[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Mark Andreyko
Artist: Aaron Lopresti
Inkers: Livesay and Blond
Hawkman, Adam Strange and freshly minted Green Lantern (who just so happens to be the partner of Katar when he is being a regular Thangarian police officer), Kral, face off against Despero and his mind controlled minions. Adam and Kral have to stop the portal that will take Despero to Earth where he will take down the Justice League while Hawkman has to keep Despero busy by doing anything he possibly can. Which includes, as the title of this mini-series tells us, dying to save the universe. Which, he does. For real. For really real.
Hawkman dies in this book everyone. Why is that a good thing? Well, the name of the book is The Death of Hawkman. Had he lived, that would have been a total copout. Had it been, Hawkman dies while Katar Hol gives up his powers and lives, that would have been lame. Andreyko went for it here. He set up a mini-series that had death in the title and he killed off a main character. That took courage by him and by DC.
Aaron Lopresti did a wonderful job with this series. There is a lot of mayhem in this series. In order to make that seem real, there is a lot of blood and action and destruction going on in the background. Sometimes, the best work that Lopresti does is not with our heroes but with the victims of Despero’s dastardly deeds. Mind controlled children and citizens are everywhere. There are broken pillars and space travel and deep space and the story is told as much through Lopresti’s representation of Rann and Thangar as it is in Andreyko’s words.
The jokes in this book do not land the way they did early. It feels a bit forced. Maybe that is because they are facing the end of the universe and that is not really funny. I get that the whole series is about that, but ultimately, this is the least opportune time for jokes.
The final words are “Not the end. Nowhere near it.” We see this as Despero clutches Hawkman’s skull the page after Adam wakes up at the edge of the universe. That is fine as the book is not called, The Death of Adam Strange. If this is setting up some Justice League battle with Despero, that is totally fine. If this is setting up a second series called The Rebirth of Hawkman…Well, meh. That is not necessary.
If this is setting up a stand-alone Adam Strange book, that would be a mistake too. He is a supporting character in every single way. Let’s keep him that way. This book was good but not great. If there are some hardcore Hawkman fans out there, this will be pretty upsetting. I am not sure there are so this book does what it supposed to do. Advance a plot in the DC universe at the expense of a hero. Heroes die sometimes and it makes even more sense for a hero to sacrifice himself to save the universe.