Art by Prentis Rollins (2017, Commissioned by Tim Board)

Jul 11, 2019

Board Review of Hawkman No. 14: "Darkness Within: Shadowed"

   What makes Hawkman interesting? I often get that question, and I have many answers. His image, his weapons, his relationship with Hawkgirl, his rogues’ gallery, his relationships with other heroes, and the list goes on. In the current series, we find an immensely interesting character by writer Robert Venditti. Venditti has recreated a character by giving him countless lives and memories that stretch across time and space, and the hero’s journey of exploration and discovery to find truth and atonement. It’s been a captivating series and issue No. 14 yet again brings up several things that make Hawkman one of the most diverse and deepest characters that DC Comics has to offer.

   Carter continues to be haunted by what he has done in the past. His nightmares disturb him deeply, and we get to see in his journal how he feels and what he thinks about his situation. This journal was started during the Metal series (2017-18), and Venditti has brilliantly used this tool to make Carter Hall an interesting character in his own right. Personally, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Carter’s journal, and I’ve collected every entry on one page on my blog. It’s a great read and really lets you know how the character thinks.

   We are reintroduced to Carter Hall’s friend network that he has across the world. Following his friends in Greece, England, and Malaysia, we are introduced to his friend Hami in Kenya. Apparently, Hawkman knew his great-great-grandmother. I love how Venditti throws in a bit of information about how he is connected to all these people and their families. I hope he continues throughout his run.

   Hawkman appears to be in Kenya for a reason. There is a secret opening to an ancient cave on a mountain top that appears only when the shadows fall just right during a certain time of year. He comes because the cave brings him clarity and tranquility. The secrets of Earth that only Hawkman knows about are limitless and we get an example here.
   Hawkman and Hawkgirl have one of the greatest, most diverse rogues’ gallery in comics. I’ve been spotlighting a villain every other day for the last few weeks and there are many. For the DC Comics’ Year of the Villain event, Hawkman has an unwelcome reunion with one of his greatest villains, Shadow Thief/Carl Sands. Along with Gentleman Ghost, Shadow Thief has the most appearances of the Hawk-villains, and he is definitely worthy of this event. It was almost shocking to see how he lives up to his name. We also get an appearance by that omnipresent DC villain and it’s interesting to see these two together.

   After Bryan Hitch left the series after issue No. 12, Will Conrad stepped in for an issue and his style was similar to Hitch’s, so it didn’t feel that different. Not so in this issue. Pat Olliffe (pencils) and Tom Palmer (inks) will be doing the next four issues (14-17), and Olliffe’s style is definitely different from Hitch or Conrad. But to be honest, I enjoyed it. Olliffe’s style may not be as detailed as Hitch’s, but his drawing of Hawkman flying up to the sky, and the mountain cave were awesome and made me stop reading for a bit. It still feels like a Hawkman comic and I think the secret to that is Jeremiah Skipper’s colors. I’m no art expert, but Skipper seems to be keeping true to the colors he has chosen for Hawkman, and even though the artists have changed, his colors keep it all tied together. I really hope Skipper stays with Hawkman indefinitely.
   After a long battle with the immortal Deathbringers and a trip down memory lane, we now get to see Hawkman go up against one of his greatest enemies. It’s going to be a wild and welcome ride, and with Venditti writing, we can be sure there are many more surprises ahead. Fasten those harnesses tightly and keep soaring!

Rating: 9/10

Hawkman No. 14
Released July 10, 2019
Writer: Robert Venditti
Pencils: Patrick Olliffe
Inks: Tom Palmer
Colors: Jeremiah Skipper
Letters: Richard Starking, Comicraft
Editors: Harvey Richards, Jamie Rich
Cover: Roger Robinson
Variant Cover: Bill Sienkiewicz

1 comment:

  1. I liked the direction and the clear story telling but Pat Olliffe's pencils are a bit to sloppy and need to be tighter. Yes the colors were very good but either the pencils or inker needs to be better. I loved Olliffe's work on the Untold tales of Spiderman and his DC work so I was quite surprised when he got the Hawkman gig. This book needs a A list artist on it to give it some buzz so no offense but I hope a new art team is ready to take this book up a notch when this storyline is done.


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