Hawkman #21 is written by Robert Venditti, penciled by Fernando Pasarin, with inks by Oclair Albert and Wade Von Grawbadger, and letters by Jeromy Cox. In this issue, Carter Hall remains a prisoner of his own mind thanks to the Batman Who Laughs. The world-killing Sky Tyrant has seized control of the body of Hawkman, as well as his ship, and memories along with the location of the Key that will allow him to murder infinitely more people to sate his own immortality.
But help is on the way as of last issue. Shayera, aka Hawkwoman, has rallied Carter’s closest friends. The Atom in his Shrinkship, secretly lodged in Carter’s cranial cavity, has been unraveling what the Dark Multiverse has done to his old friend. These heroes are on a mission to save Carter from this Sky Tyrant.
The level of concern and respect each holds for Hawkman is admirable and diverse. It’s good to see characters introduced as allies who make sense to show up, as opposed to having another reason to insert Batman or Superman into an issue of a comic. Each hero has a distinct goal to accomplish in order to save Carter. But Sky Tyrant, unaware of this, has a mission of his own.
On a lush alien world, the Tyrant squares off against the Key’s guardian, the Paladin. The Paladin was trained by an old life of Carter’s, the Titan Hawk, and his immensity is something to behold. That doesn’t deter Sky Tyrant from fighting him, nor Carter from trying to mentally wrest back control.
And that fight is epic. The Tyrant shows this issue he’s more than just a cold murderer. He’s skilled in battle and knows how to overcome just about any opponent. Mass destruction becomes an inevitability. Hawkwoman and company attempt to sneak in during this cataclysm and make sense of what’s happening. This is a terse, powerful issue penned by Venditti that could not have been done any finer.
Venditti has made this issue, and this entire series, one of DC’s greatest books on the stands. He has reworked Carter Hall, Shayera, the Atom, and Carter’s many lives into dynamic characters and has added to the richness of the Hawk mythos issue after issue. Nothing is ever dull. Carter Hall has one of the most convoluted yet fun backstories in all of comics right now, and it’s so nice to see the ‘Year of the Villain’ has added depth rather than detract from what Venditti has been building from the start. This is a book that definitely needs to be more appreciated, for the story, and the artwork.
Pasarin, Albert, Von Grawbadger, and Cox swept into this issue like a storm. It’s a beautiful storm of precision illustration, myriads of hues, brilliant lighting, powerful figures, and one beautiful alien planet. This is top of the linework. Shayera appears determined as hell sitting in the cockpit. Sky Tyrant comes through this issue looking impressive. But the Paladin takes the cake with bulging veins and the wonderful size comparisons rarely visualized in comics in a character so gigantic against the Tyrant. This is simply a feast for the eyes.
Hawkman #21 represents a great fight issue but also a fun Indian Jones-style artifact chase. Seeing the two sides of the tale come together is exciting, as is having the Atom and Adam Strange back in action. Another triumphal issue for this creative team.
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Hawkman #21 represents a great fight issue but also a fun Indian Jones-style artifact chase. Another triumphal issue for this creative team.
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.