Review: Hawk and Dove #1

I’m convinced … Hawk and Dove #1 writer Sterling Gates has the gift of prophesy.  After all, he’s the one who had Hawk rightfully quip, “Can’t all be winners.”

Abandon hope all ye who enter, for there be potential spoilers ahead.

I’m not sure if Hawk and Dove #1 is the worst of the New 52 so far … and, if it is, if any other might unseat it at the bottom of the ladder by the end of September.  However, there’s not a lot of good things to say about this issue.

The obvious theme of the issue is balance.  It’s the first word of significance written and we are constantly reminded that Hawk and Dove, like the ying and yang, are opposites that, together, create a whole.  Respectively the Avatar of War and the Avatar of Peace, one cannot exist without the other.  Even when Hawk’s brother Don – the original Dove – is killed, the balance must be maintained.  Enter the new Dove, Dawn Granger … and Hawk (AKA Hank Hall) doesn’t stop whining about it for the whole issue.

The heroes are introduced in the middle of attempting to thwart an attack by “science terrorist” Alexander Quirk and his so-called Monsters of Mass Destruction.  Depicting a terrorist trying to use a plane to attack the American capital (it’s unclear if their target is actually the Washington Monument, or if it’s Dove’s lack of piloting skills that points them in that direction) in a comic book during the week of the tenth anniversary of 9/11 just feels WRONG to me.

So, only semi-successful at saving the day (they kind of graze the monument), we see that Hawk and Dove are maybe not the most effective heroes on the block.  You get the point that they are an inexperienced duo and their mismatched natures – they bicker constantly, and not in a particularly chummy way – means they have a lot of growing to do as superheroes and as a team.  But they are connected and can’t operate independently, so they’re going to have to work on that.

Hawk seems to have some daddy issues and a bad case of the “good ol’ days”.  Don always had his back and he doesn’t have a lot of faith in Dawn.  To his dad, he recounts the day he and Don became Hawk and Dove.  Don’t ask why he hasn’t told his dad this story before now … you won’t like the answer.  It’s really clumsy exposition.  Anyway, trapped and needing power to escape and stop an assassination attempt on their dad, they are randomly given their powers by some unnamed gods – a bit Faustian.  And then we learn that Don died a hero “during the worst crisis the world’s ever known” (an obvious reference to Crisis on Infinite Earths … even when they’re cleaning up continuity DC still clutters up the place).

Meanwhile, Dawn is in a relationship with Deadman (a carryover from developments in the Brightest Day storyline that was published pre-Flashpoint).  How does that even work?  Apparently she can see and hear him even when he’s not possessing someone, but what about the other – physical – components of a romantic relationship?

Then the whole timeline gets really confusing.  Everything in the issue up to about halfway makes you think that Dawn is relatively new on the scene and their partnership is greener than spring grass.  Hank is still seemingly grieving for his brother.  But then Deadman says, “You’ve been partners with this guy a couple of years …”  A couple of years?  As far as relaunches/reboots go, Hawk and Dove #1 really crashes and burns.  It establishes that there is a fair bit of history – and baggage – to these characters, including a freakin’ Crisis (or maybe two or three).  I don’t see it as a good jumping on point and I’m confused as hell about what parts of pre-FP continuity remain and what’s been rubbed out – Green Lantern is keeping most of his continuity, which obviously includes Blackest Night and maybe Brightest Day … so has Hank died and been resurrected?  Was he ever Monarch/Extant?  Rounding out the exposition-heavy conversation between Dawn and Deadman, it’s revealed that there’s some mysterious history between Don and Dawn that she doesn’t want Hank finding out about.  Yeesh.

The issue ends with a pretty stock-standard reveal of a villain, which I presume is Kestrel.

All in all, the story isn’t good … but at least it’s better than the artwork.  What can I say about Rob Liefeld that hasn’t already been said?  I actually derived some guilty pleasure from Liefeld’s art on Deadpool Corps, but Hawk and Dove #1 is Liefeld back to his not-so-best.  I don’t know if maybe he’s half-assing it because he’s splitting his efforts between this and The Infinite, over at Image … whatever.  I find that Liefeld’s art looks kind of okay as stationary images (although his proportions are terribly out of whack), but it just don’t convey action and movement very well.  If you’re reading a Liefeld comic, though, you likely know exactly what you’re getting – you’re either a fan (someone must be, right) or your expectations are pretty low.

Oh, in closing, despite Hawk’s assertion to the contrary … I still like zombies.

1/5

Action Comics #1

Animal Man #1

Batgirl #1

Batwing #1

Detective Comics #1

Green Arrow #1

Justice League International #1

Men of War #1

OMAC #1

Static Shock #1

Stormwatch #1

Swamp Thing #1

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5 Responses to Review: Hawk and Dove #1

  1. xxadverbxx says:

    1) I risk bringing the wrath of MANY down upon my head here but I’ll go out and say I think America really needs to stop focusing on 9-11-2001 so much and move on. That being said though, if an attack with a plain towards any major government building (including monuments) in the comic was deliberately done and deliberately released just before the anniversary of that attack, then I call bad form and for purposely trying to make a gimmick out of it.

    2) I admittedly have not paid much attention to names of artists until starting these reviews so am not familiar with Rob’s work… Unless the cover for Hawk and Dove is precisely what the entire comic looks like though then I will have to agree it will be a sad comic in terms of art. I at least hope though that it’s better than Humberto Ramos’ art… I really couldn’t understand when I read through Civil War why he was stated to be a “fan favorite” -_-

    3) I am confused as well to the Deadman relationship and was thinking “WTF?!” when it was listed in the preview thing they gave out with each #1. Also isn’t Deadman a lot older than Dove when he died in the first place?? Bleh, I think they’d been better giving her an internet relationship. It would seem much less pathetic.

    4) According to DC Wikia, in the “aftermath of the final battle, Hank is brought back to life by the power of the white light.” I read Blackest Night (not Brightest Day though) and do not recall that happening by any means. My only guess is for “Hawk and Dove” are suppose to always be around in a yin/yang thing like you mentioned? Not that it makes much sense as I don’t believe there ever was a Hawk/Dove before Hank and Don, not to mention that in Blackest Night Dawn is running around as at least the only living member of the duo.

    5) I was going to ask about timeline (check the board?) in this, but it seems according to your review that nothing at all is solid in terms of time so I guess that all is kind of moot…

    • ikeebear says:

      1) I get what you’re saying, but at the same time it WAS an extraordinarily important world event (the biggest I’ve experienced in my 35 years) and tomorrow is the 10th anniversary. It just seemed too big a coincidence to me, but I hope it was unintentional.

      2) I like Ramos for some characters/books. I liked his Impulse.

      3) LOL.

      4) At the start of Blackest Night, Hawk is Dawn’s sister (maybe half-sister). She is killed … by the Black Lantern Hank, if I recall correctly.

      5) I was really, really confused by this issue. I thought we were mostly getting fresh starts – with the exception of Batman and GL – but H&D is carrying A LOT of baggage.

      • lebeau says:

        Great review! You really took one for the team by doing this write-up! I thought I was doing the same with OMAC, but that didn’t turn out so bad. You got the worst book I have read so far this week.

        The 911 thing didn’t actually hit me when I was reading the book. But I have seen it mentioned in several places. I’m going to assume it wasn’t intentional. Couldn’t be, right?

        Ah, I wish I was unfamiliar with Liefeld too. Sigh. To be too young to remember the 90s boom. That must be nice. The Waid/Ramos Impulse was a joy. Since then, Ramos has been hit and miss with me. Liefeld has at least been consistent. I consistently don’t like his art.

        The Deadman/Dove relationship is a huge WTF? It was odd when Johns started it in Brightest Day. But at least he had a body then. Now, I can only assume that when they want to be romantic, Boston possesses Brad Pitt or whoever else Dawn is attracted to. I can definitely see the appeal of such an arrangement.

        Honestly, I think this book was written before the decision to relaunch. This feels like a follow-up to Brightest Day that just got repositioned as part of the relaunch when they pulled the trigger.

        Yeah, the new DC timeline looks messier than ever. How long before the next crisis? Set your watches.

      • ikeebear says:

        I wonder if Dove will appear/be mentioned in JLA Dark.

  2. chè tân cương…

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