With that one issue taken to indulge in the exploration of this book, it seems now we have reached that point where a new arc begins.I was anticipating this issue because this is the start of something new for Carter Hall. He beat his past, and even then there are some things that he can’t run away from, but at the same time you weren’t given the impression that the next chapter in his life would focus on those things. You are led to believe that you should look forward to a genuine hero arc for him.
Now with that said, hero arc or not, this would not be Hawkman if they ignored the sense of discovery and exploration which makes this book stand out from the rest. As this issue began, once more we jumped into the way that Carter Hall has been changed by his latest adventure. He is now more intuned to his past lives. With that change comes a lot of ways that his everyday life has been flipped from being overwhelmed by too many questions. Now his life is a series of experiences that he has to piece together since not everything comes to him with an explanation to it. What engaged me about the scene to follow the opener was how Carter continued to surround himself with culture. That word right there is what makes this book so unique. Its rich with culture which never let’s you forget that through encounters with people from different corners of the world, and how they view the world in contrast.
When it came to the Shadow Thief making his entrance, I found this encounter refreshing for a villain I have never seen before till now. Honestly, I have never heard of this villain before now, and certainly know little of Hawkman’s rogue gallery. That is what made the decision to use Shadow Thief great. Especially when in the world right now, just about anyone could become something greater than what they once were with these offerings from Luthor. Adding that bit at the end which explained how Carl Sands returns as the new, improved Shadow Thief was exactly what you would have pictured in your head. Nothing really hinted to a decision to strike back at Hawkman, but it makes sense given these two apparently have a history.
The big thing for this new chapter was also figuring out how it tied to this Year of The Villain storyline. Right now it seems as though most of the DC ongoings are taking on some sort of influence from this storyline, and Hawkman is no exception to that meddling. Normally this might worry some readers. For the more self-contained stories, you fear that this outside influence changes things in a way that you might call a distraction. Fortunate for us that this turned out to be one of those books where the storyline blended in perfectly to what has already been in progression.
For this new story arc, this is also the beginning of us getting used to the art shifting from Bryan Hitch’s pencils. It was honestly a tough pill to swallow coming to accept that he was not going to be the penciler all the way through. The guy knew how to create the most visually engaging scenes for a superhero like Hawkman. It was going to be a hard act to follow, so for the most part I was glad that this new art team seemed up to the challenge. Much is toned down between the pencils, inks, and colors, but still an impressive amount of work that is put into every rendering. Considering how Hawkman is also dealing with a villain who thrives in the shadows, it helped to have an artist on board who could create that rough texture to what feels more gritty than what came before in the story. My true critique is that the colors should run wild a bit. Breath a little more life into the settings. Even if everything else were to be soft, you want the settings to really pop out at you since this is a book which grabs you for the exploration.
As the start to a new story arc for Hawkman, this was an interesting step to take forward for a story that you would have expected to exist more on its own before tying into anything else. I say this, but Hawkman #14 is a great issue for what it turned out to be. This is part of the Year of The Villain storyline, but it is still all Hawkman at the end of the day. A lowly villain made dangerous by an offer, and challenging one Carter Hall who already has enough to deal with to have another personal vendetta thrown his way.