Hawkman is no more. In his place is the Sky Tyrant, the villainous Earth-3 version of the perpetually reincarnating hero. After being defeated by Hawkwoman, Sky Tyrant Zeta Beams himself onto Hawkan’s ship and sets off trying to find the object that will earn him billions of reincarnations through an equal number of killings: The Black Journal.
Hawkman has been through a lot following his re-emergence into the DC Universe. He’s discovered his first true origin, learned of his past lives and has done everything in his power to ensure that he could continue protecting the world through his newfound knowledge. That is until The Batman Who Laughs infected him with an Nth Metal Batarang which brought out one of his evil personas in The Sky Tyrant.
This issue does a great job in showing how Carter Hall’s centuries of knowledge will also be his downfall as Sky Tyrant uses it to his advantage. Initially I had questioned whether or not Year of the Villain had gotten in the way of a story that Robert Venditti had wanted to tell, but it appears as though this was absolutely in the works and the Batman Who Laughs was the perfect way to introduce the villainous Hawk.
Through a Black Journal entry by Katarthul, the Rannian incarnation of Hawkman, Sky Tyrant learns of one of the possible locations of any number of weapons of mass destruction. Through Fernando Pasarin’s amazing pencils, Jeromy Cox’s overbearing reds and oranges as Katarthul reaches the end of his life and Oclair Albert’s excellent inks in the opening pages, we feel how important it is for Carter to keep knowledge of the Journal out of the wrong hands. Unfortunately for the Rannian Hawk, he wrote everything down in personal journals anyway.
Sky Tyrant proceeds to taunt Carter now that he’s learned what he needed to and sets course for another world. At the same time, Venditti also stresses the importance of the relationships that Carter’s gained over time as The Atom and Hawkwoman are hot on the trail to rescue him. The Atom is one of Hawkman’s longtime friends and Hawkwoman is his former partner and lover, so seeing him taken over by evil is heartbreaking, but nothing they won’t try their hardest to solve.
One thing that can’t be understated as well is how amazing the art team is in this issue and my hope that this is the team going forward. Pat Olliffe is a fantastic artist, but Pasarin brings in a quality similar to that of Bryan Hitch in the beginning. Action scenes are given dynamic posing, there’s something of a cinematic feeling in single and double page spreads and Albert’s inks coupled with Cox’s colors gives each page depth that makes the reader feel like they’re in the book.
Robert Venditti also makes the reader feel Carter’s helplessness as he’s not in control of his body and can do almost nothing to sway Sky Tyrant. He managed to cause the evil one to crash into a bus two issues prior, but Carter hasn’t displayed the same willpower since. This gives in to Sky Tyrant’s words that the longer he stays in control, the less and less Carter will have influence over the body.
I enjoyed this issue of Hawkman a lot. Switching artists is always a rough deal, but thankfully Fernando Pasarin, Jeromy Cox and Oclair Albert are an amazing team together. Robert Venditti’s vision for the character only continues to reach new heights (pun intended for this issue) and makes me yearn for more of this story. With such great writing and even better art, Hawkman still remains one of the more underrated DC releases today.
Hawkman #20: The Black Journal
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
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