Hawkman #4 // Review
Carter Hall, alias Hawkman, has been an important staple of the DC Universe since his introduction in 1940. Issue four in this exciting Hawkman ongoing series has shown once again that Hawkman can hold his own with the like of DC’s trinity: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. The creative team consists of series writer Robert Venditti, along with Bryan Hitch on pencils and colorist Jeremiah Skipper, who is taking over that responsibility from Alex Sinclair. Andrew Currie, Andy Owens and Daniel Henriques complete the team as inkers. Continuing his search for clues he has left for himself in the past, Carter finds himself in an aerial battle with his past incarnation, Katar Hol, in the rain soaked skies on planet Thanagar.
On the other side of the universe, the planet Thanagar serves as the setting for issue four. Carter once again find himself face-to-face with a past incarnation, this time in the form of Katar Hol, member of the Thanagarian Police Force. It’s a thrilling chase that plays out from the gritty, neon light splashed streets of the Downside to the picturesque Topside. Carter needs to find a way to convince Katar that he isn’t a threat, and that the very fate of the universe is at stake if he can’t recover the clues he’s left for himself throughout time.
Robert Venditti has made a name for himself with exciting, action-packed comics. Before starting Hawkman, he had a lengthy run with Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, and is currently writing for Damage. Venditti has been able to take the character of Carter Hall / Hawkman to new heights in this ongoing series, showcasing not only his battle prowess, but also his skills as an archeologist. Venditti does a great job of giving equal focus on both aspects of Carter’s personality. There have been many panels in which Carter is deciphering clues and plotting his next move, while other panels focused on his strategy in the midst of a heated battle to showcase his tactical skills. Venditti has also crafted a very interesting tale with the reintroduction of Carter’s past incarnations. It’s a great introduction to the history of the character for new readers, but also a way to discover new incarnations that have never been explored before.
Penciler Bryan Hitch has drawn some incredible locations and characters for this series. Carter is drawn like a man that has been through the ringer. Hitch’s pencil work really gives the reader a good sense of how rugged Hawkman is, as Carter’s body is covered in thick body hair and scars. Hitch has also drawn some incredibly detailed environments for this series. Ancient Egypt with highly articulate hieroglyphics, a dense jungle, and the gritty lower levels of Thanagar have been some of the locations drawn with great care. Hitch’s pencils have really helped to elevate this series to DC’s front line. Assisting Hitch’s pencilwork, Andrew Currie, Andy Owens and Daniel Henriques on inks help emphasize the gritty nature of Carter and his surroundings. Rain is an integral part of this issue. The ink work on the raindrops give the reader the sensation that it’s a torrential downpour that Carter is flying through. The departure of colorist Alex Sinclair is a drag, but doesn’t appear like it will hold the series back at all. Jeremiah Skipper is able to step up to the challenge, and keep the momentum of this series going. Sunlight has played an integral role in the first three issues. There is a noticeable lack of sunlight in this issue. However, Skipper is able to highlight the few areas that do. After Carter breaks through the cloud layer and into the upper areas of the planet, there is a panel that features the beauty that only the Thanagarian aristocracy can enjoy regularly. The seedy looking Downside is awash with a neon glowing billboards everywhere, very reminiscent of many cities in sci-fi movies, with their shady underbellies. There is also a great contrast between the neon lights and the shadows that are present in overcrowded and overly-lit areas like that. The dark street corners are a welcome change of pace from the open world settings this series has seen thus far, and bodes well for Skipper’s tenure on the rest of this book.
Thus far, this series has proven that readers can certainly expect the unexpected, as Carter has been flung throughout time and space. The creative team is making certain that the DC Universe knows Carter Hall is an important character that is really able to soar and make readers care about him with a great creative team behind him.