I was all worked up over how great The Savage Hawkman was going to be after I read issue #1. Tony S. Daniel got the series off to a great start with his focus on what made Hawkman so originally interesting, namely the ancient archeology and ancient alien theory themes backed up by some great action. By issue number 5 or 6 though, I had gotten bored with the whole thing. The series didn’t seem to be going anyway or accomplishing anything. I had also and once again gotten tired of Billy Tan’s artwork, which I was never really that enamored with in the first place. Then, after seeing that Rob Liefeld was taking over the book as the writer, I swore off The Savage Hawkman for good and moved on. Thank God Valiant was returning soon so I’d have something interesting to read. Then, on a lark, and halfheartedly wishing that The Savage Hawkman could be what I wanted it to be, namely a book about a hero who was an archeologist and who was investigating ancient alien theory to which his super-powered Nth Metal costume and powers were somehow mysteriously linked to, I picked up issue #9 off the rack of my LCS. I cringed at the horrible cover by Liefeld. I’ve never liked his art, and his writing was never much better, but the image of Carter Hall/Hawkman taking to the sky on pages 2 and 3 blew me away. Liefeld wasn’t doing the interior art. It was Joe Bennett (52, Justice League: Generation Lost). His work has always embodied just about everything I’ve ever looked for, and enjoyed in, a work of sequential art. For Bennett’s art alone, I picked up the book. I never knew I’d end up enjoying the story as well…
Carter Hall is trying to get his life back on track after the events of the past few issues and seems to be making a decent go of it. Questions about his Nth Metal powers still abound, but using his human powers as “an archeologist, professor of history, and the world’s foremost expert on linguistics” he’s getting close to unraveling some of the Nth Metal’s secrets. Unfortunately, before he can get any further into his investigations he’s attacked and kidnapped by an interstellar “power broker” who “specializes in antiquities and…ancient weapons” and plans to showcase a very specific weapon in an area before some prospective buyers…by way of a fight to the death.
I know, the plot and story aren't literature or “relevant” or anything like that. What it is though is a great sci-fi adventure that potentially has the ability to develop into a rollicking and interesting Kirby-esque tale of ancient aliens and contemporary marauders. It has the potential to be a tale of high heroics and slowly unraveling mystery. It also, to its benefit, has some of the best and most highly detailed artwork in the business gracing its pages.
Joe Bennett draws the best looking Hawkman ever. The imaginative detail he puts into the Nth Metal suit that Carter Hall wears, when in the guise of Hawkman, is as beautiful as it is complex. Bennett’s grasp of anatomy is also flawless. Hawkman’s muscles, like most superheroes’, are a little exaggerated, but Bennett gets them so picture perfect and anatomically correct that one hardly notices this. His city scape backgrounds are also flawless. The city looks realistic and believable behind Hawkman as he soars through and over it. The aliens hunters that Hawkman encounters are also interestingly detailed and, dare I say it, cool looking with their Tron-like hover boards and glowing suit highlights. Jason Wright’s masterful coloring scheme brings the whole affair to vivid life. The Savage Hawkman #9 is a great visual treat throughout.
So, while The Savage Hawkman doesn’t look to be rocking the social commentary or addressing any glaring social injustices anytime soon, it does look to be rocking the awesome themes that make Hawkman/Carter Hall one of the potentially most interesting sci-fi, ancient alien, and historically interesting character next to the Eternal Warrior. Congratulations Mr. Liefeld, you’ve won back a very disappointed reader…for now.