Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Bullet Review: Hawkgirl #4

Hawkgirl #4 came out this week and it guest starred Supergirl so I bought the book. 

I have read enough reviews of the book to know that I probably wasn't going to like it. The Hawkman and Hawkwoman and Hawkgirl hardcore fans have said this book doesn't reflect the history or legacy of those characters. They have said that Kendra's attitude is off. They have said that Kendra's history as presented is off. So I have stayed away.

I also have heard that this is a sort of agenda comic. When I say that, I mean that rather than being a comic story that has an agenda, this is a book that has an agenda and it is forced into the comic characters. Perhaps that is why people in the know think the characters aren't recognizable. Writer Jadzia Axelrod is definitely injecting her life view and politics into the book. 

So that is why Hawkgirl #4 is the first issue of this mini-series that I have bought. And not having read the earlier three, I am going to judge this on this one issue. 

I'll start out by saying that I honestly have no idea what is going on in this book on a big level. I understand that I am coming in halfway through. But the old rubric that every comic could be someone's first comic is true. There is no synopsis of who these characters are. I don't know what the plot is. There is a chance that if I could make sense of the story I might be intrigued enough to go back and buy the earlier books. But that isn't the case here. I came to this title because of Supergirl. That's what guest stars do. That drew me here ... this was the writer's chance to keep me here.

Second, that agenda is present and even forced. The cutesy 'everyday slice of life' which permeates so many comics these days is also present here. From a discussion about hot dogs to a talking Corgi dog to a talk about cheering at sports games to political t-shirts, there is a lot of stuff that doesn't seem crucial to the narrative.

And lastly, and rather shockingly, Supergirl is played up here for her good looks in a way that felt wrong. She is also the guest star and taken out immediately. 

The art by Amancay Nahuelpan is really solid so I'll tuck that name in the back of my head as someone to follow. 

On to a few comments.

After several pages about hot dog vendors, political t-shirts, and a flashback, a dragon appears above the city. We see how Vulpecula, the main villain of the peace, shapeshifts into the dragon ... or maybe summons a dragon? 

The heroes spring into action ... sort of. They mosey into action. We see Kendra dart into a restroom and put on her costume. But given how we regard time in comics, Kendra seems to be slowly putting on her costume while the dragon rages. 

Galaxy doesn't have a costume to put on. But while the dragon is burning the city, she is smooching her talking Corgi.

That's 7 pages to maybe fill in some of the back story of what is happening here. Look at those 4 panels. Tell me if that space could be better utilized.

This is Metropolis though.

Kendra and Galaxy are joined by Supergirl and Steel. 

At first I thought Steel is calling Kara 'Barbie' but she may be calling Galaxy that.

And Galaxy, smitten, says Kara has ' got a lot of charisma'. Nat says she has also noticed implying she is also attracted to Supergirl.

Is Supergirl being judged by her looks here? If those lines were spoken by two male characters would it be okay? If Guy Gardner called Kara 'Barbie', would it be acceptable? If Red Hood said he noticed Kara's "... um ... lot of charisma" would it be a joke or would be called toxic?

I just want Supergirl to be respected as a hero. 

And has Natasha always been attracted to women? 

Then we get this page. 

Sure, Supergirl looks quite fetching here.

But we get more flirty, odd dialogue.

I'll remind you that a huge fire breathing dragon is attacking the city. But Galaxy says she isn't even noticing Supergirl and is already taken besides. Is this really the time for such talk? And if Hal Jordan said that would it be okay.

And Supergirl is fine with being noticed for her looks. She tells Nat to relax. She doesn't mind being ogled. And oh by the way, she knows Nat's heart speeds up when she enters a room again intimating something about Nat's sexuality. All while a dragon is breathing fire.

This whole scene is people talking about how hot they find Supergirl, all while a city is in peril.

In an interesting wrinkle, the dragon can manifest whatever power it needs to defeat an enemy. Kryptonite fire talks Supergirl out for the rest of the issue. 

I am actually thankful that she is taken out so easily ... something I never say. But at least it spared me from more odd, sexually charged dialogue thrown in her direction.

Hawkgirl somehow manifests a sword like the X-Men Magik has and beheads the dragon. Is that the end of Vulpecula?

And then this odd ending. There is no recognition of the heroics here. Instead, Kendra talks about how much in pain she is. She's tired and hurt. She's angry at Carter and Shayera. She feels she is unnecessary. I guess she is depressed. And irate. And bitter.

This was one last chance to get me interested in reading more about this character and more of this story. But this Kendra isn't the sort of character that I like. 

So, overall this issue had inscrutable plot without a recap, people ogling Supergirl, Supergirl being taken out extremely easy, and a broken main character. Decent art though.

Overall grade: D-


Martin Gray said...

I think I’ve mentioned that I bought the first issue and found it terrible. I’ve looked at #2 and #3 on DC Infinite and they’re possibly even worse. This sounds so bad I likely won’t even bother checking it out next month.

Axelrod isn’t ready for primetime and the editors aren’t helping. Or they think she’s so good they don’t bother, and just let her write her agenda-prop Galaxy fiction under the guise of a Hawkgirl book. Who the heck is this shrieking, self-pitying idiot calling herself Hawkgirl? I can’t see this version of the supposed winged wonder taking off. Amazing art, mind, even though I dislike Kendra as She-Hulk.

The objectification of Supergirl was awful but Axelrod’s characters seem to think everyone is at least bisexual. To be fair, Nat is established as liking ladies - remember Traci 13 in Superwoman?

Anj said...

Forgot about Traci 13! Thanks for reminder!

I don't even know if I'd compare to She-Hulk, who often is happy-go-lucky.

This Kendra just seems miserable.

Martin Gray said...

Just the physique, Anj!!

Anj said...



Anonymous said...

Jobbed Out by Page Five, "Peak DC" when it comes to Kara Zor El I'm afraid. Like our host given the inept writing and creepy dialogue I am sort of glad Supergirl was taken off the board so early, ghod only knows what could have happened if she'd stayed central to the storyline thru out this issue.
Geez remember when Supergirl would show up as guest star and ohhhhh "add value" to the storyline? We had it made in 1979 didn't we ? :)
BTW the only "Supergirl News" to come of the NYCC is that DC is doubling down on "DC v. Vampires" next year with ANOTHER miniseries...I wanna start a pool as to how quickly they off Supergirl in that mini, I'm thinking issue one, page two panel 1. The vampires new queen is Batgirl, so of course, its a universal truism in the DCU (elseworlds or not) that no power in the universe can prevail against any member of the Bat Family when they go rogue...

JF (caustic as always :)

Anonymous said...

I regret spending my money on this comic.

This is such a stark contrast to Monkey Prince where Kara also guest starred earlier this year. In that book she is a smart, capable and experienced hero. That story elevated both Supergirl and the Monkey Prince. We see some fun interaction between the two characters and by the end I wanted to see another adventure with both of them.

I can't say the same about this Hawkgirl book. Gave it a try and it's just not for me.

William Ashley Vaughan said...

Sounds like spending my money on Justice League vs. Godzilla vs. Kong instead of this was a good decision. JL v. G. v. K treats her with much more respect. Kara leading the Justice League into battle against the Legion of Doom is alone worth the read.

Anj said...

Thanks for comments.

I don't know if I'll be getting DC v Vampires II.

'I regret spending my money on this comic' - never a good opening line for a book. Thankfully it always was a 'mini'.

Review of JLA v Godzilla v Kong will be up tomorrow! Loved the book.

William Ashley Vaughan said...

Looking forward to your JL v. Godzilla vs. Kong review.