Death of Hawkman #2

by Aaron Reese on November 05, 2016

Writer: Marc Andreyko
Artist: Aaron Lopresti
Publisher: DC Comics

Death of Hawkman #2 has a few flaws, like overly pointed dialogue and single-mindedness that leads to war in movies but never in real life, but it’s easy enough to overlook when  we have the rare opportunity to read about two deep-bench Justice Leaguers.


Last issue focused more on Adam Strange’s determination to return to the planet and woman he loves. Issue #2 gives Katar (Hawkman) more time at the forefront. We learn that after Hawkman returned to his home planet, Thanagar, he joined law enforcement and has adapted poorly to his new life. He mercilessly batters suspects while apprehending them. His superior scolds him, claiming that Hawkman has more beating victims than the worst psychos on the planet. Like Adam Strange, he is a hero on his adopted planet and an outcast on his home world.


Two bombers attacked Rann’s capitol and killed Alanna’s father. They had wings and claimed it was in the name of Thanagar, but some weird happenings are causing Adam Strange to doubt the popular narrative about how it went down. He’s on a search for answers while Alanna is on a mission for revenge.


Writer Marc Aandreyko adds subtle world-building dialogue from supporting characters that help anchor the two outlandish lead characters in recognizable situations, but in other scenes, he undercuts himself by reducing characters to narrow-minded war-mongers.


I like the moment that follows Katar’s meeting with his boss. It’s just a single panel after Katar leaves. His exhausted superior puts his hand on his face and says, “I hate my job.” It’s a brief insight into a character that doesn’t even appear for a whole page. It shows us that that our characters operate in a story where characters have ambiguous feelings about their situations.


Then we have Alanna, Adam Strange’s wife and current de facto ruler of Rann. She wants to extinguish the Thanagarians and neither evidence nor compassion will change her mind. It’s frustrating that the series has presented us with a handful of characters with complex motivation, but the ruler of a planet (and scientist, I might add), refuses to collect evidence against Thanagar. Sending billions to war against one of the most powerful races in the galaxy seems like a decision that would ruffle the feathers of a few allies.


Part of this surely has to do with how many pages Andreyko can dedicate to politics. Still, the story is predicated on the two main character preventing a war. It would have been nice to see a little bit of self-doubt from Alanna about her current destructive path or some pushback from Rann’s leadership Council.


When the story focuses on the main characters, it runs smoothly and is a lot of fun. It might be better if we had more time to explore the motivations for starting a galactic war, but detracting from the entertaining main characters might be a mistake. Andreyko hasn’t yet found the perfect balance between light-hearted, intimate character interaction and the impending armageddon they’re forced to prevent. Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning perfected that kind of story with Marvel’s cosmic sagas. It’s easy to see some parallels in Death of Hawkman, but it hasn’t coalesced as masterfully. Perhaps it's unfair to compare this to one of the best cosmic stories of all time, because Death of Hawkman is still good...I just wanted a little more.

Our Score:


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