Overview

Hawkman #36

Review

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Hawkman #36

Credits

  • Words: Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti
  • Art: Joe Bennett
  • Inks: Ruy Jose
  • Colors: John Kalisz
  • Story Title: The Army of Forgotten Souls
  • Price: $2.50
  • Release Date: Jan 19, 2005

Hawkman faces an army of undead soldiers and a few ghostly visitors as his city comes under attack.

There is chaos in the streets of St. Roch as the dead walk once more—among them, Hawkman’s lost love, Domina Paris. The shambling undead monstrosities have decimated Belle Reve Prison, freeing countless inmates and killing hundreds. At the center of this maelstrom is a revenge-crazed sorcerer named Trygg, of whom the Winged Wonder has only a vague recollection. On hand to lend his spiritual services is the ghostly hero, Deadman, yet the heroes will soon learn that Trygg does not act alone.

On their first Hawkman arc, Gray and Palmiotti brought an intriguing grittiness and more urban focus to the series. Gone were the Indiana Jones-style adventures in place of developing the city of St. Roch, a fascinating mix of New Orleans and other real world locales. Since that story, the book has had its ups and downs, but remains a solid (if somewhat standard) superhero series. I’m enjoying the current story arc, though it hasn’t stood out quite as much as their earlier tale. I like the idea of an alliance of forgotten villains. These are foes so obscure that not only are most of them new to me, but Hawkman himself seems to be clueless as to how he earned their ire. However, I was not as enamored of the Deadman guest appearance in this issue. The ectoplasmic avenger did little other than provide necessary exposition before vanishing back to the ethereal plane. I suppose, in all fairness, Deadman’s usefulness relies heavily on the bodies he chooses to possess. Still, he seemed wasted in this story.

Joe Bennett’s art has an appealing smoothness to the line-work that makes the images quite easy on the eyes. He uses a mixture of realism and slight stylization that works well in the superhero genre. His style emphasizes the larger-than-life qualities of Hawkman and his supporting cast. He also adds a few of his own touches to the character design, such as baggy aviator-style pants. While the dark macabre visuals of preceding series artist, Ryan Sook, would have looked spectacular on an army of the dead, Bennett is a fine replacement and illustrates the story skillfully. Most of this issue is bathed in either a fiery red blaze or the soft blue glow of moonlight, which allows colorist John Kalisz to work his magic and contribute to the sense of drama.

While perhaps not the strongest or most innovative series around, Hawkman remains an entertaining hero book, filled with adventure and mysticism. Hopefully, Gray and Palmiotti will share new insights on the character as their run on the series progresses.

-Eric Lindberg

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