Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Savage Hawkman #19 On Sale Now!

Hey everyone, I know it's fun to goof off on the Internet, but Savage Hawkman #19 is on sale are YOUR local comic shop right now!

It's "WTF" time as Hawkman takes on Blockbuster! By DeFalco, Bennet, Thibert, and the rest of the crew, this one promises to be a knock down drag out. Blockbuster looks a little like a mix of is old self and Simon Stagg's manservant Java, but he should look fantastic fighting against the Winged Wonder in this book.

You can check out a preview right here! This is the final issue before the blowoff in #20, so check it out!

Image: The Savage Hawkman #19, 2013, Joe Bennet.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hawkman Hostess Ad: "She's No Angel"

    Inspired by a recent episode of The Fire And Water Podcast, please allow me to present a classic Hostess advertisement featuring Hawkman!

    While on patrol, the Winged Wonder is waylaid by a pair of trained falcons, who plan to keep Hawkman busy while their mistress, Golden Raven, steals a golden bird statue.  But Hawkman's quick use of some Hostess Fruit Pies distracts the dastardly femme fatale from her criminal enterprise, allowing Hawkman to take her into custody.

    The only thing which would have improved this ad is if Hawkman had used the Cupcakes instead of the Fruit Pies, because we all know that all women are crazy for chocolate, right?  *ducks to avoid thrown objects!*

    Seriously though, this one is really a lot of fun, as Hawkman gets a Hostess Supervillain of his very own to fight.  Golden Raven has a pretty good look, with her cloak and flared shoulderpads, plus the Jean Loring haircut.  (One imagines that he has at least one pillbox hat in her closet.)  I also like the little touch of Hawkman using his chain mace as handcuffs to keep her wrists bound, a nice touch.  Although, I have to wonder about Golden Raven's plan -- sending birds to harass the Silver Age Hawkman, who could talk to birds, seems like bad planning on her part.  

    I fully expect Geoff Johns to use Golden Raven in the pages of Justice League of America.

    According to Rob Kelly (of The Aquaman Shrine!), a lot of the art on these was done by Curt Swan and Vince Coletta, which I am willing to accept.  Swan did not work on Hawkman much so he doesn't have a very clear "defined style" on the character like, say, Murphy Anderson did.  

    (You can see another Hawkman Hostess ad right here!)

Image: Hawkman Hostess ad, artist and date unknown, retrieved from ComicVine.  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hawkman v.3:no.21 May Be The Worst Hawkman Story Ever Written

    You know, there's been a lot (and I mean a LOT) of negative reviews on the Internet for the entire run of Savage Hawkman. I personally don't understand the animosity amongst the netmarks, nor where the "let's get this book cancelled!" campaigns have their origins.  And I'll also admit that there have been some less than stellar issues of the series.  But this, my friends, takes the proverbial cake.

    I'm not sure how else to put it, but, man, Hawkman v.3:no.21 is without a doubt the single worst issue of Hawkman I have read across any iteration in any era.  The story involves Hawkman attending a giant Conservative bash in Chicago (why would Conservatives ever party in CHICAGO?!) only to find the entire place to be crawling with scum and villainy.  Oh boy, where to start with this mess?

    The story is a train wreck.  Never mind the grasping, heavy-handed, groan-inducing politics of Bill Loebs (any time a Liberal tries to write a Conservative, it comes off childish and immature... much like a Liberal), but even beyond that the story makes no real sense.  We are introduced to a "new" Gentleman Ghost... who happens to be named "Gentleman" Jim Craddock.  Only he's not a ghost, he's a high society jewel thief who makes the same joke about his thieving habits being rumor and allegation literally in every scene he appears in.  EVERY SCENE.  Wow.  This version of the Ghost was so popular that he appeared exactly one more time, in Underworld Unleashed #1 of all places, before being thankfully consigned to the fading memories of those unfortunate enough to read this comic.  To say that Loebs misses the point of the Gentleman Ghost would be a disservice to other writers who have missed points over the years.

    The Shadow-Thief does not fare much better.  Bemoaning the guests at the party, Sands mutters "This country gets whatever it deserves."  Really?  Carl Sands is suddenly a bleeding heart who cares one way or the other about the elected officials of the country?  Carl Sands, serial burglar who is obsessed with power cares about who won the midterm elections?  The stupidity continues when Hawkman stops him by touching part of his shadow-costume and then claiming that the suit was obviously built with a failsafe... that he simply did not use until this very moment, which is lucky, since the issue was almost out of pages.  Urrgh.

    I won't get into Katar spouting false statistics straight from Mother Jones (if this issue was written today you could change this reference to "the Huffington Post," and it still works), nor the fact that Helene Aster is involved with this story, despite being a reincarnation of the ancient Egyptian Hath-Set, and our hero being from Thanagar.  

    The art is from the normally reliable Ron Lim, but this was clearly a phoned-in paycheck for him.  I can think of no other rationale for Katar's horrid party attire, or why the Shadow-Thief is suddenly an elf.  He does pull a nice trick -- the design of this, ahem, "new" Gentleman Ghost is about as boring as the character himself, so that is something.

    The rushed aspect continues if you examine a few details.  The cover date is June 1995, which means this hit the stands in March, a few months after the 1994 midterms.  At the time of the midterms, the book was hip deep in the "Eyes Of The Hawk" storyline, in which Loebs was setting up his new status quo for Hawkman.  So, it seems to me that he wrote this drivel after the elections, had Lim handle the art because Steve Lieber was still doing the regular book, and then released it when they had a chance.  Apparently the Contract With America was an excuse to write really piss poor comics.

    I sure hope that "Way Of The Warrior" is better than this, because I cannot imagine it being any worse.

    Image: Hawkman v.3:no.21, Steve Leiber, 1995.  

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Thoughts: Savage Hawkman #18

    Had a chance to read the new issue last week, and wanted to mull over it for a few days before posting.

    This issue, once again, feels like a throwback to the late 1980s or early 1990s.  The dialogue, the thought balloons, the plot, all of it feels like a relic from that era.

    I am unsure how to feel about this.  In one sense, I started reading comics in the early 90s, and have a lot of love for that "Post Crisis" period in both the DC and Marvel universes.  So a book which espouses that sort of straight forward mix of action and character hits the mark for me in a way that a lot of what I call Modernist comic books simply don't.  It's that "Golden Age Period" theory, where your personal Golden Age of Comics is when you were 12.  

    But all that said, should a comic book published in 2013 really sound like it was written in 1990?  I mean, should it really?  

    And does that even matter?

    I liked the comic, actually. Our new Shadow-Thief is a big change from Carl Sands, and her stance as a sort of gun for hire is a nice touch.  The next (and final) storyline is set up in the subplots, and we do get some nice action with Hawkman and Thief against the beasts of the other dimension.  

    But there is some oddities. For instance: After Hawkman calls her Shadow-Thief, why does our new Thief never correct him or demand to be called something else?  Isn't it convenient where Prof. Ziegler is taken for treatment just happens to have a deep dark secret?  Are we really introducing a bad guy named Dr. Payne? And why is everyone SO ANGRY?!

    Also, DeFalco gives us a new wrinkle in Katar's backstory -- battling in gladiatorial pits before being noticed by the King and brought to live in castle, where he was exposed to the cruelty of the ruling class, and presumable became the "brother" of Corsar and the consort of Shayera.  (How very Robert E. Howard.)  This continues the new twist on this which DeFalco introduced in the previous issue, and frankly, I like it a lot more than the almost pacifistic Katar we saw from Liefeld.  It also fits much better with how he is being portrayed in Justice League of America -- which is to say, a brute -- and jives with the "Savage" part of the title.  

    The art is switched up a little bit this time.  The scenes which take place in the "real world" are by the usual team of Bennett and Thibert, but those in the Shadow Realm are done by Fabrizio Fiorentino, nicely differentiating between the two areas.  

    I can't say I am surprised that the book is ending in a couple of issues.  But for whatever the opinion of one blogger is worth, I'm still having fun.

    Image: The Savage Hawkman #18, 2013, Joe Bennett.  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Savage Hawkman #18, JLA #2 Incoming

My box from DCBS was waiting for me as I got home from work yesterday, so that means new Hawkman comics! My thoughts and reactions on Savage Hawkman #18 and Justice League of America #2 will be coming shortly. Quick Hits: What year was Savage Hawkman written? And why can't JLA just get on with it already? More to come...

Friday, April 5, 2013

Matchup: Hawkman and Aquaman

    In my efforts to get caught up to "Way Of The Warrior" I have been of course reading Volume 3 of Hawkman, and after the exit of John Ostrander, I am now hip deep in the work of William Messener-Loebs.  After the first story arc, "Godspawn," and then the Zero Issue, which establish the new, merged Hawkman character, our hero moves into the "Eyes Of The Hawk" arc, wherein he battles various other Avatars of animal spirits.  The second part of this story, in issue #15, is entitled "Among The Minnow" and features, among other things, a throwdown between Hawkman and Aquaman.

    This issue is better known for the fact that it turns the Aquaman baddie Scavenger into a child molester and murderer.  Yikes.

    But the battle between the two heroes was a timely piece of reading considering the current debate about the two characters spinning out of Justice League of America #1.  So it got me thinking about the two characters and how they would match up in the New 52 universe.

    Most of the chatter which I have heard online tends to lean strongly towards Aquaman, with Newsarama calling the match up a "stretch," and others vocally questioning how Hawkman could hang with Aquaman.  This amuses me greatly because had this question been asked 10 years ago, the net marks would have been leaning the other way.  I guarantee it.  In 2003, Hawkman was one of Geoff Johns' darling characters, and Aquaman was still seen as an aimless joke of a character who did not deserve to have his own title.  Fast forward to today, and it's the opposite situation.  So I don't put much stock in that.

    In 2003, I liked both Hawkman AND Aquaman.  And that's still true today.  So I don't really think I am influenced one way or another in sizing up these characters in terms of a fight.  

    Both characters have their strengths and weaknesses in a straight up brawl.  Both have an enhanced level of endurance, and they can trade blows back and forth.  Aquaman has finally gotten the respect he deserves for how powerful he can be on land, and Hawkman has been put over as a powerhouse for a while now.  Both have also been consistently portrayed lately as skilled warriors with weapons -- trident and mace, respectively.  

    Aquaman obviously has the edge in the water, and Hawkman clearly owns the skies.  So that's a wash.  Both have also been shown to have a bad temper, and give into their warrior's rage, as well.  A battle between these two would be an epic, back and forth, down and dirty, knock down, drag out smash-em-up, in the mud and dirt.  This is not the kind of fight like Superman and the Martian Manhunter, where they'd be throwing continents at each other.  This is much more grounded and harsh.

    Given the crew on the team, Hawkman is the only one who can match up with Aquaman, and it makes perfect sense for Waller to put him in that slot.  

    So who would win?  Honestly, I think it's a stalemate.  Neither would ever give quarter, and neither would ever ask for any.  At the end of the day, it would come down to how the rest of the battle goes.  Because if Superman takes out the Manhunter, and the Justice League has the JLA on the ropes, Hawkman would eventually get taken down by the others.  Same if the JLA had the upper hand.  But one on one, sorry but that's too close to call.

    But one thing is certain -- it would be a clash for the ages, that's for sure.