Darkhawk is a character that has different types of fans depending on when readers discovered him. Original fans will know him as a young hero who discovered a mystical amulet and did his best with an armor he didn’t understand. More recently, an entire ancient order of people called the “The Fraternity of Raptors” was revealed to be the source of this power, and it was so powerful it took down the Shi-ar Empire. From street-level young hero to space soldier, those are two very different focuses on the character. This is why it makes sense Marvel is releasing a special 30th-anniversary one-shot that encapsulates multiple aspects of the character. With three different creative teams, Marvel sets out to honor the past and set up the future.
All in all, this is a great take on the one-shot format with three different creative teams. This book is setting up a future story and is likely gauging fan interest, so if you’re a Darkhawk fan snatch this up and get one for your friends too. You can get a taste of all three stories in the Darkhawk: Heart of the Hawk #1 preview.
The first story is by Danny Fingeroth and Mike Manley with colors by Chris Sotomayor, and is set just shortly after Chris Powell. This story does a good job reminding us how new to being a superhero Chris was, but also the complex relationship he has with his father and a local mobster. It’s a good example of how the character can work in street-level storytelling even though his suit is super-powered. The art and color do a lot to bring back the 1990s style, which gives the tale a nostalgic vibe.
This is the longest story of the three, but does the most work as far as define who Chris is and what his goals are. That nostalgic vibe ages this story, which can give it a clunky sort of feel. It also does less with more pages, though that certainly contributes to the more old school vibe.
Next up, Dan Abnett and Andrea Di Vito (with inks by Le Beau Underwood and colors by Sebastian Cheng) deliver a story that is also set in the past, but not too far back. This is a space-age Darkhawk with a western vibe. It comes complete with a space bar, shady types who don’t take to his kind around these parts, and a downtrodden and a bit harder-edged Chris Powell. It’s a good reminder this character works very well in the cosmic corner of Marvel Comics. The art looks great, jamming in a lot of characters per panel and never skimping on detail.
Wrapping up the book is Kyle Higgins and Juanan Ramirez’s story with colors by Erick Arciniega. This story is set in the present and it has Chris all alone and in a dark place. He’s thinking about his life, his relationship to his powers, and how far he’s come. This story, like the last, cleverly connects with the previous tale, which gives the narrative a good flow and direction. It also weaves in a few good sci-fi ideas, the colors are great at light effects, and it ends at a point where you’ll want more. This is the shortest story but also is more like a teaser for more to come.
This is a good one-shot that celebrates Darkhawk, but also sets up the reader for more to come. Editor Darren Shan has done a great job curating a book that not only honors the past but does so in the anthology format that’s usually a collection of random tales. Not so here, as each builds off the last and making a strong case for fans to want more Darkhawk.
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