I always loved the old Hawkman stories. The ones from the character's earliest days, often collected in the old Archive Editions DC Comics used to produce. Carter Hall was an adventurer, an archeologist, and a bit of a rogue, but all hero. The character was steeped in history as well, being a reincarnated Egyptian prince/warrior named Khufu, locked in an eternal battle with evil. As the decades passed, Carter Hall/Hawkman's backstory became more convoluted than Wolverine's, and despite several attempts to reinvent and streamline the character, Hawkman never really got the attention and unification of story that the character really deserved. Enter Rob Venditti (Surrogates, X-O Manowar, Green Lantern), and after one issue, Carter Hall/Hawkman is made more interesting, unified, and, dare I say it, cool, than he has since he made his debut way back in Flash Comics #1.
That's not hyperbole. Venditti has a great history of writing about characters with a history. His run on Valiant Comics' X-O Manowar will forever be the character's defining story arc. Aric of Dacia's long and storied history as a Visigoth warrior kidnapped by aliens and redeposited on Earth centuries later in control of the greatest weapon in the universe, was redefined and expanded by Venditti during his run. Now, he's bringing his brilliant characterization and storytelling skills to the character he was born to write. Venditti introduces his somewhat swashbuckling, Indiana Jones swaggering character with a bang, mixing archeological adventure with mystic battles. His later encounter with Madame Xanadu cements and cleans up his history in a matter of a few brilliantly written and paced pages, making Carter Hall one of the most interesting characters in the DC Comics superhero pantheon, and one of the most potential laden as far as smart storytelling goes. Venditti, in a few pages, did more for the sometimes downtrodden and misused DC Comics superhero than anyone in the past several decades. I cannot wait to see what he does with a whole run on an unlimited series.
Bringing Venditti's already brilliant take on Hawkman to life is the incomparable Bryan Hitch. His detail and realism laden pencils and inks fit Hawkman perfectly. Mystical flying gorilla golems, beautiful Aegean Sea locales, action packed battles, and full two page spreads that span both space and time are all feasts for the eyes. Hitch is much more than a detail oriented, realism based, penciler though. He's a visual storyteller who makes smart use of irregular panel layout to move Venditti's story along while enhancing it at the same time.
I haven't been this excited about a DC Comics title since Superman went through his recent Rebirth of the last few years. This is the DC Comics' superhero title that will prove to be the biggest, if not the best, read of the year. Venditti and Hitch are already a winning combo on Hawkman. Again, this is only after one issue. Just imagine what awaits us readers as the series progresses.