Hawkman #29 is written by Robert Venditti. Fernando Pasarin is the series illustrator, with inks by Oclair Albert. Jeromy Cox provides colors and Rob Leigh is the letterer. Hawkman is published by DC Comics, but this is the final issue. Let’s see how it ends. In the last issue, Carter Hall took Hastor’s sacrificial Egyptian dagger to the gut, a terrible decision to make in the next to the last issue of a series (not that he knew that). Hastor, the evil immortal who slew Hawkman and Hawkwoman in their first lives way back in ancient Egypt, has turned a train full of passengers into his undead minions in order to kill the Hawks. Carter himself was suffering a bout of fear, a fear of dying since he and Shayera can no longer reincarnate. So being abdominally impaled greatly limited his options for living. This left him bleeding out, and Hawkwoman in a state of phenomenal rage.
Hawkman #29 is a throwdown between Shayera and Hastor’s minions, a vile, bloody, catastrophic battle inside a doomed train. Shayera’s wrath has been put on display in previous issues, but this time she goes all out to kill Hastor. Unfortunately, Carter’s time is spent wasting away as his archenemy brags about his connection to Anubis. It’s a gripping story, especially knowing that this is the last issue of Hawkman for this run, and possibly for years to come. Hawkman isn’t a top tier book saleswise and has no Bat in its title.
This means we could see a Hawk character in another comic book next month, or not for another decade. This entire run by Venditti was not only a fine homage to old school comics and the pulp and raypunk genres but truly laid the amazing groundwork on these characters that are begging for further exploration and development. Venditti struck new ground in old territory with his run on Hawkman. It is hands down the best version of the character and manages to include all previous incarnations while expanding into some fascinating versions. Best of all is his breadth of persona he breathed into Carter and Shayera. Older versions possessed great characteristics, but the current models feel more varied and human, with broader ranges of emotion and depth. Their backstories are complex and shaped who they are in the present. And, let’s not forget how well the art team establishes these moods and contours.
Pasarin, Albert, Cox and Leigh need to be transferred as one to a new series. Their partnership should be appreciated by more readers in a post-Hawkman landscape. The clarity and humanity in the penciling, the sharpness of the coloration, the proper usage of inks and shadows, and clean-cut, visible lettering would be just as home in an instructional manual on how to make comic book art as it is in this series. Hawkman and Hawkwoman have never looked better, and considering the names who graced their literal lines in the past, that’s saying something.
Preferably, DC could move the writer and art team into a new book containing a Hawk character to keep this story going. But the comic business is fickle, and Hawkman’s life story of reincarnation runs parallel to the character’s many rises and falls in series. Who knows when the next title will spring up from the ashes, but readers can, and should, harvest this series to see its fine points and how it rejuvenated not only this character but also the supporting cast. They were treated with great respect and as much worth as a Top Ten comic. It has been some years since I was saddened by the cancellation of a series. So many have come and gone that were noteworthy. But Hawkman was definitely one DC should have tried to save, but like in real life, unfortunately, the good die (and get canceled) young. RIP. May you soar again soon.
Hawkman #29 is available wherever comic books are sold.
Who knows when the next title will spring up from the ashes, but readers can, and should, harvest this series to see its fine points and how it rejuvenated not only this character but also the supporting cast.