Monday, January 19, 2004

Hawkman #23 - A Review

Written by: Geoff Johns
Penciled by: Rags Morales
Inked by: Michael Bair
Colored by: John Kalisz
Lettered by: Bill Oakley
Editor: Peter Tomasi
Publisher: DC Comics

Reading the most recent Hawkman issue, I couldn’t help but notice a number of circular movements. In brief…

• It was one year ago to this week that I wrote my first review for 411 Comics, on Hawkman #11.
• The last issue of Hawkman I reviewed before this one (#19) foreshadowed and lay the basic groundwork for the “Black Reign” storyline. (ie Black Adam tries to recruit Hawkman for his new team).
• The layers upon layers connections between various other titles I have reviews in the last year.

Mind you, this is not to suggest that everything is going around in circles. Indeed, nobody can get a story moving like Geoff Johns. And like all good writers, Johns knows that it is the journey, not the destination that holds our memories.

This issue of Hawkman is rather sparse on its title character. Indeed, the vast majority of the issue centers more upon the members of the JSA, who are in town to try and lure Carter Hall into a social engagement on his birthday. (Well, not really his current birthday… but someone he was in a past life was bound to have been born that day, reasons Hawkgirl.)

What follows is a series of just-plain-fun vignettes, centering upon the various JSA members as they wander around the New Orleans inspired city of St. Roch. With the exception of one scene involving the new Hourman and his struggles with the obvious applications of his power to see the future and his addictive personality in a city where gambling is legal, very little happens in the way of plot or character development. Still, in a comic where we are treated to Power Woman’s novel approach to dealing with the drunken fools of “Girls Gone Crazy” and Ted Grant driving the much more staid and conservative Alan Scott and Jay Garrick crazy with his appreciation of the wild debauchery of the city… I can forgive a little mindless character comedy.

But it’s not all fun and games, campers. Hawkman does eventually show up and delivers a mighty mace of whoop-ass to another old-school villain who picked the absolute worst place and time to make a comeback, what with Carter having regressed into Conan with wings in the wake of yet another rejection from his destined soulmate. The issue closes with Carter hearing the news of the last JSA issue and announcing that he is taking over command of the team.

Regular penciler Rags Morales is back and better than ever, with regular inker Michael Bair. The artwork on this book has never been bad (and the painted covers are the best!) but somehow this book feels a lot more “right” with its regular team. The characters look exactly as they do in the pages of JSA and it is never difficult to identify who is who, even without masks or costumes to identify the players. My one complaint is that Power Girl, while busty, seems to defy the laws of physics…specifically the laws regarding a container and pressure by volume.

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