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Hawkman #25

Posted: Monday, February 16, 2004
By: Jason Cornwell



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

Publisher: DC

The Plot:
As the Atom deals with Mr. Mind, thus taking Brainwave out of the fight, we see the JSA are able to turn their collective energies on taking down Black Adam. While most of the JSA fall before the considerable might of Black Adam, we see Hawkman and Alan Scott manage to get the villain on the ropes, but the fight is brought to an unexpected end, when Captain Marvel arrives with a surprising solution to the problem of Black Adam.

The Good:
While it's not exactly practical means of attacking a character like Black Adam, as the lower powered characters presence would limit the attacks that the heavy hitters could unleash, I do have to say my inner fanboy was let out a girlish sounding scream of glee when we hit this issue's credit page shot of the JSA effectively attempting to form a dog-pile with Black Adam at the bottom. There's also some pretty cool one shot panels, as Black Adam's elbow to Mr. Terrific's head is wince inducing, and while he goes down quickly, I have to say Jay Garrick gets a nice little moment where he delivers a flurry of punches. I also have to say I'm a sucker for the big moments as when Hawkman is wailing away on Black Adam with that Green Lantern powered mace I have to admit I was fully convinced that this was one of the coolest battles the JSA had ever been involved in. Now this feeling quickly vanished when Captain Marvel arrived with his suggestion that brings the battle to a decidedly undramatic finish, but in the end I have say the issue managed to hold my interest, and given this entire arc has been one extended slugfest, I have to say Geoff Johns managed to keep the excitement level at a ridiculously high level, that I suspect I would be disappointed by any ending he offered up. There's some nice aftermath material, as we see Hawkman is asked to leave the JSA, and he agrees to leave without incident.

I'm really going to miss Rags Morales work on this title, and I hope that DC has another monthly title lined up as he's a truly wonderful artist, who has more than proved himself capable of delivering high quality on a monthly basis. This issue is a wonderful display of visual excitement, as the double-page spread of the entire JSA lineup slamming into Black Adam is a fantastic action shot. The scene where Hawkman is laying into Black Adam with Scott's mace is also a truly memorable sequence. There's a nice quiet little moment as well, as the final page of this issue is a lovely visual good-bye, as one has to believe the situation between between Hawkman and Hawkgirl still has some potential when one looks at that final page. Black Adam's fury and grief when he discovers that the battle has strayed into the burial site of his wife and children is also well presented, as it's very easy to believe he's on the verge of killing Hawkman. Rex Tyler's solo effort against Black Adam is also quite enjoyable, as it perfectly captures the character's pugilist nature.

The Bad:
Call me old fashioned but I remember a time when heroes didn't let villains get away. I mean sure Captain Marvel makes some good points about how their taking down Black Adam would likely do more harm than good, but when one considers that Black Adam was the one that played off the inner insecurities of the characters that made up his group, one can easily make the connection that Black Adam is directly responsible for the deaths of both Eclipso and Nemesis. Plus, from an entertainment standpoint it a bit disappointing to see the situation is left largely unresolved, as the final page makes it clear that Black Adam has no intention of holding to the promise he made to the JSA. There's also the simple fact that the book offers up a scene where the JSA look like they can't get off the battlefield quick enough which doesn't exactly project the proper degree of heroism, when the team is shown racing off with their tails between their legs. One also has to openly wonder how the JSA plan on explaining their withdrawal to the world community, who aren't exactly going to take much comfort in the knowledge that Black Adam gave his word. He wouldn't illegally take over any more countries. I also have to say that the battle between Mr. Mind and the Atom stands up as one of the more disappointing exchanges I've come across in quite some time, as it lasts a grand total of four panels, and presents Mr. Mind as about as formidable as a cardboard box in a rainstorm.

Power Girl, The Masked Avenger:
There are some truly enjoyable moments in this issue, as the JSA work together in a bid to take down Black Adam. However, the big brawl is brought to a finish that I have real difficulty accepting as rather then stamping out this fire, the JSA agree to look the other way because Black Adam promises to behave. I mean essentially this ending invalidates the entire story, as after showing us how ruthlessly Black Adam and his group took over the country of Kahndaq, we're supposed to believe the JSA would be willing to leave the situation as it stands because pressing the attack might make the situation worse. I don't like that the JSA left the situation as it stands, as this entire story has clearly spelled out how dangerous Black Adam is and yet when they are offered the easy way out, the JSA suddenly can't get out of Dodge fast enough. I mean overall this arc has been one of the most enjoyable arcs Geoff Johns has offered up, but the more I think about this issue's ending the more annoyed I become by the untidy nature of this solution, especially when the final page makes it clear that it was a mistake.



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