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From the Archives: The Atom and Hawkman #46

atom_and_hawkman_0046Bye Bye Birdie!

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Ryan Sook & Fernando Pasarin
Letters: Nick J. Napolitano
Color: Hi Fi
Editors: Adam Schlagman & Eddie Berganza
Cover: Ryan Sook
The Atom/Ray Palmer and Hawkman created by: Gardner Fox
Published by: DC Comics

[ This review originally written for and published at comiXtreme/cxPulp some time back while the issue was new–within the first days to a week that the issue was available for sale. ]

I’ve never been a huge fan specifically of these two characters, though I’m familiar with them and have read a number of comics they’ve appeared in. They’ve just tended to be on the outer edges of the books I read, showing up for the occasional guest-starring role or cameo, or as part of a team in a team book. I’d read the Return of Hawkman arc in JSA a few years back, and a few issues of his own series heading into Infinite Crisis. The Atom I feel I’m most familiar with from Identity Crisis, and material I’ve read online about both Ray and the new Atom and their adventures post-Infinite Crisis.

That said…this issue was quite enjoyable, rather accessible, and yet seems to have plenty for fans with ties to the characters going much deeper and much further back than mine.

In the "tradition" of many of the Blackest Night tie-ins, we open with a recap sequence of sorts, focusing on the character’s life, leading up to their death. This time, though, it’s a recap of the character’s compassion, and why Ray Palmer–The Atom–was chosen by the Indigo ring for recruitment into the Indigo Tribe. The Black Lantern Hawks (as Hawkman and Hawkgirl were killed and raised into the Black Lantern Corps way back in Blackest Night #1) then attack, and there’s the usual discourse between Black Lantern and Hero, as Hawkman tries to get Atom riled up and his heart ripe for the taking. As the fight wraps up for the present, Indigo-1 tasks Atom with protecting her–keeping her alive–while she contacts other Indigos across the universe who can reach the other Lantern Corps (so they know to get to Earth, where all the Black Lanterns are headed). While protecting Indigo-1, Atom is forced to recall the events that lead off Identity Crisis, as he again faces the horror of what Jean did to attempt to win him back. As the issue closes out, Ray makes an important request–one that seems quite obvious, and is something I would love to see accomplished.

This is definitely one of the better Blackest Night tie-ins. It seems that this issue’s events are more important and meaningful to the overall story than most of the tie-ins. While we do get some Atom/Hawkman interaction, it hardly seems like enough to satisfy expectation. It is, however, appropriate enough to an issue of a two-character book, as it’s natural that one or the other character may take more of a leading role, depending on the given story. As what is essentially a one-shot, though, it’s a bit misleading.

The issue having an important tie to the overall story is something that I suspect comes from this being written by Johns, essentially the orchestrator of Blackest Night in the grand scheme of things. The story touches on a number of elements–Ray’s role with the Indigos, a demonstration of what he can do with the Indigo ring, a confrontation with the Hawks, some resolution to things with Ray and setting a new course for the character–which makes for a very strong read. The recap at the beginning did more to clue me in on the past of the Atom than anything else I’d yet read (and I’m pretty sure answered my unasked question as to the premise of Sword of the Atom).

Sook‘s art is high quality as well, and does a great job of getting across the visual aspect of the story. It just fits the story, and worked very well for me.
All in all, a very strong one-shot issue within the Blackest Night arc. Though it remains to be seen how much–or what part(s) of this issue get recapped in the main mini…this seems to be a tie-in very much worth getting if you’re following Blackest Night, even if you’re not generally snagging the tie-ins.

Definitely recommended.

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Zero Hour Revisited – Hawkman #13

90srevisited_zerohour

hawkman_0013Godspawn (Conclusion): Into the Dark Aether

Script: William Messner-Loebs
Pencils: Steve Lieber
Inks: Curt Shoultz
Letters: De Guzman
Colors: Webb
Editors: Archie Goodwin & Jim Spivey
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: September 1994
Cover Price: $1.95

I’ve long been aware of this incarnation of Hawkman, but have yet to consciously have read any issues of Hawkworld, or this series prior to the Zero Hour tie in in this issue. I clearly recall the “merging” of the “numerous versions” of Hawkman into a singular entity, and then eventually the (Geoff Johns, I believe) Return of Hawkman story…and read a few issues of the series around Infinite Crisis. Outside of that, this is all new to me.

But I enjoyed this issue, even as I cruised through it mostly clueless…kinda recognizing some names, even if not spellings, and my imagination ran a bit wild with it (settled somewhat by scanning a Wikipedia article for some clarification on this “present” version of Hawkman). That I was interested enough to do “research” speaks volumes, as I tend to prefer NOT to “have to” in reading comics. But this being a 22-year-old comic and all, I can make the exception.

The story basically involves the current Hawkman preparing for facing a god-entity and eventually facing it, before being merged with other Hawk entities in a fashion a bit different than the scene we got in Zero Hour itself. Details didn’t stick with me, and I’m ignorant enough of supporting characters and context to do any significant/proper recap. Suffice it to say that for being admittedly “lost” I still enjoyed the issue, anticipating what it had to be leading to.

Along with tying into Zero Hour directly, this is also a concluding chapter of a multi-part story Godspawn; seemingly capping off stuff prior in readiness for the post-Zero Hour status quo.

I’m not all that familiar with the art team–off the top of my head, I’m not truly at all familiar–but I enjoyed this issue’s visuals. Nothing stood out in a negative way or threw me off…I was just reading this to read it, so all the art had to do was NOT SUCK…and it exceeded my expectations as such. This is another issue read only and specifically because of tying into Zero Hour…and that definitely piques my curiosity and interest toward (eventually, hopefully, someday) reading the series at length.

This doesn’t really seem like any one-off issue…so while it’s not a horrible read if you’re trying to read the “complete” Zero Hour, the parts that truly matter to the Event are covered in the core book, leaving this as an issue to be read to expand, or if you’re already reading this run or at LEAST are reading more than just the one issue.

I’m definitely glad I never paid full price for this, though it was not a waste of time to read. Since it expands on events touched on in Zero Hour, I definitely rank this up there as one of the “better” tie-ins. This also sticks out as a bit of an oddity from 22 years later when there’d be an entire 3-6 issue “bannered” tie-in mini-series to get things across, rather than just this issue amidst already ongoing continuity. A solid issue, worthwhile, but not worth going overly out of one’s way to acquire or read just on its own.

The Weekly Haul – Week of May 11th Bargain-Stuff

I managed to miss the pull-list stuff this week–store owner was busy with another customer, I forgot to ask, and I had a mix of stuff, so taking responsibility for myself…going back to the comic shop Friday to fix my error. Also stopped at the other local-ish shop to check on Captain America: Fighting Chance TPBs…alas, only had one, so zero temptation to splurge. Did get a handful of things from the quarter bins there. Between both shops, spent a whopping $4.50 on 18 25-cent books (and several extra Free Comic Book Day ‘free’ issues)!

(I say ‘free’ because the shops still have to purchase them…they’re just then expected to turn around and not charge customers for ’em. I know that, and appreciate that, so don’t truly consider them actually free.)

weekly_haul_week_of_20160511_bargains01

Scored the first couple issues of ElfQuest…neat little find. A Hawkman special that I may already have but don’t consciously remember. A “UPC variant” of HardCase #1 for the heckuvit. A couple issues of a Milestone series I don’t think I knew existed (or had forgotten, anyway). The first issue of Starlin‘s Dreadstar ‘cuz hey…Dreadstar. And because I know I’d lost my original sometime through the years, I continue to–on occasions like this that I come across it–snag the initial publication that helped lead to the Earth X mega-saga.

weekly_haul_week_of_20160511_bargains02

Several general-ish Marvel issues–the X-Men issue where we found out who Onslaught really is; a Marvel Comics Presents issue with the Falcon on the cover (‘cuz hey, I love the Anthony Mackie‘s MCU character!), and a couple issues–including the first–of Nomad (‘cuz hey…”Bucky”!) Snagged the first issue of MASK for quasi-nostalgic feelings; ditto the American Flagg! Special.

And then the Ash issue I actually opened up to check, and found the words “Vol 1. No. 1, November, 1994″…so I believe this is the first Event Comics issue…by Quesada and Palmiotti, several years before they were brought on with Marvel for the Marvel Knights project. As I recall, a relatively “hot” issue 20-ish years ago. 25-cents for me, now.

weekly_haul_week_of_20160511_bargains03

Also grabbed a couple of shiny duplicates in Turok and Thunder Strike #1s, as well as X #25. And then the several Free Comic Book Day issues from the FCBD leftovers.

All of these for “only” $4.50…a far superior value to most contemporary single-issues, and more interesting and such to me than pretty much anything that Marvel is putting out right now for $3.99 apiece!

Still, I did buy several DCs, with a couple other comics to pick up Friday that keep the “bargain books” very firmly a small minority of my weekly purchase.

All the more with planning to give the first few weeks of Rebirth a shot, if only to show “support” for the $2.99 price-point.

Brightest Day #0 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 4.5/5
Art: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

Blackest Night #8 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

The Atom and Hawkman #46 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 4/5
Art: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

Blackest Night #4 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 4/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

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