Hawkman was among DC’s earliest heroes, and has been re-booted roughly once per decade since, with something to recommend most of these incarnations, which is remarkable really, as a superhero who can only fly has long been dated. Several attempts to reconcile past and previous existences just muddied the waters until Geoff Johns created a cohesive identity reborn every generation, having access to genetic memory. JSA: Return of Hawkman supplies the full account, and it’s that incarnation who stars in Endless Flight, Johns scripting and co-plotting with James Robinson, another writer keen on DC’s past history.

As Robinson did with Starman, Hawkman features a newly designed location in the city of St Roch, but although distinct, with Rags Morales taking the baroque beauty of New Orleans as inspiration, it never reaches the level of almost a supporting character as Starman’s Opal City. Morales brings a similar design aesthetic to the areas of India where some of Endless Flight takes place, combining his usual strong page layouts with at least one great pin-up page per chapter, sometimes with a spectacular opening spread as well.

Hawkman has almost always been accompanied by Hawkgirl, also reincarnated through the ages, and in the present of this story believed by Hawkman to be Kendra Saunders. There’s no doubt that she’s Hawkgirl, but she has no attraction to Hawkman and denies his belief in a shared destiny. This conflict is among the most interesting aspects of a series-opening volume that never quite thrills as might be hoped from the creative combination of Johns, Robinson and Morales. Quite why is difficult to work out. It’s well drawn, has a strong cast, sets up plenty for the future, uses old and new enemies, and makes a statement about why heroes whose main ability is flight can fascinate, but the main story just doesn’t grip.

The thread connecting that with the two chapters that follow is Kendra’s investigation into who murdered her parents, and this is tighter, if less adventurous. When Justice League comrades, Green Arrow and Hawkman always had a fractious relationship, and so Green Arrow’s appearance in St Roch as prominent businessmen are being killed by arrows is a red rag to a bull.

Endless Flight’s content was later combined with the following Allies and Enemies for Geoff Johns Hawkman Vol. 1, and with more subsequent material for Geoff Johns Hawkman Omnibus.