Monday, August 28, 2017

HERO OF THE WEEK: HAWKMAN (DC)
Real Name: Carter Hall
First Appearance: Flash Comics #1 (Janaury, 1940)
Fight Club Ranking: #31

Featured Fights:
- vs DOCTOR FATE: All-Star Squadron #4 (Dec 1981)
- 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)

Daring feats of escape are an older trope of superhero comics than the recurring villains who started making the deathtraps. For the most part, death was always something superheroes were meant to cheat. It didn't take long before the bad guys were doing it, too. Some ironic fall off a bridge, to a presumed grizzly end down below, was a good way to finish a pulpy story. Yet there's always a reason to explain it away so The Joker can come back. Maybe that's where the problem started...

This time last year we were informed of the impending demise of Hawkman. It wasn't the first time, and it probably won't be the last. He's been "missing" throughout DC's Dark Nights: Metal event, but according to solicitations published by CBR, it looks as if Batman is going to find our missing hero.


What does it all mean? Do readers still have the will to care? The life and death cycle of major characters has become a clich├ęd test of audience endurance. Hawkman's had it particularly bad, facing what must be at least his third reincarnation of the last decade.

The concept of infinite reincarnation once served to resolve the mind-numbing mess of Hawkman's various published lives. It bolstered a mythology that was needlessly muddied, adding something interesting, while propelling the winged hero into long-awaited adventures in the memorable 2000s. His return as solo hero and chairman of the JSA was a whole lot of fun! It was never meant to install dying as a key feature of the character. Reincarnation should not be an instant process.

Death of Hawkman always seemed designed to usher Hawkman toward something new, but will it be something better? The Bryan Hitch cover art for Hawkman: Found looks suitably exciting, with a relatively classic looking Hawkman. As a temporary predicament, it could be interesting to see Hawkman at odds with Batman. That was certainly a fun match-up in Superman/Batman #4.

It's my hope Hawkman and Batman will be working together before Metal ends. Preferably toward a "Rebirth" of a modern-classic take on the winged hero, and a solo series that will sustain itself. If Hitch's cover is anything to go by, he could be the man to bring Hawkman back to comics. He's certainly been the one to bring him back to Hero of the Week!

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