Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Savage Hawkman #1 - A Review

Out of all of the iconic figureheads of the DC Universe, I don't think any of them have a more convoluted back story than Hawkman. Over the years Hawkman has been a reincarnated Egyptian prince, an alien cop come to Earth to study our ways, a warrior from a planet of decadent nobles, an avatar of some kind of Hawk deity or some combination of at least two of the preceding elements. To say that Hawkman was in need of some serious simplification would be an understatement and it has been hoped by many a Hawk-Fan that Savage Hawkman #1 would give Carter Hall the fresh start he sorely needed.

The book opens promisingly, with Carter Hall - apparently sick of being a superhero - having journeyed to the woods of upstate New York in an attempt to burn his Hawkman armor. Made of the mysterious Nth Metal, the costume proves to be made of sterner stuff and indeed seems to come to life so it can attack Carter. Sometime later, he awakens in his apartment, having somehow made his way back to NYC naked, undetected and in surprisingly good shape for someone who passed out while being burned alive. Carter has little time to ponder this mystery, however, as he is called out to a dig site where his expertise as an archeologist and cryptologist is needed to examine an alleged alien spaceship. Hijinks ensue as some manner of shadowy creatures laying dormant inside the ship awaken and Carter is astonished to find N-th Metal flowing out of his body and enveloping him, his armor having apparently fused with his body in such a way that it can be summoned forth whenever he needs arms and armor.

The plot here is nothing deep or surprising. If you've seen one horror movie/sci-fi movie with a billionaire funding research into something unusual, you'll know what is going to happen long before Carter is called to the scene. Despite this, Tony Daniel does a good job of establishing Hawkman's powers and Carter's personality as a rugged all-American manly man. Daniel also neatly avoids the questions regarding Carter's past and just what would make him seek to destroy the armor in the first place. It is, to the story of this comic, unimportant.

The artwork by Phillp Tan is as slick and streamlined as the story. Tan's work is sketchy with thin inks that create an effect not unlike that of the paintings of Alex Ross. Full credit for this touch, however, must go to colorist Sunny Gho whose vibrant colors liven up what might otherwise be some very drab scenes.

All in all, this isn't a bad book though it really isn't my cup of tea. I prefer my heroes with a little more humor than Carter and the lack of a unique and interesting plot isn't doing this book any favors. Still, if you like your comics to be simple and full of action, I can't think of a better title for you than Savage Hawkman.

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