Thursday, September 08, 2011

Review: Hawk & Dove #1


Right off the bat I'm going to put it out there that I am a huge fan of Hawk and Dove from back in the day. Well, mostly Dove. But still. I loved Don and I love Dawn. I liked both. And, through process of elimination that made me KINDA like Hawk. Anyways, when I was told that part of the DC Relaunch was going to involve a new Hawk & Dove book I volunteered right off the bat. They even had Sterling Gates, the guy who wrote a bunch of the Supergirl books I liked writing it. I got excited.

Then the news came. Much like any tragedy that has ever occurred during the timeline of my existence, I remember where I was when this happened. I was driving to work, talking to my friend Mandi. She had found out the artist for Hawk & Dove. Rob Liefeld. I didn't cry. No. No amount of tears would have done me any good. He was chosen. But I figured, you know what? It's been a long time since his artist bastardization of every character I knew and loved in the 90's, maybe he's out grown. So I get the book, sit down to read it and this is the first thing I see...

Not only am I presented with a man that looks like half of the women I met visiting my family in Germany, but I'm hit by one of the worst monologues in villainy. Sterling! What happened to you man? Do you not understand politics enough to explain this better or is this genius scientist supposed to be an idiot? Clarify to me how monsters will fix senate.

This book is incredibly rough and confusing. Incredibly. It moves at a pace that only works on Axe Cop. Hawk & Dove are fighting terrorists on a plane. Then a zombie happens. Then the plane starts to crash but luckily Dove lifts the plane by...flying under the edge of the wing? Maybe? It's a very sloppy start.

Upon the ground they are met by Agent Watanbe. Right off the bat, he is hilarious. Not intentionally, but because it wasn't until Liefeld started drawing this book that he realized that he had no idea how to draw an Asian characters eyes and rather than discover Google know...research, he blatantly drew sunglasses over the existing art. Seriously. Look at how out of place those glasses are and tell me that those weren't drawn over whatever offensive failure Liefeld tried to get away with in the beginning.

And to make this character even more hilarious, after giving them a long winded speech about he wants them working for him, he reaches into his trench coat and gives them a business card. Now, I know it's been a while since Liefeld has seen steady work and I would understand if he hasn't seen a business card in a while, but Watanbe's business card is so horrible I actually chuckled. Behold:

That is amazing. First off, I'll point out that his name is Watanbe and is absolutely no way that full name fits on that sheet of paper. But secondly, if you have a business card so old it's wrinkly that may not be the one to hand out. But THIRDLY, and man I love thirdly, his business card is an odd shaped piece of paper with only his last name and no contact information. It's as if he's his work's literal "special" agent and his boss/caregiver went to Kinkos and just shot out a bunch of these with his name to make him feel special. Try this. Make a bunch of business cards with just your last name in Arial font on odd shapes of paper. Hand it out. See how effective that is.

Anyways. I'm not sure if I got the point across that the art is bad yet. Because it is. There's a flashback about Don and Hank being stuck in a room and just look at whichever on of them is hitting that door. It's almost as if he is collapsing into the door itself. If you were to turn the panel 90 clockwise I'd imagine he'd almost be positioned like a teenage girl laying on her bed and writing in her diary.

But enough about the art. Let's go over the story. Oh lets. Apparently, there is a man upset about the democrats and republican disliking each other so, as a genius, he decided to mass produce zombie like warriors and sick them on Washington DC to fix the problem because...comics.

Hawk and Dove, with no explanation given, are on the plane fighting them when they are met on the ground and greeted by the earlier mentioned Agent Watanbe who explains what's going on. But wait, didn't they already know? Why were they on the plane?

Afterwards, Hawk goes to his dad's house and Dove goes out on patrol with her boyfriend Deadman (I don't even want to get into the only ways that could work). Hawk goes on this convoluted monologue about how him and Don got their powers, which is fun because once the part about them getting the powers happens, he just stops telling the story too (and I'm not kidding you) smash a picture frame into the ground. At the same time, Dawn tells her origin to Deadman. But not to us. We don't get to hear it because apparently there were some shenanigans between her and Don that they're either leading up too or hinting at. Pretty hard to tell with how they wrote it.

At the end, somehow a zombie got away but it's caught by a guy who looks a lot like old school Hawk & Dove villain Kestrel but with a 90's Wolverine color uniform. FIN

The DC Relaunch is a big thing. A lot of story lines fell to the way side to make this happen. And with all these new books I've seen some good. Action Comics was incredible, Justice League was fun and Animal Man was surprisingly good. But then there's Hawk & Dove. If I was a no reader and this was the first book I picked up to see what the DC Universe was all about, I'd get halfway through and sign up with Marvel. I can't give you a better piece of advice for this book other than to outright avoid it all together.

By Electric Nerd with 5 comments


I agree that the opening monologue was terrible, and the exposition heavy stuff, but I did think Gates worked in some fun lines "no one likes zombies anymore" and established a clear voice for most of the characters. I think the pacing problems largely came from the art. I dislike the trend of decompression, but if a lot is going on in the comics, the artist needs to have well composed panels, with fluid transitions from panel to panel and scene to scene, and I just don't think Liefeld's someone who will give that. This book was probably aimed at Liefeld fans (they really do exist!) and people who really liked his early work on the book, and I'm guessing they'll be pleased and not many others will be buying. So at least this shouldn't scare off too many people.

Here was my "favorite" Liefeld moment:

Oh, if I was allowed to just do pages upon everything wrong with the art in this book I actually had that panel saved. I mean, he doesn't understand how light works and he's paid more than many other GOOD artists out there. It's insanity.

As for the zombie line. I was originally going to give them credit for that until I realized that there WERE zombies. They were recognizing zombies were played out, while, at the same time, still using them. It's the same as a hipster wearing something ironically.

Hilarious review! You're descriptions were so good at describing the bad, I had to read Hawk and Dove to believe it.

I should have just trusted you. Those are 20 minutes of my life that I won't get back. The story is just soooo ham-handed!

I liked how your review picked out a few instances of its awfulness and went to town on them. But thats why I felt I should read it for myself. . . I thought maybe you were just being nitpicky.

Nope. It was trash.

Ha, glad someone liked it. I was worried I went overboard and no one was going to believe me. But man...

"Because...comics." Yeah, that pretty much explains why Liefeld keeps getting work, doesn't it?

On the other hand, this is a fantastic, funny review! It told the truth and didn't pull any punches!

I just wish I read it BEFORE buying issue number 2.

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