Script: Cavan Scott
Pencils: Scot Eaton
Inks: Norm Rapmund
Colors: Andrew Dalhouse
Letters: Rob Leigh
Cover: Haare Andrews
Editor: Katie Kubert
I had no idea what to expect for this issue, and it's supposed to be a lead-in to the movie, so I approached it as a completely elseworld story. This Hawkman looked almost nothing like the Hawkmen we've had in the past, so I expected a lot of changes. However, Cavan Scott has written Hawkman and Hawkwoman before, and he has been "loyal" to the basic idea of Hawkman. He picked up very nicely (DC Love is a Battlefield, 2021) where Robert Venditti left off so I wasn't TOO worried.
1. The story.
The story started out simply enough and I enjoyed seeing another version of my favorite Hawk villain, the Gentleman Ghost. It got a bit convoluted and left me with a lot of questions towards the end. That's what any good comic book does to get us to pick up the next issue, but since this is a sort of one-shot, I'm wondering if any of these questions are going to be answered. We've had a lot of stories lately where things were just thrown out there and never followed up, and that's the feeling I got reading this issue. I sincerely hope it proves me wrong. There were references to the Justice Society, Doctor Fate, and the Intergang, which will be in the movie, so we'll see where this goes. Hopefully, Hawkman will appear in the following one-shots for Cyclone, Atom Smasher, and Doctor Fate so we can see where this is going. I really don't want to pay $18 for three digital issues that may or may not have Hawkman in them, but DC has left me so starved for Hawkman, I guess I'll have to.
I think Cavan Scott gets Hawkman. I love it when Hawkman says things like, "The sky is MINE." Hawkman is the premier aerial fighter in the DC Universe, so I enjoy seeing any kind of reference to that. We saw the Stonechat Museum in St. Roch, Carter Hall's status as a world-famous archaeologist, his instant costume change with his chest medallion, the mention of the Nth Metal keeping him warm, his metal control of his mace, and the strange ability of the Nth metal to affect ghosts or spirits. Hawkman is referred to as the leader of the Justice Society and he appears to have some sort of friendship with Kent Nelson aka Doctor Fate. I'm really looking forward to seeing the two heroes interact with each other in the movie, so this seemed to set that up a teeny tiny bit. The only thing that seemed off was Carter's disinterest in the exhibition at the museum. He has a deep love for history and no one knows history more than Carter ("living historical document of the universe") so I would think he would love being at such a rare event. Since the beginning of Venditti's run, Hawkman's desire to avoid killing and save as many lives as he can was also apparent. In the movie trailer, Hawkman says, “In this world, there are heroes and there are villains. Heroes don't kill people." This story seems to be trying to set up that line of thinking as well. Overall, I enjoyed this Hawkman. I want more.
3. Jim Craddock (Gentleman Ghost)
The Gentleman Ghost is my favorite Hawkman villain, so I'm glad to see him make an appearance, although he seems to be one-and-done in this issue. I would love to see a Hawkman movie with the Gentleman Ghost, Shadow Thief, and Lion Mane teaming up to bring down Hawkman. GG can be an absolutely terrifying villain if done right, and I hope he comes back in a future story with a more classic look and better control of his powers.
4. Giant Hawk
The giant Hawk creature reminded me of the Hawk avatar from the 90s series, so the story left me wondering if there is some sort of connection there. A reference to a Destroyer reminded me of Venditti's Lord of the Void. I wonder if this universe's LotV is still planning to take over the universe. The reference to Hawkman being the death of his plans could be a setup for a future Hawkman/Hawkwoman movie. That would be really, really cool.
5. The Art
Scot Eaton has done a Hawkman issue in the past (Hawkman Vol. 4 No. 19, November 2003, a Hawkman-Black Adam confrontation story no less) and he didn't let us down here. Yes, this Hawkman looks completely different and it takes some getting used to, but there's no denying that Eaton draws a great Hawkman. Norm Rapmund (his 6th Hawkman issue if I remember correctly) is also great for the character. I always judge a character by his wings, and Eaton-Rapmund do it very well. Andrew Dalhouse's colors were good. This Hawkman has a lot of red, and that could have been distracting, but Dalhouse toned it down a bit, which was a plus. I don't really care for Hawkman's wings being red and gold, but maybe it'll grow on me. My only complaint would be the lettering. The Gentleman Ghost's lines were very hard to read. It was completely different, but it reminded me of that awful Batman Who Laugh's red on black. There's gotta be a way to do ghost-talk without making it a chore to read.
I enjoyed the issue more than I thought I would and the references connecting Hawkman to past versions made me smile. Hawkman has a rich history and any time the writer connects us to that past is a good thing. Without that, this Hawkman would have been a completely new and unfamiliar character, leaving us old-timers with no reason to want to follow this version any further. But I think Scott captured the essence of the hero very well. I wish DC would give him a Hawkman/Hawkwoman series instead of a one-shot or mini-run. I think he could do amazing things with the character.
Did this comic give me hope for the movie? I will admit I have more interest in the movie now than before I read it. So I guess it's mission accomplished.