Darkhawk #5 is written by Kyle Higgins, illustrated by Juanan Ramirez, colored by Erick Arciniega, and lettered by VC’s Travis Lanham. It is published by Marvel Comics. Connor Young has been put through the wringer in a relatively short period; he’s been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, he found an amulet that transforms him into Darkhawk, and he lost his best friend, Derek. At Derek’s funeral, Connor is confronted by Shawn, the thug who killed Derek. With Shawn having been enhanced by Deathlok technology, Connor soon finds himself in the fight of his life.
What has always drawn me to Higgins’ comic work isn’t the larger-than-life battles or the tokusatsu elements that have found their way into his recent work (though those are always a plus.) It’s the character work that goes into his protagonists; their fears and flaws are often laid bare, and their overcoming of those flaws and fears is what makes them heroes. From Radiant Black to his time on Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, this approach has helped Higgins to ascend to the upper echelon of comic book writers and is on full display here. Connor’s discussion with Derek’s sister Sarah, who resents him for the shadow he cast over Derek’s life, and with his dad about Derek’s death is just as gripping as the fight between Darkhawk and Deathlok.
And what a fight it is, as Ramirez and Arciniega draw an intense battle between Darkhawk and his mechanical foe. Shawn looks utterly inhuman with the Deathlok tech coursing through his body; massive metal protrusions extend from his arms, and one of his eyes is constantly glowing red. And he fires beams of blazing yellow energy that are enough to send Darkhawk flying out of the sky. Quieter moments have Ramirez pulling in on Derek’s face, revealing the conflicting emotions playing out within his heart.
Lanham’s letter work helps to give both Deathlok and Darkhawk their own distinct voice. Darkhawk has a more garbled and electronic-sounding voice, Deathlok’s word balloons are usually surrounded by a blood-red border. (Hey, the guy likes to shout.) Combined with Arciniega’s colors, this also helps make sound effects such as Miles’ web-shooters or the buzzing of a phone stand out.
However, the standout moment comes from a series of splash pages that depict Darkhawk and Deathlok fighting on a train. Ramirez draws the sequence in one fluid motion, as the two armored heroes trade blows and energy blasts. Another splash page features Darkhawk summoning a pair of massive cannons out of his wrists and firing, with the page lighting up in a golden glow. It’s another tokusatsu-esque attack that is worthy of becoming a poster, and it just looks immensely cool. And if you enjoyed Miles Morales showing up throughout the series, he makes one last appearance here and turns the tide of battle in Darkhawk’s favor.
Darkhawk #5 ends the series with a final issue that’s equal parts emotional and action-packed, completing the origin of Marvel’s newest teenage hero. The last page of the series teases a sequel, and I hope said sequel comes to pass or that Connor shows up in other Marvel titles, particularly Miles’, as the two seem to have formed a rapport similar to Peter Parker and Johnny Storm’s.
Darkhawk #5 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Darkhawk #5 ends the series with a final issue that’s equal parts emotional and action-packed, completing the origin of Marvel’s newest teenage hero.
Collier “CJ” Jennings is a freelance reporter and film critic living in Seattle. He uses his love of comics and film/TV to craft reviews and essays on genre projects. He is also a host on Into the Spider-Cast.