS
On sale DECEMBER 5 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
• Who is Hawkgirl? The secret is revealed!
• Mr. Terrific makes his first appearance on Earth 2 since he left our world!
• Don't miss the aftermath of "THE GRUNDY APOCALYPSE!"

I know I am way behind on the Earth 2 write ups (heck, I am still behind on my Savage Hawkman review for #12), but after the very subtle revelation at the end of #4, I am more interested than ever in discovering Hawkgirl's origin.  That the other plots are continuing to build is further icing on the cake.  This book has been a blast so far and I get the impression that Robinson is just cutting loose and having fun, and the result has been some really great comics.  That Hawkgirl was among the first of the new "Wonders" to debut on the planet is a strong endorsement from Robinson as far as I am concerned, and so far she has shined in the scenes she has taken part in.  

And I'll tell you what, our Winged Wonder certainly looks nice rendered by Ivan Reis, huh?  Although Nicola Scott makes her look really good on the insides of the book each month as well.  

Are you enjoying Earth 2?  What do you think of our new Hawkgirl?  

Image: Earth 2 #7, 2012, Ivan Reis.

Next Savage Hawkman Writer Revealed!

The next wave of DC solicitations have started, which means that the first issues solicited post Liefeld's walk out are going to be revealed!  So it's time now for the big news we have all been waiting for...

Fabian Nicieza will be scripting Savage Hawkman, at least for the time being!

Here is the solicitation:

Plotted by ROB LIEFELD
Art and cover by JOE BENNETT and ART THIBERT
On sale JANUARY 2 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
• "HAWKMAN: WANTED" continues!
• Hawkman is a fugitive — and everybody wants to kill him for his Nth Metal Armor. Good thing Carter's always ready for a fight!
• Guest-starring Deathstroke!

Alright, some takeaways from this brief description:

--As I mentioned, Fabian Nicieza is credited as scripting over Rob Liefeld's plot.  First off -- WOW does that sound like a 90s X-Men comic.  Beyond that, this is a good draw, I think.  I have not read much of Mr. "Knee-Cheesy" since his run on Red Robin a few years back, but I really enjoyed that book so that is something.  He was part of the New 52 with the launch of Legion Lost, but he exited the book citing time conflicts with two non-comics gigs he has.  I don't know how much of that is true, and honestly, it's speculatory anyway.

--"Hawkman: Wanted" is still going down.  It would seem that the crossover with Deathstroke is still going down, and Slade will still be appearing in Carter's book as well.  And man, does the clash between the two on the cover look brutal!

-- The art team of Joe Bennett and Art Thibert (at the least) will stick around, which is fantastic as far as I am concerned because the book has looked beautiful the last few months.

So what does this all mean?  I suspect that Nicieza will be pinch-hitting until "Hawkman: Wanted" is finished.  After that (whenever that is... Liefeld never gave us much indication of how long that story was going to be running), we will find out who the next writer and possibly art team will be on the title.  Given Nicieza's stated reason for leaving Legion Lost, I don't think this will be a long term gig for him.  

Secondly, I am just happy as a clam that the "Hawkman: Wanted" story will be continuing.  Say what you want about Rob Liefeld as an artist or as a person, but I was enjoying the story he was telling in this title.  It was exciting and action-packed, and the broad strokes we have seen so far have really captured my attention.  And hey, maybe the character Pike will be a little differentiated from Deadpool under another writer's pen!

Thirdly, the art team stays the same!  Nothing much to say here other than "Yay!"

I'll be back later with the Earth 2 solicitation, but for now let the conversation begin: What do you think about Fabian Nicieza handling the scripting on Savage Hawkman?

Image: The Savage Hawkman #15, 2012, Joe Bennett. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Hawk Cosplay From DragonCon 2012

DragonCon!  That most mysterious of Cons (to me, anyway) where the main draw seems to be taking pictures of people dressed up in crazy costumes!  And this year was no exception, as fellow blogger Shag (he of Firestorm Fan fame) took hundreds of pictures of the cosplayers at the show, including a few featuring our favorite Winged Wonders!

This Hawkgirl cosplayer looks like a Silver Age Shayera mostly from the fact that she is smiling!  The combination of the hair and the grin for some reason makes me think of Flo from Progressive Insurance dressed up as Hawkgirl, which is several layers of strange, even for me.  I like the hot pants over the green leggings, and the belt is a nice touch, too. The broad, angelic wings are the best element though.  Great stuff!

A new trend which has been emerging has been "box heroes," which is heroic costumes which look for all the world like they are dressing up as Mini-Mates.  Hawkman got in on that!

Behold my Mighty Hand.

No, seriously, I have the Hawkman Mini-Mate and this is what he looks like.  I don't know whether to applaud the craftsmanship or just stare.  The mace is awesome, and I lobe the Kubert-esque shading on the, ahem, musculature on the chest.

Here he is in his native environment:

That's right: standing taller than Batman and Green Lantern and about to club Green Arrow in his blocky skull.  Yeeeeaaaah.  Want more Box Heroes?  Shag has a ton of em!

As always, there was a photo shoot with all of the DC cosplayers.  I am not sure if there are any Hawks in this picture, but check out that sweet Killer Moth on the right!

The Metal Men are pretty sweet as well.  You can check out Shag's entire DC Comics photo collection right here!

And then there's this:


An episode of Earth Destruction Directive is about to happen and I wasn't even there!  Insane!

BIG Props to both Shag for taking the pictures and the Superhero Costuming Forum, who organized a lot of the massive shoots!

It's not just me!  There's a whole gaggle of DC Comics bloggers posting pics from DragonCon cosplayers today!  Check out the list below and give em a click!

Aquaman @ The Aquaman Shrine
The Atom @ Power of the Atom
Booster Gold @ Boosterrific
DC Cosplay Obscura @ DC Bloodlines
Doctor Fate @ Tower of Fate
Doom Patrol @ My Greatest Adventure #80
Firestorm @ Firestorm Fan
Flash @ Speed Force
Martian Manhunter @ The Idol-Head of Diabolu
The Vixen and Zatanna @ Justice League Detroit
Wonder Woman @ Diana Prince is the New Wonder Woman

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hawkman Families: Hawkwoman of Hawkworld

Hawkworld: Hawkwoman art by NightwingTAS

We're back with another installment of the "Hawk family" from NightwingTAS' proposed Hawkworld TV series. Gee, I wonder who this week will be?

After Hawkman, of course up next is Hawkwoman. The two just go together, like peanut butter and bananas. (What? It's tasty.) As a character rich in both comics and animation history, Ms. not-just-Hawkman's-sidekick is a character who has come into her own in the last decade. Let's get to know this new version of our favorite feathered heroine.

"Once she returned Shiera Hall embraced her true love, husband and soulmate Carter Hall. Shiera returned with a unique perspective, just as Carter recalled all of his past lives, so does she, but she also recalls her time bonded with Kendra, but not the emotions. Shiera does not know that Kendra herself was falling in love with Carter. "

I really like keeping the setup from the end of Blackest Night and the whole of Brightest Day. Long time readers will recall that I gushed like an MSNBC operative at the DNC when Shiera Hall was resurrected, and salivated at the potential of that pairing. Brightest Day delivered on that promise, and so I as such I would not object to more of that particular pairing.

The overall design is clearly based on her Justice League appearance, albeit with a more severe helmet, and adopting Shiera's resurrected look, with the straps across her chest and the midriff baring shirt. I was never crazy about that particular get up -- the straps combined with the belly shirt form an odd jumble of lines -- and this look doesn't really change my mind for it. Her breasts look a little squished, for one thing. I think either/or would have been alright. Kendra wore the belly shirt and looked fine, and if Shiera wore her normal costume just with the common design element of the cross straps, it would have been fine.

All things considered though, it's a snazzy design for Hawkwoman and one which would look great streaking across the screen smashing baddies in the head.

Be sure to check out the other "Families" posts today, and come back this time next week for another installment!


Image: Hawkwoman, 2010, NightwingTAS, Image Retrieved from Super Buddies.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Newsarama: Savage Hawkman "On The Bubble"

Pessimism abounds across the 4 Color corner of the Internets when it comes to Hawkman, and it continues in the wake of Rob Liefeld's sudden departure from Savage Hawkman.

Newsarama has one of their patented Top 10 Lists today, this one taking a look at DC New 52 titles which have to be considered "on the bubble."  Savage Hawkman slots in at #6, with the following commentary from the 'rama crew:

Like Deathstroke and Grifter, Rob Liefeld was brought on board The Savage Hawkman -- a series that was already struggling -- in a move intended to bring more readers to the book.

Still wondering how DC thought that Rob Liefeld was going to bring readers to the book.  Let me put it this way -- I read the title because it starred Hawkman, and I was willing to give it a try because of my appreciation of the character.  Rob Liefeld did not entice me to buy the book.  Now, Rob is a guy who can sell his work, and has his fans -- but said fans, while vocal, are no longer legion.

Liefeld has departed Hawkman (and his other two DC titles), and thus far, sales have remained to be among the lower echelon of The New 52. With the future of the book post-Liefeld not entirely clear and Hawkman a main part of the new Justice League of America series, it's possible that his solo series might be one of the next New 52 ongoing titles to go.

A reasonable enough assumption, I suppose, although not one I am really down with.  Putting the character back with Geoff Johns -- who produced the most popular version of Hawkman since the Golden Age -- will serve the character well, but as part of a large ensemble which includes a clear "intended breakout character" in the Simon Baz Green Lantern, how much attention can he really get?  To me, it's the Wonder Man dilemma: I enjoy seeing Wonder Man as a member of the Avengers, but I came to really appreciate and like the character thanks to his solo title.  So while he plays well as a team, I much prefer him solo.  (This also works with Iron Man, but Shellhead is a viable solo star and has been for nearly 50 years, so that's really a fair comparison.)  

Also included on the list are the other two former Lefield books, Deathstroke and Grifter, which I won't really miss on either front.  No surprises there.  Firestorm makes the cut, which is also unsurprising, although I hope that the new direction brings in some new readers as Jurgens seems well suited to these types of characters.  And topping the list of course is GI Combat, and sadly, even I can't argue with it.  I am really enjoying the Unknown Soldier strip, but the lead feature of The War That Time Forgot by Krul and Olivetti is boring, and if a War That Time Forgot story is boring, you have a real problem.

What do you folks think?  Will Savage Hawkman survive the next round of cancellations?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hawkman Families: Hawkman of Hawkworld

Hawkworld: Hawkman art by NightwingTAS

Today is the first in a series of posts highlighting the "Hawkman Family" of characters as envisioned by artist NightwingTAS. The concept here is to flesh out characters with designs which could be used in a Bruce Timm/Paul Dini style animated series for various DC Comics properties. And this bblog being the blog it is, we have the Hawks, as starring in the theoretical series Hawkworld Take it away, Nightwing:

"Here is the beginning of my Hawkman Family set.

Carter Hall is the latest reincarnation of Prince Khufu. The Priest Hath Set had murdered Khufu and hiis love Chay-Ara with a knife made of Nth Metal which is also responsible for their perpetual reincarnations. Through the Nth Metal the two's souls are forever bound, to reunite, and fall in love. With full knowledge of his past lives Carter tried to reach his love's soul inside her niece Kendra, and just as she was opening up and falling for Carter they are plunged into the Blackest Night. During the Blackest Night Sheira was brought back and given a second chance at life."

Pretty much a streamlined version of the Post-Crisis Carter Hall, removing some of the more wonky bits such as being reincarnated in Katar Hol's body. As a high concept, it works very well, which is what I say to people who routinely call Hawkman too convoluted. Taken as a whole, yes; but stripped down to the basics, he's not bad at all.

The look is quite nifty as well, incorporating the typical pouch belt which Rags Morales used a lot in Volume 4. Not sure how well that would animate, but if Black Canary and Zatana can have their fishnets then Carter can have his pouch. The model is shown with his morningstar, but I presume that in the series we would see him armed with other weapons, yes?

Be sure to check out the other posts in this series today!


Image: Hawkman, 2010, NightwingTAS, Image Retrieved from Super Buddies.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Read: Hawkman Annual #1 (1993)

Issue: Hawkman Annual #1
Title: "Bad Blood"
Published Date:  Aug 1993
Generation: Post-Crisis Katar (See Note)
Retcon Status: Out of Continuity

Summary: In Chicago, we are thrown into a seeming three-way fight between Hawkman, a horrific alien named Lissik, and a young man in street clothes who calls himself Mongrel.  Hawkman suggests that he and the young man team up against the alien, but Mongrel hears nothing of it and sends Hawkman reeling with an energy blast from his hand.

Flashback to Cambodia, 1970, where an Africa-American sergeant in the US Army calls in an air strike on his platoon's own position, knowing it is suicide, but having no other choice.  The sergeant is amazed when he wakes up in a small village, missing part of his right leg, but being nursed back to health by a young Cambodian woman.  Eventually, the two marry and have a son, and by 1976, he leaves his son with the Army to be brought back to the states.

Back in the present, Hawkman is on his way back to the fight when he runs into Chicago PD Officer Andrea Lencioni, although he doesn't recognize her, despite her insistence that they had several adventures together.  Hawkman blows her off and wings back to action.

Flashback to a Chicago high school, last year, where we see young Josh Xan (named after both of his parents) being a social outcast and a general bad seed, not accepted by either the Blacks nor the Asians for his mixed heritage.  He is suspended for a fight, but catches the eye of a girl named Nhu, whom he makes a date with.  Going back to his uncle's apartment, Josh is beaten savagely with a belt for the suspension.  That night, he slips out and meets Nhu, and the two of them head to the Netherworld, where they are denied entrance because they are a "Norman and Norma," and don't fit in.  As Josh bares his soul to Nhu on a rooftop, they bear witness to a sudden battle -- Hawkman and Hawkwoman fighting Count Viper, and a giant ensuing explosion.

In the present once more, Hawkman rejoins the battle against Lissik, but Mongrel is still not interested in teaming up.  The young man doesn't seem to care about much except killing the alien, causing plenty of damage in the process.  Lissik eventually flees underground to the subway, and Mongrel and Hawkman give chase.

Flashback to earlier that day, as a brooding Josh stalks around Netherworld once more, Nhu having finally had enough of his anti-social behavior and going to the school dance instead.  Josh is suddenly encountered with a beautiful redheaded woman, who quickly uses her wiles to get him in a compromising position... wherein she attempts to drink his spinal fluid.  The attack awakens Josh's metagene, and using is newfound energy powers, he chases the alien away.  Confused, he heads for the school, begging Nhu for help.  But when he is accosted by an old rival, he cuts loose, declaring himself to be be 'Mongrel,' and releasing a huge amount of energy, leaving the school a smoking wreck.  He then heads to his uncle's apartment, and pays him back for all of the abuse; Mongrel says that he always knew one day he would kill his uncle, and that day is today.  Before he can finish the deed, Mongrel catches wind of Lissik fighting Hawkman from a news report, and heads out to encounter her.

In the underground, Mongrel and Lissik tangle violently, while Hawkman tries to get the subway passengers to safety, fearing that the battle will bring down a wall and flood the entire area.  Hawkman clears everyone out, and just in time, as his concern comes true, and the subway station is flooded.  Lissik flees, and as Hawkman ponders if he has seen the last of the troubled young man Mongrel, he too arises from the murky waters...

Review: Well, as Mongrel shows up in the next issue in the stack for Hawkman Volume 3, now was the time to go back and read the Annual, which actually came out right after issue #2, according to Mike's Amazing World of Comics.  This timing explains the continued mystery of Hawkman's identity, which by that point was not revealed yet in the main book.  In fact, Hawkman asks Officer Leoncini "Why do you call me Katar?" at one point.

Anyway, getting to the story itself.  This is not really a Hawkman story, this serves as an introduction for the New Blood character Mongrel.  Whooooooa boy.  In an event (Bloodlines) primarily remembered for introducing some really lousy characters, Mongrel got to be the lousiest.  I can't imagine a less compelling character than this blowhard.  His personality is beyond hamfisted, his look is terrible, and his powers incredibly vague.  Understood that this was the 90s and anti-heroes were all the rage, but this is beyond ridiculous.  His main motivation is his boiling rage which stems from his mixed heritage and the lack of acceptance thereof.  For a villain, this would be passable, but for a hero it is merely laughable.

Furthermore, his actions go beyond the pale.  When he gets to the school dance, he is mocked by Nhu's date, then threatened by the princiapl, and then attacked by his rival, who somehow brought a gun into the building.  What is his response?  To go all Carrie White on everyone and destroy the school with everyone inside!  Ticket takers outside gasp at the carnage and wonder "Did everyone get out?" as Mongrel exits the wreckage.  Leveling a school filled with innocent students -- what a hero!  Yeah, people do begin to flee, but we don't see that many people fleeing, and there's barely a crowd outside.  Did Mongrel bring the building down on top of all the other students and faculty?  When he flies off to murder his uncle in revenge, at that point it's irrelevant because he just committed an act of attempted mass murder.  This is the character we are supposed to be root for?  Give me a break, guys!  

The writing is credited to John Ostrander, and the mechanics of the story are fine.  The flashbacks are easy to follow and the actual action is quite nice.  And the bits which feature Hawkman (including a short scene of him talking with some Netherworlders) are on par with the regular series.  Unfortunately, the character of Mongrel is so off-putting and egregiously bad that any scene he is the star of just bogs down.  There's also an odd amount of references to Hawkworld with no explanation or even editorial notes; seems odd for an Annual which is part of a big crossover, where (assuming) non-regular readers would be picking it up.  Although, this does set up a very cool cameo from Shayera, which is always welcome.

Jan Duursema's art does shine in places.  Her Hawkman still looks excellent and I liked her work on the alien Lissik, both in alien and humanoid forms.  But unfortunately, Mongrel simply doesn't work.  His look -- torn jeans, mullet, fingerless gloves, trench coat -- was cliched in 1993, and it has not aged well at all. He is a ridiculous character who also looks the part.

As I was writing my notes, I asked myself, "Is this a story I would have liked when I was 13, when it was released?"  I suspect that at that age, I probably would have bought into the concept of Mongrel as a character.  (The costume I still would not have liked.)  I am not proud to say that and can only blame the fact that I was 13.  Then again, at the time this issue was released I was very down on Bloodlines to begin with, despite having never read any of the series.

See, I was working at my local comic shop/video store at the time, and I remember a conversation I had with another employee.  He held up a copy of Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #4, featuring Jamm.  And he said "Look at this crap.  'Jamm?'  I don't even want to read this."  And so in my mind, all of Bloodlines was awful from that moment on.  Due respect to the creators, but this book did not change my opinion on the story.  And to add insult to injury, the story continues over into the Deathstroke Annual.

I liked reading a nice long Annual, something which I typically enjoy.  But man, this was just not all that good when you get down to it.  Hopefully Mongrel will be more palatable in the regular series, but I am not holding my breath.

Note: I am going to be revising my Generation tags once more.  Mainly, this will impact the "Modern" items, which will now be changed to "Post-Crisis" as we see in this post.  This is to reflect the Post-Crisis/New 52 schism and hopefully keep the various Hawkmen straight for those reading the blog.  At some point I will revisit my old Generations post and post an update.

Image: Hawkman Annual #1, 1993, Jan Duursema.