Review: HAWKMAN #3

HAWKMAN #3
Written by Robert Venditti
Art by Bryan Hitch, Andrew Currie, Paul Neary, Alex Sinclair, Jeremiah Skipper, Richard Starkings, and Comicraft
Edited by Marie Javins and Andrew Marino
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: August 8, 2018

“This is the mystery of my lifetimes.”

Hawkman’s exploration of his own history continues in Hawkman #3, written by Robert Venditti and drawn by Bryan Hitch. The latter provides a bit of inks, and is joined by Andrew Currie and Paul Neary on inks with colors from Alex Sinclair and Jeremiah Skipper. Richard Starkings and Comicraft add lettering, and a Tyrannosaurus Rex provides the action for the opening scene.

A mystery-powered tale that hits one of the DC Universe’s conceptually fun locales – Dinosaur Island – in search of answers, Hawkman #3 is a solid read from start to finish. Venditti and Hitch give readers an action-packed romp, giving readers a pinch of mystery to go with the mystery, and adventure to go with the action.

That action and adventure comes via a pair of opponents – a Tyrannosaurus Rex and a flock of Feitherans. Individually, but within the span of pages, the feathery (yes, Hitch drew the dino with feathers) foes impede Hawkman’s journey, but he has yet to face a true foe from his not-quite-legendary rogues gallery. Which is all well and good, as it gives Venditti and Hitch room to explore Hawkman’s quest as a quest, not as a subplot or dangling thread.

Venditti does a great job giving readers a combo history lesson and adventure tale without sacrificing one for the other. This title could easily get lost in navel-gazing or historical lecture, but Venditti has found a hook and uses a style that makes Hawkman approachable and fun, free from the almost-80 years of character history, but impacted heavily by every panel the character has ever appeared in. In that regard, the writer strikes a smart balance that is sure to please seasoned and fresh fans alike.

I have to believe that part of the reason Venditti is inspired to balance the book and investigate the range of opportunities the DC Universe provides is because of his collaborator on this title, Bryan Hitch. Hitch has been giving readers a strong, polished version of Hawkman to latch onto, and through the series to this point, Hitch continues to apply consistency, but also expands the design of Carter Hall’s winged appearance.

The penciler doesn’t stop with Hawkman. Hitch’s redesign of the Feitherans is remarkable – detailed and different. They’re familiar, but new, and certainly shifted from the last time (I believe) we saw Feitherans in the Geoff Johns-penned JSA. The only downside for the flying folk who once brought readers the mighty Northwind is that in Hawkman #3, the Feitherans coloring lacks punch. They’re not horrible, but they’re closer to sparrows than peacocks. I’m not saying the Feitherans have to be bright, but Sinclair and Skipper make the Tyrannosaurus Rex more ornate.

Known for his knack for detail and design, Hitch nearly outdoes himself in Hawkman #3. Artists have drawn fewer raindrops on a page than Hitch draws Feitherans – and Hitch does one better, each of the pinioned opponents is uniquely detailed. Which certainly offers a solid theory for the employment of three inkers. The final, cliffhanger page of Hawkman #3 looks like it alone could have employed a dozen inkers, as Hitch and Venditti reach into Hawkman’s history to offer up a VERY detail surprise that packs in a great deal of study-worthy elements.

Snips of It’s a Wonderful Life creep into Hawkman #3, but instead of Clarence, George Bailey runs into himself, via Hall’s journal. At one point Hawkman laments “I wish I weren’t alone,” which hopefully bodes well as foreshadowing for fans of Hawkgirl/Hawkwoman. This issue – and the series to date – hasn’t really left a whole lot of room for Shayera/Shiera/Kendra, but they are integral to Hawkman’s tale. I have no doubt Venditti will bring one (or more) of them in eventually, but for now, I’m enjoying the exploration of Hawkman, who he is, where and when he has been, and how all of that has shaped my favorite Winged Warrior.

The Verdict: 9.5/10

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