(Spoilers! You have been warned.)
Just some random thoughts after reading the third issue of Hawkgirl.
Ever since Kendra Saunders appeared in 1999, she has been a bit of a tortured soul. She is that way for good reason, but after 24 years, you start to wish she could start to get a handle on things, especially the things in her head. That is not the case in this series. She is carrying all kinds of self-doubt and hard feelings. We keep getting shots of her curled up in a fetal position on the floor by a couch. The only things she seems to have going for her are her Nth metal and her anger.
At the beginning, another of Kendra's new lesbian friends is attacked by Killer Croc's goons/Fanboys/flunkies. Wait a minute. I thought the writer said she wasn't going to use any of the classic Hawk-villains because she wanted to give Kendra Saunders her own villains. Then she gives us Killer Croc's boys and the Court of Owls. So basically, we don't want anything to do with Hawkman, but let's bring in the Bat-villains for the Batfans so we can sell a few more issues. Batman doesn't really do anything that important, though.
Edit: Apparently, Axelrod was told by DC to not use Hawk-villains for whatever reason. But Bat-villains are ok? That's just weird. If that was actually the case, then I would just not even mention it and move on. Seems a bit antagonizing to Hawkfans by saying she is not going to use the odd villains from the past. Some of those "odd" villains are a part of one of the best rogue's gallery in comics.
The style of hero-banter during the Croc fan club fight is getting kind of old, to be honest. The current style of hero-banter is to talk about something that has absolutely nothing to do with the fight, as if it's the last thing on their minds, and they just kick into subconscious heroics as they discuss what to wear or teasing someone about their psycho hangups. In this issue, they argue over who is Robin to Hawkgirl's Batman, finally settling on how Batgirl is her own woman as they knee the last standing Croc creep.
We finally get to the final battle, and when Kendra is attacked by a giant Owl-man, she completely loses it and suddenly starts seeing the Owl-man thing as Carter Hall. She screams she doesn't need him, or any of the other men in her life. She yells, "I don't need you, Carter!" The owl-thing's last words are "Who's Carterrrrrrrr" as he crumbles to dust.
The writer of this book appears to be using this Hawkgirl series as her own personal chaise longue to unload on her hatred for men. If I remember Kendra's history, she loves men. She eventually ended up with Carter until the Infinite Crisis event put them on different planets. She fell in love with Roy Harper before that, and much later with J'onn J'onzz. They were all important and special people in her life, but not here. They are now men who tried to control her and keep her from being what she was meant to be. It's kind of sad to see Kendra revert to this. Her misery is always someone else's fault. She seemed to be heading in the right direction in the Justice League series, but not here.
There is also a strange panel where Kendra is clearly seeing Carter as she fights the owl-man. "You going to tell me who I am and then leave? Go off on some glorious destiny with a white version of me you like better?!" Whoa. There's a whole lot of unpacking to do in that one. She is clearly referring to Carter Hall and Shayera Hol (white with red hair) who were reunited in the Robert Venditti series a few years ago. Kendra was falling for the Martian Manhunter long before Carter and Shayera were united. When the Shade contacted the Justice League to help Carter during the Year of the Villain story, they all passed the request to Shayera, who immediately came to Carter's aid. So sorry, Kendra Axelrod, you missed the boat on that one. I'm wondering if this writer has put much thought into the story before venting her own experiences through Kendra. Because that's what it appears to be what she is doing. Not to mention the reference to the whole race/culture war that America seems to be going through at the moment.
There are also a couple of panels where the Galaxy character talks way too much, but Batman just looks at her and says, "You belong here." Why? Because she talked his ear off? Or because she fought off the Court of Owls. I'm not sure which.
We really didn't find out much about the Nth World in this issue, so I guess that will come later. Also, is that a grammar error on page 2? The editors need to step it up.
This issue was as disappointing as the last. We have a writer who is not building up the Hawk characters but seems to be tearing them down. How would new fans who are learning about the Hawks feel about Hawkman after this issue? Bruce Timm's JLU spawned a generation of Hawkman-haters, and this writer seems to want to continue that hateful trend. The series is half over. I hope something happens to bring back some faith in Kendra as well as the other Hawk characters. But so far, this series is a huge step back for Hawkfans and the characters they love.
Hawkgirl #3 (November 2023)
Script: Jadzia Axelrod
Pencils/Inks: Amancay Nahuelpan
Colors: Adriano Lucas
Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Cover: Amancay Nahuelpan, Adriano Lucas
Editor: Kristy Quinn, Dave Wielgosz