Hawkgirl: The Maw
by Walter Simonson, Howard Chaykin (DC Comics, 2007)

Superman and Captain America have both managed to keep ongoing series running even though the title characters were no longer in the books. But, with Hawkman left behind in the aftermath of the Rann/Thanagar war, the Hawkman series changed its name to reflect its new focus on the distaff half of the team, Hawkgirl (whom I always thought deserved equal billing anyway).

The Maw is the first collection of the newly titled series, taking place one year after the events of the distant space war. Hawkgirl is picking up the pieces of her life in St. Roch, working at the Stonechat Museum in Hawkman's stead and dealing with an increasing number of disturbing nightmares, as well as something nasty that might be lurking in the basement.

Unfortunately, the story didn't really hold my interest -- but that's no reflection on the character. Walter Simonson's writing here is convoluted, but not excessively so. More problematic for me is Howard Chaykin's art, which makes everyone look like they have an uncomfortable dental appliance in their mouths at all times. Also, if Hawkgirl is that freakin' cold in every single panel, maybe Chaykin could sketch in a sweater. (I know he's drawing for a largely male audience, but sheesh, that's got to be hard on the fabric.)

It's for that same audience, I presume, that one of Hawkgirl's foes in this book -- a large woman wearing little more than tattoes -- rips off our heroine's top, leaving her to fight only in her lacy, Comics Code-protected bra.

I'm not giving up on Hawkgirl, nor am I discouraged by the creative team's work; I've enjoyed plenty of Simonson's and Chaykin's output in the past. Perhaps they just need a story arc or two to find their footing and help Hawkgirl find her full potential as a solo star.

review by
Tom Knapp

21 July 2007

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