[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
Hawkman is travelling across space in his new ship, and he feels a yearning to explore further into his past lives. He looks into a journal and learns about the centuries-long war on the planet Nebulen between two races: The H’Gris and the Malanites. Their entire lives were consumed by the war, and the conflict surpassed any reason for fighting. Carter was a part of this war, and he reincarnated on both sides multiple times. As both H’Gris and Malanite, he wondered why the war must continue.
Hawkman #13 follows up the series’ first grand story with this one-off issue charting an ancient war between two alike races. It serves as an expansion on Carter’s history, but it also presents a rather broad if sincere anti-war narrative.
The war between the two races definitely takes aesthetic cues from World War I. The two armies fight out of trenches, and the fighting results in grand slaughter without any true reason for the killing.
Another nice touch is, whenever Carter dedicates himself to the war effort, it directly leads to his demise.
While the setup is rather creative and its message sincere, I found myself underwhelmed by the issue as a whole. It’s a war comic with characters we barely meet. It doesn’t have any of the high-flying adventure of a good Hawkman comic, and it doesn’t give us the genuine Carter Hall righteous rage. It doesn’t really bring anything that draws me to a Hawkman book.
Will Conrad’s artwork is welcome though. The design of the soldiers’ armor looks good, the characters are expressive and highly-detailed, and action is impactful. Jeremiah Skipper’s color art is well-contrasted, giving the book plenty of bright pages to keep the reader’s eyes trained on the comic.
Hawkman #13 is a weaker issue for the series. It gives the reader a one-off, which is appreciated, but the story doesn’t have much to cling onto. While the anti-war message seems sincere, it’s still fairly heavy-handed and a little corny at parts. It’s not a bad book, and it’s still worth recommending. That said, it’s not a must-read. If you’re a Carter Hall fan, you can still feel free to pick it up.
Hawkman #13 comes to us from writer Robert Venditti, artist Will Conrad, color artist Jeremiah Skipper, letterer Richard Starkings and Comicraft, cover artist Will Conrad with Pete Pantazis, and variant cover artist Inhyuk Lee.
Final Score: 6.5/10