Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Hawkworld by Tim Truman

Tim Truman (artist and writer)
Alcatena (inks)
Sam Parsons (colors)
DC Comics, 1991 

This trade paperback compiles the three issues of Hawkworld published by DC from August - October 1989, and features an Introduction by DC editor Mike Gold.

Hawkworld is basically Truman's take on a postmodern origin story for the Hawkman character first introduced into comics in 1940. It was well enough received to motivate DC to issue an ongoing series a year later, also titled Hawkworld, that ran for 32 issues until falling victim in Spring 1993 to the Great Comic Book Crash then unfolding.

The story is set on the planet Thanagar, where the elite live in luxury and splendor among the high towers of the city; aided by artificial wings and anti-gravity belts, they can fly like the eponymous birds of prey.

The Thangarans have enslaved a bewildering variety of alien races, representatives of which are obliged to work as slaves and servants in the high towers, while many more are condemned to live in strife and squalor in the slums occupying ground level.

The lead character, Katar Hol, is the son of a Thanagar aristocrat and a new recruit to the police force, where his skills and courage make him a man with a bright future. However, Katar Hol's exposure to the brutal tactics used by the police against the aliens of the ground warrens causes him a crisis of conscience.

As Hawkworld unfolds, Katar Hol finds himself forced to make a decision: remain indifferent to the plight of the Underclass, or become a Social Justice Warrior. Of course, Hol chooses the latter option, and finds himself drawn into a violent conflict with the corrupt and amoral leaders of the police force and the planet Thanagar itself..........

I found Hawkworld to be one of the better reboots of a DC comics superhero to be initiated in the late 80s and early 90s. Truman's plot is somewhat predictable - after all, this is DC comics, not 2000 AD comics - but it avoids becoming overly complicated, and doesn't belabor the Social Justice theme.

As is always the case with Tim Truman comics, it's the artwork that makes Hawkworld stand out. Ably assisted by inker Alcatena, and his longtime collaborator colorist Sam Parsons, Truman serves up some impressive draftsmanship that lifts the series above the usual superhero fare. 

Truman has a knack for drawing monsters and the presence of a potpourri of aliens within the pages of Hawkworld gives him an excuse to outdo himself with variations on reptiles, primates, and birds, and even has a tentacled monstrosity thrown into the mix in the book's closing pages. 

Summing up, Hawkworld stands the test of time as one of the better DC titles of its era. Hawkman fans, Tim Truman fans, and those who appreciate good graphic art will want to pick up a copy.

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