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Posts Tagged ‘Hawkman’

Hawkman (2002 Series) #26

July 24, 2012 Leave a comment

March 20, 2004

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Rest

A mistake from Hawkman’s past comes back to haunt him.

Writer: Josh Siegal
Pencils: John Byrne
Inks: Lary Stucker
Colors: Hi-Fi
Letters: Rob Leigh
Editor: Stephen Wacker
Cover Art: John Byrne
Publisher: DC Comics

Writer Josh Siegal is a new name to me, but after reading this issue of Hawkman I find myself asking why he’s only doing a fill-in until the new creative team comes on instead of handling writing chores full-time. This is a really smart issue, wherein Hawkman and Hawkgirl find themselves facing off the bloody menace of a vampire.

Siegal takes the fact that Hawkman has been around for thousands of years in hundreds of incarnations and runs with it, showing how an honest mistake can get magnified over the centuries, leading to the current predicament. He shows the flip side of that too, though, employing skills that may go unused for hundreds of years, but are never forgotten.

Siegal also employs a non-linear storytelling style, bouncing further and further into the past to show how the characters were brought to the point. The structure of the story (if not the content) reminds me very much of one of m favorite movies, “Memento,” which tells the story from the end to the beginning. It’s not an easy technique to pull off, and Siegal does a fantastic job.

John Byrne seems to be drawing a lot of vampires lately. He did it last week in JLA and he’s doing it here. They both look good, though, so I’m not going to complain. Lary Stucker’s inks compliment the pencils very well, and we have a comic book that manages to straddle the line between superhero storytelling and horror. Visually, this book could fit into either category, and that’s what it needs to do.

After the great run Geoff Johns had on this title, it’s going to be hard to follow up. This may be a done-in-one fill-in issue, but it’s a very good one. Hawkman fans will be highly satisfied.

Rating: 8/10

Animal Man (1988 Series) #6

March 24, 2012 Leave a comment

March 18, 2012

Title: Birds of Prey

Writer: Grant Morrison
Art:
Chas Truog & Doug Hazlewood
Letters:
John Costanza
Colors:
Tatjana Wood
Cover Art:
Brian Bolland
Editor:
Karen Berger
Publisher:
DC Comics

Ah, the Invasion! Crossover. I’d nearly forgotten this one. Back in 1988, a coalition of alien races banded together and invaded the Earth, concerned that their proliferation of superhumans may one day be a threat to the rest of the cosmos. In the “First Strike!” crossovers, such as this one, the Invasion hadn’t begun full-scale yet and many of the heroes didn’t realize quite what they were facing.

Fortunately, even when staring down the barrel of a company crossover, Grant Morrison finds a way to do something unorthodox. Animal Man faces off with a pair of invaders from Thanagar, home planet of Hawkman. Instead of battling a warrior, though, Animal Man is facing a self-styled “performance artist” who uses death as his canvas. It’s a weird, unique way to work the title character into the crossover without doing just another “superhero vs. alien invader” story. It’s still that at the core, of course, but the trappings are different enough to make it feel like a different sort of story, and that’s exactly what readers were hoping for.

Chas Truog and Doug Hazlewood provide pretty strong artwork here. The characters look like a part of the greater DC Universe, with styles and designs that fit in with other depictions of Thanagar and its culture of the time. There isn’t quite as much of a chance to cut loose with typical Animal Man-style weirdness as usual, but it’s okay to go a little more straightlaced once in a while.

This issue is definitely a pit stop, something that takes us off the larger path of the Animal Man arc for an issue, but it’s not a bad one. It’s nice to see something a bit more traditional for a little while.

Rating: 7/10

The Flash (1987 Series) #209

April 11, 2011 Leave a comment

April 24, 2004

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Fast Friends

The Justice League wants to know who tampered with their memories and why, but the Flash isn’t sure he’s ready to tell them.

Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Howard Porter
Inks: Livesay
Colors: James Sinclair
Letters: Rob Leigh
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Cover Art: Michael Turner
Publisher: DC Comics

I find it remarkable that nine issues have passed since the Spectre eliminated the knowledge of Wally West’s double identity from the minds of the world, but Geoff Johns still seems to have plenty of room to mine that simple concept for great stories. This issue Justice League members past and present, specifically those who knew Barry Allen, Wally’s predecessor, confront him to find out why they can no longer remember either of them they way they know they should. Wally, however, just wants to get away to track down his missing wife, Linda. The result is the latest in the classic line of Flash/Superman races. For the first time, however, the race needs to cheap gimmick to pit the two of them against each other, it’s a basic story of a man trying to help his friend and that friend refusing help.

This is a slow paced issue, ironic considering the title character, but Johns does a great job with all of the various heroes depicted herein. Green Arrow is angry, but justified, Firestorm is impatient and we get a surprising insight into John Stewart (the current Green Lantern, not the guy from The Daily Show). Even the eternal admiration for the late Barry is tempered with good character bits. Johns may spend a little too much time on what amounts to an extended roll call, but that’s coming from someone intimately familiar with all of these characters. A less rabid reader than myself may find it helpful.

Howard Porter became a comic book superstar drawing the JLA, and he’s still got it. Any “racing” issue, even one that is built so solidly upon characterization, needs strong art to make it work. You’ve got two men moving at almost the speed of light for most of the book, and Porter makes it work with a blend of classic super-speed images – speed lines, multiple images, bolts of lightning. It’s a fine looking issue.

Next issue we are promised a meeting between the Flash and the man who has, off and on, been his best friend since they were teenagers. It’s a pairing I always find entertaining, and I can’t wait to see what Johns has in store.

Rating: 8/10

Brightest Day #19

February 9, 2011 Leave a comment

February 5, 2011

Title: Aquawar Part One

Writers: Geoff Johns & Peter J. Tomasi
Art:
Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Oclair Albert & Rob Hunter
Colorist:
Peter Steigerwald
Letterer:
Rob Clark, Jr.
Cover:
David Finch
Editors:
Adam Schlagman & Eddie Berganza
Publisher:
DC Comics

As Deadman interrogates the White Lantern, trying to figure out why it would destroy Hawkman and Hawkgirl, in the depths of the ocean a war is brewing. The army from Mera’s dimension is swarming the beaches on the surface world, Black Manta at their command, leaving Aquaman and Aqualad as the only line of defense.

The Deadman stuff goes quick this issue, although we get a nice chunk of information. We still don’t quite know what the White Lantern’s true game is, but I feel like we have more of the puzzle pieces we need to put it all together. The battle scenes are impressive – large in scope, sprawling and chaotic. We definitely get a sense that our heroes are at war in this issue. The final pages are pretty abrupt, with a final cliffhanger that echoes some of the more interesting things that have happened to Aquaman in the past. It’s been plain from the outset that the writers have plans for Arthur Curry, and this issue makes that clearer than ever. I still can’t quite figure out where they intend to take him, but the surety that there is a plan is important.

Good story, great artwork.

Rating: 8/10

Hawkman (2002 Series) #23

February 4, 2011 Leave a comment

January 1, 2004

Quick Rating: Good
Title:Black Reign Part Two

The Justice Society visits Hawkman in St. Roch for his birthday, unaware of the violent actions their former teammates are taking in the middle east.

Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Rags Morales
Inks: Michael Bair
Colors: John Kalisz
Letters: Bill Oakley
Editor: Peter Tomasi
Cover Art: John Watson
Publisher: DC Comics

The JSA/Hawkman crossover continues, and the only people likely to be disappointed are Hawkman fans. This is a fantastic issue, but the title character is barely in it – this would have been a stronger issue if DC had printed this as JSA #56 and that issue as Hawkman #23 – granted, Hawkman isn’t in that issue either, but neither is anyone else in the JSA, and it would serve as a stronger prologue.

This criticism is only valid for people who read only Hawkman and not both titles, however – people reading both, or even people who only read JSA and are only getting this issue for the crossover, will have nothing but praise. The team goes down to the city of St. Roch (a veiled New Orleans clone) during a time of “celebration” (it’s Mardi Gras, folks). Johns uses this setting to give us a peek into the personalities of many of the characters — Wildcat loves it, Green Lantern is uncomfortable and Dr. Mid-Nite tries to help people who may not have realized they needed help. There’s a great subplot with Hourman talking to his late father, the first Hourman (via a device that will allow him one hour total to speak to his father in a time-pocket before he dies). We also get very good scenes with Power Girl, Stargirl, Captain Marvel and the Flash. Even Hawkman gets a good scene – the only problem is that, in his title, his moment doesn’t come until the very end. Oh, but what a moment it is.

Rags Morales is a fantastic artist, and he gets a lot of great scenes in this book – including Hawkman’s brief battle with a nameless old man trying to make himself into a supervillain and an absolutely fantastic last page. It’s a terrible shame that Morales will be leaving this title soon, and one can only hope DC has an artist with half his talent lined up to take his place.

I’m deducting one point from the overall score because I feel this book may let down Hawkman fans – but fans of both titles, like myself, should add a point and not hesitate to pick it up. It’s great superhero storytelling.

Rating: 7/10

Identity Crisis #3

January 17, 2011 Leave a comment

August 13, 2004

Quick Rating: Great
Title: Serial Killer

The Justice League fights Deathstroke – and more answers are found.

Writer: Brad Meltzer
Pencils: Rags Morales
Inks: Michael Bair
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Kenny Lopez
Editor: Mike Carlin
Cover Art: Michael Turner
Publisher: DC Comics

One of the greatest mysteries ever to hit the DC Universe continues as the members of the satellite-era Justice League try to bring in the man they believe murdered Sue Dibney. But Dr. Light has hired some muscle of his own… Deathstroke.

The fight with Deathstroke is pretty intense, and will most certainly serve as fodder for arena debates for years to come, but that isn’t nearly as great as what comes afterwards. Green Arrow, apparently our viewpoint character for much of this series, explains to the younger heroes the lengths the old guard went to in order to protect their identities and, by proxy, their loved ones… and what made Dr. Light’s case so unique. We also spend a little time with a washed up supervillain and the family and friends of some of our heroes, capping off the book with and ending that left my jaw on the floor.

This issue, while still a fantastic mystery, wasn’t quite flawless – we get another focus on Tim Drake and his father which, like the segment in issue #1, does not fit anywhere in continuity with the current state of the Batman titles. (And before anyone starts espousing that this may be a clue of some sort, Robin writer Bill Willingham has already stated on his website that this is an editorial blunder). The scene is just two pages long, but it’s so starkly different from the “real” timeline it gets distracting to those of us who are following the regular Robin series.

Rags Morales steps up to the plate again with this issue – he does a fantastic fight scene between Deathstroke and the JLA, including some pretty brutal, violent images. This is definitely a grown-up superhero book, not something you’re going to want to show the kiddies… of course, it appeals mostly to long-time fans anyway.

If there’s any flaw in Morales’s artwork, it’s that he honestly doesn’t do a very good Superman. It isn’t terrible, but there’s something off about his face, something very distracting. Fortunately, big blue is just a peripheral character in this series (so far, at least), and it doesn’t distract you for very long.

Minor flaws aside, the impact of each issue of this title builds exponentially. It just gets better and better as the full impact of what we’re reading starts to hit us. As intense as the first issue was, there was much more to the story than met the eye. And it’s not even half over yet.

Rating: 9/10

DC Countdown #1

January 13, 2011 Leave a comment

March 28, 2005

Quick Rating: Incredible
Title: Countdown to Infinite Crisis

Someone has collected information on the greatest heroes in the world – and it’s up to one of the least grandiose to unravel the mystery.

Writers: Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka & Judd Winick
Pencils: Rags Morales, Ed Benes, Jesus Saiz, Ivan Reis & Phil Jimenez
Inks: Michael Bair, Ed Benes, Jimmy Palmiotti, Marc Campos & Andy Lanning
Colors: Moose Baumann, Hi-Fi, Paul Mounts, Guy Major & Steve Firchow
Letters: Nick J. Napolitano
Editor: Dan Didio
Cover Art: Jim Lee & Alex Ross
Publisher: DC Comics

When I reviewed Identity Crisis, particularly the first and last issues of that miniseries, I felt like I’d been kicked in the gut by a mule. The story told in that miniseries was heartbreaking, stomach-wrenching and emotionally exhausting, while still being one of the best stories I’ve read in years.

Reading this special makes the gut feeling from that comic feel like a minor stomach flu.

This issue is all spoiler, and there’s almost nothing I can say without tipping the hand of the writers. Someone has gathered information on DC’s greatest heroes. Who, how and for what purpose is something that I honestly, until I turned that page, never saw coming, but unlike the identity of the Identity Crisis murderer, this one wasn’t really that big a stretch to accept. It almost felt poetic, like this was something that’s been in the works for decades instead of just the last few years.

And after reading this, there can be absolutely no doubt that this title has been meticulously planned out over the last few years. There are threads picked up on this book from titles as disparate as Batman, Superman/Batman, Adam Strange and Birds of Prey, and of course, the entire issue hangs heavily under the spectre of Identity Crisis, but one who hasn’t read those respective series will be able to understand this book without problem. Furthermore, the groundwork is laid very neatly for the four miniseries that will lead into Infinite Crisis – those being The Omac Project, Villains United, Day of Vengeance and The Rann/Thanagar War.

This book has an all-star team of artists doing the work. Each of the pencilers, from Identity Crisis’s Rags Morales on down, is doing top-notch work, and considering that each artist/inker team uses a different colorist, it’s even more incredible how neat and uniform this issue looks.

I’m still in shock. My stomach is in knots as a write this, because while I felt the last page of this issue coming from the very beginning, it still hit me like a Mack truck.

Make no mistake, friends. Identity Crisis was a warm-up.

And this is just the first round.

There’s a hell of a long way to go. And I’m starting to feel that getting there may produce some of the greatest comic book stories I’ve ever read.

Rating: 10/10