Review: Hawkman #16
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Robert Venditti
Penciller: Pat Olliffe
Colorist: Jeremiah Skipper
Inker: Tom Palmer
Letters: Starkings & Comicraft
Reviewed by: Seth Singleton
DC Comics News Review: Hawkman #16. They followed the newly empowered Shadow Master into the Shadowland. How will Hawkman and Shade survive? In this place, the all-new and all-powerful Shadow Thief is the Shadow Master who controls all. What hopes do a weakened Hawkman and Shade have against a god of shadows? Keep reading
Hawkman’s history with The Shade includes Carter Hall’s belief that Richard Swift can be more than just a thief. His honor system alone prevents him from killing. The recognition that the forces he controls are so powerful that they can never be underestimated. Carter believes that this is a sign of The Shade’s understanding that he can do and be more than a criminal, common or otherwise.
What really makes that consideration so important, is in this issue when Richard confronts Carter about his growing hostility. Carter admits that he hasn’t been feeling himself. This becomes all-too apparent when Carter violently dispatches of a shadow creature with ferocious brutality. The now enraged Hawkman charges headlong towards the Shadow Master’s stronghold. The Shade can only call out that his compatriot is, “charging into the mouth of madness.”
The Shadowlands are a gloomy contrast to the golden-hued memories that open the issue. What makes the Shadowlands into a tangible environment is the collaboration of pencils, ink, light, and shading. These layers of gradient grays turn a world that should be dull and boring into something far more menacing. Someone needs to buy this art team a round at the local watering hole.
The decision to weaken The Shade not long after entering the Shadowlands is unnecessary. This choice places the actions squarely on the heft and might of Hawkman. It also gives Richard the opportunity to consider the cerebral approach. And it is why he can see the change that is occurring in Carter.
Richard is astute enough to see the change in Hawkman in spite of his power levels. When The Shade is unable to stop Carter from charging ahead only one of them is aware of the danger this will create. The story had the chance to take a different approach by giving Hawkman the foreknowledge and then seeing what he would choose. Robert Venditti has proven in every issue that he can tell a story many ways. I respect his direction, but I can’t help consider what could have been.
A near-perfect issue that only disappoints for a moment in possibility, while continuing to supersede expectations in art, story, and talent.