Review: Showcase Presents Hawkman Vol.1

Oh Hawkman, perhaps DC’s most mistreated major character.  The company has relauched him more times than I can count, sometimes as an alien, sometimes as a reincarnated Egyptian Prince, and I don’t think the backstory ever made any sense.  Still he’s managed to hang on somehow.

This collection reprints the earliest stories of the Silver Age Hawkman and Hawkwoman, Katar and Shayera Hol.  The Hol’s are alien police officers from the planet Thanagar who come to Earth to capture a fugitive and stay in order to study human police methods.  However, the only methods they seem to adopt are the use of ancient weapons, which they regularly steal from the museum they curate in their secret identities.  So yeah the premise is pretty thin and the characters themselves are saddled with some enormous baggage.

However, there are some worthwhile elements here as well.    Hawkwoman is a surprisingly strong female character given the time these stories were written.  She still spends far too much time shopping and playing damsel in distress, but she is also portrayed as actually being Hawkman’s equal in both intelligence and physical capabilities.  The art from Joe Kubert and Murphy Anderson is some great eye candy, particularly in the Shadow Thief issues (who I always thought leant himself to some great images with his slightly distorted figure).  Finally, in terms of comics history this collection also contains the first appearance of Zatanna (although it’s not one of the better stories here).

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