Hawkman #1 gets it. It brings to the table the stuff that makes Hawkman work. As a pure superhero, Hawkman is boring. He has wings and a big stick. There is a sci-fi angle, but no cornerstone that a writer can lean on. That’s what makes him such a challenge to nail down. The Golden Age Hawkman has elements that work. It was basically Indiana Jones meets superheroes. Of course, the Golden Age was full of these types of characters. Now, though, it’s a different story. Get Hawkman searching for antiquities and you have the thing that makes him unique. Hawkman is definitely a troubled character, but if you get that cornerstone about him, the rest isn’t too difficult to grasp.
Fresh from the pages of Metal, Carter Hall—Hawkman—begins his journey of self discovery in the islands of the Aegean chasing relics of Gorilla City’s past. His journey takes him to a new understanding of himself and his very complicated past, all the while showing a future he must prevent.
Robert Venditti gets it. He also manages to get a nice grasp on the supernatural aspect of Hawkman by showcasing his reincarnation aspect. There are some interesting reveals, such as Carter Hall has been reincarnated over time and space, including on Krypton and Rann. Venditti tries to clarify the convoluted history of Hawkman and for this issue, he doesn’t waste too much time with it. A simple double page spread, and boom. The pacing overall is rather brisk and action-packed. Venditti leans hard on the action-adventure aspects of the aforementioned Indiana Jones, Uncharted, and Tomb Raider to help set up a title different from the rest of DC’s main superhero line.
The art of Bryan Hitch and Andrew Currie (ink assist) is clean and refined. It’s Hitch being Hitch. He makes Hawkman move in sleek fashion. He knows when to make a scene claustrophobic and when to make it wild. There is a giant ape Golem in the issue chasing Hawkman through a cave. What’s there not to love?
Honestly, Hawkman #1 is Bryan Hitch’s best work in a long time. Possibly his best since coming to DC. The double page spreads are beautiful and majestic. The compositions are dynamic throughout the comic. Only real notable flaw is the Golem itself. It doesn’t look that great. I feel it was rendered to look unusual, but in the end it comes off looking rather odd in the book.
What really sells Hawkman #1 are the smaller moments when there are sequences of just Carter on a boat, or in an apartment, that gives this book a cinematic tone. It isn’t just a man in a hawk mask. It is an archaeologist that happens to use alien tech as a means to do his job. It is a sense of the natural, and the use of realism that makes this book click. Venditti and Hitch both capture this quite well. Venditti does so in the writing and scripting by using real world locations, and Hitch does so in illustrating that cast in lovely ways. The coloring is very grounded and minimalistic. It isn’t muddied or flashy, which is just perfect for the book.
Overall, Hawkman #1 is a spectacular start to a series. It is different than most of the books DC is publishing, yet still superhero. Venditti understands what makes Hawkman click as does Hitch. Not only will longtime Hawkman fans will enjoy this, but fans of adventure series and superheroes in general.
Hawkman #1 is currently available from DC Comics.