With Hawkman #11, we are one issue away from the penultimate battle between Carter Hall and the Deathbringers! Robert Venditti handles writing chores while Bryan Hitch renders the illustrations, Andrew Currie and Bryan Hitch dabble with the inks, Jeremiah Skipper works colors and Richard Starkings and Comicraft dole out the lettering.
Hawkman pulled an ace out of his bandolier in issue #10, in the surprising form of time travel. Now that Carter Hall found he could summon all of his past lives into the present, He no longer stands alone in his war against the Deathbringer cult he once led. As every iteration of Hawkman battles in the sky, Carter continues to be impaled by Idamm, the leader of the Deathbringers. But impaled does not mean defeated. Meanwhile, those giant Deathbringer humanoids wait above for Idamm to give the signal for them to burn London and its people to ashes.
This issue moves the battle forward just like #10 in two ways: first, the striking aerial ballet of flying men in combat and second, the surprise twist. It also carries on the pulp feel we’ve been treated to since the very first issue. The main appeal with this issue is display of the many Hawkmen. From Nighthawk, gunslinger of the Wild West to the Rocketeer-inspired Katarthul of Rann, the Dragon of Barbatos and many more, it’s a feast for the eyes, not to mention for those who love comic book lore. Madame Xanadu stays in the fight with Carter and his flock. The plethora of characters both obscure and new is amazing.
Carter’s will to overcome his past as leader of the Deathbringer cult and find his heart as a hero takes center stage here. This is a man glutted with regret at the billions of lives he once snuffed out in the name of some dark space god, whose internal struggle for his own soul jumps out in his fight against Idamm.
In fact, it’s a dual internal battle, because we get to see, as readers. Carter discusses with Idamm how he is also separate from all of the men he has ever been. This cements the first step to us understanding who the current Hawkman is, a character who hasn’t gotten as much spotlight. From the first issue fans have pondered who this Carter Hall is. He doesn’t look like the blond archaeologist of the Golden Age, but seems like him in persona.
So who is this character? I believe we are watching the growth of a new incarnation, and not a retread or retcon of a per-existing Carter Hall, and that’s fine by me.
I do not hide at all my love for this book and its creative team. From the epic scope of the writing and its classic comic book cliffhanger endings every issue to the detailed art and broad range of colors, inking and lettering I am a grinning fan of it all.
This series has done more to place personal depth into Hawkman and his lore than any series before it, and whether fans accept the new version or not, it definitely has opened the doors to accepting the entire complexity of Hawkman’s heritage while adding new layers. I hope that once this current storyline ends we get a lot more time with the new Carter, as well as tales of his past lives.
I encourage every comics fan should read Hawkman #11. This is a fine lesson in the art of storytelling, character building and plot twists. Buy copies for yourself and your friends!
Hawkman has done more to place personal depth into the character and his lore than any series before it, and whether fans accept the new version or not, it definitely has opened the doors to accepting the entire complexity of Hawkman’s heritage while adding new layers.
William J. Jackson is a small town laddie who self publishes books of punk genres, Victorian Age superheroes, rocket ships, and human turmoil. He loves him some comic books, Nature, Star Trek, and the fine art of the introvert.