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Hawkman #11

Posted: Thursday, January 16, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Rags Morales (p), Michael Bair (i)

Publisher: D.C. Comics

Plot:
The book opens with Hawkman receiving a beating at the hands of the guide who lead him to the Yeti temple in the last issue, as we see this guide in the reincarnated lover of Hath-Set, who we see has also returned to this world in a new body. As Hath-Set reveals that she has gotten her hands on an ancient device called the Absorbascon, which she claims is able to physically destroy a person's soul, we see that she plans on using it to bring an end to the Hawks continued reincarnations. However, we see Hawkman has one last card he can play, as he had planned ahead, and as such he has access to an ally who helps him escape. As Hawkgirl is also freed we see she is eager to take on Hath Set in direct combat, which is an activity that Hawkman claims is very likely to get them both killed. However, during the ensuing battle we see the Absorbascon is damaged, and when Hath-Set makes contact with the device she is turned into stone. We then see that when her lover makes contact with her, he undergoes an even more unusual transformation, as he becomes a giant bird-man. As the issue ends we see the man doesn't look to be all that happy with his new body.

Comments:
This issue doesn't seen to tie into the previous issue all that well, as last month we ended with Hawkgirl lying in the snow bleeding out from a gunshot wound, but in this issue this injury doesn't even rate a mention. There's also the idea that Hawkman & the rest of the supporting cast were buried under an avalanche, and while I'll accept the idea that they would've taken the time to dig out Hawkman, so they would have an appreciative audience for their villainous posturing, I do have to wonder why the villains took the time to rescue Jayita and Danny. There's also odd elements like the last time we saw Speed Saunders he was tumbling off the side of a mountain after his line had been cut, but in this issue we see the old man is not only alive, but he's also unharmed. Now I understand why writers deliver cliffhanger scenarios, as it's much easily to lure readers back for another issue if you offer up moments that are designed to leave them wanting to see how a particular crisis is resolved. However if this title is going to deliver the cliffhanger moments, and then simply resolve the problems it introduces off panel, or completely forget about them, as appears to be the case with Hawkgirl's gunshot wound, then I'm going to start noticing how much this book relies upon its cliffhanger endings to trick the readers into returning for the next issue.

I also have to address this book's completely bizarre finish, as it's one of those endings where the villains are defeated by an element that arrives completely out of left field that has next to nothing to do with anything the heroes did, but rather it's one of those moments where one almost has to laugh at the sheer goofiness of what one has just witnessed. I mean the villains have a device that apparently allows them to destroy a person's soul, which would effectively end the Hawks continued reincarnations. So is this device used against the Hawks by Geoff Johns to create a sense of danger? I mean the primary reason one would think such a specialized artifact would show up in a story is so that it be used to threaten the lives of our two heroes. Well, apparently Geoff Johns has a more sweeping imagination than myself, as it turns out his reason for including the device is so that it could be damaged, and in this damaged state in would turn one of his villains could be turned into stone, while the other is transformed into a giant bird-man. I mean this is such an odd ending that I was actually amused, as it has cheesy, almost incomprehensible logic to it that one rarely finds outside of a 1950 science fiction film.

I do have to give Rags Morales credit for his ability to detail the story in a visually exciting manner, and given the utterly strange story decision that this story makes in its final pages, I also have to credit the art for its delivery of this idea, as while it's a truly bizarre bit of writing the art does a nice job of clearly detailing the sequence. The art also creates a nice sense of urgency during its battle sequences, as when Hawkgirl decides to act against Hawkman's advice & engage the lead villain in combat, the art does a pretty solid job of conveying a sense of danger, as well as nicely playing up Hawkgirl's need to prove herself. The art also does a nice job with its big surprise on the double-page spread in the middle of this issue, as I will admit that I was as surprised as the villains by the sudden arrival of this guest-hero. The art also delivers some strong impact shots, and I like how the panel layouts become more imaginative when the action erupts. I also have to make mention of this month's cover, as Andrew Robinson delivers a wonderful shot of Hawkman that perfectly captures the idea that the character is a seasoned warrior who is quite willing to use lethal force on his enemies.

Final Word:
I'll give this issue credit for delivering a strong appearance by its guest-hero, and Rags Morales does his usual standup job on the art. However, this issue's failure to address the cliffhanger elements that it left us with at the end of last month's issue, and the outright bizarre turn of events that it offers up at the end of this month's chapter, left me unimpressed. I mean this is a book that seems to be the very definition of aimless when it comes to its stories, as it seems perfectly willing to inject elements that make very little sense, and deliver action sequence that reach abrupt endings thanks to some outright screwy plot contrivances. Now perhaps Geoff Johns has put a great deal of effort into researching this book, and these plot elements draw their inspirations from the real world mythology, but honestly I find this book's reliance on strange plot contrivances to be rather off-putting. I mean the last page of this issue is absolutely laughable.



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