If you enjoyed Hawkgirl: The Maw, would you email me letting me know what you liked about it, or leave a comment below? Regular readers know I ask openly and without judgement. And I ask because, to be frank, I just don't know what the creators could have been thinking and I'm eager for insights; I found very little here to like.
Hawkgirl ventures into the realm of the ridiculous nearly from page one, and the problem can be summed up in one word: nipples. I mean, more nipples than Batman and Robin here, people. Artist Howard Chaykin, a comics legend, never misses an opportunity the entire trade to let you know it's terribly, terribly cold for Hawkgirl there in St. Roch. The suggested nipples don't even go away when Chaykin has villains rip Hawgirl's shirt off to reveal an amazingly-detailed lacy bra, as if every superhero wears expensive lingerie underneath their super-suits.
The art in Hawkgirl here is so gratuitous as to lampoon itself. I'm neither against sex in comics, nor an artist drawing sexually-charged comics when it dovetails with the story. In Hawkgirl's case, however, it just seems out of place and silly, and makes the creative team seem silly, too. It's as if the team thinks that readers are more likely to pick up Hawkgirl if there's a suggestion of nudity in each issue; it'll be a great day when creators learn that comic books and softcore porn are two different things.
Arguably, if you don't look at the pictures, Hawkgirl isn't a badly written comic book. Walter Simonson, also a comics legend, writes a passable story that makes good use, at least, of already-established Hawkgirl characters. But there's an over-heavy use of narrative boxes here that often "tell" instead of "showing," and the monstrous villain of the piece is fairly generic; there's nothing here that screams "One Year Later" new direction, nor I think would necessarily entice a new reader to keep reading Hawkgirl. It's just kind of plain all around.
Frankly, I expected more from Walter Simonson and Howard Chaykin, each considered to be a comics legend in their own right. When creators are as well known in the comics industry as these two, my assumption is that they know how to make quality comics, but Hawkgirl just doesn't demonstrate that to me. Chaykin's art has a detailed, angular style that would otherwise be enjoyable, but the clunky fonts and narrative balloons here, as well as the ever-present pointing nipples, distract from what could have been.
[Contains full covers. Trade Paperback Slugfest: As if you even have to ask? Green Lantern: Wanted wins by a landslide.]
More reviews on the way!