The incredible journey of Carter Hall flies high in Hawkman #8 which is published by DC Comics and written by Robert Venditti, illustrated by Bryan Hitch, inked by Andrew Currie and Andy Queens, with colors by Jeremiah Skipper, and letters provided by Richard Starkings and Comicraft.
In just seven issues, Robert Venditti has given fans of Hawkman something much needed: an understandable continuity. Since the character’s inception way back in the Golden Age of comics, Carter Hall, a.k.a Hawkman has been a hero swept up in a mysterious reincarnation. Originally the pharaoh Khufu, Carter has gone through a plethora of changes over the last seventy-nine years of comics, but the reincarnation angle typically returns. This time around, the Winged Wonder has a new mission and a new understanding.
Venditti and crew have unveiled the big answer of why Hawkman continues to come back from the grave, time and time again. From the first issue, Carter has traveled the world, and worlds beyond, searching for clues he left to himself in order to vanquish a set of literal titanic enemies, the Deathbringers. Giants who have killed and culled billions of beings over the eons for sacrifice, this cadre of evil entities was once led by none other than Carter himself in his very first life.
Offered continual resurrection in a deal with a mystery woman, Carter has been warned that he must prepare for the return of the Deathbringers. This soul recycling continues until he has saved as many lives as he once ended. Billions. Over the centuries, Carter has been many heroic individuals on Earth, other planets, and other dimensions. At first, this addition of seemingly endless lives can seem daunting, but Venditti managed to make this overwhelming reality for the character sensible.
Equipped with this grim news but ready for action, Hawkman flies into the eighth issue with the start of a new story arc fittingly titled “Cataclysm” venturing to the destroyed planet of Krypton. Way back in the first issue, Carter recalled one of his lives had been as a hero on Krypton known as Catar-Ol. As any comics reader knows, there is precious little to find on dead Krypton, but Carter finds help in the form of time travel. This series is a great lesson in a hero not getting what he expects. This new story arc sets Hawkman up for a fascinating tussle to come: one hero against an unmovable set of enemies.
I loved this book. Sure, it could be because Hawkman is my absolute favorite character in superhero comics, but really, I had my doubts when the series began. Adding many more lives to the character sounded insane, but it turned out to make for a riveting odyssey for Carter. Venditti graces this issue with even more seeding from the DC Universe with the addition of Krypton to the story. The books utilizing the classic old look of Kryptonian outfits, straight out of the Silver Age. We are also treated to another panoramic scene which, while showing scenes from yesterday, may also offer hints of what’s to come. I also enjoyed a brief notation from Carter about the difference between himself and Superman.
The Thanagarian ship Carter travels in, Krypton and the overall look of the book, in general, are wonderful. Bryan Hitch imbues issue eight with even more of the pulp style from back in the day. Technology and clothing are a perfect melding of the early 20th century and futuristic aerodynamics. He draws a very smooth Carter Hall and Catar-Ol and panels throughout the book alternate well in terms of interludes and action scenes. Jeremiah Skipper’s pops the colors while Currie and Queens grace each panel with just enough black ink to set them off well. This entire issue looks like a still life movie from straight out of the 1940s, a fine homage to that decade the character was created in.
Needless to say, I’m sold. Hawkman #8 sets up the confrontation to come, and I await eagerly how this will affect the Earth and how Hawkman might defeat them. This is a character who tends to get a book and see it canceled down the road, so buy this book. It is a classic example of old school superhero comics that expertly advances a character to their next evolution, while not forgetting where it came from.
Hawkman #8 is in available in comic stores and digital retailers everywhere January 16, 2019
Hawkman #8 is a classic example of old school superhero comics that expertly advances a character to their next evolution, while not forgetting where it came from.