So Much More Than Nostalgia – Darkhawk #51 Review

by James Ferguson

I’ve been looking at Marvel Legacy like a game of Double Dutch, waiting for my right moment to jump in. Unfortunately, the sheer volume of titles has made it tough to catch up and get a handle on everything. That didn’t matter when it came to Darkhawk, one of my all-time favorite characters steeped in ’90s nostalgia. Although there are a ton of comics under the Marvel Legacy relaunch, Darkhawk only gets a one-shot to test the waters. It’s safe to say that they’ve been tested and we need an ongoing series here.

Thankfully, Darkhawk was not completely forgotten like some other ’90s comic characters. He made appearances in some of the cosmic books and played a pivotal role there that really expanded upon the mythos behind the character and the mysterious amulet that gives him his powers.

Darkhawk #51 picks up with Chris Powell back on Earth with a seemingly depowered amulet. He’s got his life together with a steady job as a police officer and a wedding on the way. Then he’s called back to the abandoned amusement park where he first found the amulet and is thrown back into the super hero game.

Although Chris is happy with his life, he still keeps the amulet close, wearing it around his neck. It’s like a safety blanket. Just in case anything happens, maybe he’ll be able to do something with it. This is holding him back from living a normal life. If he can put the amulet behind him, he can be a regular guy. That’s easier said than done though. After the adventures he’s been on, how can he just hang that up and be a normal everyday beat cop? Even the mean streets of New York City are not a match for intergalactic warfare.

Writers Chad Bowers and Chris Sims do a great job in getting you up to speed on Darkhawk without turning the comic into a history lesson. His background comes up organically as Chris remembers his life up until this turning point. He’s about to make a major decision so he’s weighing all his options.

Kev Walker is the perfect choice to draw Darkhawk. His artwork walks the line between the normalcy of everyday life and out-of-this-world adventure. The scenes of Chris working things out show the character coming to terms with his new status quo. He has a sense of contentment on his face as he prepares to put the amulet behind him forever. Then the Raptors show up.

This is where Walker goes into high gear, delivering some brilliant artwork that practically leaps off the page. If this doesn’t make you want a Darkhawk ongoing series, nothing will. The action is top notch and so very exciting as these new Raptors descend on Chris to try and take his amulet from him. They look like smaller versions of the Eternals, hulking robotic-like creatures in powerful armor.

All of this builds up to the return of Darkhawk which is shown in all its glory. Even if I didn’t have a fondness for the character, you can’t help but look at these shots and think about how totally cool this design is. It gets a bit of an upgrade here, modernizing it a little while maintaining the basic look and feel.

Darkhawk #51 begins with nostalgia and quickly ascends past it, making the character matter in this day and age. As this is a one-shot, there is a complete story, however the ending is left wide open for more. It reestablishes the world of Darkhawk and greatly expands upon it. Selfishly, I want to see this continued because I need to know what happens next.

Darkhawk #51 is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.