Comic Book Review: Hawkman #8
The origin story that Hawkman #7 gave us was worth the wait. Right now this book is an underrated gem from DC that deserves more of a spotlight than it has been given. Exploration, discovery, the thrill of the chase. This book embraces everything about Hawkman that makes up who he is at the core. Quite literally in fact. Last month’s revelation changed everything that we thought we knew about Carter Hall and his past lives. After that? I couldn’t help but feel anxious about what came next.
When I saw the cover of this issue, I was excited because we were getting yet another issue where key moments from his past were explored. The next stop just had to be Krypton. For all of the lives we were exposed to some issues back, there was no way that you could tell us that there was a Hawkman on Krypton and not explore what that life was like. Before that, it was engaging how Venditti drew a line in the sand between someone who was born on Krypton and not witnessed the destruction versus someone who was born on Krypton and actually experienced it. Everyone with a connection to Krypton walked away from that destruction with a different perspective from the other, so it was intriguing to actually understand Carter’s point of view from what he remembers.
The encounter that Carter faced this time around was refreshing because for the first time it did not go the direction of the rest. Changing the welcome makes a big difference when creating a contrast in each life that he lived. You wouldn’t expect every version of him to be unwelcoming, quick to engage in a fight, or unable to see a connection to who and what he is. It made sense that a Kryptonian might be a bit smarter to assess a situation. Then again, maybe it was just the point of the time that he just so happened to make this encounter. Either way, being able to jump right into a genuine conversation is something that no one should take for granted at a time like this in the story. This was the closest that we have gotten to past-life predecessor who has been able to piece together bits of their story on his own as well. As a reader who had never truly connected to anything involving Krypton, I felt a new appreciation about the history of this planet through the understanding of Catar-Ol. There were even some bits and pieces that told us when this past-life took place which was a cool discovery.
What made this next stop so exciting is the way that the mystery continued to play out. For everything thrilling about this journey to a dead world, it is just that. A dead world. So what on Earth could you find in the present or the past that could survive the explosion of a planet? The journey to that answer took time, but it was worth everything that Carter and Catar dissected and challenged about the confrontation they are preparing for. This is clearly one of those solutions where you won’t truly know what needs to be done till the time comes, but for right now that is worth the wait for all that Carter is learning to get to that point.
I would argue that this issue is one of the best products of this art team’s work. Bryan Hitch, Andrew Currie, Andy Owens, Jeremiah Skipper knocked it out of the park this month. First of all, the character design for Catar is great. A lot of the colors and symbols stay true to his origins, but at the same time stylizing all of this to fit a Kryptonian setting. You could even see slight similarities in the face of Catar compared to Carter. What made this issue so engaging was the way that Carter and Catar connected. It was like having a discussion with yourself, and argument with yourself, but all of it was done with a look of familiarity. That is more than you could say for the last two past-lives. For Hitch I also enjoyed the way he continues to do great things with perspective and flexibility given to these characters which makes all the difference when fliers. It always fairly natural to them which is not something to overlook. The few scenes with the holograms were the highlight of this team’s work for a history that was condensed into one set of images in full rendering. The pencils took patience, the colors took patience. Not once was the futuristic style of Krypton ignored. Aside from this, the inking added depth to the interior art that really did justify the need for two inkers.
Hawkman #8 proves once again that there is nothing wrong with having a superhero book like Hawkman that is endearing. The destination is only as important as what you get out of the journey. This introduction to Catar-Ol of Krypton was as heartwarming as the reunion of Carter Hall and Ray Palmer. You think you have gotten the best out of the story one minute, and then you would be proven wrong with another excellent issue.