Hawkman #14, published by DC Comics and written by Robert Venditti, with pencils by Pat Olliffe, inks by Tom Palmer, colors by Jeremiah Skipper and letters by Richard Starkings and Comicraft, begins a brand new story arc. Previously, Hawkman’s past lives, his guilt complex over the billions of lives he’s taken, and his penchant for keeping extensive journals have been explored. Now, Hawkman #14 shines a new light on the character in the form of nightmares. Carter Hall’s sleep is riddled with memories of the dead while visiting an old friend in Africa. He needs peace of mind. Carter dons the Hawkman persona and travels to a sacred location in Mount Kenya to find understanding and peace of mind. Unfortunately for Carter, he finds terror instead.
This issue is a tie-in with DC Comics’ “Year of the Villain: The Offer” event. Superman’s archnemesis Lex Luthor is granting enhanced abilities to various supervillains. In Hawkman #14, Hawkman tries to find his center when he comes under attack by one of his oldest foes, Carl Sands, the Shadow Thief, who has recently been made more potent by Lex Luthor.
Shadow Thief, Carl Sands, and Hawkman are longtime foes. But Sands is shortsighted and his greed has been his downfall in the past. However, Hawkman is caught off guard by the Shadow Thief’s approach this time around thanks to his improved abilities and lust for vengeance. Over this course of this run Hawkman has grown as a hero and a character so naturally, so should his archfoe.
Venditti writes Hawkman in Hawkman #14 as a grounded individual. Carter Hall is a man apart, filled with questions and self doubts that many lifetimes have yet to answer. The focus of this issue shifts from a standard superhero comic to one of character depth with pulp overtones. Venditti spent time building a richer Carter Hall and now expands his talent for plotting and pacing into the Shadow Thief. Hawkman #14 presents a more dangerous opponent for Hawkman, one that literally has the ability to take the hero out in a surprising way.
Oliffe is a worthy addition to the series as its new artist. His pencils evoke a grittier appeal to Hawkman and his surroundings. The landscape of Africa, Mount Kenya, and the battle between Hawkman and the Shadow Thief are expressive and fluid. Carter’s moods are varied during the fight and it shows well within the artwork. Additionally, the Shadow Thief has a new look that is a bit more dangerous but it still keeps the character’s overall appearance the same.
Tom Palmer puts in a lot of work on inks here, especially in the panels with the Shadow Thief. The darkness is as important as the artwork. The inks really set the mood in Mount Kenya nicely add to the overpowering might of the Shadow Thief. There are some impressive gray and black blotch effects going on with some of the shadows. Even in the dark and across Africa, Skipper keeps Hawkman looking bright and wonderful with his colors. And finally, Comicraft applies some eerie sound effects to those shadow forms during the fight to make their actions all the more potent.
Hawkman #14 is an excellent jumping on point for new reader, those interested in DC’s supervillains, and Hawkman fans. Carter Hall comes to life more and more with each issue and now with a return to more established canon, older fans can appreciate the work Venditti and crew have labored on and the mythos they have enriched.
Hawkman #14 is available now wherever comic books are sold.
Hawkman #14 is an excellent jumping on point for new readers. Carter Hall comes to life more and more with each issue.
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.