Death of Hawkman #1
Written by Marc Andreyko
Art by Aaron Lopresti, Livesay and Blond
Lettering by Josh Reed
Published by DC Comics
'Rama Rating: 7 out of 10
At one point, this mini-series was announced as Hawkman and Adam Strange: Out of Time, although the the more alarmist Death of Hawkman speaks to the history of Hawkman. Death and rebirth has long been a part of Carter Hall’s history, so unlike the many “death of” series out there, there’s sense of inevitability to Hawkman’s fate. Yet despite this element of predestination, the original title is more apt. The first issue of writer Marc Andreyko and Aaron Lopresti’s series is a retro style yarn, one that actually spends little time with the titular dead (Hawk)man walking.
Opening on the planet Rann with Hawkman and Adam Strange in the middle of a bloody fight, the script immediately flips back in time to the very origins of Strange and the duality of his existence. After exploring the very basics of his origins, the book establishes that he has been on Earth for some time, cut off from his “other” life and family on Rann. Unable to make contact with the planet he loves, Strange uses his Justice League connections to wander the globe in an attempt to connect with the Zeta beams that transport him back into space. All the while, he begins to feel as though there must be something terribly wrong for that connection to be lost.
The lighthearted tale takes a literally ‘down to Earth’ tone, with all but the bookends of the issue following Strange in his terrestrial environs. Throwing us back to the everyman stories that regularly peppered comics in the 1970s, Strange spends his time in the DMV, back alleys and industrial complexes of the world. It’s a little bit tongue in cheek, with Andreyko framing Strange as very much a B-lister. As one bewildered scientist identifies him, he’s from the Justice League “with Green Arrow and the Dr. Doolittle hero.” Yet unlike Marvel’s Ant-Man, by way of comparison, Andreyko plays this tale completely straight, with Strange’s ordinary life not so much a punchline as a statement of fact. As a result, it’s a fairly uncomplicated narrative.
Artistically, Lopresti, Livesay and Blond’s work feels just as perfunctory as the story, which is not to say that it is subpar in any way. The vision of Hawkman riddled with arrows on the second page, or the final page reveal with Adam Strange are incredibly striking images. It’s just that Andreyko’s script doesn’t allow much wiggle room, shuffling Strange from one place to the next in a completely linear fashion. The best sequences are the juxtaposition between Strange’s two worlds, contrasting laser fire with window cleaning, or his intense stare at a video game with the dry, cool gaze of an action hero.
What we have with Death of Hawkman is a mystery, but not the one that the title leads you to believe. To Andreyko’s credit, it’s an incredibly accessible book, with no prior knowledge really required for either the Hawkman or Adam Strange bits. Whether this results in the comic book death that makes the world stop and shrug in unison is yet to be seen, but it’s off to an interesting if not wholly arresting start.