[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Marc Andreyko
Artist: Aaron Lopresti
Planet Rann: Now. Adam Strange carries a bloody, arrow filled Hawkman. Rubble is strewn about. Things look pretty terrible. Adam Strange looks over the top of a wall and instead of seeing what he sees, we see Adam’s back story and learn how and why he is in the middle of a war with everyone’s second favorite Thanagarian. On the cover of this issue the key words are on the bottom right: “Featuring Adam Strange.” This is the first book in a six part mini-series and thus, the title, Death of Hawkman, is not going to happen on page one of book one. In fact, other than the first five pages, Hawkman is not in this book.
This book is rated T. Keep that in mind. There is a scene on page four where Hawkman rips an arrow out of his shoulder. It is graphic. It is bloody. Adam Strange, interstellar superhero, turns away and pukes. Aaron Lopresti has it nailed. There is a war going on on Rann and everything Lopresti does makes the reader feel part of the destruction. There are burnt out buildings and burnt out corpses. Even Hawkman’s wings look like they are covered in filth. It is so well drawn I can almost smell it and feel the grit.
In Hamlet, Horatio is really only one likable character. He is also the only major character who lives at the end. He is a true friend to Hamlet and he stands by him no matter what crazy things he does. What the hell is going on with this review you ask? Wait; here’s the rub (see what I did there?). Marc Andreyko really wants us to like Adam Strange. Why? Well, the title is The Death of Hawkman, so one must suspect that Adam Strange is the Horatio to Hawkman’s Hamlet. Like his Shakespearean counterpart, Strange does not ask to be pulled into this crazy tale, yet here he is doing his best. We see him stumble through is life on Earth and he has normal stuff to deal with just like we do. He needs to wait in line at the DMV. People do not recognize him. He gets cool shamed by Cyborg (OK, we do not have that happen to us, but we would because Victor Stone is cooler than we are). If someone has to live through to the end and tell this story, we want it to be Adam Strange.
If you tune in to see a story about Hawkman, you will need to wait until issue two. If you do not like Adam Strange or backstory, you are going to need to wait until issue two. A few of the jokes fall flat, but other than that, there is not much to dislike here.
This is going to be a quick six months and I suspect when we get to the final panel of issue six, the full tragedy will be revealed. I know that by the time this story is over, I will go back to this issue and start all over. I will mark my calendar for the first week of November so I can be the first to see what happens next.