It’s been a while since we’ve reviewed a DC book.
Is there anything new or interesting coming outta Bat Central?
Batman / Catwoman Wedding?
Not here yet.
Oh it’s on the way... ...
That’s right folks, the winged alien - ancient Egyptian pharaoh - reincarnating archeologist is back with his very own book. But don’t worry it’s not gonna be as confusing as I’m making it out to be…
Well it’s still a bit confusing but let’s jump in and find out shall we?
We start off with Hawkman diving into a temple of apes in the Aegean Sea accompanied by his narration of who he is and why he does what he does. Short answer: he’s many things but right now, in this life, he’s Hawkman and an archeologist who’s looking for the Nautilus of Revealment from the Temple of Ooahk Kung, the All-See; an object rumored to reveal one’s true past. Unfortunately for Carter Hall, every ancient temple has its booby traps and this one has a giant ape statue demanding the item’s return. Obviously he’s not gonna give up the McGuffin, so a fight ensues. The fight is short but of epic proportions including a daring escape by Hawkman, the statue catching up with him and growing wings, and finally Hawkman crushing the statue with his mace.
Now that he has the Nautilus he can use it to uncover his past except it’s a magical item and he’s not someone who knows how to use it correctly. Luckily he knows Madame Xanadu! Xanadu, who’s working out of a mystic shop in London, invites Carter for a cup of tea and they discuss him using the object to uncover Carter’s past. She happily obliges and pricks his hand for a drop of blood over the item, sending him through a rush of his past lives and an incredible splash page by artist Bryan Hitch. He’s shown all of his past lives but with a twist: he hasn’t been reincarnated just across time but across space as well. We get to see all the times he reincarnated. The obvious Prince Khufu of Egypt, Katar Hol of Thanagar, and past Carter Hall’s of Earth but we also see the time he reincarnated as Catar-ol of Krypton and Kararthul of Rann. The trip through time leads him to a dark dystopian earth (possible future) with large winged beings taking over and laying waste to the planet before he snaps out of it and returns to Xanadu. Through this Carter figures out that his life has been a mission to save earth, but he may be too late if he can’t figure out the why or how of this situation.
Alright before I give a verdict let me do some explaining.
Hawkman / Hawkgirl are extremely confusing characters when it comes to their origins.
No wait they’re magic ancient pharaohs.
No wait they’re both.
Something, something JSA?
It’s always been an issue and the reason why some comic book fans, (like me), don’t get into Hawkman comics that much. Now, after reading this issue is Hawkman still a confusing character?
Kinda but not really.
Robert Venditti condenses his origins by having every Hawkman incarnation become canon. If you want the perfect answer to confusing time related issues, I give you the Multiverse.
I actually had a chance to meet Mr. Venditti at a signing for the book at my local Ultimate Comics. His comment on why he had Carter reincarnate across space in time was that he didn’t want to throw out what previous writers like Gardner Fox, did. I think it’s a great idea. If you can’t choose one, just use them all! In regards to the book as a whole, it’s a really fun adventure that takes you on a hell of a ride through Hawkman’s life and work. Bryan Hitch does a great job on art for this issue, especially with the splash page towards the end of the comic. It’s absolutely gorgeous. Awesome book and I can’t wait to see where the rest of the series goes.