Overview

The Savage Hawkman #4

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 The Savage Hawkman #4

Credits

  • Words: Tony Salvador Daniel
  • Art: Phillip Tan
  • Colors: Sunny Gho
  • Story Title: "The Savage Hawkman VS. The Black Plague"
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jan 2, 2012

Carter Hall may be in his final fight with Morphicius, but in the end, he'll find out "they live" in this appreciatively bare-bones relaunch of the winged warrior.

Since the relaunch, Carter Hall has been a man of mystery. Initially wanting to distance himself from his Hawkman persona, he's now one with the suit. His first challenge with this new evolution of heroics is Morphicius, an alien that "corrupts… and its plague consumes…. taking over all forms of life it touches" (in a page that shows that the "prologue pages" that Marvel runs can't be done as well as narrative that builds up the past while adding to the future). With an unlikely ally at his side, he needs to bring this vicious fight to an end.

What works for The Savage Hawkman is what was avoided so often in the past: simplicity. Hawkman and Hawkgirl were notoriously annoying characters when it came to backstory and motivations; are they aliens, Egyptians, both, neither? Thankfully, with the New 52, it's all scattered to the wind. While this doesn't leave much chance to follow up their related thread lines from Brightest Day (much like the countdown to Firestorm's imminent destruction, readers will never truly know where the plot for Carter Hall was to go beyond that series). This Carter Hall is distilled into Indiana Jones with super armor reminiscent of how Iron Man suits up nowadays, which is ironic, given that the character predates both of those iconic stars. While there's enough of a tease towards the true origin of Hawkman (thanks to the cryptic reference to "Katar Hol"), the book doesn't worry itself with it.

Philip Tan's work is enjoyable on the series, if largely for the fact it stands out from much of the Old DC Universe. It's heavy on inks, it's dark and rather simplistic; you get the information you need, you get enough of the backgrounds at time to give context (and if the context isn't needed, he lets Sunny Gho color, who proves that colorists need as much praise or denouement as the pencillers and inkers). Their combo proves almost to be the hyper-violent extrapolation of what Francis Manapul is doing over in The Flash; while it doesn't get as inventive with panel breakdowns as much a Manapul is (but in all honesty, how many books could DC have going at once that are reinventing the common comic book?), the inking, shading, and coloring all come very close to the visual style of Manapul in most of his works.

The Savage Hawkman is truly savage, ripping at the heart of the story with very little fluff and extraneous bits. Sometimes you might want the value meal, which includes a bunch of extras, but no single element is strong enough to carry you. The Savage Hawkman is raw, rare, and juicy steak; it's still dripping with blood, and it's so tasty and filling.

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