It’s been a long few years for the age old Hawman. Since his introduction back in the 1940s, it had seemed that the character had a very solid and unbreakable origin and storyline up until the 2011 New 52 reboot of DC comics. Many heroes and villains changed in this reboot, and many seemingly disappeared from the universe completely, waiting to have another story to be told about them, sometimes waiting for years. Hawkman has had a completely unique path to other characters in the comic book universe however. The winged hero reappeared quite quickly in 2011 in an ongoing title called Savage Hawkman, a completely different origin and character from the well known original with Rob Liefeld, most famous for his creation of Deadpool, heading the comic book as writer. However, this new and more disgruntled Hawkman didn’t go over very well with the fan base and at around the same time Liefeld had a falling out with both the DC Editorial team and Scott Snyder, who was writing Batman at the time. Soon after the Hawkman comic book was dead, and fans wondered what would happen with the character.
Fast forward to 2013 where Hawkman would make his second appearance in this rebooted universe as the quiet and violent member of the new JLA comic book, a superteam comprised of less well known but still extremely powerful characters. It was an awesome team in concept, but again the comic book didn’t work for long and eventually JLA would be canceled by DC execs. Hawkman was gone again and this time with no real signs of reappearing any time soon. Fast forward again to 2018 and you have Dark Knights Metal, the major DC event this year headed by Scott Snyder, ohho, flashback to Snyder and Liefeld’s falling out some years back. Snyder took a few liberties and completely retconned everything from the past 7 years of DC Comics regarding Hawkman and completely rewrote the character, ignoring everything Liefeld and the JLA had done with him. He reconstructed Hawkman’s old and familiar origin in his own vision during the major events of his comic and voilà, here we are with Hawkman #1, the welcomed return to familiar after many years.
Carter Hall is an archeologist first and Hawkman second, though his past plagues him. Cursed with infinite reincarnation, Hall struggles to forget the weight of his past lives and struggles to remember the history of them. He is obsessed with the past, uncovering the truths of the universe and keeping it protected from threats others have yet to see. Hawkman #1 focuses on one of the many expeditions Hall undertakes, a journey into a cave system holding hidden secrets of Gorilla Kingdom, an ancient and very mystical civilization holding many secrets Hall’s looking for. When he brings his findings to Madame Xanadu, one of the most powerful sorcerers in the universe, he uncovers an otherworldly threat that he and the heroes of the world may be too late to stop. Cliffhanger abounds.
Hawkman #1 knows what it is and what it’s trying to be: something different than the violent and bloody version that the New 52 tried to be. Hawkman is more about Carter Hall the archeologist than Hawkman the savage, and it’s an awesome read for that reason. The DC comic universe has an unlimited amount of explorable lore and Carter Hall is the perfect person for uncovering and explaining those unanswered questions. Perhaps that’s not exactly what people are expecting, and the comic book wasn’t the most jaw dropping or entertaining read of all time, but I think long time fans of Hawkman are going to enjoy this partial return to form here and perhaps the first true iteration of the character since 2011. All that’s really missing is his arguably more popular partner Hawkgirl, and I suspect that combo isn’t far off into the future.
(4 / 5)