Review by Frank Plowright
Just like Carter Hall’s lives, Hawkman is revived every few years, lasts a brief time, then disappears again. DC’s editors might like him, but there are never enough fans to sustain his series no matter who works on it, and that’s what happened again with this 2018 incarnation started off by Robert Venditti and Bryan Hitch.
Perhaps part of the problem is writers always focussing on Hawkman/Carter Hall’s complicated continuity of death and reincarnation instead of attempting to come up with other stories in which the presence of a flying man would engage. Venditti follows that pattern, but also varies the locations, and so provides a variety of challenges. He begins with a questing Hall, feeling that despite knowledge of his past lives, something is missing, and he’s compelled to discover the truth. Rather ominously, in the opening chapter Madame Xanadu remarks that he’ll have to die another hundred deaths before discovering it.
If being able to fly might seem basic in terms of power-ups these days, the Hawkman of the past has seen a succession of great artists proving how spectacular that can be in the right hands. Hitch joins that list, illustrating a cinematic Hawkman swooping across the sky looking iconic and powerful, and in the course of the ongoing search Venditti supplies Hitch with a succession of great visual cues. Flying gorillas, dinosaurs, giant walking trees and his own past incarnations in various locations all feature, and Hitch designs those locations to look very different, with all of them impressing. Also of note is that Hitch’s pages are primarily inked by Andrew Currie, but occasionally by others also, yet it makes very difference to the overall look.
A pep talk from the Atom provides both fortitude for Hawkman and Venditti’s explanations to the audience about the bigger picture, although still leaving some mysteries pending. However, it really doesn’t address the elephant in the room, which is why a version of Hawkman in the distant past constructed a form of treasure hunt to provide supplies and information to his future incarnation. Couldn’t they have just left a note?
Ignore that, and Venditti’s Hawkman is a thrill ride, never sticking too long in one place, each piece adding to the mysteries of the future. Deathbringer is next.