DC Comics Death of Hawkman (2016) Issue 1 Review

By: Karl Stern (@dragonkingkarl, @wiwcool, karl@whenitwascool.com)

Warning:  All When It Was Cool comic book and movie reviews contain significant spoilers.  Do not read unless you want to know what happens in the book although, judging from the title, I'm guessing at some point Hawkman dies.

Let's take a look at the October 2016 DC Comics Death of Hawkman Issue 1.  Hawkman is a character with an extremely convoluted history.  This is unfortunate because the character dates back to the golden age of comics and has a striking and interesting design.  However, in continuity, the character has been relaunched and ret-conned so many times that it is virtually impossible for the character to have any sort of identifiable history.

I'm not certain what, if anything, that Hawkman has done since DC Rebirth so this is my first time catching up with the character since his New 52 incarnation.

The cover indicates that this is a six-issue limited series.  Once again, I am very much in favor of the limited series making a comeback with a definitive beginning and end.  The cover also touts Adam Strange as appearing in the comic.

Death of Hawkman issue 1 featuring adam strange

Death of Hawkman issue 1 featuring adam strange

The team bringing you this issue is Aaron Lopresti, Brad Anderson, Marc Andreyko, Josh Reed, David Wohl, and Marie Javins.

We start off on the planet of Rann and a scene of destruction with buildings in ruin and skulls laying on the ground.  We get the feet of two characters shuffling across the ground and a conversation about how injured they are.

The next page shows that we were seeing a battle worn Hawkman and Adam Strange and the name of the story is "Out of Time:  Part One".  As Hawkman tends to his wounds we get Adam Strange reminiscing about his origin.  A nice way of bringing people up to speed on who Adam Strange is within the context of the story.

We then cut scene to several days earlier where Adam Strange is going about his normal life when suddenly he gets alerted to get zapped by the Zeta beam (which for Adam Strange novices is kind of his gig.  He gets the coordinates of the beam and then rides it to wherever it takes him.)  However, the beam doesn't arrive.

We then cut to the city of Ranagar on the planet of Rann where Adam Strange's wife is with a scientist trying to figure out why Adam Strange hasn't arrived.  The scientist explains that the Zeta beam is firing but not hitting where it is supposed to.

Suddenly, there is a giant explosion in the city and Thanagarian warriors burst in and we discover they are behind the attack.  So why is the Thanagarian Hawkman and Adam Strange on the same side?  That is the mystery and conflict being set up.  OK, you got me, I want to know more.

war... whoa whoa whoa whoa... what is it good for?

war... whoa whoa whoa whoa... what is it good for?

We return to Adam Strange who is still on Earth trying to figure out why the Zeta beam isn't hitting him.  Adam visits the Justice League Watchtower to get the help of Cyborg in figuring out the mystery.  Adam then visits LexCorp in search of an answer as well.  The story starts to drag here a little bit.  Hopefully business is about to pick up.  Right now this issue has turned into Adam Strange walking around awkwardly trying to find answers to the Zeta beam question.

Adam Strange finally returns to his apartment without any answers which makes about four or five pages seem meaningless.  Suddenly, however, the Zeta beam reaches him inside his apartment and transports him into the middle of a war zone on Rann and the issue ends.

This issue was about as decompressed as humanly possible but interesting enough to get me back for issue 2.  I want to know why Hawkman is fighting against the Thanagarians (presumably).  There was virtually no Hawkman in this first issue and Adam Strange's search for the Zeta beam was quite dull but again, there are enough plot elements there to hook me.

There's no place like it.

There's no place like it.