New Life In Orleans’ Doppelganger City

Hawkman: Endless Flight TPB
Writers: James Robinson, Geoff Johns
Artist: Michael Bair, Rags Morales

December 27, 2004

By Avi Green

When Carter Hall and Sheira Sanders first debuted, their adventures were told as part of an anthology in Flash Comics, along with their good friends of the time, Jay Garrick and even Johnny Thunder and his genie T-Bolt (whose feature was later taken over by Black Canary). It was only by the Silver Age that an ongoing series that they got a book all their own, when Gardner Fox took to writing it following the success of their preceding stories in DC Showcase. And at that particular time, it was the concept of being from the planet Thanagar that took hold, and the protagonists were Katar Hol and Shayera Thal, intially two police officers from another world who resided on earth to check out the local forms of crimefighting. And then of course, when all was rebooted again post-Crisis on Infinite Earths, while the Silver Age protagonists were retconned into being the Golden Age ones, the leads in 1990’s Hawkworld, written by John Ostrander, were still from Thanagar, though this time they didn’t actually try to maintain a secret ID.

Now, at long last, Carter Hall and Sheira Sanders have their very own solo series with them as the stars, though this time, Sheira exists in the form of her own grandneice, Kendra Saunders, whose grandfather is the adventurer Speed Saunders, first seen in Detective Comics #1 way back in the mid-1930’s.

And it’s one of the most remarkable fantasy series I’ve ever read, with excellent devotion to a lot of DC history and sense of adventure, plus it makes good use of character development focus for today.

For the first adventure, we have the Hawks coming to the aid of the Stonechat Museum in St. Roch, Louisiana, where they’ve come to work and reside as consultants, and the owner, Oliver Evans, is struggling to keep his property out of the hands of the ruthless land owner and historical artifacts collector Kristopher Roderic, who’s been trying to take over ownership of the museum for his own greedy purposes. Evans’ son, Danny, is on a trip in India to find a valuble ruby called the Third Eye of Shiva that could help to save the museum’s funding, and Hawkman and Hawkgirl, along with the researcher Jayita Sahir, another employee of Stonechat’s, take off to help him. Which is a good thing too, since Roderic has enlisted the aid of three villains, Shadow Thief, Copperhead and Tigress to snatch the gem for him instead. Hawkman, Jayita, and Shadow Thief and Copperhead get stuck briefly in an alternate world called Ganesha, where they discover a race of elephants enslaved by a ruthless dictatorship, and come to their aid in freeing them before Hawkgirl and Danny can regain the Third Eye gem from Tigress to free their pals from the alternate world’s dimensions.

It’s quite an enjoyable adventure in the classic comics mode, and which also helps to set up an effective adversary in Roderic, who, it turns out, has something to do with the Hawks’ archnemesis, Hath-Set. And it even sets up a pretty good supporting cast of characters in the title, including Susan Morrison and Jeremy Barlow, two employees at the museum who provide some occasional comic relief.

The last three issues have Green Arrow guest starring in a story where he’s in St. Roch searching for a criminal bowman called the Spider, Thomas Ludlow, a descendant of an earlier character from the Golden Age, who’s also a descendant of the Ludlow family from England that tormented the Flash semi-adversary, the Shade, in the 19th century, which led him to have to slay the parents of family then in self-defense. Their descendants would try to pursue him over the next century, and Thomas Ludlow is the latest in the line of Ludlow members from that time. And he’s even more crafty than you’d think: not only does he tend to use deadly arrows, but also ones that leave a line of spider-like webbing in the flight (shades of Spider-Man!), making a perfect trademark for himself.

Ludlow’s been trying to frame Green Arrow for the murder or the targeting of at least five important business figures in the St. Roch area, and our lovably arrogant avenging archer is in the area to stop him, and gets some assist from Hawkman, with whom he trades some pretty good argument banter over the matters involving both Kendra and his own son Connor Hawke. And the showdown in a city office building is one very enjoyable spectacle, with Hawkman and Hawkgirl both dealing a blow to the villain at once! That, I can tell you, is one of the most charming things about their relationship, in that they actually attack many of their foes together, in almost perfect synchronization.

All in all, this is a very good first collection of the Winged Warriors latest series, a must for adventure fans, and which offers some very good presentation on how Hawkman is quite the fighter he is. And it also splendidly showcases Hawkgirl as well, making great use out of Kendra as a new character in the role.

Update: if I no longer stand by the JSA reviews I wrote, it only figures I no longer stand by this either. It may not be as wretched as they are, but it was still very weak.

Copyright 2004 Avi Green. All rights reserved.

Home FAQ Columns Reviews Links Favorite Characters Special Features Politics Blog Comics Blog Food Blog