Hawkman #19 is written by Robert Venditti, illustrated by Pat Olliffe, with inks by Tom Palmer, colors by Jeremiah Skipper and Starkings, and Comicraft on letters. The ‘Year of the Villain’ crossover storyline has afflicted Carter Hall terribly since issue #17. The hero seen since the first issue has been replaced by another, more sinister version. The Sky Tyrant is in control, and only Carter’s one, true love can withstand him.
Hawkwoman, Shayera of Thanagar to be precise, has come to Earth to save Carter from himself. Hawkman fans will note that this is not the same character called Hawkgirl seen monthly over in Justice League. So, this may cause some confusion for a few readers, but this Hawkwoman is the reincarnation of the woman who talked Ktar Deathbringer out of his murderous ways back at the beginning of time. We have watched Carter scour history and space for his origin. These two have met and loved, parted and returned, countless times over eons. It’s only fitting they reunite, destiny even.
Since the first issue of this series, Hawkman has been the tale of a man searching for meaning in a life spanning not just all of history, but dimension. The tragic part has been, after finding out who he really was, Carter is overtaken by Sky Tyrant, his evil Earth-3 counterpart. This is a being who did the exact opposite of Hawkman. In his realm, the Tyrant killed people without remorse. On this new, ripe Earth, he seeks to do the same. But first, Shayera stands boldly in his way.
The way around her is through her. Shayera battles Sky Tyrant in the streets, and it’s exactly what one might expect from two characters who wield heavy maces. Knockdown, drag-out, battle royale. It’s a fight peppered with Hawkwoman’s voice of reason to coax out the real Carter and flashbacks of their eternal love. Carter himself is but a spectral image trying to stop this insanity. What’s interesting about this is that Carter, having been so many variations, gets to play a bit of Ghost of Carter’s Present to Sky Tyrant during this showdown. It deepens the tale and differentiates this Infected hero from others in the overall crossover.
Another wonderful point in Hawkman #19 is the location. Midway City is ground zero for the throwdown. This was the fictional stomping grounds of the Hawks back in the Silver Age, and it’s great to see more lore being folded back into this New 52 universe. Having Shayera and Midway at the same time almost feels as if they may root Hawkman (post-Infection) here and give the character a center instead of wandering about. It also brings a hope in me that the creative team will expand on Midway City and show readers what makes it memorable, a character unto itself.
Speaking of creativity, Robert Venditti has taken the Infected tag and used it to humanize, even emasculate, Carter. Hawkman is often a very masculine, aggressive superhero. So it is humbling to see Carter reduced to this Indiana Jones human apparition, unable to be heard. He is desperate, crying out to a woman who can’t find him, and a villain who seeks to use him. That’s a real kick in the gut for anyone who followed this from the first issue. Carter came a long way to get to the hero he is. Now? Sky Tyrant’s reign has seemingly swept all of that away.
Pat Olliffe carries the weight of this issue’s fight scenes clean and on a big scale. I love the powerful, graceful way he drew Shayera. Sky Tyrant is ominous enough to make him stand out. I’m not too sure about the face though, but with the helmet on, it’s definitely one sadistic appearing bad guy. Tom Palmer and Jeremiah Skipper balance one another out this time around. There is just the right level of darkness and color on each page. And the creepy word balloons for Tyrant and large FX lettering for the action adds to the classic comic book feel of the book.
Sky Tyrant is a good thing. This series is an exploration of Carter Hall’s identities, so one must take the bad with the good. Seeing this latest twisted life is character exploration, in a grotesque way. Sky Tyrant is the worst of Hawkman’s old forms, but I really want to see how he gets out of this trap. More importantly, this story should have repercussions for him down the road. I hope at the least Shayera and Midway City are here to stay.
Hawkman #19 is available wherever comic books are sold and online through Comixology using our affiliate link.
Hawkman is an exploration of Carter Hall’s identities, so one must take the bad with the good. Seeing this latest twisted life is character exploration, in a grotesque way.
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.