A considerably bulkier paperback than the previous volumes brings Robert Venditti’s generally satisfying run on Hawkman to a close.

The volume begins by continuing from the cliffhanger that ended Darkness Within. It’s been revealed that not all Hawkman’s previous incarnations bought into the policy of earning his eventual release through repentance, and as Sky Tyrant he actually added prodigiously to the total lives that needed to be accounted for. Sky Tyrant now controls Carter Hall’s body, with the displaced Carter a ghostly, ineffective conscience. This isn’t as contrived as it sounds, and is explained in the context of infestation from the Dark Multiverse seeping throughout the DC universe and infecting others.

Over the previous volumes there have been a couple of occasions when Venditti has fudged matters, and one of them was over Hawkwoman. There has been a character who may or may not have been her, but Hawks Eternal provides a definitive answer as Hawkwoman learns of her previous lives in a way that connects with the revelations absorbed by Hawkman in Deathbringer. It ties into Sky Tyrant’s objective of releasing what Hawkman has held back for thousands of years.

This all benefits immensely from the open, clear superhero storytelling of Fernando Pasarin, whose panels are full without being cluttered, while he accommodates guest stars Atom and Adam Strange. Pasarin picks up on the spectacle in a way that Pat Olliffe didn’t in Darkness Within. His pin-up pages look spectacular, a giant Hawkman from an early sequence standing out, but plenty of others hit the target. Marcio Takara’s very different approach is well suited to tale of the 17th century, but Marco Castellio’s transitional story, primarily a villain monologuing, is less imaginative.

That villain is the personification of evil first introduced in Awakening, now, as predicted then, able to breach the barriers into the DC universe by means of Hawkman himself. Perhaps he’s defeated too easily, but the truth is that he was more interesting as a disembodied threat, so better that than a dull villain occupying too many pages. The conflict, though, again shifts the ground for Hawkman, which adds extra spice to the final story returning timeless villain Hath-Set. It’s gruesome, but fulfilling.

While starting uncertainly by looking to revise the mess of Hawkman’s continuity yet again, Venditti has not only made sense of it, but conceived a method of involving Hawkman in almost any type of story in Earth’s past and expanding that to alien worlds also. It’s a gratifying achievement, and it’s to be hoped that when Hawkman’s series is again revived in a few years the new creative team take the possibilities of variety into account.