Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Savage Hawkman #5

Why call this comic book 'The Savage Hawkman'? Is calling a comic these days 'Hawkman' just too weenie? Are people only going to read about Hawkman if he's got a mean temper and a killer instinct?

Here's what happens in this comic. Gentleman Jim's Ghost wants a book translated. This book will tell him about the Mortis Orb used to control undead. This book was what H.P. Lovecraft based the Neconomicon on. The book is sent to Carter Hall to translate it. Carter Hall begins investigating the man who brought the book to him for translation. Hawkman ends up battling Gentleman Jim's Ghost and a host of apparitions that can phase in-between the spiritual and physical realm. This means Hawkman can't hurt them but they can hurt Hawkman. On the last page, Gentleman Jim's Ghost confronts Hawkman.

There is a lot of less than mediocre art throughout the 20 pages. There are 78 panels total (and that's a generous count in that I gave the benefit of the doubt to some negligible panels). So less than 4 panels per page. Just glancing through a Vertigo title I have nearby (House of Mystery), it looks to average about 5 panels per page. So that would mean 22 more panels to flesh out the story.

House of Mystery is a really good, solid read.

The Savage Hawkman is crap.

At five issues in, I'm expecting a lot more foundation to the characters than most of these books have given me. I get that DC is starting over (sort of). They want to dump all the baggage of the old characters and start some fresh stories.

So why the fuck don't they? Why am I reading about a bunch of comic book characters that I already know about yet they're supposed to be new? I get that they want to keep the characters relatively the same. But look at what Grant Morrison has done over in Action Comics. It's working. A little bit of the old. A little new attitude. Some changes in the history but not so much that it'll upset the character. But, you know, why not change it all up? Go for broke! Don't half ass it like you've done here.

Now maybe they have done that with Hawkman. How should I know? Like I ever cared about him in the old DCU! But if the big difference here is having his Nth metal be inside him so he doesn't have to change costumes then they really aren't doing much of a reboot. We got some hints an issue or two back that Carter Hall is actually Katar Hol from Thanagar. So maybe that's the big difference. They're just merging the Golden Age and Silver Age Hawkmans. Hawkmen?

But right now, the worst thing about the bad comic books is that they have no foundation and they aren't building one. They're just moving the super hero from conflict to conflict instead of slowing it down a bit and giving us a story to care about.

I'm pretty sure the Head Editor at DC just told all of the creative teams to 'hit the ground running' and that's what a bunch of them did. ACTION ACTION ACTION! That'll draw the kids in to read the books!

But Supergirl could have been so much better if they didn't just keep throwing her into one disaster after another. Let her get her footing. Don't make her an adversary of Kal-el's. Have them talk about Krypton. About family. About what it means to suddenly be on Earth with these powers. Don't give it one page of shitty dialogue across two giant panels and call it good. Build a foundation. A framework. Get the fucking furniture in the house before you start kicking everyone's ass. I couldn't think of a good house metaphor for kicking ass. Before you start painting the garage?

Right now, I don't care about Hawkman. Tony S. Daniel has given me no reason to. Here's what we know about him:

He became Hawkman somehow.
He hated being Hawkman so he burned the suit.
The suit entered him and is now part of him.
Carter Hall knows alien languages.
Unless his name is Katar Hol and he's a Thanagarian.

So here are some mysteries. Let's see more about why Carter Hall was burning the Hawkman suit. But instead, we just get a man who sort of shrugs it off and goes, "Oh well! I tried to stop being Hawkman but it didn't work!" and then gets on with being Hawkman.

Let's see some meaningful dialogue between Hawkman and this Emma Ziegler woman. They have some sort of relationship but it's all Carter running away from her every chance he gets.

And what the fuck is wrong with Hawkman's neighbor:

He even says shit like "Can I get her digits?" and "Hate the game, not the playa'!" I'm so glad DC brought in an extra writer on this issue JUST TO WRITE THESE WORDS!

And all of the narration panels that give us an insight into Hawkman's thoughts are nothing but him worrying about whether or not he's going crazy. Every. Single. Narration. Box. For the whole 20 pages.

Okay, that's a lie. The last page of narration boxes has him becoming happy again that he isn't going crazy because the ghosts have made him bleed. So they still are about whether or not he's going crazy. But he's finally decided he isn't.

But I am! When I first started this project, I was mainly going to give every title a chance for five issues. Hawkman would be done for sure.

But as long as the blogging of the comics keeps me interested, I'll keep reading even the shittiest titles! Because they can't stay shitty forever! DC will dump their asses. Do you hear me, Captain Atom, the 46th worst selling title!

This was the most exciting page in the comic:

I hope Giffen takes over even more titles!

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