It didn’t take much re-imagining to update the Blackhawks from their traditional World War II era flying squad drawn from occupied European nations, to this more gung-ho international assortment forming a covert operations group. It’s merely moving with the times, in fact. What isn’t, is clubbing together the most obvious national stereotypes for this new Blackhawks. There’s a red-haired guy with a flat cap who never gets a name other than ‘The Irishman’, but here’s the thigh-slapping joke, he’s from Ukraine! These guys don’t talk until their teeth are properly gritted. They’re so tough they laugh off broken ribs. They’re so cool they have pony tails and wear shades indoors, and so full of testosterone that when one of their support staff notes “We’ve got a reactor breach! We have to get out of here” they’re told “You’re fired”!

In short they’re the biggest bunch of self-important and self-aggrandising wankers you’re ever going to read about. You might find this hard to believe, but these tossers have been targeted by another organisation who have a master to plan to improve matters for humanity. Not that they’re bothered with niceties such as checking if humanity is on board. The Blackhawks fight to protect humanity, yet have absolutely zero concern for any individual. It might seem as if this is satirical, but it’s not and this incongruity never seems to percolate to writer Mike Costa. He dresses up everything with technobabble about nanites working on a micro-cellular level, and the guys we’re supposed to root for have “the trans-human woman of the future” working on their behalf. Whew!

The art is given a consistency by Graham Nolan laying out the first half of the book for Ken Lashley, Trevor McCarthy, Trevor Scott, and Victor Ibáñez to finish, but it’s crowded and fussy, with no great appeal to the eyes. That’s rectified when Cafu takes over for most of the remainder, although he doesn’t appear to have been told that one of the cast had their arm lopped off in the second chapter. Cafu’s style is clearer, but he occasionally has problems with heads sitting correctly on bodies. Carlos Rodriguez? Not as good.

Costa’s aiming for the action movie template to the nth with an unlimited effects budget, but he’s so busy having his cast rush from explosion to explosion spouting tough-guy dialogue there’s never any time for care or coherence. Blackhawks is wretched.