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Hawkman #9

Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2002
By: Jason Cornwell



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

Publisher: DC

Plot:
The book opens with Doctor Fate paying a visit to his father, and we see Hawkman is rather curious why his son has decided to make this late night visit. We then see that the mysterious doctor has come to deliver a warning, as the evil presence that has been stalking the Hawks through all the various past lives has arrived in this era, and the only thing currently keeping it at bay is the idea that Hawkgirl is unsure of her feelings toward Hawkman. As Hawkman is left to consider the idea that they'll both be killed once again if Hawkgirl begins to fall in love with him, we see he's left with the bit of a problem. We then look in on Hawkgirl, who we see is being tormented by a nightmare, that looks to be her recollection of a shocking event that occur when she was a little girl. We see that she and her mother had a run in with a pair of creepy police officers, who attempted to rape her mother, and the suggestion was in the air that they intended to do the same to the young Kendra. However, Kendra was able to wrestle away a gun from one of their attackers, and she seriously wounded one of the officers, and outright killed the other one. However, when a disturbed Kendra pays a visit to Hawkman, she finds him quite abrupt and unresponsive.

Comments:
This issue adds a new wrinkle to the Hawkman's romance with Kendra, as we see that her lack of feeling toward him is the only thing keeping the dogs at bay, when it comes to sending the Hawks on their journey into their next lives. However, this issue is rather slow to make this fairly simple point, as over half the issue is handed over to this heart to heart between Hawkman & Doctor Fate, and the only new information that we walk away with is that Kendra's lack of interest in Hawkman is actually a good thing, as it breaks the repeating pattern that the Hawks are locked in, with their death/rebirth into their next lives coming on the heels of their rediscovery of their feelings toward each other. In turn we now see Hawkman has good reason to drive Hawkgirl away, and the forces looking to kill them have a vested interest in seeing the happy couple reunited. Plus, given they only need Hawkgirl to admit to feelings that one suspects she already feels for Hawkman, it is Hawkman who has to tougher hill to climb. Still, while this information adds a new twist to the main idea of this book, the meeting between Hawkman & Doctor Fate has a padded feel to it, as old ground is gone over once again.

As seems to be the case on this book, the other half of the book is handed over to Hawkgirl, as we see her have a nightmare about a pretty harrowing encounter that she had when she was a child. Now given Kendra wasn't possessed by the sprit of Hawkgirl until after she attempted to kill herself, one does have to wonder about this scene, as it would seem to suggest that the forces that have targeted the Hawks were looking to make a preemptive strike, though I will concede that this could've simply been a random act of violence. In any event the way this scene plays out does give one a pretty good clue about why Kendra looks to be a bit messed up when it comes to dealing with others, as she was subjected to a decidedly nightmarish display of violence at an early age. One also suspects this glimpse at the ugliness that men are capable of served to make her extremely distrustful of entering into a relationship with one. On the other hand from a story telling sense one had to notice that the second officer had his gun out, and this makes one suspect that the true intention of this encounter was to do away with Kendra, and presumably leave Hawkgirl stranded in limbo.

Much like his Marvel counterpart Doctor Strange, Doctor Fate is quite good at bringing out the more imaginative aspects of the artist, as most times a visit from Doctor Fate also includes that visit to the delightfully surreal confines of the good doctor's tower. Oddly enough this time Doctor Fate keeps the visit on the earthly plane, but we do get some clever visuals (e.g. the stairway through the roof), and there's also a little jaunt into the past, where we see the murder of once of Hawkgirl's past selves. Speaking of Hawkgirl, the shots of her writhing around in her underwear as she suffers from her nightmare are patently cheesecake art, and they do seem to be at direct odds with the serious minded material Kendra was being subjected to, but artists have been slipping in cheesecake shots for pretty much my entire comic reading experience, so other than pointing out that it wasn't appropriate for the scene, there's nothing more I can really say here. The art does a pretty good job capturing the horror of the flashback scene, with the look of utter panic on Kendra's face after the shooting being particularly moving. Oh and while it has to be on of the goofiest methods I've ever seen a villain employ to grab a hero's attention, the art does a nice job playing up the visual impact of the Yeti drop.

Final Word:
An issue that felt a little too padded for my liking, as I kept waiting for this story to get itself into gear, but the only new elements it brings to the table is a look at a harrowing encounter that Kendra had when she was a child, and Doctor Fate drops in to make Hawkman aware of a pattern that has been cropping up in all of Hawkman's previous lives. The thing is even this pattern seems to have some fuzzy logic to it, if Hawkgirl falls in love with Hawkman then the villain can kill them. This in turn begs the question of why this killer hasn't acted far sooner in the previous incarnations, as even looking at their previous life together, it would seem the Hawks were an item for at the very least the nine months it took for the new Doctor Fate to be conceived & brought into this world. Still, the simple fact of the matter is this issue doesn't offer up much in the way of new information, as one gets the sense the creative team is still busy showing off how they've untangled the mess that was Hawkman's past continuity.



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