I want to make it very clear that I didn't read this of my own free will. It's not like I said to myself, "You know what would be awesome? Hawkman! Wr...moreI want to make it very clear that I didn't read this of my own free will. It's not like I said to myself, "You know what would be awesome? Hawkman! Written by Liefeld!" No, this was a suicide pact I made with some friends. Sort of a mutual hazing, or a group triple dog dare. Anne, Mike, Sam, and Kat have already posted their reviews. The good news? Nothing we read after this will ever seem that bad.
Because this is really bad. I don't think I can even explain how bad it is, or in how many different categories it's bad. It's not laughably bad, or amusingly bad, or enragingly bad. It's lose-the-will-to-live bad. It's the kind of bad that sucks the life out of you as you read, that drags you into a stable time loop so it feels like you've always been reading Hawkman, and you always will be reading Hawkman. If you think I just gave you a good idea of how bad it is, you're wrong. It's worse.
You know, it's kind of funny to me that all four of my friends who have read this have come up with something completely different to hate on. And they're all right. It's riddled with cliches and bizarre infodumps, the characters are wooden and contradictory, the plot is borderline nonsensical. Emma, the female sidekick, is given way more panels without being given any more skills, agency, or personality. It makes Hawkman's origin even more confused than it already was, and expect me to believe that FEMA is in the habit of handing out social security numbers and birth certificates to any drifter who washes up on shore after a hurricane.
Which wasn't even the most unbelievable thing on display. How about the priest who goes from respected historian to "KILL THE UNBELIEVERS" in 30 seconds flat? Or the defender of the faith that thinks it's totally cool to make his grand entrance by bursting through a church window. Godly! Then there's Hawkman's complete about face in relation to his armor. Last volume he wanted to destroy it. Now, he's embracing it. And because there's been absolutely no character development over the course of 20 issues, it reads as inconsistency rather than growth. Oh, and it's worth pointing out that Liefeld apparently believes that being an archaeologist is a dangerous job requiring many safe stashes of money and supplies around the world.
But the worst part, to me, was not actually written by Liefeld. Believe it or not. I was far more upset with the weird and clearly research free dementia related story. Emma's father is in the early stages of Alzheimer's, which for him manifests as constantly pausing in the middle of sentences (which was weird and inaccurate enough) and forgetting something a couple of times on panel. My grandfather had Alzheimer's, and to have that stage portrayed as "must put him in a home NOW!" is weird, unsettling, and honestly insulting. I don't want to talk too much about how my grandfather's illness progressed, but he'd sure as hell gotten well past the "forgetting something he'd said a week or so ago" stage before my family had to put him into care. And if we'd gone to visit a potential home and found the door being opened by a patient? We wouldn't have been able to leave fast enough. We NEVER would have even considered leaving him somewhere that literally gave him free roam because it's just not safe. That both Carter and Emma thought that was an appropriate place for her father was astounding to me. It seems quite obvious to me that the writer (a quick googling says it's DeFalco) knows nothing about dementia, and didn't care to find out.
And guess what? The art is pretty bad, too.
No, this isn't the worst book that I've ever read. It probably isn't the worst comic book that I've read. But it is really, really bad. It isn't even worth reading out of morbid curiosity. Just don't. (less)