The New 52 has given us a new look at characters from throughout DC’s long history, and Hawkman goes all the way back to the earliest days of the DCU. Does this fresh take on Hawkman fly like an eagle, or is it a turkey, set to crash and burn?

Writer: Tony S. Daniel
Penciler/Inker: Philip Tan
Colorist: Sunny Gho
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Editor: Janelle Asselin
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, in The Savage Hawkman: 

Carter Hall was an Egyptologist, and expert on ancient weapons who used the anti-gravity Nth metal to fly and fight crime in the Golden Age as Hawkman. Katar Hol was a Thanagarian space cop who came to earth in the Silver Age and has had complicated continuity problems and a bunch of reboots and relaunches since then.  Also, there was a Hawk God in there somewhere, I think.


The story opens with Carter Hall driving into the woods of upstate New York, telling us through narration that he was once Hawkman.  Carter informs us that his life as a superhero is now ancient history, and we see him pour alcohol on his old gear, and setting it alight with a shot from a gun.  Hawkman is dead.  Carter buries the burned remains, and walks away.


As Carter attempts to leave his old life behind, a great fiery hawk-form bursts from the grave immolating our hero on an impressive flame-filled splash page. Cut to a salvage ship revealed to be an archaeological vessel pulling a ship from the briny depths.  This is not just any ship, but an alien craft covered in ancient symbols.  Carter Hall is the cryptologist on this job, but he’s missing in action, unreachable.

Carter wakes up at home, after an undisclosed period of time, injured but alive.  Terrence, a coworker from his archaeology gig, shows up and takes him to a lab where the contents of the recovered spacecraft are under investigation.  Humanoid mummies are being tested to determine if they are human or something else. A vial of fluid extracted from bursts and possesses a lab technician, turning him into a black goopy monster.  Carter leaps into action and finds an axe to defend himself, hacking the creature in two. Hydra-like, the monster regenerates into two creatures overwhelming Carter who suddenly and surprisingly finds himself clad in all new Hawkman gear, weapons and all.  The Nth metal of his burned costume has seemingly bonded with his body.

Hawkman engages Morphicius, who reveals himself to be some sort of energy vampire, hell-bent on consuming life energy.  He overpowers Hawkman and the issue ends with Morphicius standing over the desiccated remains of Hawkman, in a corrupted hawk-form of his own.


Not exactly an origin story, Tony Daniel gives us some important information about Carter Hall and his background, all while propelling the new story forward. We find that Carter is a reluctant hero who is now literally bound to his old heroic identity. I liked the ancient vampire aliens, and wonder if their extraterrestrial nature will tie the Golden Age Egyptian origins of Carter Hall to the alien Thanagarians.  Too often writers use their first issue to plant seeds for tales they have planned years down the road, and you can tell. The story here was straightforward, gave us a nice action sequence with the new Hawkman, and didn’t try to do too much.

The art was good, if not especially tight. There are some moments when Carter’s face changes weirdly from panel to panel.  Sunny Gho colors the book in a painted style, using a muted color palette.  This palette is really effective when contrasted with certain moments in the book that are bathed in color, mainly the first appearance of the gold and green Hawkman costume and the splash page at the beginning of the book. As a package it worked for me, and I think the art team has a ton of potential.

THE BOTTOM LINE: This One Has Wings

I found the straightforward nature of this issue to be refreshing. Couple that with a distinctive art style, and you have a nice overall package, and a really good first issue. I think this book is what the New 52 is all about, re-inventing an older character, giving us a fresh story without a lot of baggage.  The Savage Hawkman #1 earns a solid 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★½☆

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  1. As an old Hawkman mark, I like it and I’m in. I’m just wondering how long it’s going to be before a writer gets Hawkwoman back in. It would be different to see Carter and Ray Palmer’s friendship featured again.

  2. Doesn’t sound as bad as the addition of “Savage” to the title would lead me to believe. I was expecting a winged Wolverine. Might give it a try.

  3. I know next to nothing about Hawkman (other than what was in Brightest Day), and this was a bit confusing, but interesting. Curious where it’s going, but wow is Morphicus a terrible name. (i love some DC things, but they do have a trend with terrible names, mostly in the Green Lantern books, heh)

    The most confusing thing about the reboot is what carries over and what doesn’t, especially on some books. Is this the Hawkman that had the curse with the woman? Should i just go with it and not worry? Some of the books (Supergirl) are clear on “This is all new to them too” others are way less clear (Legion, which felt like i got dropped in several issues in) and confusing as hell. This was somewhere in the middle, while he was Hawkman before, something big changed, and he’s a “new hawkman” or something.

    • I think he was more like the classic Hawkman you remember from the past before he burned his threads but the fire somehow set off the REAL power of the Nth Metal Hawkman powers. Anyhoo I thought it was badass and a great beginning to a character I always felt along with Aquaman and Shazam got the shaft from bad writers.

  4. I had to read past it half a dozen times when reading the book but the baddies’ name is Morphicius. There’s a second ‘i’ in there at the end. I’m guessing it’s pronounced Morf-Ish-Us…?

  5. Mark Bramlage on

    KISS. Keep it simple stupid. (pardon the stupid, no offense. just how I learned the phrase)
    I don’t want Hawkman’s costume to seep out of his skin. I don’t need him to be Savage. He was pretty much like Conan with wings before the big change, he was great. Costume went from classic to a rip off of some image character of the 90’s.
    I will give the new book a shot but honestly I was not impressed and am leaning way towards the “drop it like a hot potato” side of the fence.

    • The book really wasn’t all that bad, did the costume need to come out of his skin, No not really. It’s not the worst thing ever, and it really does make the character a lot easier to write though, especially as a character with dual lives, juggling work and super-heroics. Those big ass wings and mace had to be difficult to carry around and change into before being able to fight some crime. I mean, it’s not like he can just throw a suit on over top of the wings and be done with it. So, in that regard, it made some sense to me.

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