Review: Legend of The Hawkman Books 1-3
Writer: Ben Raab
Artist: Michael Lark
Letterer: Willie Schubert
Colourist & Seperator: Lee Loughridge
Publisher: DC Comics
Release date: July 2000
The Legend Amalgamated
Legend of The Hawkman is a 3 part, DC comic book series based on Hawkman & Hawkgirl. Two characters that have one of the most convoluted backstories in comic book history. This would be the superior comic for the introduction to the winged characters, if it wasn’t for Hawkworld.
Legend of Hawkman does gives a more organised and credible backstory to how the feathered duo came to be on Earth and a better origin story to some of the Thanagarian legends. It was written at a time when DC was attempting to organise Hawkmans history. DC have, pretty much achieved that, to give them credit, where credit is due. However….
Warning, contains spoilers and more plot holes than we have pot holes in our Scottish roads!
Legend Of The Hawkman #1 The Fallen One
The comic begins with a bit of suspense, great, I think; I love a bit of tension when I crack open a comic book. Then, to my delight, a bit of archaeology thrown in, with the discovery of an Ancient doorway, somewhere in the Himalayas… Yes, it’s hitting all the right buttons for me thus far. Come on, come on, get that thing open!
We switch to a scene in the Midway City museum where we meet Hawkgirl and Hawkmans alter egos. Shiera Hall and Carter Hall, which I always wonder if that’s a play on Howard Carter, the famous Egyptologist. They have a bit of a lovers tiff, with Shiera proclaiming her homesickness, and Carter being totally oblivious to his wife’s feelings.
Next we have a back flash to a spaceship heading for Earth, this gives the characters their backstory. One that was truly needed, if you have ever tried reading through the minefield of comics, with these characters. If you didn’t already know, they are Aliens from Planet Thanagar. They have different names again on their planet! Now we have Katar Hol and Shayera Hol, they are police officers on Thanagar. So far, so good, Shiera is a bit mopey though.
The storyline now comes together, at the ancient doorway. Our Alien superhero’s proclaim it to be a Thanagarian Legend regarding massive bad ass, Thasaro. Hawkgirl issues a warning, which is also clearly written in inscriptions on the door… Do not under any circumstances open this door or a total s**t show of trouble will come at you…Or words to that effect. I change my mind, don’t open the door.
What Do You Think Hawkman Does Next?
You guess right, *Ding, Ding, Ding! He blindsides his missus, ignores the legend etched in his memory from childhood. As well as the inscriptions on the door, and swings that thing open! Because he is freaking Hawkman!
Sure enough, Thasaro gets released from an Urn. A long story short, but we find out Hawkgirl is the daughter of the original hero dude, Hol who put Thasaro in the Urn, in the first place. Hawkgirl manages to save the day from her pleb of a husband, puts Thasaro back in the Urn with the powers she received from Hol.
Finally, they all decide to bring the Urn back to the museum… What could possibly go wrong, I hear you cry!
So I Have A Question…
Are Hawkman and Hawkgirl related? Because only the ancestor of the hero Hol, can open the door, fine; that was Hawkman. Then we find out that Hawkgirl is the daughter of Hol the hero? Now does he just call her that as a term of endearment or genuinely has she got the blood of him coursing through her veins and thus she was able to take on his abilities?
I have looked it up and found reference to her reincarnation several times over, from her origin story of being an Egyptian princess. But if the comic is to be taken at face value, as is my interpretation, this is such a big plot hole, no one else seems to have noticed. It certainly gives a different spin on their relationship if true.
Legend Of The Hawkman #2 Heresy
The Urn is tucked up, safely in the museum… or is it? After a brief cameo from Superman, some mummies come to life and attack people!
Hawkman decides to phone home to Thanagar and see if they can take custody of Thasaro’s Urn. Hawkgirl again warns that the legend says if Thasaro should return to Thanagar he will destroy it, but she goes along with Hawkman’s idea, like a good little wifey… Just remember, this is written in 2000, not the 1940’s!
Thanagar agrees to take the Urn of Thasaro, there is a sleazy looking dude, we all know, wants it for some ulterior motive.
After praying to her gods, Hawkgirl realises this is simply fate playing out, of course Hawkman is like, no it’s all cool, nothing bad will happen and if it does, I am Hawkman MOFO’s!
The Great Child Debate That All Couples Have.
Cut back to Earth and the chief of police in Midway City wants our winged, alien, heros to be god parents to his child. This then leads to Shiera discussing how she would like children. Hawkman, being the player he is, is like woooooahhh not yet, I have this Hawkman gig to fulfil yet. Of course Shiera ends up in tears…Again! I suppose it must be hard, he is the only Alien, Hawkman available on Earth and she is stuck with him!
We Knew The Sleazy Dude Was Trouble!
Now, the next bit makes no sense to me. Thanagar sends a squadron of Hawkmen to collect Thasaro’s Urn. The sleazy looking dude, we knew was up to trouble, flys down after them, then kills the squadron and takes the Urn on Earth. Instead of waiting for it be picked up and taken back to his planet anyway. Do you follow my issues with this comic thus far?
Of course, Thasaro is released, he kills stupid, sleazy, power trip, dude and burns Thanagar! Hawkgirl finally has her, I told you so moment, which, annoyingly, didn’t need to happened, if she had just been tougher in the first instance, let alone the second! Cut to a fight between our heros and Thasaro, which doesn’t end well for poor Hawkgirl. Sadly, she gets slashed right across her stomach. *Dum Dum Duuuum! Whatever will happen next?
Legend Of The Hawkman #3 Flight of Faith
Thasaro is attacking Earth, sending Hitchcock esq birds to attack everywhere. Hawkgirl is recovering in a Thanagar hospital. This made me question the reality of the legend, for instance, the planet wasn’t razed to the ground after all.
After being slashed in “a sensitive area.” Yep, they refused to say womb! Wow, I don’t remember the year 2000 being a prude! She sadly lost the ability to have children, in the operation to save her. The tragic issue should have been dealt with better. It had a chance to address a very serious subject and it failed, big time.
Hawkman, for the first time, in a long time goes to pray to the gods. To his surprise they answer him, tell him there is a weapon on Earth that could destroy Thasaro for good. Hawkman leaves his grieving, injured wife to go and fight Thasaro on Earth. As he comes into Earth’s atmosphere, Thasaro shoots a beam of fire and blows up Hawkmans spaceship. Is he dead?
The Real Hero?
The comic then cuts back to Hawkgirl in hospital, she jumps out of bed and gets her gear on. She is the true hero, rocking a grievous wound, she flys down to Earth to help hubby out.
On arrival, Hawkgirl discovers hubbys ship’s blown up, she is aghast at the news. However, who do you think waltzes into the next scene? Hawkman of course, with a fun quip “you’re not a widow yet”
Together, they figure out the weapon is inside them, then shove their actual weapons into Thasaro and banish him to hell with the help of the gods. As a reward the gods restore Hawkgirls ability to procreate and Hawkman kind of realises he has been a bit of a douche bag in his actions and appreciates his wife a bit more now. It ends with them becoming god parents and wondering when they might become parents themselves. Awe smoochy!
The Final Furlong
Legend of the Hawkman should have been Legend of Hawkgirl. I mean come on! The narrative is set up for disaster. Hawkman ignoring the pleas from Hawkgirl not to open the Urn and not to give the Urn back to their home planet of Thanagar. Why would you, for instance, when it is written in the Thanagarian history books; that if Thasaro returns to his home planet, it will burn to the ground! Palm to face moment for me.
The Female Narrative
The comic, written in 2000, felt much older; with the 50’s esq female narrative. Hawkman is seen to always be correct and Hawkgirl following him around like a good little wifey. Perhaps this was the point of the story? The characters, are originally set in the 40’s, as such I assume the writers are trying to blend their story and narrative with that of the society at that time.
That said, it still really annoys me that Hawkgirl was written as such a weak, personal character when she is a brilliant, strong and intuitive hero. She is seemingly lacking in the self confidence needed to stop her husband from cocking it all up. That said, then there wouldn’t have been a story, would there if she had got her way.
Fate was supposedly the excuse for him being a bit of an idiot character. He blindly believes he is right all the time and didn’t giving a fig about his wife, her opinions or her feelings until she made the ultimate sacrifice in battle. However, she did have a few good lines.
“You should know by now Katar, your wife is never wrong” is a cracker and apt! But wow, is there a lot of death due to Hawkman being a headstrong numpty!
The artwork by Michael Lark is totally stunning, this was created at an early stage in his career too. It sets the right tone and it suited the characters well. Just look at the image below!
None of it is too cartoony, and some scenes have a definite Art Deco theme and some building were given a 50’s block feel. This really suits the tone for the narrative and I think is a huge benefit to the overall feel for what is a poor and floored story.
Overall, Legend of The Hawkman was ok, the story, as mentioned above, was flawed with plot holes a plenty.
It was, at times annoying and hasn’t aged well as a result of the dire, female narrative. Though, I don’t imagine back in 2000 it would have been much appreciated by the female audience either. That said, hero wise, she is the one that saves the day first time round and has a massive part to play in destroying Thasaro for good, which along with the great art was the comics only saving grace.
What Do You think?
Let us know your thoughts on Legend of The Hawkman below in the comments and review it yourself using our star system![yasr_multiset setid=1] [yasr_visitor_multiset setid=1]
Buy tickets for BGCP Comic Con in and around Glasgow Scotland – BUY TICKETS
If you want to be part of the BGCP community, Join us on Discord, Twitter, Instagram etc then click HERE