HAWKMAN versus St. ROCH
Where: Hawkman #31 When: October 2004
Writer: Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti Artist: Ryan Sook
The story so far...
Settling into St. Roch hasn't been easy for Hawkman.
In a pit of depression over his own destined shortcomings, and his inability to protect a female scientist in a terrorist explosion at a chemical lab; Hawkman finds himself in a dark place. That is, until he makes the acquaintance of local jazz singer, Domina Paris.
Tensions between the Hawk-people and police Detective Grubs escalate as a series of murders dubbed the Angel Killings begin. Named so for the MO of painting a red cross on the victim's chest, and perching them in some manner with makeshift wings.
Hawkman and Hawkgirl become distracted as they battle a mysterious creature that appears linked to the killings, but unfortunately find themselves in the police spotlight alone, each and every time.
Tale of the tape...
If there's one thing this website needed, it's more Hawkman!
I've made passing reference in the past to the gaping DC shaped hole in my comics collection, and where characters like Hawkman are concerned, that'll be a lasting regret. He really is a great fighting character, and just something interesting in a sea of themed superheroes.
A fond versus moment from the past is a black and white oversized reprint of a Hawkman/Superman clash. Unfortunately as an inferior reprint, it will not be featured in future instalments.
Strength: 4 (Steroid popper)
Stamina: 4 (Athlete)
Fighting ability: 6 (Warrior)
If the ratings were more expansive, Hawkman would probably get a seven for stamina, being essentially immortal. Never the less, as always, these ratings are indicative of more immediate abilities, and cannot be one hundred percent inclusive.
Like many heroes, Hawkman's strengths are quite straight forward and universal.
He's got some big, heavy old weapons, and he's crazy and tought enough to use them. Arguably his strenght is probably somewhere closer to a 3.5, but in my experience his strength tends to be variable around that mark.
The character adopting the name of St. Roch has fought Hawkman in previous issues of this storyarc, but there's very little to gauge the length of the character's abilities.
As these things tend to go, we have to step outside of the story and acknowledge that by raising the personal stakes, it's likely St. Roch's previous mini-victories will be for naught.
What went down...
Freed from jail, Hawkman joins Hawkgirl on the chase for the St. Roch creature, and the abducted Domina Paris.
Arriving at an abandoned warehouse by the docks, Hawkgirl and Hawkman find evidence of the previous murders. A bloody sink, and other paraphernalia possibly involved.
"Carter... I don't want to just catch him anymore. I want to hurt him." "You already hurt me..."
As St. Roch speaks to them from the shadows, the two heroes make a morbid discovery. Hanging from the broken ceiling by ropes; Domina Paris in the same position as the victims of the angel killer. Red cross. Makeshift wings.
Hawkman rushes to her aid, praying for signs of life, while Hawkgirl engages the creature.
Roch continues to talk through his fight. He credits his rise to sainthood to Hawkman and Hawkgirl as he tosses her through a ceiling support.
Hawkgirl recovers and clubs the beast through a wall, only to have pieces of brick hurled at her, as the creature declares himself further as a saint.
A tender moment shared between Hawkman and Domina as she dies, segues cleanly into unabashed rage.
Hawkman comes to Hawkgirl's rescue, crashing down on St. Roch, and then clubs him across the warehouse with his mace.
Roch scrambles to the rafters, and manages to take a slice out of the attacking Hawkman, before getting knocked to the ground where Hawkman thunders down with remorseless punches.
It's then, at close contact, that Hawkman begins to feel the effects of St. Roch's powers. His insides churn, and his body aches as the onset of St. Roch's diseases take hold.
Revealing himself as the thought-dead leader of the terrorist group featured at the beginning of the storyarc. St. Roch elaborates on his fate in the chemical research laboratory explosion, proclaiming himself to be both the disease and the cure for St. Roch.
With this information, Hawkman's resolve is strengthened.
He leaps from the ground and drives the terrorist's body through the exterior wall of the warehouse, before emerging from the waters with his broken body.
If you've been visiting Secret Earths on any kind of regular basis, you're probably the kind of fan that's willing to indulge a particular type of fanboy hysteria. Which is good, because recently I did get a little silly for Hawkman.
As is often the case, I think we've ended up with a fairly clean result. So, for formality's sake, let us declare Hawkman the victor, with assistance from Hawkgirl.
Hopefully no one has taken offense to the marginalizing of Hawkgirl, but I would honestly assess her involvement in the fight proper, as minimal.
Recently visiting the When Fangirls Attack site on blogspot, it occurred to me that this site could be perceived as a little neglectful. Which it is... (kidding)
As the Hawkman title makes the transition to Hawkgirl, I'm holding out hope that it doesn't mean anything negative to Hawkman. There have, naturally, been a lot of rumours swirling regarding a possible death. This was probably perpetuated by confusion generated by overlapping continuity in Countdown, Rann/Thanagar War and Hawkman.
I tend to think the scares are over, but if anyone's reading Hawkgirl, drop a comment and let me know!
The Fight: 3.5 The Issue: 5
NEXT WEEK: DC versus Marvel! The first fight!