One of the unsung great ideas that DC Comics have been using in their Rebirth movement is the use of mini-series to tackle characters who may not be able to sustain an ongoing. Kevin has been singing the praises of the Rise and Fall of Captain Atom, we’re head-over-heels in love with Midnighter & Apollo, and I’ve been surreptitiously devouring the Death of Hawkman by Marc Andreyko and Aaron Lopresti. It’s that last one that really connected with me on a personal level.
This series features Adam Strange and Hawkman, two characters whose New 52 reincarnation left a lot to be desired. Strange was always someone who I never really ‘got,’ but Hawkman was someone I’ve really enjoyed since I was a kid, and this series has let him be the strong, powerful, selfless hero I enjoyed.
Rann and Thanagar are on the cusp of war. Despero has made an incredible Nth Metal suit that boosts his own horrible abilities. There’s a portal that’s going to open to Earth so Despero and his mind-washed servants can destroy the heroes and take over the planet. There’s only three dudes who can put an end to this: Adam Strange, Thanagarian Green Lantern and former policeman Kral, and one beat-to-all-Hell Hawkman.
Andreyko does a good job of injecting tension into a good old fashioned Super Hero story, where there’s a lot on the line, a vicious villain, and a slim margin of error. There may be some readers who see common comic tropes or clichés, but it’s cynicism at its finest if that prevents them from simply enjoying the story. Strange and Kral have to overcome incredible odds to hold back Despero’s forces, and Hawkman just keeps fighting the three-eyed bastard to buy them time.
Lopresti hits all the right notes, from Strange zipping around with his jet pack to the absolutely brutal fight that sees Katar beat three shades to shit. Seriously – Hawkman takes a hell of a beating and keeps going back for more. I’m also a big fan of his design of Kral’s Lantern uniform, a wonderful amalgam of Thanagarian cop and galactic cop.
And the ending lives up to the title of the series, with Hawkman sacrificing himself to put Despero out of order. It’s funny though: killing Hawkman, or at least this version of Hawkman, opens up the possibility for his own rebirth. Hell, Geoff Johns was one of the architects (along with screenwriter David Goyer) of the great Hawkman renaissance that saw his history sorted and arranged, and quite possibly the definitive version of the character debut. I really hope this is a beginning for the guy, and the open-natured ending allows for that possibility.
This was a really solid mini with some really good character exploration for the Rebirth universe. Also? That incredible variant cover from the great Bill Sienkiewicz. I mean, I can’t help but be stoked by every new bit of artwork he contributes to DC (look at his Deathstroke work for Pete’s sake), but this cover was drop-dead (PUN INTENDED) gorgeous.
Khufu is dead. Long live Khufu.