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Hawkman #14

Posted: Thursday, April 3, 2003
By: Ray Tate



"Killers" Part II

Writer:Geoff Johns
Artists: Don Kramer(p), Prentis Rollins(i), John Kalisz(c)
Publisher: DC

1) Lousy, stupid, lack-witted, ham-fisted, dumb. 2) that which sucks. Used in a phrase: "Man that issue of Hawkman stinks like a methane filled bayou." "The Legend of Boggy Creek made more sense than the issue of Hawkman, and that gobbler was a turgid mess of offal." This is the entry you can find for this issue of Hawkman in The Dictionary of All-Star Stinkers.

Geoff Johns spins the origin of Gentleman Jim Craddock, and it smashes into the wall before laying on its side in repose. The story is completely vapid much like Kendra. Only guest artist Don Kramer shows promise. He and the other members of the artistic team give the idiotic tale a higher budget than it deserves. The writing is visually equivalent to the level of stick figures.

It should come to nobody's shock that Gentlemen Jim is the chap Hawkman murdered, an unnecessary continuity fudge that was mentioned last issue. How this murder takes place truly makes one applaud the sheer, naked brilliance and yes, even complexity of Pumaman which most readers will remember from Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Stupid Spoiler Alert! Stupid Spoiler Alert!

Hawkman as Nighthawk mistook a simple brouhaha as Craddock's attempt to rape Cinnamon: she who is now Hawkgirl. Now, let's suppose that Nighthawk has about as many gray cells as the average virus or Kendra. Even a child who was born with half of a brain would not have jumped to the conclusion that Nighthawk made.

Craddock is trying to steal a gold badge from Cinnamon. This is either going to be found in Cinnamon's a) pockets or b) pinned to either the outside or inside of her vest. At the worst, somebody happening upon them would leap to the conclusion that Craddock is trying to cop a feel not sampling Cinnamon's pastries. Based on that conclusion, Craddock deserves to be decked. Can you say contrivance to artificially inflate the importance of the story? I knew you could.

Let's say however that Nighty repeatedly hit his head against the sides of the well in which he was trapped and, after a brave collie fetches help, proceeded to blot out the pain with say a vat of whiskey, in what state was Cinnamon? Comatose? Vegetable, like Kendra?

From Craddock's own words, Cinnamon knew that she caught Craddock attempting to pilfer "a gold sheriff's badge from her." Unless she was actually into piercing far earlier than the time it became fashionable and was understandably indignant about Craddock attempting to filch her pubic brooch, she should have known that while Craddock was doing something wrong that wrong did not deserve a lynching. Can you say contrivance to artificially equate Kendra's situation with a past Hawkman tale? I knew you could.

"You tried to stick your cruller in Cinnamon's jelly roll, and now I'm gonna make you pay the baker."

"Whoa, cowboy, there's been some mistake--ack!"

"Nighty, come down. Craddock was just trying to swipe my badge."

"Oh. Well, that's a different matter. We won't hang 'em high. I'll just shoot him in the hand."

"Yes, that would be much fairer."

"Ack!"

If Craddock had for instance knocked out Cinnamon, Johns should have mentioned this. If Cinnamon was drugged at the time of the less than light-fingeredness, Johns should have mentioned this. If somebody had cut out Cinnamon's spicy tongue, Johns should have mentioned this. My point is that Johns seems to make Cinnamon out to be a mute damsel in distress just so Nighthawk can without reason hang Gentlemen Jim Craddock. Why--oh--why couldn't his haunting of the Hawks be explained through his inability to beat Nighthawk and Cinnamon at poker? It would be far more plausible.

After the sorry spectral show, things get more down to earth in the same way an albatross gets down to earth. In keeping with DC tradition, a woman senselessly dies while the man though shot powerfully--too powerfully for the caliber of the shooter's gun--in the upper arm manages to tough it out and stay out of shock. An erstwhile hero empties a clip by shooting two bullets seen and perhaps one bullet offpanel. If you're going to stage a gunfight, count the damn bullets! There are more than three bullets in a gun clip. Explain where the bullets went!

All of this leads to a dumbass change of heart in Kendra who decides that she has seen the light though certainly not the light of reason and allows the murderer of her parents to live. It's as if all her rage joins the magic bullets which mysteriously vanish from the gun clip. We don't even see the struggle against herself: not a white knuckle, not a tear or a sneer.

I have got to tell you folks, I have had it! I know Johns can write but he continually fails to do so four issues in a row of Hawkman. I've enjoyed his work on The Avengers, definitely on Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. as well as early issues of JSA and the premiere issues of Hawkman. The fruit has rotted on the vine, and I cannot tolerate the smell. This will be the last issue of Hawkman I will purchase until another writer takes a flail at the title. Excuse me while I reread Ben Raab's mini-series and my Gardner Fox collection of Hawkman books. Those make sense!



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