Five years after the end of his New 52 series, Hawkman is back with another solo. Last month the new creative team introduced their take on the character, and while the debut issue was solid it didn’t manage to stand out from other action titles currently available. Robert Venditti and Bryan Hitch are back this month as writer and artist respectively, while Hitch, Andrew Currie, and Daniel Henriques provide the inks. Jeremiah Shipper colors this issue, and Starkings and Comicraft letter it. Does Hawkman #2 pick up the pace and quality, allowing the title to soar?
Visually, this series continues to impress. Hitch continues to deliver classic Bryan Hitch, so if you’re a fan of his style you’ll like what you get here. There’s an abundance of detail to the line-work, which is pivotal in a series about an archaeologist exploring old ruins and the like. When Hawkman gets transported back in time and space to ancient Egypt in this issue, it actually feels like he’s been transported there thanks to Hitch’s elaborate backgrounds. The flow of movement in the action scenes is also solid, and Hitch’s rendering of Hawkman’s costume is aesthetically pleasing. It’s relatively simple, but all the key details are there: huge wings, intimidating mace, straps and hawk insignia on the chest. Good stuff all around.
Unfortunately, the rest of this issue’s visuals are a mixed bag. Colorist Jeremiah Shipper does impressive work in terms of shadows and light, but there are also stretches of pages that look fairly muted in a way that doesn’t work well. This isn’t always the case, as there are portions where the contrasts between colors are more striking and pleasing to look at, With that said, similar colors do blend together and look bland on occasion. The inking is also inconsistent throughout, which is likely attributable to the fact that there are literally three different inkers on this issue. On the other hand, the lettering by Starkings & Comicraft is clean throughout.
Writing-wise, this issue is solid. The narration doesn’t suffer from the same frequent repetition of similar phrases that plagued last issue. As a result, the dialogue and captions flow a lot more smoothly and are never grating. There’s also a sense here that Hawkman isn’t just pondering an unknown enemy or force, he’s actually doing something about it. In the segment of this issue that is set in ancient Egypt, hints about a possible upcoming antagonist are dropped, and they effectively build anticipation for the rest of the arc. The pacing here is really solid; this issue works as a singular entity and not just as a disjointed portion of a trade-paperback-to-be. On the down side, the supporting characters continue to feel more like props than anything else. Hawkman could also stand to have more development. He’s not so flat of a character that I feel ambivalent about his journey, but I’m not especially invested in it either.
Overall, Hawkman #2 is a marked improvement over the series’s debut issue. The pacing is strong, the artwork has classic Bryan Hitch goodness, and the plot actually feels like it’s progressing now. Nonetheless, some problems with the coloration, inking, and supporting cast hold the issue back a bit. With that said, this is a good action comic, as well as a good sign of what’s to come in the months ahead.