Thursday, October 25, 2007

Earth and Sky (DC comics)
Hawkman #33 When: December 2004
Why: Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti How: Andy Smith

The story so far...
Hawkman and Hawkgirl have made the trek from their new home in St. Roch to visit The Big Apple, New York City; where meetings are held by the Justice Society of America.
The pair decide to follow-up a lead on a mysterious "golem" from Batman, but get more than they bargained for when their flight is interrupted by an exploding helicopter in the Manhattan airspace!

The chopper, carrying a very special cargo, was on it's way to an experimental research facility on Riker's Island. A Dr. Kinetti conducts experiments that seek to learn more about the super-criminal mind and physiology, but his unorthodox and wreckless behaviour has unleashed one of these evils, and he's none-too-pleased. Born on a Monday, he is -- Solomon Grundy!

Previous Form:
Hawkman (#30): Harsh victories over the St. Roch killer, and Matter Master.
Hawkgirl (#196): Aided Hawkman in his pursuit of the St. Roch killer.
Monolith/Solomon Grundy: Each making their debut in the Infinite Wars.

Tale of the tape...
Too lazy to find a SALE mugshot of GRUNDY...Strength: Monolith 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: Hawkman 4 (Tactician)
Speed: Hawkgirl 3 (Athlete)
Stamina: Solomon Grundy 6 (Generator)
Agility: Hawkgirl 3 (Acrobat)
Fighting Ability: Hawkman 6 (Warrior)
Energy Powers: Hawkman 2 (Projectile Weapon)

- At the root of Hawkman and Hawkgirl's fantastic crime-fighting abilities lies the Thanagarian alien Nth Metal alloy, which makes up his belt and portions of his costume. The metal is responsible for Hawkman's flight, while his wings regulate and control his movement in accordance. The Nth Metal also enhances strength and speed, maintains body temperature in extreme conditions, and grants it's wearer dramatically increased healing abilities for even severe wounds.

Both Hawkman and Hawkgirl are part of a cyclical series of reincarnations that see the two star-crossed lovers destined to die whenever they may come together. Memories of past lives have influenced the contemporary Hawkman, and are in part attributed to his favouring of medieval weaponry.

- It was during the 1930s that a man was murdered by the mob, and his blood was used to raize a mythological golem to protect the innocent. This golem would be simply called, the Monolith! As a force for justice the Monolith would act without control, but freed from his prison beneath the city, he would emerge in the modern age once more as a beacon of justice.

The Monolith's clay body possesses super strength, durability and endurance.

- The true origins of Solomon Grundy are unclear, but it is widely believed he is the spirit of wealthy merchant, Cyrus Gold, who is said to have been murdered in the late 1800's and dumped in Slaughter Swamp. Rising from the marsh, Grundy becomes an undead force that would come to menace Batman, Green Lantern, and both the Justice Society and Justice League.

Grundy possesses superhuman strength and endurance, and a penchant for returning from even the most fatal of scenarios. His personality is seen to shift after many of these lethal experiences, usually with minimal higher brain functions, reducing him to a lumbering and disgruntled monster.

Due to his marshy origins at Slaughter Swamp, Solomon Grundy has been seen to possess the ability to negate the Green Lantern's ring by way of it's weakness for things made of wood. This is presumably due to the bark and debris from the bog that saw his formation.

The Math: Hawkman/Hawkgirl The Pick: Solomon Grundy

What went down...
The power of the Nth Metal gives Hawkman the strength to stay an airborne car's path as it hurtles toward innocent bystanders on the New York street. Responsible for the vehicles path, a disgruntled Solomon Grundy emerging from the smouldering rubble of the crash transport helicopter.

Hawkman and Hawkgirl swoop down in unison to pacify the situation, jumping into the fray mace-first. The whack does well to send a collared Grundy hurtling down the bricked street to an impactful halt. Despite the offensive, Grundy seems content to merely defend himself with the fling of a manhole cover, and a grouchy request to be left to his own devices.

The metal cover, dodged by the nimble Hawksters, hurtles like a deadly discus toward innocent unlookers. Only the intervention of a massive stoney grey hand saves them, as it plucks the disc of doom from the air.

Batman's golem, the Monolith, steps onto the street with an awkward warning for the JSA heroes, but he proves too great a distraction. The surprisingly mobile Grundy is upon them in an instant, snatching the two hawk-heroes in his giant mits to lift them menacingly into the air.

The Monolith is compelled to aid them, attacking with a super-sized left hook that sends Grundy, with Hawkman and Hawkgirl still in-hand, hurtling once more into a nearby building. Grundy soon emerges, with no concept for the irony of his claim, "Grundy hate monsters!!!"

The two musclebound re-animated figures come to blows in the street as Dr. Kinetti emerges, having held a talk on his project with costumed and super powered villains nearby. He attempts to organize his resources to recapture Grundy, but his clandestine appearance does not go unnoticed.

Grundy shrugs the Monolith off, tossing him into a stationary car, before charging toward the doctor responsible for poking and prodding him. The distraction is sufficient to this time give Hawkman and Hawkgirl the upperhand, launching a surprise attack, once more with their fixed maces.

The blows are enough to floor the unwitting Grundy, but fail to keep him down. Despite repeated strikes, Grundy is able to rise from the ground to swat the heroes on an out-of-control trajectory.

SUH-LAM! You've got to love a sound effect that's both IMPACTFUL and DESCRIPTIVE, 'ey Bully?The Monolith thunders in from behind for a sneak attack that rocks Grundy into an abandoned hotdog stand, but Grundy is able to use back-against-pavement to launch Monolith away from him with his powerful legs. The bulky golem comes to a crash landing, taking Hawkman down with him!

Agreeing to work with Hawkman and Hawkgirl, Monolith takes orders to attack the situation with strategy. As Grundy again rampages toward a stunned Kinetti, the Monolith takes advantage, grabbing Grundy by the shoulders to turn him into a devestating left hook!

Between a GOLEM and a HARD PLACE!With Grundy rattled, Hawkman and Hawkgirl swoop in for another mace attack, knocking Grundy to the ground.
Before he can rise once more as he so often does, the Monolith puts the exclamation point on it, slamming his rock-like fist into Grundy's skull against the pavement!

With the police finally showing on the scene, the Monolith disappears into the shadows of the surrounding buildings.
Rather than pursue, Hawkman opts to return the golem's favour, allowing him to disappear into the night.

The heroes chastise the dubious Dr. Kinetti for his mishandling of the volitile Grundy, and flutter away to catch a movie, before returning to St. Roch.

The hammer...
So kids, did we all learn the value of teamwork? I hope so, because it earned Monolith, Hawkman and Hawkgirl all victory!

Y'know, like many a comic fan, I can be a little pedantic sometimes. I like taking a look at things with an expected level of detail, like for instance, the thorough inclusion of names, dates and details for our reviews. Like Batman's never-ending war on crime, I like to think the Infinite Wars might make some difference when it comes to finding what you want. I want to provide a resource as much as I do an entertainment outlet, specifically catering to those 'hey, didn't he fight that guy back in...' moments. Thus, it's with great pride that I take note of all the hits coming in from specific issues searches.

In fact, when checking some of those very searches, I'm pleased to the Infinite Wars even manage to rate among the top, beating down some of the incidental and unrelated results from dodgy merchants, and lifeless spam-sites.

Of course, with all of that in mind, it's easy to forget that there's a spine of trivial fun to what we do on the Infinite Wars. In amongst the bouts of musing and commentary, it's our sports league approach to superhero fisticuffs that helps differentiate us from the countless other superhero comic book blogs.

With fun in mind, I plucked this issue of Hawkman that's been on the to-do pile for quite some time. Why? Pretty much no other reason than, it's fun.
Well, that and the loose Halloween theme we've got going on. Solomon Grundy is one of those characters that just hasn't managed to make it on the site, but has always been a character I wanted to get into the mix. He's a great character!
A passing affection for the Alan Scott Green Lantern helped endear the Grundy character to me, but I would have to fully submit that it was the award winning Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale Batman collaboration that really won me over.
Some might say this version of Grundy walked a little close to the incredible Hulk, but I like to enjoy it free of that comparison. Grundy as a benign presence beneath Gotham City really strikes a chord with me, and has even influenced some of my work with a golem character of my own, the Spirit of Chernobyl.

I suppose that's an endearing quality common to a lot of monster figures throughout the history of literature, perhaps most notably Frankenstein's Monster, the inspiration for the Hulk. It's inherently interesting to find humanity in the most unlikely of places, often staging a platform for reflecting humanity's own evils in the glint of a dark monster's eye.

It was interesting that Palmiotti and Gray did not follow up on such a theme, which is suggested in the underlying treatment of Grundy, by Dr. Kinetti. This is clearly an over zealous presence, interested in pursuing his own glory at the cost of villains as a commodity. Grundy's disposition in this issue, though dangerous to the innocent, is immediately sympathetic, given the alluded torture suffered at the experimental Riker's facility. Perhaps a follow-up exists elsewhere, but I am not aware of such a story.

It's probably worth noting that the Monolith featured a follow-up, despite cancellation of the series in 2005. The character emerged once again as a protector of the people, present in Crisis Aftermath: The Battle for Bl├╝dhaven.

I enjoyed this one! I like Hawkman, I like Solomon Grundy, and this was an entry purely about superhero fisticuffs. The Infinite Wars represent many things, but I hope this entry, while providing a few morsels of information, reminds us all that it's about having fun!

... And also selling comics. If you haven't already, be sure to check out The Kirby Martin Inquest from Nite Lite Theatre, available online through ComixPress for the low price of $2.99 plus shipping. Cha-ching! ;-p

The Fight: 5 The Issue: 4
[Tomorrow we'll be singing our battlesong in chorus with the rest of the blogosphere as part of Bahlactus' inevitably Halloween themed Friday Night Fights. Not to be confused with the "original" Infinite Wars: Friday Fight Nights. (Ooo, rivalry!) Stay tuned as we continue our vaguely Halloween themed posts, perhaps even beyond the thirty-first. Why not? But now: I SLUMBER!]

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