How can Eric maintain his self-image of a good man while going down the trail of vengeance? He wants the Devil Marauders dead for what they did to his mentor and the students at the karate academy, but if he kills, won’t he be as bad as his enemies? However, if he can convince someone else (or several someones) to do the deed, Eric’s hands will (mostly) be clean. The animosity between rival gangs is a powerful thing, and it doesn’t take much to ignite it.
The Hawk of New York #5 steps away from the more introspective storytelling of previous issues and focuses on Eric’s first steps towards vengeance against the Devil Marauders. At the same time, creator Randyl Bishop never shies away from showing how even the most justified violence has a cost and that innocents can be caught in the cross fire; however, Eric somehow never comes across as an anti-hero. He struggles with character flaws that lead him to make ambiguous choices, but he also suffers intensely from the consequences of faulty decisions.
Now that I’ve read the whole fifth issue of The Hawk of New York, I fully appreciate the brilliant foreshadowing of the cover (Hint: climatic scene with Eric and his beloved motorcycle); however, it doesn’t spoil the climax in the slightest given that the motorcycle plays a major role in the entire series.
One of the features of The Hawk of New York series is how the creator ties music into the story. Two songs are featured with this issue: “Love Cemetery” by Electric Poem and “Bad Man” by Jack the Radio. Because the songs were used as background color for more action-packed sequences, I had no problem listening to them while reading the story for the first time. I preferred “Bad Man,” but both songs contribute to plot immersion.
The Hawk of New York #5 helped bring me hope that Eric will find personal salvation and not completely lose himself in his rage towards the Devil Marauders. One act in the final pages convinced me that he is still the kind man who bonded with his dojo, and I can see a glimmer of hope that he will find a way to end his pain without sacrificing all his growth.
The comic book may be purchased here.
4.5 Strategically Placed Graffiti out of 5