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Hawkman #5

Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2002
By: Jason Cornwell



Writers: Geoff Johns & James Robinson
Artists: Rags Morales (p), Michael Bair (i)

Publisher: DC

Plot:
The book opens with Hawkman & Hawkgirl back in St. Roch, where they are on hand to witness the attempted murder of a famous celebrity who had returned to St. Roch to be part of the city's annual festival. As Hawkgirl races the dying man to hospital, we see Hawkman heads after the killer, but in the confusion Hawkman finds himself taking down the Green Arrow, who is in town on the trail of a murderer who is disguising himself as Green Arrow, and targeting prominent citizens of St. Roch. After an initial scuffle, we see Hawkman stops long enough to allow Green Arrow to make it clear that he's not the murderer, but the two are soon back at each others throats after Oliver decides now is the ideal time to mention that Hawkman's obsessive behavior toward Hawkgirl is downright creepy. However before the fight can get out of hand, we see the two men agree that catching the killer is more important than continuing this fight. We then see the two men work together to track down the killer, who we discover is a hired assassin who goes by the name of “the Spider”.

Comments:
The strained relationship between Hawkman & Green Arrow has always been one the defining elements that I envision whenever I think of either character, as their Justice League of America feuds acted as my first introduction to these two characters. Now as a young child I always sided with Hawkman, as Green Arrow wasn't nearly as cool as Hawkeye over in the Avengers, and I was at the age where one could only like one archer, while actively disliking the other. Plus, Hawkman & his spiked mace were infinitely cooler that Green Arrow's rather lame duck collection of trick arrows. Now that both these characters have been brought back, it's great to see that this rivalry has been resurrected as well, and while we got a taste of it over in the pages of Green Arrow's book, this issue offers up a more satisfying bout, as their dislike toward each other on full display. This issue's encounter does a great job offering up a Green Arrow who knows how to push Hawkman's buttons, and I loved how the battle is brought to a close with a simple exchange that makes it quite clear this fight is far from over.

Fans of James Robinson's "Starman", or Geoff Johns "Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E." are likely to be pleasantly surprised by the last page revelation of the mystery villain, but for readers looking for a heads up on who exactly this character is, I suggest you give the following web-site a look, as it offers up a detailed summary of the character's past, including his Golden Age origin, and his revamped history (http://members.tripod.com/originalvigilante/spider.htm). In any event, as a fan of James Robinson's work on Starman, I love the idea that he's drawing upon elements from that series, and it should also be interesting to see Green Arrow cross arrows with a fellow archer, especially when the archer in question is a proven killer. Now since this is Hawkman's book I'm guessing he'll also play a role in the ensuing battle, and given the ruthless side that this series has infused the character with, this should be one heck of a battle. It should also be nice to see Hawkman & Green Arrow fighting alongside each other once again, as while they were always at each other's throats, they did make for a fairly effective team during combat.

Rags Morales turns in his best looking issue yet, as the credit page spread does a wonderful job capturing the festive St. Roch atmosphere. The art also delivers a stunning double-page shot where an enraged Hawkman lashes out at Oliver for daring to make the suggestion that his love toward Kendra is an obsession. I mean, the look of rage on Hawkman's face on this page is absolutely riveting, and I must admit that after looking at this page I was surprised that Oliver was able to get Hawkman to cool down with a simple reminder that they had a villain to catch. The art also does a pretty nice job introducing its guest-star to the reader, as page six is a great looking shot of a ticked off Green Arrow, and the ensuing flight/fight was nicely rendered as well. We also get a nice peek at Hawkman's room, as well as a fairly amusing scene where Green Arrow has to be warned not to touch any of the priceless artifacts that litter this room. There's also a pretty nice shot of Hawkman on page twenty as he plays the role of distraction so Green Arrow can slip in unseen. The cover to this issue is also quite eye-catching.

Final Word:
An issue that's a bit light in the plot department, but it does offer up a nice confrontation between Hawkman & Green Arrow, where we see Geoff Johns makes it clear that these two men are never going to get along, as Oliver seems to get an almost perverse thrill out of egging Hawkman on until he snaps. Then again given Hawkman's recent appearance over in the pages of Green Arrow's book, one can look at Oliver's behavior as payback for Hawkman's cautionary comments about Oliver renewing his relationship with the Black Canary. The issue also has itself a fairly nice surprise on the final page, as we see the villain looking to frame the Green Arrow for the recent string of killings in St. Roch, is one who made a couple memorable appearances in the latter stages of James Robinson's "Starman". This issue also allows artist Rags Morales to infuse the city of St. Roch with some atmosphere, and one can only hope it'll evolved into the next Opal City.



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