One look at the cover of The Savage Hawkman and I’m thinking “Hey! This guy actually looks pretty cool!” Unfortunately, the story behind it is as empty as the background of the cover. You would think that Tony S. Daniel’s continued reliance on thought captions would lead to massive amounts of over exposition but instead it does more to muddy and complicate Hawkman’s already confusing history.
We meet Carter Hall as he tries to rid himself of the curse of the Nth Metal forever by burning his Hawkman gear and vowing that Hawkman dies with it. Inevitably, it doesn’t work out and Daniel gives us a shoddy cryptologist angle that screams “THE VILLAIN IS COMING!” in an attempt to flesh out Carter Hall’s New DCU history. Unfortunately, the cryptologist detail has potential to be really interesting but Daniel never really delves into it. Before we see Carter get into any of it, we meet the new Big Bad, a black alien blob named Morphicius who inevitably steals our heroes powers.
In Daniel’s Detective Comics issue he was able to overcome weak scripting with superb art and a killer concept (pun absolutely and unabashedly intended). Hawkman doesn’t work because the main character is almost more lost than the reader is. He just wakes up and doesn’t remember anything. That would be fine if we had a way to catch up but we don’t and new readers especially will feel completely lost. Plus the essence of the Nth Metal Hawkman gear seems a little like Jean Grey’s friend, the Phoenix, for me to really see it as something else. Maybe I’ve only got room for one alien firebird essence but it just strikes me as derivative. And the same goes for Morphicius. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: black alien goo grows teeth, kills people and steals our hero’s powers. Not exactly Venom but close enough.
Philip Tan’s art would be great if it wasn’t so inconsistent. It seems like it was a rush job and the only pages that got any real attention were ones that actually have Hawkman on them. The splash where Carter becomes Hawkman to fight Morphicius is beautiful. That’s because it actually looks finished! Same goes for the rest of Hawkman’s fight with Morphicius. But leading up to the climax and conclusion we get s bunch of pages that look like they were submerged in water before they were printed. There is no clarity to the lines. Essential details like specific facial features are missing. The colors are a complete wash. They look like they’re dripping off the page.
I wasn’t expecting much from The Savage Hawkman. It’s unfortunate that this issue is such a disappointment because he seems like an intriguing character is only he’s given a proper background. The archeologist angle is a start but Daniel never gets deep enough into it to make it matter. Tan could be a great fit for this book but the rushed pages that set-up the big battle only do more to add to the confusion that is present in this book.
WRITING: 1 / ART: 2 / OVERALL: 1.5