Review: Hawkman #29 [Final Issue]
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Robert Venditti
Art: Fernando Pasarin & Oclair Albert
Colors: Jeromy Cox
Letters: Rob Leigh
This is it! The final issue in what has been the best ongoing DC Comics for the past 2 1/2 years! Discover the final fate of Hawkman and Hawkwoman and their perpetual battle with Hath-Set!
Venditti left us with a cliffhanger last issue as Hawkman had just been stabbed with the dagger that SHOULD end his life for good. It’s clearly a positive that Hawkman survives (hope that wasn’t a spoiler), but moreover, it’s the mechanism by which Venditti has him survive. Without going into too much detail, Carter explains that the power of life and of saving lives is stronger than the power of death. Anton Hastor/Hath-Set worships the Egyptian god of Death, Anubis and Hawkman, having turned his life around and being giving the blessing of a second chance by God (yes, he’s named outright as God) will conquer death because now death has no meaning. Whether you believe in a Judeo-Christian God or not, the deeper message is one of positivity and life affirmation.
This positive energy seems to manifest in a new power for Hawkman as he appears to channel some of that Heavenly energy when he stops Hastor’s Hell Train. It’s intriguing as a new power, but, moreover, it solidifies the notion that the Hawks have been blessed by God.
At the same time it paints Shayera in a particularly significant light. Since that WAS God who granted Carter and Shayera another chance at life, looking back on her introduction and almost under-the-radar history it reaveal that she is in actuality Carter’s Guardian Angel. In Christian Theology, angels are by their very nature beings of spirt and thus genderless. This doesn’t fit with Shayera, but it goes part and parcel with the importance of belief in the goodness of people. If Shayera had not believed in the goodness burried deep within Carter, she wouldn’t have lobbied to try and help him over the course of his life. This is a second powerful message in the wrap up of this amazing comic book run.
Venditti has a beautiful wrap up for the Hawk-couple. Not only do they relive their life from the 1940’s to the present, Venditti takes the story well in to the future of the Hawks. This accomplishes two very specific things: One- we get to see a future in which the Hawks are still around and the impact they make on the Earth; Two- it ties everything up in a bow. While it isn’t the end of Carter and Shayera (they’ll return in their own series again at some point), but it gives a conclusion to this run that meshes with the premise that’s driven this series since issue #1. Thus, it leaves open the myriad untold tales of the Hawks throughout time and space that are waiting to be told. It’s not just a win-win situation, it’s a win-win-win!
The issue is beautifully illustrated by Fernando Pasarin, Oclair Albert and Jeromy Cox. There are a few instances in which they go above and beyond their usual excellent output. Early on, as tears are streaming from underneath Shayera’s helmet, her chin crinkles in that way that indicates crying. If the tears weren’t enough, the crinkly chin sells it body and soul. On page 14, the couple’s body language is particularly emotive. It’s natural and the reader can’t help but feel the same emotions they are communicating.
Clearly the only negative for Hawkman #29 is that it’s the last issue! DC Comics is a business and must make publishing decisions based on what is financially profitable. So, why were more readers not drawn to this book? It certainly isn’t because it hasn’t been critically acclaimed!
Hawkman #29 is simply beautiful. That’s the easiest way to describe it. Venditti not only wraps up his run, but gives the reader a “final look” at the character in much the same way Alan Moore did with Superman in “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” While there are always more stories to be told, this last arc gives the Hawks a satisfying ending as Moore’s tale does for the Man of Steel. Hawkman will be back some day, but it’s hard to imagine it being better than this. Thank you Robert Venditti, Bryan Hitch, Jeromy Cox, Will Conrad, Jeremiah Skipper, Pat Oliff, Richard Starkings, Rob Leigh, Tom Palmer, Fernando Pasarin, Oclair Albert, Wade Von Grawbadger and anyone else I’ve missed- your work is greatly appreciated! Now where’s that 6/5 rating???