It’s Month 2 of DC Comics’ The New 52! It’s do-or-die this month for the books I bashed last month, and time to see if the titles I loved last month are as good as I thought! I’ll be reviewing all 52 #2 issues released this month, and you can find all of the reviews on the Comic Book Reviews index page. This week we get 13 #2 issues, including Hawk & Dove #2! Last month’s issue defied my expectations by being perfectly adequate. This month I’m not feeling so positive, unfortunately. Rob Liefeld is catching a lot of flak for his art in this book (as usual), but is he really the weakest link on the Hawk & Dove team? I really don’t think so…
This review will contain spoilers.
This book attempts to fall into the same “dumb fun” category as O.M.A.C. #2, although it doesn’t do it as well. If you’re looking for any kind of deep characterization or complex plotbuilding, you should look elsewhere. What you will get here is Hawk being Hawk (which essentially means he’s an ass), Dove being Dove (which means she’s usually pretty nicey-nice), and villains being twisted and evil just for the sake of itself. There’s not much to it, but the simple feel of the book makes for a light snack amongst intellectual books like Animal Man and Swamp Thing.
The artwork here is good enough that I’m going to categorize it in “The Right”. It’s certainly not the greatest art ever seen in a comic book or anything, but none of it is so bad that I can’t follow what’s going on or I’m taken out of the story due to freakish proportions or anything like that. For Rob Liefeld art, that has to be considered a victory.
I continue to enjoy Deadman’s use here in a supporting role. I thought his interactions with Dove were a little awkward in this issue (Dove gets pissed at Deadman when he shows up for a date she made because Dove has booked something else on top of the date–huh?), but I feel like having a C-List character like Deadman in his own book as well as two others (including Justice League Dark) makes this new DC Universe feel like a more connected and cohesive whole.
Like Green Arrow #2, actions occur in Hawk & Dove #2 with no logical thought or explanation behind them, simply to keep the plot and characters moving to their intended destinations. Unfortunately, this lack of solid reasoning completely derails what’s going on and takes the reader out of the story by baffling them.
For example, Hawk’s ex-girlfriend, Ren (Get it? Like the bird? “Wren”? Oy.), is invited to a celebratory banquet by Hawk’s father. Hawk, being Hawk, is pretty much a thoughtless jerk to her, and Ren gets mad and says she’s going to the women’s restroom. When Ren doesn’t come back promptly, Dove asserts that something must have happened and she and Hawk should go check it out. Uh, what? Wouldn’t it make more sense for Dove to, y’know, go check the women’s restroom herself? Perhaps Ren is feeling sick, or felt awkward dealing with her ex-boyfriend and went home. But there’s absolutely no reason for Dove to think that anything nefarious is going on here, and certainly no reason for her to take Hawk to go look for trouble. But of course, it turns out that Dove is completely right, and Ren is being held hostage by crazed, bird-themed supervillains. Surprise!!
And speaking of crazed, bird-themed supervillains…
You would imagine the person who would obtain the power of “Swan” would have characteristics like delicacy or gracefulness. However, the woman who becomes “Swan” is some twisted, murderous psycho-bitch. This logically makes no sense to me. Could she have just killed Dove and become the avatar of peace, even though she doesn’t embody it in any way? Can anybody just kill Hawk or Dove or whatever bird-themed superhuman and steal their power or what?
To me, this is a cut-and-dried case of writer Sterling Gates wanting to use the tried and true clichéd method of creating arch-villains who are the anti-thesis of the heroes, but with no regard for logic or reason.
I also hate the idea that there’s an armada of bird-related superhumans running around. In just this issue we have Hawk, Dove, Osprey, Condor, and Swan. I’m half-expecting Ren to power up and attack Hawk as a jilted ex-lover next issue. I made a joke in my Detective Comics #2 review about DC wanting to form a Corps of illegitimate Batman children, but they really might be moving towards a Corps of Bird-Themed Superhumans here and it’s just silly.
“Where Can I Buy It?!”
The obvious place to buy new comic books is your local comic book store, but if you don’t have one or can’t get to it, I highly recommend giving Things from Another World (TFAW.com) a try! Currently, they not only have Hawk & Dove #2 in stock, but they have Hawk & Dove #1, as well as most other books of the New 52! They stock a crazy huge number of comic books, and the prices on new releases and graphic novels are always 10-35% below cover price. I’ve been buying from TFAW for close to a decade now and never had a bad experience, so I have total confidence in their value and quality. Click here if you wanna take a look at buying comics from Things from Another World.
Overall: When the strong link in your team is Rob Liefeld, you know you’re in trouble. Sterling Gates can turn in satisfactory work like Kid Flash Lost, but this isn’t it. This book is sloppily-written and generic. This is nowhere near the worst book in the New 52 (Men of War, Static Shock, and Green Arrow are fighting it out for that title), but it’s just not good enough–or even average enough–for me to give it a recommendation.