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Hawkman #10

Posted: Sunday, December 22, 2002
By: Jason Cornwell



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

Publisher: DC

Plot:
The book opens with the staff of the Stonechat Museum in St. Roch getting a visit from the Gentleman's Ghost. We then look in on another section of the city as we see the St. Roch police receive a rather unsettling report from the Austin police regarding Kendra Saunders (aka. Hawkgirl). We then look in on Hawkman & Hawkgirl as they have arrived in Tibet on the trail of the mystery party who implied that they were holding Kendra's grandfather Speed Saunders captive. As their search leads them to a temple located high in the mountains, that is supposed to be the home to the Yetis race, we see the Hawks receive a fairly rude welcome, when they are set upon by a swarm of Yetis who look to have been whipped up into a murderous frenzy. As the Hawks manage to hold their own in this battle we see they are somewhat puzzled when the creatures suddenly stop fighting, and begin to make an unholy racket. However the Hawks soon discover this noise has triggered an avalanche, and they cue into this fact just in time to get themselves buried under a mountain of snow. However, while Hawkgirl is able to keep herself from going under, she soon falls victim to a surprise betrayal that leaves her bleeding to death in the snow.

Comments:
Given the writers involved with this title I have to say that I'm quite surprised that I'm not finding this book more enjoyable. Now I'll concede that I was never been a huge Hawkman fan before his most recent rebirth, but my problem with this book doesn't really stem from the character. Instead I'd have to put the blame squarely at the feet of this book's rather uninspired plots, and the action sequences that lack any real sense of imagination. I mean this issue has Hawkman & Hawkgirl traveling to Tibet to rescue Speed Saunders, and this in turn results in a battle with a swarm of Yetis. Now there's a betrayal in the closing pages of this issue that leaves one of our heroes in a fairly bad way, and I'll admit that last page has me eagerly awaiting next month's issue. However, the rest of the issue failed to grip my attention, as while the art does a nice job capturing the savagery of the creatures, the simple fact of the matter is that raging Yetis don't make for particularly compelling opponents. In fact I'd even go as far to say that aside from the strong art, there's nothing all that special about the eight pages that this book devoted to detailing the Yetis attack. The history lesson that we're treated to before the encounter was also delivered in a rather dry, perfunctory manner.

This issue does offer up a couple intriguing subplots to start off the book, as we see the Gentleman's Ghost has taken to haunting the Stonechat Museum in St. Roch, and as such Hawkman's sure to encounter him in the near future. We also get a nice little teaser regarding Kendra's life before she became Hawkgirl, as we see the police from her home town have decided to give the police in St. Roch a head's up about something from her past. Now I suspect the file deals with the horrific encounter we we're treated to last issue, but given the victims of this attack ended up being the attacking police officers, who knows what claims are made by that police file, and since Kendra's mother is dead, it becomes a he said, she said case, which doesn't look promising when the man on the other side is a wounded police officer with a dead partner. Still, the simple fact of the matter is that once these opening pages are done, and the book shifts to the adventures of Hawkman & Hawkgirl, I found my interest began to slip, and it was only regained thanks to a nicely done betrayal scene in the final pages of the issue. In the end the strong opening & closing pages simply weren't enough to make up for the rather weak middle.

Rags Morales is a very solid artist, and I can mention enough that this book is all the stronger thanks to his presence. From the nice credit page shot of the Gentleman's Ghost that perfectly plays up the character's otherworldly status, to the very impressive work that is done during the Yetis attack, this issue is one of his best efforts yet. Now the temple of the Yetis is a bit unimpressive, but the swarm of Yetis that surge out of the building more that makes up for this. The savagery of the attack was also nicely countered by the equally impressive display that is made by Hawkman, as it actually looks like he's using that sword to deliver lethal attacks, which simply isn't done within the ages of a comic. The avalanche sequence is also pretty impressive, as page eighteen has a nice sense of danger to it. I also have to give the art full credit for making the final pages so exciting, as there's a great series of panels where we see that Kendra has been shot, and is bleeding out into the snow. My only quibble with this issue is that we only received twenty-one pages of art, and as such getting four one-page spreads makes for a rather quick read. The cover makes great use of its empty space though, as Hawkman looks positively murderous.

Final Word:
This issue starts off well enough with a couple of interesting subplots back in St. Roch, and it end with an exciting cliffhanger finish, but the middle section of the issue made for pretty average reading. Now I will credit the art for delivering a visually exciting display as the Hawks battle a sizable army of crazed Yetis, and the avalanche is an impressive moment. However, the simple fact of the matter is that this mystery doesn't really get going until the final pages, and I have to say that when Hawkman starts prattling on about the history of the Yetis race, I found myself rapidly losing interest. I mean here's a golden opportunity to have some fun with the idea that the Hawks are on an adventure that involves Yetis, and Geoff Johns manages to make it as exciting as a history lesson. There's also the simple fact that while it's visually impressive, the battle with the Yetis lacked any real purpose beyond killing pages until the cliffhanger finish could make its arrival.



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