The city of Ranagar is in ruins, and Alanna Strange blames the nearby planet Thanagar. But is there more to the situation than she knows? Adam Strange and Hawkman are determined to find out… Your Major Spoilers review of Death Of Hawkman #2 awaits!
Previously in Death Of Hawkman: “Residing on Earth and out of the hero game, Adam Strange finds himself trying to live a “normal” life, until he’s literally pulled back into adventure again when a seemingly normal Zeta beam transmission returns him to the planet Rann, where he hopes to be reunited with his beloved Alanna. But instead he finds the once-great city of Ranagar in ruins, with millions dead, and the once peaceful Alanna is now calling for the blood of Rann’s oldest enemy, Thanagar, home of the Hawkmen. Sensing something is amiss, Strange finds an ally in Hawkman, who also is trying anything possible to avert war…”
ANOTHER WAR IN THE STARS
As this issue opens, we find a very battered Adam Strange in the middle of a battlefield, trying to figure out what in the world is actually happening, when Hawkman arrives, bleeding profusely. Though both heroes are in dire condition (and Hawkman’s healing factor isn’t serving him particularly well), they surge into the breach once more, with Hawkman roaring that a Thanagarian never shrinks from battle. He savors it! (Thanagarians in the New 52 are, apparently, Klingons.) We then move backwards an unclear amount of time to find Katar Hol uncomfortably serving in the Thanagarian Hawk-Police, wishing he was back on Earth with the Justice League. (I can find no explanation of why he’s not, but I may have missed an issue.) Hol has difficulty doing his job without excess brutality while, on nearby Rann, Adam Strange finds the capital city destroyed, Sardath dead and Alanna consumed with a burning hatred for the Thanagarians.
There are clear parallels in this issue to real-world situations, with the Rannians immediately pulling together in pure hatred of the Thanagarians. Adam is even amazed at how his beloved Alanna is full of rage, making me wonder if there’s not some sort of mental manipulation going on. I really enjoy Aaron Lopresti’s art in this issue, taking some of the excesses of the Liefeld-designed Hawkman uniform we’ve had since 2011 and smoothing them out, giving us a cool set of alien landscapes, and given both Adam and Katar a full range of expressions that work even when the scripting doesn’t. There isn’t a lot to go on in this issue, as both heroes are out of their element, and while the implication that something strange is going on with the supposed Thanagarian attacks seems to be there, it’s never clearly stated…
THE BOTTOM LINE: A LITTLE BIT CONFUSING
The intertwining of Rannian and Thanagarian interests (and the endless warring between them) has been part of DC lore for over a decade now, and I find myself a little weary of yet another conflict between them. I will say that, if the subtle implications that something bigger is wrong, I could change my mind. Perhaps a New 52 version of Hyathis? Is there already one of those? Bygones… Death Of Hawkman #2 has a very ominous title, some strong art and a story that could perhaps be clearer, but still isn’t complete opaque, resulting in 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. I’m not entire sure that I need another cosmic space war storyline, but I do want more from both these starfaring heroes, so it’s a mostly pleasant mixed bag of an issue…