Monday, September 12, 2016

Real Name: Carter Hall (aka; Katar Hol)
First Appearance: Flash Comics #1 (January, 1940)
Fight Club Ranking: #29

Featured Fights:
- vs SUPERMAN: Justice League of America #200 (Mar 1982)
- vs SUPERMAN & BATMAN: Superman/Batman #4 (Jan 2004)
- vs MATTER MASTER: Hawkman #23 (Mar 2004)
- vs DEATHSTROKE: Identity Crisis #3 (Oct 2004)
- vs ST. ROCH: Hawkman #31 (Oct 2004)
- vs MORGAUTH: JSA Strange Adventures #1 (Oct 2004)
- vs SOLOMON GRUNDY: Hawkman #33 (Dec 2004)
- vs ELONGATED MAN & SUE DIBNY: Blackest Night #1 (Sep 2009)

Oh, boy... When I came back for the site's 10th anniversary, I kinda made a pledge to myself that I was going to focus on the things I love about comics. Not in a single-minded, sycophantic way. Just as an exercise in embracing and surrounding myself in good, instead of wasting "oxygen" on bad.

That's why, when the world was anticipating the theatrical release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice earlier this year, I was taking the opportunity to talk about Hawkman and Captain Marvel! A couple of fun comic book fights we never got around to, featuring a two of the great characters!

For this week's HOTW, I've got a foot firmly planted on both side of the appreciation line thanks to DC's announcement of a series coming in October: The Death of Hawkman.

Comic Book Resources reported on the ominous switcheroo, which substituted the series' original solicited title of "Hawkman and Adam Strange: Out of Time" for the now blunt declaration. Good, because I'm always glad to see Hawkman having new adventures in print. Bad, because the circus of death in mainstream comics has been spinning for so long -- I'm completely sick of it!

Of course, this hyper-active revolving door of life and death has conditioned readers to expect fatality to be constant - and completely meaningless. I'm not sure that Hawkman actually will perish in this new story, beginning October 2nd. The title smacks of a bombastic 1950s serial - threatening the viewer with what amounts to a peril filled cliffhanger, rather than a macabre sales pitch.

DC (and Marvel)'s constant dance of actual death(s) hasn't just eroded the creative credibility of the matter, but has also been persistent enough to make a business of selling me - the reader - what isn't and won't be there for the foreseeable future. Which is an absurdity that false perils never suffered from, even if they eventually present their own frustration!

It's been tough to embrace Hawkman fully in his return to the spotlight during The New 52. The work done by Geoff Johns in the mid-2000s to restore the character seemed swiftly undone -- replaced with a fresh batch of inconsistencies and needless complication. New readers won't know the character was as good as exiled in the late nineties, editorially deemed 'too hard' after similarly contradicting relaunches. This all goes a long way to diminishing the value of the character enough to make the chopping block an unfortunately plausible end, at least until the next relaunch.

Then again, in salvaging the character, [Geoff] Johns did wonders with the concept of reincarnation. A detail that's become an unfortunate repeating motif in lesser hands - an excuse to swing the executioner's axe, as much as anything. Two prominent "deaths" came as recently as 2009 via Blackest Night #1 and the Final Crisis mini-series. Granted, the former was presented as a story about death, with a view to restoring many of the recently deceased. The lesser of evils, as it were.

I don't think much of the Adam Strange design featured in promo art for The Death of Hawkman. I'm enticed by the lingering presence of Despero as a likely antagonist. I just hope it isn't more pointless, self-defeating crap meant to grab attention with no long term vision. I want to spend my time thinking about the good.

If you prefer seeing Hawkman fight and fly amongst the living, I encourage you to check out some of the links featured at the top. You can find more living characters in action via the Issue Index!

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