Thursday, March 8, 2012

The "New 52": Six Months Later (The Savage Hawkman #6 Review)

One of the new titles of the "New 52" was The Savage Hawkman. I was excited that they were bringing back the Winged Avenger with his own title! The announcement of Tony Daniel as writer and Philip Tan's "teaser" images further stoked the fires of anticipation.....however, six months into the "New 52" things are looking bad.

Daniel & Tan are leaving in the wake of a monthly sales drop of over 50% since issue #1. On a positive note, that is still +30% over the Hawkman title of five years ago. Rob Liefeld is arriving as "story-plotter" & Joe Bennett as artist starting with issue #9, but the damage may already be done.  Free-falling sales have The Savage Hawkman hovering precariously over the "cancellation line", and because of Hawkman's convoluted history it's hard to make any Hawkman fan completely happy.....which may be the true root of TSH's sales woes.

My main concern with this title is the lack of savagery.  It's called The Savage Hawkman, not the "Bad Attitude" or "Slightly Violent" Hawkman......but The SAVAGE Hawkman!!  Perhaps the word has lost meaning over the years of our society's continued affluence, but though perhaps more violent than many of DC's other just feels lacking.  That said, the depth of story has been great....but perhaps takes too long to get to a point.....with writing & issue-to-issue art inconsistencies, lack of savagery, and a fan-base that will always be split about who Hawkman should really be......Citizen's Grade: Sigh....

On to issue 6's review.....

Hawkman finds himself face-to-face with The Gentleman Ghost, Jim Craddock.....and hordes of Apparitions that can hurt him, but can't be hurt....then they all disappear.  Hawkman wants answers!  He flies off with Digby (the owner of the bookstore where the book about the Mortis Orb was found by The Gentleman Ghost, and where the Apparitions appeared to Hawkman last issue) to find the previous owner of the book describing the Mortis Orb...a man named Julius Gates, who died some time ago.  His widow; Abigail, still resides in what is now a run-down mansion.  Hawkman & Digby pay her a visit, and realize from her testimony that Julius was so obsessed with the Mortis Orb, that he spent his whole life searching for it, and was buried with it.

Hawkman & Digby fly to the cemetery, and dig up the Orb....a side conversation ensues that shows Hawkman is neither appreciative or wanting of the mantle of "superhero"....the Mortis Orb definitely has tremendous power, as the Nth Metal responds to it.  The corpses in the cemetery respond to it as well, and begin re-animating and attacking Hawkman.  But it's the Orb they're after! The Gentleman Ghost then appears from nowhere, takes the Orb, announces his intentions of using it's power to become immortal, although that will most certainly mean the death of thousands.

Hawkman races back to the city to try and stop Craddock, only to realize he's too late.....the dead have come to life!!!!

Philip Tan's artwork is much more consistent this issue, and James Bonny's writing is a definite improvement from Tony Daniel's (who is still "plotting" this arc). This arc is taking the Hawkman title in the right direction, and hopefully it will keep improving.

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