The Vanier Report: Week 15
Convergence: Hawkman #1
Written by: Jeff Parker
Pencils by: Tim Truman
Inks by: Enrique Alcatena
Colours by: John Kalisz
Letters by: Dave Sharpe
We are now three weeks into Convergence and things are starting to come together. The main title is picking up speed and seems to have a decent pace, and a number of the tie-in issues have been enjoyable reminiscences of continuities long since passed. And yet, despite the obvious nostalgic pleasure of this event, something which has plagued the first issues of nearly every tie-in title has been the sense that none of it matters.
That same message of existential dread is woven throughout Jeff Parker’s script in Convergence: Hawkman #1, as Katar and Shayera try to maintain some normalcy in to their lives in the domed pre-Crisis Gotham City. In general, they have managed this much better than most. They are able to continue as heroes as the properties of their Nth metal have not been affected by the dome; and in their civilian guises as Carter and Shiera Hall they have even found work as curators at a museum. By all accounts, things are business as usual for the Hawks.
Of course, below the surface nothing is the same. Rioters continue to cause panic in the streets of Gotham City, citizens are losing faith, and even Hawkwoman doubts that the dome will ever lift. But when the Hawks discover that there are Shadow Warriors – fellow Thanagarians who had been plotting an invasion of Earth – trapped in Gotham with them, they ultimately discover the truth about the dome; their city has not been on Earth the entire time.
Parker’s script is a wonderful tribute to the Silver Age Hawks. Between the Shadow Warriors’ Absorbascon and the mind-controlled Manhawks, the book is full of the pseudo-sci-fi that defined the Hawks throughout the pre-Crisis era. He has also done a wonderful job recapturing the essence of Katar and Shayera. The closeness of their bond is as palpable as ever, and there is a deep compassion in their relationships and interactions with other characters throughout the issue, and in particular during the sequence at the museum. Truman’s pencils match the strength and versatility of Parker’s characterization. The artwork is dynamic in both action and in stillness, and John Kalisz’ colours provide so much contrast between the heroes and the citizens of Gotham, and yet again a different mood entirely for the Shadow Warriors.
In fact, as far as the technical components of the book, Convergence: Hawkman #1 is an unmitigated success. But for all the excellent artistry and craftsmanship, the fact remains that this issue, like so many others of this event, is utterly inconsequential.
Ultimately, what has the issue accomplished? While it has given us a glimpse of the Hawks’ year under the dome, what we have learned is that nothing much has changed for them. And when something unique does happen, we learn that their enemies are the exact same foes from the last moment we saw the pre-Crisis Hawks. In terms of Convergence itself, the revelation that Gotham is not on Earth may be news to Katar and Shayera, but it certainly is not to us; every other character and city we have seen so far has come to the same realization. And by the end of the issue, with the dome gone and Telos’ ominous, if not repetitive, announcement, there is not even a sign of who Hawkman and Hawkwoman will have to face in combat next issue. Clever minds will recall the solicitation’s promise of creatures from Kamandi, but that detail is completely absent from this issue.
As enjoyable as this issue was, it boils down to characters we already know portrayed in a way we’ve already seen fighting crime in a way we’ve already experienced in the context of a story with which we are already familiar. Nothing in this issue has any consequence; a sentiment ironically reflected in Parker’s script. The Shadow Warriors teach the Hawks what they have learned about the Crisis – specifically that the fight was futile and reality was reshaped. Katar and Shayera Hol were erased from existence once, and as they enter Telos’ battleground outside of time and space itself, it is difficult to imagine that being erased again would bear any weight at all.
It’s a dark sentiment that earns a place in this otherwise enjoyable issue, but it is perhaps the most telling example of my primary suspicion about Convergence – that for all its sound and fury, and for all that I have personally enjoyed about it, its outcome will be meaningless.
Feature Written By: Reid Vanier
“Reid is a comic book fan masquerading as a theatre artist. His love of comics (specifically DC) was inherited by his father’s collections of Flash, Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes, and Justice League of America. Reid is now the Editor and Lead Writer of Modern Mythologies.”