Hawkman #15 is published by DC Comics, written by Robert Venditti with art by Patrick Olliffe, inks by Tom Palmer, colors by Jeremiah Skipper, and letters by Comicraft. Last issue, at the start of the Year of the Villain arc, Carter Hall, Hawkman, was trounced by his old enemy, the Shadow Thief, after Lex Luthor granted him and others of the supervillain community enhancements. Thanks to his new enhancements, Shadow Thief achieved mastery over the Shadowlands and got revenge against Hawkman. Carter, having been defeated, now flies nonstop in a desperate attempt to get help from the one person he knows can help him contend with Shadow Thief – The Shade.
In Hawkman #15, the Shadow Thief makes a show of things, but the real crux of this issue is the Shade himself, who shines in his self-absorbed indifference. The Shade is a wielder of the shadow forces and has a long history with Hawkman. Carter Hall and the Shade’s banter make for interesting and engaging dialogue, especially since the cane Shade carries is a gift from Carter. The Shade, however, claimed it held no value to him and it was used solely to comfort Carter. The story clearly showed the two men as old friends, but with vast differences in character and motivation. The Shade is a nosy, pompous ex-villain; making him a good character to play off of the troubled and aggressive Hawkman.
This is a character issue, heavy on dialogue and relationships, so there is less emphasis on combat. Additionally, the Shade makes a welcome addition to the issue and hopefully, he can have a longer stay in Hawkman to play off of the hero as a sometime partner. Shade offers Carter his home and tends to him while he is in the midst of recovery and hellish dreams. The nightmare sequence added a nice layer, especially as to whether or not what Carter dreamed was some act he performed, imagined, or manipulation by an enemy. Shade nosing into Carter’s personal life, specifically his journal, added to the dramatic tension between them.
Venditti flavors this issue of Hawkman with yet another new layer to Carter Hall. This time around, we are treated to a worn-out hero left with only rage and confusion. Venditti makes the Shade a complicated personality and shows why he is vital to furthering the plot.
Meanwhile, Olliffe delivers more sketch-like artwork this time around. He offers a lot of dramatic scenery and at least one page showcasing what’s wrong with one character by allowing the visuals to tell the story. Hawkman #15 offers a lot of brightness in its color scheme a story about shadows. Skipper dulls the colors this time around while increasing the illumination to show off light versus dark.
Shadow Thief’s assault is perhaps a more invasive assault against Carter than the struggle over his complex origin. This enemy has managed to hit Carter in an area none have been able to before, and it shows. It cuts to a deeper understanding of Carter Hall, what makes him tick and what unravels a man who has seen it all.
Hawkman #15 appears to be a simple hero versus villain tale. But it succeeds at doing what a proper conflict should, yet often fails by showing the villain getting under the hero’s skin. The issue reveals what insecurities lie beneath. This elevates not only the story but the capabilities of a villain like Shadow Thief who is typically easily squashed. Now that the scene is set, it’s going to be fun watching how Hawkman and Shade get out of their predicament.
Hawkman #15 is available now wherever comic books are sold.
Hawkman #15 appears to be a simple hero versus villain tale. But it succeeds at doing what a proper conflict should. The issue reveals what insecurities lie beneath.
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.