The Savage Hawkman #1


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The Savage Hawkman #1


  • Words: Tony S. Daniel
  • Art: Philip Tan
  • Colors: Sunny Gho
  • Story Title: "Hawkman Rising"
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Sep 28, 2011

The only thing “savage” about the new Hawkman is the inevitable nosedive…

Here’s the thing about artists who think they can write: They write like artists…

This is a point proven at least twice so far in DC’s New 52. The Fury of Firestorm co-written by Ethan Van Sciver and Gail Simone, showcases this point beautifully, featuring a heavy-handed and adolescent treatment of racial tension between the duelling protagonists Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch. Thank the comics gods that Simone is on board to avoid a total disaster and infuse the characters with some semblance of sensitivity. Van Sciver should stick to drawing. It’s what he’s good at.

The same could be said of Tony S. Daniel, an ultra-talented illustrator in his own right, who, while he doesn’t suck as a writer, certainly doesn’t have the chops to carry the massive amount of historical baggage that comes with a character like Hawkman. Arguably one of the most confusing properties in DC’s stable of heroes, Hawkman is one of the characters most in need of a reboot and could have benefited immensely from the retooling represented by the New 52.

Daniel attempts to start fresh, introducing his audience to a bitter, jaded Carter Hall, ready to rid himself and the world of Hawkman forever. In this version of the character, Hall is a cryptologist specializing in ancient languages, who has been Hawkman for only a handful of years. Although he hints at Hawkman’s long history of reincarnation and a mysterious tragedy prompting Hall to “kill” his alter ego, Daniel’s attempts to infuse his protagonist with angst and mystery come off forced and melodramatic. The pacing and dialogue are no better. The plot races along at a nice clip but feels choppy thanks to clumsy transitions, while both Hawkman and the abysmally-monikered Morticious enjoy some truly cringe-worthy repartee.

On paper, Philip Tan is a perfect match for a hero with the predatory savagery of Hawkman but his pencil work seems rough and incomplete. His style owes a lot to modern classic artists such as Marc Silvestri and the Brothers Kubert but lacks the polish of his more experienced peers. Despite this, the end product is visually stunning, thanks in large part to colorist Sunny Gho, who brings a lush, pulpy painted quality to the pages.

Perhaps the most mishandled property in the DC pantheon (besides Donna Troy, of course), Hawkman was ripe for a retrofit as part of the New 52. Thanks to uneven writing and an overall lack of vision, we can all look forward to the next reincarnation of Carter Hall, once this version plummets into the quarter bin.

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