The Savage Hawkman #1 (DC) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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The Savage Hawkman #1


Written by Tony S. Daniel; Art by Philip Tan; Colors by Sunny Gho; Letters by Travis Lanham

Sep 30, 2011 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Carter Hall (aka Hawkman) is a DC character that benefits from his relative anonymity. Sure, he’s been on a few Justice League and Justice Society teams, but he’s not a household name. The history of this character is somewhat confusing, too. His origins were retconned during Crisis on Infinite Earths and the Hawkworld ongoing series. As a result, there are two pretty different origins for Carter Hall. His Golden Age and post-Hawkworld origin are confushing enough, so The Savage Hawkman is not really an origin story. We meet Hall after he’s lost the love of his life (Shiera Saunders/Hawkgirl/Hawkwoman) and he’s trying to not forget his past, à la Swamp Thing.

A clean slate like The New 52 works well for the character. That being said, The Savage Hawkman is a really neat idea with a diminished payoff. Hall is a New York cryptologist that is helping out an archaeological team off the Bermuda coast. The main creative team of Tony S. Daniel (Batman, Detective Comics, Teen Titans) and Philip Tan (Outsiders, Spawn) present a Indiana Jones/Sherlock Holmes-meets-aliens concept in a fairly mature way. (It’s way better than George Lucas and Steven Speilberg’s sloppy take on the genre mash-up for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.) Tan’s flowing, watercolor-esque art is quite nice, especially on the fiery spread where the Nth metal attaches to Hall after he tries to bury it for good. (The technnical term for the technique is “inkwash.”)

The overall narrative had some rough spots here and there, but prep Hawkman for newbies and longtimes fans with relative ease. Two big changes sort of worked well. The normal setting for the book is now the New York City area and the Nth metal (Hawkman’s wings/armor) are now biologically fused into his body. It reminded me of the Blue Beetle scrab. It’s a half-measure reboot that works fine.

Tony S. Daniel is a solid writer most of the time. Unfortunately, the same lazy narrative shortcuts he used near the terminus of his recent run on Batman pop up again. There are far too many internal narration boxes for just one issue here. Usually I’m fine with that type of narration, but for a book that promises some “savage” mayhem, we don’t get much useful action or thrilling dialogue.

Since we’re on the topic of dialogue, I have to point out the terrible back-and-forth during the underwhelming fight scene with Morphicius, a nightmarish arch-nemesis Daniel created for the relaunch. Half the time they’re battling, Hawkman is yelling “RAAAAGGHH” and inane battle cries. It’s another case of a good set-up with a bad payoff. We get it. Hawkman is savage. Give him some better things to say than, “you want a piece of this?” I realize this is a single comic book, but readers can ask for more. Tan’s art lives up to the book’s title. Daniel needs to retool a little bit. I’ll check out The Savage Hawkman for one more issue and then I may be done. Daniel’s continued inconsistency wears me thin. ( /

Author rating: 6/10

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Average reader rating: 3,059/10


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