Hawkman #13 // Review
The timeless winged warrior created by Gardner Fox has been locked in battle in some fashion since issue one of this series. Issue thirteen takes a different path, yet proves that not every story needs endless violence. Carter Hall alias Hawkman is finally able to get some much-deserved respite from his epic confrontation with the Deathbringers. Hurtling through space towards an unknown destination, Carter explores the ships’ museum dedicated to preserving mementos from many of his past lives including volumes of journals. Carter’s inner monologue throughout the series has been presented as journal entries, which the creative team focuses on for this issue. Writer Robert Venditti leads Hawkman into a new story arc along with colorist Jeremiah Skipper. Joining the team for this issue is artist Will Conrad who fills in for series mainstay Bryan Hitch. After saving Earth from the threat of the Deathbringers, Carter finds himself engrossed in the journals of his past lives and soon discovers a mystery that his warrior prowess may not be able to solve.
Finally able to rest after his time and space spanning journey to rediscover his past, Carter hopes that the endless volumes of journals in the ship’s library may hold some information that would help prevent any other threats from his past lives coming back to haunt him in the present.
Robert Venditti’s writing for this series has been nonstop action adventure in the spirit of Indiana Jones. Issue thirteen takes a bit of different approach, yet still manages to deliver a solid story. Venditti gives Carter the backseat in this issue as past lives unbeknownst to Carter, and the readers of the series take the lead for what seems may be a one-off story. The names of the characters don’t seem to matter much as there are literally generations of Carter’s past lives that are introduced to the reader during the issue. In fact, it’s inanimate objects that play the most pivotal role in this issue, which is a bold choice by Venditti that pays off well. Two opposing armies are fighting an endless war that no one can seem to remember why they started in the first place. Writers have used this trope of the questionable war in the past, Venditti keeps that trope fresh with the reincarnation during different generations on opposing sides of the conflict.
Artist Will Conrad is the newcomer to the series and is stepping into the very large shoes of Bryan Hitch who has been with the series since issue one. Conrad makes the transition seamless as the violence that Hawkman is known for is here in spades this issue. Another exceptional yet subtle touch is the deterioration of the planet these two armies are fighting over. As each new generation wages war, the planet shows more wear and tear. Colorist Jeremiah Skipper keeps most of the colors muted for this issue except for the numerous blood splatters and explosions both day and night. Skipper seems to concentrate more color on those drawing the reader’s eye towards those focal points of action. Skipper also highlights the inanimate objects that play a vital role in the story during each generations spotlight.
Issue thirteen is an important issue, as it’s the beginning of a new story arc. It gives Carter some much-needed rest, but still delivers the violence of his past with the introduction of yet more past lives. The creative team needs to be careful, however, as they just finished a big story arc with many enchanting past lives. They could easily find themselves with a stale story if they don’t focus more on Carter alone and his archaeology/treasure hunting rather than the countless past lives.