Who's it by?
Blackhawks #1 is written by Mike Costa (Resistance, Transformers and drawn by Graham Nolan (Rex Morgan M.D., Detective Comics).
What's the history?
Blackhawks was originally created by the now defunct publisher Quality Comics and the characters made their debut in Military Comics #1 back in 1941.
The series followed a squadron of World War II era pilots from different backgrounds, but is often retroactively criticised for its portrayal of racial stereotypes.
The title was eventually acquired by DC Comics and integrated into the DC Universe in 1956 where it continued to be published up until 1968, coming to an end with Military Comics #243.
Writer Howard Chaykin penned a popular Blackhawks miniseries in 1987 giving the characters a more adult update, which led to the team appearing in Action Comics Weekly as well as a short-lived ongoing series in the early nineties.
Since this time the Blackhawks have had little presence in the DC Comics save for the time-displaced character Lady Blackhawk, who found herself in the modern day DC Universe following the events of Zero Hour and has since appeared in both Guy Gardner, Warrior and Birds of Prey.
The new Blackhawks series bears little to no similarity to the classic Blackhawks, save for the inclusion of a new version of Lady Blackhawk.
The title is no longer set in World War II and is instead fixed in modern day DC Universe continuity focusing on a team of black-ops specialists.
Blackhawks #1 gives readers a basic introduction to the main team members, focusing mainly on female lead Kunichi and her mission to free a group of hostages in Kazakhstan.
This opening issue also introduces the team's base, the Eyrie, as well as the mysterious Lady Blackhawk whose motives remain unclear.
What's the verdict?
Blackhawks is a bit of an oddball addition to DC's 'New 52' line-up, straddling the fine line between war and superhero comics.
It's difficult to review Blackhawks #1 without drawing obvious, and slightly lazy, comparisons to IDW's G.I. Joe comics, not the least because Mike Costa penned one of the publisher's Joe titles.
But the similarities are clearly evident, right down to the overuse of codenames and polarising character looks, although this may work in the title's favour in the long run.
This first issue includes plenty of action and does a good job of fleshing out lead character Kunichi, but fails to give readers any reason to be interested in the book's other seemingly one-dimensional characters.
The art is more than adequate but the angular faces and overall cartoony feel to the issue do nothing to make readers engage with the supposed realism of the series.
Despite several noticeable flaws, Blackhawks does have the potential to carve its own niche in DC's publishing line. However, Costa needs to develop a tight cast of characters in a short space of time or readers will simply look elsewhere for their dose of espionage action.
> Buy the digital version of Blackhawks #1
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