According to writer Marc Andreyko, there's a reason his and artist Aaron Lopresti's new mini-series is called Death of Hawkman, but he also said the six-issue story sets up "other adventures with these characters" in "Rebirth."
Death of Hawkman, which debuted this month, teams Hawkman with cosmic character Adam Strange as the two get caught up in a war between the worlds of Rann and Thanagar.
Newsarama talked to Andreyko to find out more about the "death" of Hawkman, how the two characters bump up against each other, and what readers can expect from upcoming issues.
Newsarama: Marc, the title of this series is a bit of a surprise. Can you talk about how this storyline evolved?
Marc Andreyko: I had been talking to DC about other projects, when "Rebirth" was starting to take shape. Some of those projects have changed their place on the timeline. And DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio mentioned this book to me.
I've always been a huge Hawkman fan, and I had a passing familiarity of Adam Strange. I had read the Andy Diggle mini-series that led into Infinite Crisis and of course, the Rann/Thanagar War by Dave Gibbons and Ivan Reis.
So I had a familiarity with him, but I'd never written him before. So I thought, let me think about what my hook for him would be.
Then we had a meeting with me, Dan, Geoff Johns, and Bob Harras and our editor on the book, and Geoff was just talking about writing the core of who these characters are.
And that all fell into place.
Nrama: This puts Hawkman into a space-based story. Why did you think this setting made place for him, particularly next to Adam Strange?
Andreyko: Well, you've got the history between Rann and Thanagar that goes back through the history of DC. And they're both created by the same gentlemen, so that helps - there's a link there.
What the hook was for me was, you know, on Earth, Adam Strange is just a guy, but when he's in outer space, he's a superhero.
And that's just the reverse for Hawkman. When Katar Hol is on Earth, he's a superhero. And when he's back on his home planet, he's just another cop.
So they're kind of the yin and yang of each other. One's success is the other's frustration. They really complement each other in that way.
Nrama: They've got to be fun to write as a pair. They're very different in other ways.
Andreyko: Oh yeah. This is kind of like the ultimate superhero cosmic buddy cop team. This is Danny Glover and Mel Gibson.
Adam is an archaeologist. Adam likes exploration and unraveling mysteries. He's a character who has a sense of wonder about all the great things that he gets to see in this weird life he leads amongst the stars.
Hawkman is a character who is struggling to find his place. He's back on his home planet, back amongst his people, but the grass isn't always greener. And that external struggle kind of mirrors the internal struggle that Hawkman's had over all these years with, you know, the various incarnations of him and his history of living multiple lives throughout the ages.
So Hawkman's at a really dark place at the beginning of this, trying to manage that rage and that frustration. Whereas Adam is in a place of just trying to unravel this mystery and keep two worlds from destroying each other.
Nrama: Can we get back to the title? "Death" of Hawkman. Is that teased event really central to the story?
Andreyko: Well, it's the title. So make of it what you will.
Fans of Hawkman should not be afraid. I love Hawkman. So regardless of what his fate is in this book, he's a character that I have a real attachment to, so this is not death and destruction for death and destruction's sake.
This has rhyme and reason behind it, and if you stick around for the ride, I think not only will you have a fun, sci-fi adventure that harkens back to the Golden Age of those, there will also be a lot of really important character stuff that is defined and set up for other adventures with these characters.
Nrama: The first issue set up the idea of the war. Can you talk about the status of the two worlds at this point?
Andreyko: As you saw in the first book, there have been all sorts of terrorist attacks all over the planet Rann. And it looks like these attacks were perpetrated by Thanagarian suicide bombers.
But as you'll see at beginning with issue #2, everything isn't what it seems. And Adam Strange seems to be finding himself the only one who is questioning the march to war, and questioning the evidence or lack thereof.
So it becomes a matter for him of not only unraveling a mystery and what is really going on, but there's a ticking clock of potential huge, galactic war between these two planets that have always been at odds with each other.
We have the micro story of Adam Strange unraveling this mystery against the macro story of the march to war between two planets and the destruction that could be caused therein, and who could be manipulating it all.
Nrama: We've already seen Despero mentioned - is that a key antagonist?
Andreyko: He is on the cover. Make of that what you will.
Nrama: We didn't see a lot of Hawkman in the first issue. More of him coming up? Before he dies, of course.
Andreyko: [Laughs.] Yes, lots of Hawkman coming up. Issue #2 is a real showcase for him. And it was kind of a strategic plan to get Adam Strange out there front-and-center first. When you say Hawkman to the average comic fan, they have an idea. You say Adam Strange, not so much. So it was a chance to establish Adam.
And Adam is more our eyes in the story. So all the cosmic craziness will be filtered through the eyes of someone with whom we have more in common.
Nrama: With artist Aaron Lopresti, you've got someone with an amazing list of work in his past. Can you talk about what Aaron brings to the title?
Andreyko: Aaron's been a professional penciller for a very long time and has always been rock solid. He knows how to tell a story.
But with this book, he's really hitting it out of the park. It's become a joke - I just keep sending him the same email saying, "Wow this stuff is stunning!" I joke that I sound like a broken record.
The amount of detail this guy puts in a page, in his pencils, rivals what you see in finished books. And it's just stunning.
And he's fast! He's a machine. I joke that I want to clone him, because he's so good and so fast.
The way I script, I generally leave a little of it open, to let the artist have a little room. I always say that I might be the director, but the artist is my cinematographer. And the way Aaron interprets what I write, and what he brings to the page - these originals, I wish we could put some of the pencil pages on so you could see what he's doing. It's jaw dropping.
And the finished product is beautiful as well. It's a gorgeous book. And the color palette makes it feel very sci-fi.
Nrama: Is there anything else you want to tell fans about what's coming up?
Andreyko: I think you can see from the title change, to putting front and center what the power of the story will be - I think readers will really like it.
We're "Rebirth" adjacent. We might not have the "Rebirth" banner on this book. But this book is keeping in tone and feel for what "Rebirth" has been doing - taking classic characters and reformulating them and showing their core, but with a fresh twist on it.
This is my first real jump into the big space epic pool, and I'm just trying to tell a story that is both cosmic and personal. And I think that thus far, I couldn't be happier and prouder of the team we've assembled, because the book is turning out better than I ever could have imagined.