Blackhawks is a solid book that needed two extra pages. The challenge in writing a team book is giving each member enough panel time. Readers need to spend some time with the characters before they can care about them. Not counting the nameless doctor, only five of the seven characters on the cover get any time show why they are so cool. The team’s leader does not get a chance to say much, and Lady Blackhawk appears in exactly one panel.
There were a few hiccups that made the book feel like it needed a revision or two. On page four, Kunoichi comments on a bite in one panel that actually happens two panels later. It is unclear if Kunoichi’s swim in industrial waste has anything to do with the nanocites. That feels like a relic of an earlier version of the script. On page 13, Wildman’s shades are drawn with a fine line until panel four, where the rims suddenly become much thicker. On the other hand, this brought up an important question: where do all the cool people buy their templeless eyewear? I want some.
But while the book did have some missteps, there are a lot of things that are well done. The characters that we do get to see are awesome, just like secret agents should be. Yes, all of them are derivative. It does not matter. Genre comics should not be judged based on how unique they are, but rather how well they execute the given storytelling formulas that have been established over the history of storytelling. If a reader is disappointed to find that most secret agents look, talk, and think alike, it might be time for them to pick another genre or start reading experimental fiction across all mediums.
The line art manages to walk the fine line between dynamic and sloppy. The artist has created plenty of dynamism through his selection of camera angles and poses while only occasionally breaking the borders of his panels. As whole, the art tends to sacrifice clarity for excitement, especially since all the characters wear the same colors, but the balance serves each scene well.
The best thing this book does, as a good first issue of an ongoing series should do, is generate interesting but not confused questions about the future. Who is giving nanocites out to random terrorist groups? Who just got freed from the meta-human prison? Supervillain, or something even more sinister? Will the public cry out for the Blackhawks to be disbanded? How will Wildman deal with the mood swings of his secret sex buddy? Will Kunoichi explode into a million pieces?
This reader would not like to see Kunoichi explode into a million pieces. It takes a special kind of woman to wear pink sneakers into battle. We need as many of them as possible in comics.
The problems with the book appear to stem from having to rush production to meet the deadline rather than a lack of creativity, talent, or the desire to make a good book. So while the second issue needs a very good explanation as to why a black-ops unit that the public is unaware of has their unit badge plastered all over their helicopter, fun stories appear to be on the horizon for DC’s black ops team.
WRITING: 3 / ART: 3 / OVERALL: 3