Despite being around since the 1940s, Hawkgirl (or sometimes Hawkwoman) has always been an adjunct to Hawkman, and three volumes collecting stories written by Walter Simonson in 2006-2008 remain her only solo outings.

The Maw opens in the wake of Infinite Crisis, after which all DC’s titles jumped forward a year, allowing for mystery and new introductions only gradually explained. An opening few pages of an obvious dream sequence in which Simonson points out the less convincing aspects of Hawkman make for an interesting creative choice, but it’s actually a smart prelude to a recurring feature. Hawkgirl’s dreams consistently give oblique hints as to what may occur, as if Kendra Saunders’ subconscious is warning her. Her employment as curator at the Stonechat Museum provides a major subplot as there’s conniving to prompt financial difficulties. Simonson reveals what’s going on behind the scenes, of which Kendra is unaware, while also looking at St Roch’s police detectives.

This is an early appearance of Howard Chaykin’s 21st century visual style, with his figures drawn over ornate shipped-in digital backgrounds and trappings. The tattoos on the sample art still work, but digital technology moves rapidly, so aspects that may have dazzled in 2007 now look a little dated. That also applies to Chaykin’s preference for underwear shots, no matter the detail on the bras, and the massive chest enlargement Hawkgirl has developed is the poorest aspect of the art. As seen on the cover, in some panels she seems to be flying around with a pair of footballs up her costume.

The Maw continues directly from a Hawkman run, from which Simonson takes the supporting cast. Anyone who’s not read that isn’t going to have as a strong an emotional response to some scenes, and that isn’t helped by dialogue that can be too staged. Otherwise, though, there’s a viable menace in an unusual and interesting form, and what’s behind it is a threat that will extend into Hawkman Returns. That apparently happens here, though. Or does it?