Hawkman #9 from DC Comics is written by Robert Venditti, illustrated by Bryan Hitch, with inks by Hitch and Andrew Currie, colors by Jeremiah Skipper and Richard Starkings and letters by Comicraft.
Back in the eighth issue, our hero journeyed to fabled Krypton to find the weapon that would defeat his enemies. Now, Carter Hall, a.k.a Hawkman, is about to face his own personal Doomsday. The Deathbringers, a race of winged men in giant power armor, who have traversed worlds culling billions to sacrifice them to their dark god, have arrived. Carter was once their leader, until he grew a conscience. As Carter scoured the past and other worlds, talking to his past lives in an effort to find a way to defeat his greatest foes, they in turn were on the hunt for him.
Vengeance. Redemption. Being haunted by the past. Hawkman has done an excellent job in the previous eight issues giving us something almost 80 years of Hawkman comics have failed to do, present a fully fleshed out character. Carter Hall is usually played out as either aloof and introspective or pure savagery. Until this new series came out, we never saw Carter with this range of emotion, doubt, or fear.
This issue puts the more human aspects of Hawkman out there from the start. Carter, close to desperate, seeks out an old friend from an earlier issue to help him stop the Deathbringers. Though he manages to find more of his old self as the story progresses, it’s those first pages that hit me the hardest. It wasn’t a moment of weakness, but a critical point of character development. The guilt from the first life he lived is swallowing him up thousands of years later. And, he hasn’t a clue how to stop the cycle.
Unlike issue eight, which had a great deal of dialogue, Hawkman #9 one lessens the talking a little in favor of action. I read it and reread it, wondering how in the heck Carter could possibly get himself out of this one alive.
As usual, Robert Venditti wrote up a great story. He has managed to put a lot of pathos into a typically staid character, expand upon his past, and build from it a grim narrative that actually fits with a few older version of Hawkman. Venditti knows when to flow in and out of the action, and when to step back and let the art takeover.
Bryan Hitch is one of the most detail-oriented illustrators in comics. From background scenes to cityscapes, you can count the windows, see individual expressions in groups of people and much more. He brought his ‘A’ game to issue nine, with Hawkman still looking regal and powerful, while keeping Carter plain and easily overlooked. The look of the Deathbringers is great as well, and the action scenes are beautiful.
They are enhanced by the bold colors of Hitch and Andrew Currie, and they seem to me to find a way to make colors not pop, but appear too bright. The inks of Skipper are never overdone in this book and hit just the right amount of shadow to enhance the coloring. Starkings and Comicraft make interesting letters in Hawkman. I have from the first issue loved the handwritten journal appeal of Carter’s narrative pieces. The font choice and boldness in the letters used for the Deathbringers is a nice, eerie touch.
I said last time that Hawkman is a great character with a book that usually suffers from early cancellation. I’d love for this to not be the case with this installment of Hawkman. Venditti and company are churning out the best Hawkman story in decades. Overall, I love this issue and can’t wait for the next one to drop in March.
Hawkman #9 is available in comic book stores everywhere
Venditti and company are churning out the best Hawkman story in decades.