It's bittersweet cracking open a fresh issue of Marvel's 'Nighthawk' - the comic has been, at least to me, one of the crown jewels of Marvel's publishing line (right along with 'Moon Knight,' 'the Vision,' and 'Daredevil') with its gripping story of racial tensions in Chicago spilling over into violence. David F Walker's saga has seen the anger escalate as the serial killer John the Revelator has been murdering people connected to the racial injustices, and it has built up to this issue, wherein Nighthawk has been captured after a bomb blast, and Detective Burrell has been targeted by dirty cop Tom Dixon. Which is all cast in a bitter tone because Marvel is cancelling this wonderful comic. Why's that, David?
Bottom line -- sales figures on NIGHTHAWK were low. Books with low sales often face a grim fate. That's the nature of the business.— David F Walker (@DavidWalker1201) August 27, 2016
Sales aren't high enough? There are a score of other shitty books Marvel is seeping out that don't have nearly the powerful, modern-day-urgency that this book has. What I've learned in all my years of reading comics is that if a book has a great enough story it will eventually find an audience. (The fact this book is HORRENDOUSLY under-publicized is also in itself a crime)
SO! This book sees the narrative progressing even more towards its harrowing conclusion, and opens with an intense dialogue between the Revelator and Nighthawk. It's really powerful stuff, where you see a villain, actually hear where he's coming from, and part of you actually sympathizes with him; He's not the one breaking a city in half at its seams with injustice and corruption, he's just taking out some of the turds in the punch bowl. Nighthawk, through the course of the issue, never waivers from his mission of stopping the Revelator - he still wants to catch the nutjob, but maybe the motivations have changed a bit.
Thankfully, we also get a heaping helping of Tilda Johnson, the former villain known as Nightshade. She has stormed to the forefront of this book with her razor sharp wit, extreme confidence, and unshakeable faith in the mission she and Nighthawk have taken up. Yes, there is the fact that Nighthawk pays her handsomely and lets her futz around and create whatever she would like, but in this issue we also get to see what's boiling inside of her when she lets loose on Nighthawk as he tries to figure out the identity of the Revelator.
The art is on full display, with both brutal, gritty action scenes and terse conversations between serious people with serious agendas. Artist Martin Morazzo brings this Frank Quitely-esque quality to the pages, where none of the characters are so outlandishly shaped they defy reality (or physics), and colorist Tamra Bonvillain absolutely KILLED it this issue - the lady knows how to really set a tone, and she's becoming a personal favorite of mine for her work here and on 'Strayer,' 'Rat Queens,' and 'Alters.'
Things wrap up when Dixon makes his move against Burrell, attempting to kill the sleuth AND his nosy partner. I won't tell you how things actually shake down, but it leaves the issue on a positive -- and VERY interesting note -- as many characters in this story now find themselves directly connected.
This book is a goddamn treasure for Marvel: kickass action, incredible dialogue, unique art, and a cold hard look at modern social justice. Walker and Co should be extremely proud of what they're putting out, and this issue carries on the great work.