In the latest of our comprehensive series of reviews of DC Comics' 52 relaunched titles, we take a look at The Savage Hawkman #1 #1.
Who's it by?
The Savage Hawkman #1 is written by Tony S. Daniel and illustrated by Philip Tan.
What's the history?
Carter Hall, the original Hawkman, made his debut in Flash Comics #1 back in 1940. The character is a reincarnation of an Egyptian priest named Khufu. He uses a harness made of the otherworldly Nth Metal with artificial wings to gain the power of flight, and wields archaic weaponry such as maces, nets and spears.
The superhero's backstory became convoluted following the 1985 Crisis on Infinite Earths event, and numerous incarnations of the character have come and gone. Most versions of Hawkman operate alongside a partner or love interest assuming the identity of Hawkgirl or Hawkwoman.
Hawkman was a founding member of the Justice Society of America team and has played a part in most major DC events since the 1950s.
Not only does Carter Hall appear to be operating alone in the relaunched series, he no longer wishes to bear the burden of Hawkman's mantle. Due to the events of the first issue, it transpires that he has no say in the matter.
The Hawkman costume appears to be part of Hall under the new continuity, enveloping him whenever danger is near. The character sports an edgier look with meatier armour and more prominent wings.
Writer Tony Daniel has a wealth of DC experience, largely with Batman titles. Artist Philip Tan previously worked on Batman and Robin with Grant Morrison, and provided covers for Green Lantern and Outsiders.
A disheartened Carter Hall, weary of the Hawkman burden, takes his costume into the woods to burn it. Unfortunately for him, the phoenix myth comes into play and something rises from the ashes. An explosive force envelopes Hall and he awakens elsewhere in a daze.
Meanwhile, a character named Professor Ziegler and his team raise what appears to be a sunken alien craft from the ocean's floor. He calls upon Hall to examine the wreckage, and it soon turns out that Ziegler has discovered more than he bargained for.
The issue ends with a confrontation between Hawkman and an alien force that Ziegler and his team's tampering has unleashed.
What's the verdict?
The Savage Hawkman is by no means a bad comic, though it doesn't do a great deal to draw new fans to the character. There's very little in the opening issue to explain what Carter Hall is about, and why we should care about him.
His sombreness and despondence is handled well in the opening pages, yet this is never really built afterwards. Supporting characters Professor Ziegler and his daughter Emma don't feature a great deal, but stir our curiosity somewhat. Perhaps the former will go on to become the book's Lex Luthor, and the latter may even be the next Hawkgirl.
There's one action sequence in the issue in which Hawkman leaps into battle against the alien entity Morphicius. Tan's artwork stands out here, particularly the single-page spreads of both hero and villain. In fact, the entire book is well-rendered, as the illustrator looks at home handling both human and alien subject matter.
The Savage Hawkman lays the groundwork for what could be an interesting take on the character, but it doesn't give a great deal away. New readers will come away with little knowledge on Carter Hall and his alter ego and may be deterred.
Fortunately for DC, there may be just enough quality on offer for long-term fans to exercise some patience and hold their judgement until Daniel and Tan have a few issues under their belts.
> Buy the digital version of The Savage Hawkman #1
> Read our review of Detective Comics #1
Watch The New 52 introduction video from DC Comics below: