I can still recall my surprise when realizing just how big of a first story we would get out of Hawkman. With a book like this you would normally expect a quick miniseries and then move on to the next thing. However, that was not the case for us Hawkman fans. We were greeted and treated monthly to what has been one of the best solo series ongoing on shelves for DC this year.How things wrapped up in the previous issue was marvelous and truly set this hero on a new course. When you invest in a book like this, you want groundbreaking for that hero. This is it.
The big question to follow the events of Hawkman #12 was what came next. Apparently the war and mystery was not over for Carter Hall. He may have finally caught up to where he was meant to be, but now there was this looming darkness surrounding what can only be called the Blood Campaign. Just what could that be? Who knows. For now we simply take an issue to breathe after all of that madness. It was hard to argue with the story of this issue centering around a story from the pages of Hawkman’s journals. That this story would also take us back in time to when Carter Hall was reincarnated as a soldier in a cosmic army was pretty cool to dive into as well. Who can really argue with a book like this taking advantage of the endless means of exploration Carter can take us through. Whether it is through a book, his memories, or an actual trip through time, it is all an engaging adventure. Not to mention refreshing because this is all stories never been told before.
Off the bat this one was interesting because this was probably the most normal version of Hawkman that we had run into. Aside from the symbol on his helmet, there was nothing too distinguishing about this soldier. This really got you wondering about the significance of this life that he had lived. You were probably just as confused as the guy he was reading about. Fortunately it didn’t take too long to find out. When they said “What happens when a being known for constant reincarnation ends up coming back to life as his own enemy, fighting for the other side?”, they really meant what would happen if you died and ended up coming back to life on the opposite side of the war you were fighting. That’s a pretty crazy twist if you ask me. Mainly because there aren’t too many cases where a Hawkman has reincarnated on the same planet back to back. Now what grabs your attention more than that is how this war actually ended. Not at all what you would picture for a ceasefire, but so unique for someone who has been there and done that.
It was sad coming to terms with the end of last issue also being the last issue for Bryan Hitch. This guy knew how to make a story visually epic and larger than life. It was hard to imagine anyone else taking over from there. Now the change in art team for this issue may have been just for this issue, but I couldn’t argue with the artwork of Will Conrad and Jeremiah Skipper. Will Conrad in particular was perfect because like Hitch, they both are truly detailed pencilers. They get character structures, and they get settings. If you are looking for full renderings from page to page, they do not disappoint. Conrad brought the same boldness to the interiors, the same depth through shadows and lights, and offered the same opportunities for a colorist like Skipper to show why he is also a very talented colorist. The strength of his colors worked perfectly with this being a war story, and one explosive as well. His distinct shade of green is also something to point out. It pops and really captures the foreign element to this war.
Every book deserves that one solid story that has a beginning and end for the issue. Hawkman #13 didn’t give us the room to forget why this book differs from others on shelves. If you are looking for a book that genuinely creates immersion through exploration and discovery, Hawkman is that book for you.