Hawk and Dove #3 came out this last week and followed the formula that Sterling Gates and Rob Liefeld have used in the first two issues. The formula is relatively easy ... slow revealing of hints about the world of avatars in the midst of fast huge wild crazy action.
Now for me, the back story, the mythology of the avatars is the part that grabs me the most. So it is a good sort of maddening that Gates is only giving us a couple of peeks, erecting a scaffolding to build these beings' history on. And I like what we have learned so far - a deeper and secret history between Don and Dawn, other avatars out there, a woman avatar gaining her power by killing another avatar, and now this issue's reveals, more clues than the prior issues. And as much as I want to learn more and learn it quickly, the slower leak of information works here only because the crazy action around it has kept me reeling.
As for the art, there are some bumps in the road that stuck out in an otherwise crazy issue. But Liefeld is really playing this book out as big, explosive, and chaotic.
Much like the new Wonder Woman comic, this is great mix of deeper story gaining in momentum in the background of over the top action. And that style is really working for me right now.
This issue picks up right where the last issue left us, with the new avatar couple Condor and Swan attacking the White House and threatening the president. Luckily, Hawk and Dove are on hand as Hank and Dawn, celebrating an award Hank's father is wining.
Condor has basically been portrayed as a killing machine, a vicious machine of destruction. But at least we see he has some motive for this random attack. He knew an attack on the White House would draw out Hawk and Dove.
We have yet to learn just what Condor is the avatar of. Destruction? Carnage? Is there some hint in the fact he is a condor, a carrion eating bird?
And I did like that Hawk says he will save the president despite not having voted for him.
In one of many insane panels in the book, Condor's teeth turn into a mouthful of fangs and he bites the head off of a secret service agent. 'In-fight snacks'! As someone who loves puns, that
So this is a small complaint but shouldn't the decapitated head have a more ragged appearing bottom? He didn't slice through this guy's neck with a blade. He bit through it. Maybe from a censor point of view it had to be smooth? But it looks like a mannequin head falling off. Too clean.
In the aftermath, Condor reveals that he knows Hawk is Hank. Hmmm ... And later he talks about how Hawk was 'birthed by a war' that Hank is unaware of. The Kesel Hawk and Dove had the avatars be the warriors of the Lords of Chaos and Order. I wonder if Gates is going to keep that intact here.
Elsewhere, Dove and Swan square off.
Swan seems just as crazy as Condor. I shouldn't be surprised given that she murdered Osprey just last issue. But here she is such a sly font of information. First, she talks about 'the circle' of avatars meaning there are more out there. Given this is a relaunch I will roll with Dawn being surprised about this talk. She's met Kestrel. Unless she is shocked to learn there are even more out there.
But Swan also talks about her own abilities and shows us a couple of new powers. First she seems to regurgitate energy swan-a-rangs into her hand which she then throws. Swans do chew their cud.
Then she shows she has a swan song. It doesn't seem to have any particular power other than to rattle her opponent. But, of course, this makes me wonder just what Hawk and Dove are capable of.
And then it seems that Condor and Swan's hope is to kill Hawk and Dove and take their power. Hmmm...
Could this be a sort of 'Highlander' thing with Condor, absorbing the energy of the other avatars until there can be only one? And is this 'swan dagger' a special weapon designed to kill the avatars?
Just another small art quibble here. This is a very good splash page but Dawn's right foot looks off.
I have said before that I hope Deadman is a short-lived part of this book. I never quite understood the Deadman/Dawn relationship (and I definitely don't like the slimy feel of it in JL Dark).
But he has a couple of good moments here. First, he seems to possess Barack Obama so he can help Judge Hall.
But the bigger moment is when he possesses Condor to help Hawk.
It is a different sort of possession has Deadman doesn't get control of the body and instead runs into this. This has to be who Condor is an avatar for, the Lord of Chaos he serves.
What the heck is that? It looks like a mash-up of Slimer from Ghostbusters, a heavy horse, and Quetzalcoatl. I hope it is a Chaos Lord. It looks chaotic. Whatever it is, it ejects Deadman from Condor.
And the freed Condor, flush with power from the 'others in the circle' he has killed, is just about to murder Hawk when Dove shows up. Hmm, maybe he is a carrion bird, eating the energy of others.
We don't know just how Dove escaped Swan but she is wielding that special dagger.
So my only problem here is that in the panel before, Condor has his cowl on. So I don't know why it is off here. Is it the attack that causes him to expose himself? Is it that he was about to kill Hawk? Or was this just a lapse in continuity page to page.
I am also surprised that Dove would go for such an obvious kill shot (although she says she knows the avatar will heal Condor from this wound).
And here is the last mystery. When Condor powers down after being healed, he is shown to be an old man. We have only seen him in Condor mode before. So is an old guy simply Condor? Or is there more to it than that?
What if, when in avatar mode, the human body still ages normally while the avatar remains perpetually young. Could this guy have become Condor decades ago but, having stayed mostly in the young vital Condor, not realize he was aging away? Could so much power have burned him out? I am going to go with the former guess. The reason we don't see it with Hank and Dove is that they change back and forth so frequently.
So I have been enjoying the thrill ride this comic has been. So a lot of 'clues' or hints about stuff this issue has really whet my appetite for more. And the battle scenes have been appropriately over the top nutty. I can't imagine anyone better suited to be drawing this comic than Liefeld.
And Gates seems to be building a more cosmic background here. I can't wait to see just how all these little reveals come together. And hopefully that supra-dimensional background and street level super-villain hijinks will give him some freedom to take the book in lots of directions.