It was fairly unexpected that this next story arc for Hawkman would actually tie so closely with the ‘Year of the Villain’ event. While anyone could say that this event is toying with books that should stand out on their own, in reality it is not. In actuality many of these stories have remained able to be their own thing despite the influence. I mean, whose to argue with enemies you wouldn’t have thought twice of now having the power and resources to overcome their arch foes? So far Hawkman is one of many to learn this the hard way, and is still yet to catch up with the source.
What was interesting about this issue turned out to be the further exploration of Hawkman’s world. As I’ve said before, my knowledge of the history of Hawkman is fairly limited. Everything explained and revealed through the story before this? That was pretty much the extent of what I knew about this hero. So it didn’t shock me to begin getting all of these new introductions to allies and enemies of his that I had never heard of. This includes the introduction that this issue gave us to the Shade. It only made sense that the next step for Carter would be to seek out the help of someone who understands shadow magic more. Truthfully I was just surprised that there was a hero out there who specializes in something like that. It goes without saying that normally it tends to be someone villainous who dabbles in that kind of power.
The great thing about this introduction to the Shade is how he was quickly caught up on everything that Carter has been dealing with. Considering the kind of craziness he gets into, the person who he engages with has to be someone who is open-minded enough to take it all in and accept things for what they are. This made their conversation smooth and to the point. Only one thing I feared, and that was how far we had gotten without addressing one of the biggest things to come from the encounter with the Shadow Thief. That being the missing shadow, and what that means for Carter.
Now of course this wouldn’t be a new issue if there wasn’t something there to shake things up. It was exciting to see two people of Hawkman and Shade’s status really taken by surprise by someone as lowly as the Shadow Thief. What he did in this chapter lit a fire in both, and truth be told they are the kind of heroes who need to go through a little bad before something good comes of in. In the case of this scenario? A journey into the dark side. I can’t remember the last time we had this opportunity, so it is a welcomed development, plus a good reason to anticipate the following issue.
For this story arc, I found that it was with the entrance of the Shadow Thief and Shade that this art team showed where they shined best. Up to this point I would have said that what we got out of the interior work was pretty much standard. Nothing bad, but also nothing too standout. Hawkman #15 was the first time where they really began to embrace the rough pencils and inks. This is the shadow corner of the DCU, so it is expected that things will get twisted, chaotic, and overall dark. I hope that they get a bit bold as the next issue will require them to get adventurous, including the colors in particular.
Overall, Hawkman #15 gives you a bit more confidence in this new direction taken for Carter Hall. Still a Hawkman story at the core, and one that still presses the issue that realizing his destiny was only step one of deciding his own future. We are here to figure out if he can find meaning to these nightmares, or if they will get the best of him on top of the pressures of his current life.