He’s a hot-headed Avatar of War. She’s a calm, cool-headed Avatar of Peace. Together they fight crime, though they more frequently fight each other. Sterling Gates gives us the quick and easy run-down of Hawk and Dove early on in this issue before recounting their full history later on. This is a good thing for a first issue to do, particularly in the case of two characters that still aren’t widely recognized by your average comic fan, let alone the public at large, despite being pushed to prominence during the Brightest Day event last year. Sadly, this is one of the few things Gates manages effectively in this issue.
What’s odd is just how much this book depends on the older stories that were supposedly abandoned when the new DC Universe was created. This book features a reference to Crisis On Infinite Earths and the death of the original Dove, Don Hall. Deadman, who briefly came back to life and fell in love with the current Dove during the events of Brightest Day, is apparently still hanging around as her boyfriend. And according to my friend David Tai, who knows Hawk and Dove like I know Green Arrow, this issue also revives a long-forgotten plot thread from the 1980s Hawk and Dove title regarding some previous connection between Don Hall and Dawn Granger. While I’m sure old-timer comic fans like me are glad to see some details of the new universe get fleshed out, I have no idea what new readers are to make of a lot of these details.
The main plot of the issue focuses upon Hawk and Dove trying to thwart newbie villain Dr. Alexander Quirk (a self-proclaimed “science terrorist”) from unleashing an army of zombies on Washington D.C. Dr. Quirk is easily the most poorly realized idea in this issue. I think the concept of a man of science turned ultra-liberal terrorist is an interesting one but the execution falls flat. It is hard to believe that any villain smart enough to make a living as a scientist would be unable to come up with a better plan for taking over Washington DC than a zombie army. You know you’re in trouble will your villain makes Dr. Insano look like a competent criminal mastermind.
The artwork by Rob Liefeld isn’t much better than the story. I should note, in fairness to Mr. Liefeld, that the artwork here is nowhere near as bad as any of the examples depicted on this website. This is not to say that the artwork is good but it’s nowhere near as bad as some of Liefeld’s past work. While Liefeld has learned how to draw feet and ankles over the past few years, the artwork still features many of his classic “tells”, with Dove having thighs that are thicker around than her waist in some panels and there being numerous shots of people who are apparently suffering from severe cases of lockjaw.
In the end, Hawk and Dove #1 doesn’t give older readers anything we haven’t seen before while being virtually inaccessible to new readers, despite a lengthy scene explaining the character’s history. All in all, I’d say this one can be skipped unless you’re a die-hard Hawk and Dove fan.