Review: New Talent Showcase #1: Hawkgirl: Weapons of War

by Matthew Lloyd
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[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers.]

Writer: Erica Schultz
Artist: Sonny Liew

Hawkgirl has always been one of those characters that has doggedly fought her way to be a fan favorite. From her first appearance back in Flash Comics #1, Jan. 1940 (as an uncostumed Shiera Sanders) through her reintroduction in the Silver Age by Gardner Fox and Joe Kubert in Brave and the Bold #34, Hawkgirl has always been more than a just girlfriend or sidekick. She’s fought along side Hawkman as equal, but only received top billing for a short time at the end of the pre-“New 52” era.

As the story opens, Hawkgirl is taking a beating from a Thanagarian menace on an apocalyptic battlefield in downtown Chicago. The tale goes into flashback mode as we learn that Shayera Thal (Officer Hall) works for the Chicago PD in the “Weird Weapons Unit.” She’s been confiscating all sorts of alien weapons found in human crimes on Earth. As the scene shifts back to where it started we learn that these weapons have gotten out and that somehow Shayera’s negligence has led to this destruction as humans are fighting each other with the alien weapons and Shayera watches on as she appears to be about to meet her own final fate.

This features a really interesting set up and compelling take on Shayera Thal. It’s great to have Hawkgirl as the lead character and not have to be beholden to Hawkman. Though quirky, Sonny Liew’s art is a good fit for this story. He handles both the epic aspects and mundane parts with equal aplomb. There’s a really interesting mystery hidden in here, but…

…if this is a one-shot book can this be Shayera and Earth’s last stand? It can be effective to drop a reader into the middle of a story and weave the character back to the beginning then on to the resolution, but this story feels like it’s missing a few things: the very beginning and the very end. It only slightly works as a “reader fill in the blanks” solution.  Additionally, as this is a new role for Hawkgirl, a little back story on how she got to this point would’ve been nice, but not essential if there had been a more satisfying resolution.

The great concept that is let down with an unclear beginning and end. It is entertaining for the most part, but a bit puzzling as well. With a character like Shayera it is disappointing as it falls into the “what could’ve been” category. Maybe we’ll get a sequel?


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