Hawkman #26 is required reading for anyone even moderately interested in the character. It concludes a story involving a god named Lord Beyond the Void who wants to steal the powers of our protagonists, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, to take over the universe. Hawkman #25 perfectly set up this issue, which opens on our heroes chained and helpless. This is all about the legacy of Hawkman and the many lives he’s lived and by the end he’s forever changed.
This book looks great. The art team is composed of penciler Fernando Pasarin, inkers Oclair Albert and Wade von Grawbadger, and color artist Jeromy Cox. There is a hyper-detailed look not unlike Bryan Hitch’s work that keeps your eyeballs fed with musculature, attention to detail in the environments, and facial expressions. It’s the kind of comic book art that reminds you the medium is a half step away from the movies. Much like in the last issue, the “Heaven” for these heroes is also impressively rendered with a sea of skulls marking the lives they took over.
This book reads like a great idea, but that idea isn’t quite big enough to fill out a full issue. The meatiest scene involves Hawkman and Hawkgirl making a key choice, and you’ll believe in their love thanks to how Robert Venditti writes them. It’s a hugely important scene for these characters and their legacy, and it’ll impact many who love this series.
That said, how we got there really comes down to a bad guy overestimating how much power he can control. I’ll say no more to avoid spoilers, but the very idea comes out of thin air from Hawkman and seems like a shot in the dark with no purpose. “Let’s try this” is about as complicated as it gets. The fact that it works takes all the air out of the buildup to the moment even if it makes sense on some level. It does come with it a cool image of previous Hawkman and Hawkgirl characters (some of which we saw recently), adding weight to the choice.
This issue also ends on a very exciting cliffhanger. This cliffhanger is predicated on choices made and the defeat of the villain which in a sense backs up the thinness of their execution. Really, I’m just excited to see what Venditti does with the new direction.
Hawkman #26 is a very good looking book that could have used more conflict, and more discovery to make the victory and this story arc more rewarding. As a single issue, it’s just okay, but as a chapter in the history of Hawkman, it’s hugely important. Your enjoyment is going to vary depending on how impressed you are with the new direction.