exclusive image from HAWKMAN #12As one of the most recognizable figures in the comic book industry, Rob Liefeld packs a lot of punch when he says a comic is his "favorite thing [he's] ever done."
For DC fans, it might be even more surprising to find out the comment applies to the origin he's telling in The Savage Hawkman #0. After all, that character's origin before the New 52 caused confusion among even the most avid Hawkman fans.
But this isn't the first surprise Liefeld has given Hawkman fans. Since he's taken over Savage Hawkman, he's hinted at the introduction of a red-haired beauty who looks a lot like she might be Shayera Hol, the character known as Hawkwoman. How she fits into the New 52 has yet to be seen, but Liefeld indicated that her story is very important to the series.
In September's The Savage Hawkman #0, which is part of a line-wide "Zero Month" from DC, Liefeld will tackle the secrets behind the New 52 version of Hawkman, as readers finally discover his connection to Thanagar and why he came to Earth.
The series is one of three DC titles that Liefeld is currently guiding for DC. On Savage Hawkman and Grifter, he's plotting and co-scripting with Mark Poulton, but on Deathstroke, he's both writing and drawing.In September, he'll also be returning to the Hawk and Dove characters he helped introduce to the New 52, working on a story for DC Universe Presents #0.
In this first installment of our interview with Liefeld, we talked to him about what's coming up in Savage Hawkman.
Newsarama: Rob, I just have to talk about this right off the bat: Your first issue of The Savage Hawkman revealed Carter having a vision of a red-headed woman who appears to be a Thanagarian. Is there anything you want to tell fans about that tease? Are we right to assume that's meaningful?
Rob Liefeld: Yes, she is a very meaningful character and her eventual arrival sets up important revelations for Carter as well as the next arc.
Nrama: When might we see more about her? And can you give us hope that it's Shayera?
Liefeld: There's always hope. And change.
Nrama: Now that you've gotten a few issues of Hawkman written, how would you describe your approach to the character? And what do you think makes him unique from other characters you've written?
Well, for me it was important for Carter to have a discovery of who he is and why he possesses the Nth Metal armor. Until he discovers the truth he can't truly understand what his true purpose is. That is what is driving his story, that's what is pushing him. It's the pressure that he experiences that refines and renews him. He is desperate to discover his truth and desperate characters make interesting choices. He's in complete contrast to say, Cable, who knew exactly what his purpose and mission was and he would not be deterred. Carter is in the dark but not for much longer.
Nrama: Is the key theme you're setting up for the comic this search for answers about who he is?
Liefeld: Yes. That's his sole pursuit, especially given the attention he's now receiving from hunters of both human and alien origin.
Nrama: As readers get to peek into Carter's past in issue #0, will it further the character's search at all? Or are we as readers getting to learn things in #0 that he doesn't?
Liefeld: Issue #0 is by far my favorite anything I've ever done. We went BIG and received approvals all down the line. #0 reveals Carter's past to both him and the reader simultaneously. At the end of #0 Carter will know where he came from and why he is here. He might not know how exactly he got here but we have to leave some pieces to play with in future issues. But yes, many big revelations are made in #0. I'm not sure Hawkman comes out of issue #0 better than he went into it, it puts him in a really difficult spot, but it's key in setting up what comes next, which is the next biggest thing he will experience.
Nrama: How will that issue further the plot you're planning for the character into the future?
Liefeld: It's key for everything that follows. It's sets up the next 6 months worth of story.
Nrama: The first few pages of your introduction of Carter Hall seemed to really concentrate on the fact that he's a brilliant archaeologist. Will the book continue highlighting that aspect of the character, or are you moving on now that it's established?
Liefeld: Yes. His background as an Archeologist and his contacts in that field are front and center in issue #11. Carter's a smart guy, and his knowledge of history and artifacts will prove valuable when necessary. Occasionally it will open a door for him to walk in that he should have avoided all together. For the present, the focus is squarely on Hawkman more so that Carter the Archeologist.
Nrama: We just saw a "gladiatorial death match" this week. How did that action contribute to the ongoing story of Hawkman that you’re trying to tell?
Liefeld: Well, the death match is part of a showcase that XERXES presents to put the Nth Metal through its paces for the buyers he's assembled. It gives Hawkman fans old and new a showcase for his abilities as well. The issue came out really nice as Joe Bennett and Art Thibert continue to strut their amazing talents. The work these guys are doing is phenomenal.
Nrama: In issue #11, readers will meet St. Bation and Pike. How do these two characters help further define Hawkman?
Liefeld: St. Bastion ties in directly with the scrolls that Carter has, the one's with the mysterious messages and potentially cryptic warnings. Bastion believes that Carter is a heretic and wants possession of the scrolls . We find out that the line between Winged creatures, angels and aliens is more blurry than previously believed. Issue #11 expands Hawkman's perception in how others might see him.Pike actually appears in issue #10 in a reveal I'm hoping gives readers a nice jolt. He becomes the focus of issue #12 which is a grand set up for issue #0. Every issue turns up the heat for Hawkman, then in issue #0 he's deep in the frying pan.
Nrama: Is Emma part of his ongoing supporting cast? Can you tell us anything about her?
Liefeld: Emma is with him every step of the way. I've written up to issue #14 and she is side by side for all Carter's adventures. She's proving to be quite resourceful as well.
Nrama: How has it been working with Mark Poulton, and do you guys intend to stick together on Hawkman?
Liefeld: I love Mark, he's a great collaborator and a bright young talent. I met Mark on my message boards about 10 years ago and he shared his creator-owned series Koni Waves with me. I was really impressed with his ambition as well as his talent. I gave him Avengelyne a few years back and he spearheaded that revival. Avengelyne is a fun comic, really well done by all involved. When I accepted Deathstroke, Grifter and Hawkman, I asked Mark to help out on the final scripts. I thought we could blend our voices together and create a nice narrative. Reaction has been good to what we've produced so far and the collaboration gets better every issue.
Nrama: This isn't Joe Bennett's first run on a Hawkman title, but it's obviously his first time working on the character with you and Mark. What has Joe Bennett been bringing to the comic overall, and have you been writing to his strengths, or is it more about him meeting the challenges of what you're writing?
Liefeld: I received pages from Hawkman #0 this morning and to be honest, the work Joe's doing on this book puts him on par with the very best in our business. He's drawing out of his mind. I recruited him for this book as I'm a massive, longtime fan of his work. I'm absolutely trying to write to his strengths. There's a time when it all comes together for an artist, everything just clicks and that's what's happening with Joe right now. He's hungry to stand out and by the time you see all his issues together you'll see for yourself how amazing his work on this book is. Art Thibert was the most sought after inker/finisher in the early 90's, Jim Lee and I had a furious bidding war for his services. He's one of the top inkers in the field. His work on top of Joe is producing beautiful pages. The combo is phenomenal.
Nrama: What can you tell fans about what to expect in Savage Hawkman over the rest of 2012?Liefeld: Get ready for the most exciting story and art coming out of DC. They are letting me tear it up on this book and Joe and Art, Mark and Jason are all producing at the highest level. Our next arc that rolls out in the fall is explosive and continues to tie Hawkman into the bigger picture of the new DC universe.
Nrama: Since Hawkman is part of the Justice League family of titles, is there any chance we'll see him interact with any of the Justice League teams?
Liefeld: Keep reading. There are big plans for Hawkman.
Nrama: Can you confirm whether he'll be involved with next year's Trinity War event?
Liefeld: I cannot.
Nrama: Then is there anything else you want to tell fans about Savage Hawkman?
Liefeld: Buy extra copies and share them with your friends. They'll thank you for the artwork alone!
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