52 Catch Up: The Savage Hawkman

The Savage Hawkman 152 Catch Up is a series devoted to looking at issues from DC's New 52 and seeing how they're faring now that they're underway, why they're worth reading (or not), and places we hope they will go in time.





An archeologist and cryptologist with severe money problems, Carter Hall has a problem he can’t get rid of: the Nth Metal suit that allows him to be a hero.  He struggles to get his life together when the Nth Metal changes it once again.  Full of anger without any real understanding of his powers, he is the Savage Hawkman.





Previously on The Savage Hawkman: Covering Issues #1 - 9



In the dead of night, Carter Hall drives out into the middle of nowhere and buries his Hawkman suit and weapons, trying to put the past behind him; however, the Nth Metal doesn’t care about Hall’s feelings and seems to have bonded itself directly to his body.  A week goes by without anyone knowing where he’s been, including himself, when he gets called to the research lab of Professor Ziegler to try and decrypt some alien symbols on the side of a spaceship.  During the investigation, an alien organism starts to take control of some scientists, and Hall moves to investigate, finding the Nth Metal extending around him for protection.  The main organism, Morphicius, tries to absorb the Nth Metal and uses it against Hall, but can’t completely do so and flies away.

Meanwhile, Dr. Hogarth Kane of the Non-Lethal Alternative Studies group pulls some strings behind the scenes when he suggests to two government agents that he’s behind Morphicius’ actions.  Hall wakes up in a hospital and the professor gives him some photos of the alien symbols to work on.  Not far away, Morphicius falls to the ground and encounters the mortal enemy of his species, a Vexaphon named Walker who brings him to Hogarth.  Hall, out of the hospital and curious about the symbols, goes back to the lab and trips a hologram from the alien spaceship concerning Morphicius’ release.  Hogarth is dissecting Morphicius when Hall tracks down a lead that brings him right to the NLAS headquarters.  Hogarth’s assistant, an alien shapeshifter named Askana, moves to fight Hall but soon joins forces with him when Morphicius starts fighting both of them.  The direct approach doesn’t seem to be working, but Hall finally understands the alien’s weakness and freezes him in cryogenic solution while leaving Hogarth to fend for himself with the feds.

Hall starts seeing dead people, but no one else can.  Professor Ziegler calls him in to dechipher a book that talks about the Mortis Orb, but Hall’s weary of the client’s motives.  Through the help of his neighbor, Singh, he tracks the book back to a rare book owner named Digby, but it was really the Gentleman Ghost using Digby’s body.  Hall tries to fight the ghost but is accosted by apparitions that have physical form yet can be damaged themselves.  Hall and Digby flee the scene to find the Mortis Orb before the Gentleman Ghost can, but, as soon as they do, dead bodies start rising from their graves and move toward the orb.  The Gentleman Ghost takes the orb and begins to use it to bring himself back to life, but Hall teams up with Static to stop the zombie apocalypse; however, neither Static nor Hall are able to stop the Gentleman Ghost until the spirit of a warlock, Julius Gates, attacks him and distracts him enough to allow Hall to grab the orb and place it in the middle of Antarctica, so no one else can find it.

Askana shows up out of the middle of nowhere and beats on a comteplative Hall in his Hawkman garb atop the Chrysler Building in NYC.  She pleas for his help against bounty hunters, but after the bounty hunters start fighting Hawkman instead, Hall deduces that they were really after him. Hogarth put the blame on Hawkman for setting Morphicius free from the spaceship, and Hall’s not too happy about it.  Some nights later he’s attacked again while out on patrol as Hawkman.  He easily beats them and intercepts part of a message but is left wondering what is really going on, especially when his apartment blows up.  He meets up with Emma to discuss possible alien symbols and their meanings, but he is again attacked by a man named Ironside.  He quickly transforms into Hawkman but is captured and brought to Xerxes, a power broker who wants to sell the Nth Metal to the highest bidder.

High Points

Nth Metal: I love the way the Nth Metal isn’t just the suit and weapons he used to wear, but how it’s become a living, vibrant part of who he is.  It reminds me of the Venom symbiotic organism from Marvel’s Spider-Man titles, but without the wanting to eat the brain of its host.

Art Style: The art has a very gritty feeling to it, as though I’m reading something made to be an epic noir.  Very dark and full of shadowed corners and harsh edges, the art shows the reader the kind of life that Carter Hall sees himself in: dark and disturbed.  Even the odd cheerful moment—which lasts only a panel or two—has the gritty filter applied to it, stating that even the good things can’t change Hall’s gloomy life.

Low Points

Brutality: He’s no Superman when it comes to dishing it out to the bad guys, but he’s even more brutal than Batman in terms of physical coercion and intimidation.  He has no problems with leaving the bad guys—sometimes even the seemingly good guys with just bad mistakes—to rot instead of saving them, an when he does save them, it’s only because he needs them at that very moment.  His willingness to leave Askana and Hogarth to the mercies of the Plague proved that Hall is not exactly a nice man.  I’m all for flawed characters and heroes; it proves they’re “human.” But, make them too flawed, and then they become annoying.

Looking Ahead

Nth Metal Properties: What more secrets does the Nth Metal hold for Hall and how he interacts with it?  What about it will come into play in the future?

Emma and Professor Ziegler: There’s obviously some attraction between Emma and Hall, but he’s seems somewhat oblivious to it. So, what exactly is going to happen between them?  Given the fact that Hall works for Emma’s father—and he’s having memory problems due to Alzheimer’s—will there be an additional strain on their friendship/relationship?  She’s very protective of her father, and Hall does have a penchant for using people to get what he needs. But, would he ever use the professor’s debilitating mind for his own purposes?

Waker: The last Vexaphon seems to know about the Nth Metal properties and how they relate to Thanagar and Katar Hol.  He survived his ordeal with Hogarth and seems to have just disappeared into the background, but is he going to prove a pivotal point in the future?




Last modified on Thursday, 27 December 2018 17:29

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