Or – “I Thought This Was The Last Issue…”

As the New 52 soldiers on, many of the books in the first wave have gone away, changed beyond recognition, or had more creators’ hands in them than the cast of The Muppet Show.  Savage Hawkman has yet to really thrill me, will this issue be the one that turns the tide?  Your Major Spoilers review awaits!

SavageHawkman18CoverSAVAGE HAWKMAN #18
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Penciler(s): Joe Bennet & Fabrizio Fiorentino
Inker(s): Mark Deering & Fabrizio Fiorentino
Colorist(s): Guy Major & Tom Baron
Letter: Travis Lanham
Editor: Harvey Richards
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, in Savage Hawkman:  Carter Hall is secretly Thanagarian invader Katar Hol, a gladiator taken in by the royal family of Thanagar, now on the run from his people.  His body infused with the legendary Nth Metal, he can heal from nearly any injury, create weapons from his own flesh and blood, and basically crack people over the head really, really well.  But can he deal with an adversary who is nothing more than a shadow?


There is a huge problem in comics today, one that has always been around, but seems much more overt than ever before:  The Follow-The-Leader mentality. The latest version of Hawkman draws much of his visual and power basis from Marvel’s Wolverine, right down to his claws, and the inherent limitations of that have been hindering this book from the start of the New 52.  This issue opens with Hawkman and the Shadow-Thief in her shadowy dimension of power, facing down the carnivorous denizens thereof, a gimmick lifted wholesale from Marvel’s Cloak (of Cloak & Dagger fame.)  As for the story itself, there’s the old chestnut of the hero and villain being forced to work together to survive, while Carter’s girlfriend back on Earth has to deal with her father’s crippling dementia.  She gets wrapped up with a shady so-and-so which will clearly lead into next issue’s combat with Blockbuster, who makes a cameo in his powerless form here.


The real star of the show, though, is the dialogue that gets shoved in the character’s faces throughout the book, featuring many declarations of their self (“AT MY COMMAND, [THE NTH METAL] BOTH CREATES… AND DESTROYS!”) and strange bellowy commands.  There’s not a single page of the book that doesn’t have at least one screamingly awful chunk of leaden dialogue, and the closing splash feels like a ham-handed attempt to shoehorn Stan Lee melodrama into an issue of Brigade circa 1995.  Artwise, we’re a lot more stable (and more subtle) as the multiple hands mesh well, making it difficult to tell where one penciler stops and another begins, and there are times when Hawkman does look pretty darned awesome in a lot of the book.  Problem is, you can’t really get by with a godawful plot and a couple of strong pages, held together with the glue of terrible language…


Every month, as I peruse the Previews catalogue, I take a moment to see what’s coming and going from DC, and every month I find myself amazed that Savage Hawkman is still coming out.  I honestly only picked this one up because I had thought it was the final issue of the book, and might wrap up the Winged Warrior’s solo stint with something nice and apocalyptic.  What I got was much more mundane and not particularly good, all thud and blunder, signifying little more than my being out 3 bucks.  Savage Hawkman #18 is skillfully drawn in places, but derivative in terms of character, and plodding in terms of story, earning a very disappointing (but no, perhaps, unexpected) 1.5 out of 5 stars overall.

Rating: ★½☆☆☆


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About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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