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Review – Hawkman #18 (DC Comics)

Hawkman #18 (DC Comics) variant cover (detail) by Tyler Kirkham
Overall
8.2/10
8.2/10
  • Writing - 8/10
    8/10
  • Art - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Overall - 8/10
    8/10
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Hawkman #18

Writer: Robert Venditti
Penciler: Pat Oliffe
Colorist: Jeremiah Shipper
Letterer: Starkings and Comicraft
Cover Art: Tyler Kirkham
Publisher:  DC Comics
Maturity Rating:  Teen
Release Date: November 13th, 2019

The villainous Sky Tyrant has taken control of Hawkman’s body. How will this play out?

Birds of a Feather Flock Together in Hawkman #18

In the history of comics, there are few characters with a history more convoluted than Hawkman’s. This owes itself to the historical developments in the evolution of the medium. In the golden age, the character was devised, as were many others, as based on the occult and Egyptology. The silver age erased that and introduced him as a sci-fi space cop. The desire for continuity in the 1980s and 1990s led to an amalgamation of all of this. What resulted was a character stuck in a sequence of resurrections, inhabiting the forms of various heroes through history. This retroactive backstory reconciled the character’s convoluted past, effectively allowing him to keep a foot in every genre and iteration to which he had belonged. Hawkman #18 throws this background once again to the forefront for the character.

Hawkman #18 (DC Comics) main cover by Richard Pace
Hawkman #18 (DC Comics) main cover by Richard Pace

With the tie-in to the Year of the Villain event, an alternate version of the character has taken control of his body. Not surprisingly with the tie-in, this is the villainous Sky Tyrant from another Earth. This character is an evil version of Hawkman, who is able to take control of the hero thanks to the same ancient magic that has kept him in the resurrection cycle. How did it work out?

Writing

Robert Venditti has the writing duties in Hawkman #18 and handles the story with enough ability to keep it moving, even though it is not flawless. The story is stronger at the beginning, as we get to see fresh takes on Hawkman villains. As this takes place on the same Earth-3 where the Crime Syndicate is based, heroes and villains have swapped roles. This sets the stage for the events of the modern day with the modern hero. As opposed to the first half of the story, this is the weaker part. Having a hero trying to fight to regain control of his body is a cliche at this point in comics. It can still be used effectively, but no new ground is being broken here. The level of introspection by the hero inside his own mind is a wishy-washy as well. Not a bad job of writing, but it feels as though Venditti was playing it safe a little. 

Art

Pat Olliffe has the pencils and Jeremiah Shipper has the colors in this issue. They produce an efficient issue that melds into the story, but unfortunately, is bound by it as well. The redesign of the villains, in the beginning, is fun, as is the action. Later on, though, as Hawkman battles for his body, it looks like a less convincing version of Firestorm. Overall it is a good effort from the art team. 

Conclusion

Hawkman #18 is trying to juggle a lot of balls and manages to keep almost all of them in the air. It is working with a couple of cliches that can be dangerous for writers in the medium, but the novel approach to the story usually allows it to succeed despite that. This is not the best comic ever, but it is satisfying enough. It does not necessarily bode well for the rest of Year of the Villain. One might expect a better output for the crossover, though events are generally hit-or-miss. As a standalone issue, it keeps a good storyline going for the series, especially with the final few pages. Still, though, it makes the reader think that there could have been just a little bit more risk-taking from the creative team. 


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