Hawkman Found #1
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Bryan Hitch
Inks by Kevin Nowlan
Colors by Alex Sinclair and Jeremiah Skipper
Letters by Clayton Cowles
Cover by Liam Shar and Jason Wright
Published by DC Comics
A review by Stacy Dooks
Alas, poor Hawkman. I knew him Horatio, a fellow of infinite courage…
All right, that’s enough of me butchering the Bard. But my silliness aside, poor Hawkman is a character that hasn’t really worked since before Crisis on Infinite Earths, and despite frequent attempts to repair the character since then he’s never been quite the same. The image of the character has always been striking: a winged warrior with a hawk-shaped helm fighting alongside his partner Hawkgirl against the forces of evil, usually equipped with ancient weapons. Hawkgirl herself had a renaissance as a character on the Justice League cartoon, and they even revisited the mythology of the Hawks in a later episode. So how can a character so simple get so complicated? Walk with me a little and I’ll explain. Trust me, this will lead us to Hawkman Found #1, Dark Nights Metal, and how the character might just be reaching the light at the end of a long, dark tunnel.
In the Golden Age of Comics, Hawkman’s story was a fairly simple one: an archaeologist named Carter Hall discovers he and his love interest Sheira Saunders are in fact the reincarnations of an Egyptian Pharoh and his queen. The pair discover a mysterious “ninth metal” that allows them to fly, and rig together some wings and a Hawk motif and become crimefighters, like you do. When the Silver Age of Comics came along, the character underwent a reboot under the auspices of editor Julie Schwartz. Like the Flash, Green Lantern, and the Atom before him the character was essentially boiled down to just the name and the initial concept, but given a 1950s Sci-Fi twist. So Carter Hall became Katar Hol, his girlfriend Sheira becam Shayera, and the pair became alien police officers from the planet Thanagar who came to Earth to study human law-enforcement techniques. Oh, and the Silver Age Hawkman of Earth-1 would regularly meet and team up with the Golden Age Hawkman of Earth-2 when the Justice League and Justice Society would cross over for annual team-up stories. Then DC Comics decided that they would streamline their continuity via the event Crisis On Infinite Earths. The end result: no more parallel Earths, only one reality with a timeline that ran from the Golden Age through the Silver Age to the modern day. Sounds simple, right? And it was, at least for characters like Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman who editors agreed would all debut in the modern day, and heroes like Flash and Green Lantern would also be contemporary but their Golden Age counterparts would also exist, making them legacy characters. All this was carefully planned out to the last detail except for one small problem: they forgot about Hawkman.
Efforts were made to try to streamline the character, to make his mythology fit into the current timeline while allowing for the previous Silver and Golden Age versions to exist, but to no avail. Hawkman would never quite click in the DC Universe, despite numerous attempts to retool the character. And so it was, until Dark Nights Metal.
Hawkman Found #1 is primarily intended to expand on the character of Carter Hall and the actions he’s undertaken in the backstory of Dark Nights Metal, but it’s also a soft reboot of the character to get him back into the limelight. Both Carter Hall and Kendra Saunders are back, and it’s clear there’s a plan in place to finally iron out the various inconsistencies and paradoxes of their existence through this event. The story takes place prior to the events of Dark Nights Metal #4 and will lead in to #5, but it’s also an interesting snapshot of Carter Hall’s psyche as he tries to rediscover who he is while lost in the Dark Multiverse. The writing by Lemire is equal parts intriguing and intense, and the artwork by Bryan Hitch evokes the character’s rich history while at the same time providing some of the more nightmarish visions we’ve come to expect from the Metal event as a whole.
Buy It! Whatever’s happening with the Hawks, it’s definitely a cornerstone of what’s happening in Metal as a whole. If the backstory of Carter and Kendra has intrigued you at all, you owe it to yourself to add Hawkman Found #1 to your reading list. Recommended.