When writing Starman, James Robinson used the history of his home city as a means of exploring the past, and Allies and Enemies begins with him doing the same for St Roch. Whether Hawkman fans will be happy at a story without Hawkman so early in the series is another matter, but the glimpse back to the late 19th century in the company of Western heroes Nighthawk and Cinnamon is fun. It shows the ancestry of one supporting character and the final panel is a clever reveal as to how the characters are relevant to Hawkman. They’ll be seen again later, and the past is a fitting place to start, as so much of Allies & Enemies concerns the past. It’s there in the warm respectful friendship between Hawkman and the Atom, much of the plot is prompted by the murder of Hawkgirl’s parents long ago, and Hawkman and Hawkgirl have been constantly reincarnated for thousands of years.

Rags Morales draws a consistently dynamic Hawkman and Hawkgirl, and his action scenes have an energy that leaps off the pages. Beyond that, he loves supplying something decorative, so there’s always detail to his work, be it something really ornate like a museum, or if the location restricts it, such as the Tibetan mountains, it’s found on the protective clothing worn by the cast. It’s also interesting to see how much variance there is to the look of his pencils when different inkers apply their talents. Series regular Michael Bair is the most dynamic, Tim Truman supplies a grittier look, and Dennis Janke is more standard superheroic.

It’s not just the Atom who’s relevant to Hawkman’s history, and Geoff Johns, who becomes sole writer after the opening chapter, features others who are intimately related to him. He makes a point of explaining inconsistencies about the Hawks, not underlining them or making them major story points, but providing satisfaction to those who’ve always wondered. There’s a fair amount of ground covered over six chapters, and they lead to a cliffhanger ending.

Bizarrely, the following Wings of Fury misses the chapters resolving it. It means that although used copies of Endless Flight and Allies & Enemies may be cheaper, you’re better off picking them up combined in volume one of Geoff Johns Hawkman, as that also includes those missing chapters. Alternatively, all three volumes and more besides are found in Geoff Johns Hawkman Omnibus.