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52apolooza: Hawk and Dove

Written by Veggieleezy, Comic Doctor, and Tricia Long on Thursday, September 29 2011 and posted in Reviews

Will big, bulky superheroes win the day in Hawk and Dove #1? Click and find out!

Welcome to 52apolooza, the Outhouse feature focusing on DC's September Relaunch.  All of DC's 52 titles will be reviewed by our pool of reviewers to point out the best and worst that DC's new comic book line has to offer.  To see how this book ranks among the other new DC titles, be sure to check out our 52apolooza Rankings!

Rob Liefeld rose to fame in part because of his work on the characters Hawk and Dove.  Twenty-four years later, Liefeld returns with Sterling Gates to a new Hawk and Dove #1.  Is it any good?  Read on and find out!

Grab Bag Reviewer: Veggieleezy

Writing: I am completely unfamiliar with Sterling Gates' previous works, but I think he did a pretty good job of re-introducing this duo to the world. In the first few pages, the dynamic between Hawk & Dove is established (and their respective power sets explained) and the second half of the book explains the origins of their powers. The overarching storyline involves zombies created/manipulated by "science terrorist" Alexander Quirk. Really? "Science terrorist"? Oh well... The plot itself at this point isn't enough to keep me interested, so I'm hoping to see more relationship development.

The writing moves at a fast pace at the beginning, but lags a little in the origin section. The zombie storyline will be interesting to watch develop but for the time being is under-explained. Personally, I would've liked to see more interaction between Hawk & Dove to enhance their dynamic. I just hope that's something that will be improved upon in later issues.

Score: 15/25

Art: What better way to start out a Rob Leifeld-drawn comic than with a massive phallic symbol?

hd1In all seriousness though, the concept of Hawk & Dove really works well with Rob Leifeld's art style. Almost every review of his work I've seen is a blazing ball of hate, but here it seems to work pretty well. Hawk is a big, visceral brute and Dove is a tender, beautiful soul. Their personalities are reflected quite well with this in mind. As many of you are aware, that's pretty much all Leifeld can draw: big brutes and sexy girls, all with perfect hair, tiny feet and clenched teeth. Nevertheless, love him or hate him, I will say that his style works very well in this book. The art doesn't need to be fancy, it needs to fit the personalities of the characters involved and enhance them. To this extent, I think Leifeld succeeded.

Liefeld Fun

While there were almost no anatomical impossibilities, there were fewer than ten panels where feet are prominently visible, and one character's hair even changes style within the space of a few panels.

Score: 20/25

Accessibility: In terms of accessibility, I'd say this book is on the medium-to-easy side. There are direct references and continuity following the events of Brightest Day, but they aren't enough to throw the reader. There is quite a lot of backstory explaining Hank Hall (Hawk) and his motivations. The way it's written into the story seems a little shoehorned, but it provides what new readers ought to know.

It seems like this book won't be tying into the larger universe too much. So far the only other hero in the book so far is Deadman. Hawk & Dove are approached by the D.C.P.D. at one point so there is the possibility that there could be some interaction with other teams sanctioned by the government. All of this is down the road, so there isn't anything keeping new readers away.

Score: 20/25

hd2Enjoyability: While this book is in no terms a masterpiece, it definitely is fun. I saw it similar to a summer movie, where the primary purpose is to keep the audience entertained. The first arc looks to be interesting, as the secondary villain comes in at the very end in typical movie fashion. There's quite a bit of action packed into the first half of the book with the exposition on the second half. This should grab readers more than the typical formula of exposition then action.

As I've said before, I really enjoy the "yin-yang" concept of Hawk & Dove. Also, the villains in this book also seem to have similar aviary themes. Condor and Swan will be introduced to the title in the coming issues. They seem to be palette swaps of Hawk and Dove, but there's probably more to it than that.

Score: 20/25

Overall Grade: The final grade for this book is far from perfect, but it is certainly a good read. It can certainly be improved upon but for a first try at a relatively unknown duo book it has promise. I would really like to see this book earn the "most improved" award by the end of its first arc. If you're looking for something to read and you're not too worried about following it, I would recommend this book. In the end, though, I would recommend this book to the people who are interested. If you're short on cash and only kind of want to read it, I wouldn't blame you to skip it. But if you want to give it a try, I certainly won't tell you not to. I know I'm going to follow it at least through the first arc.

Final Score: 75/100

Marvel Reviewer: Comic Doctor

Hawk & Dove #1 is the first Nu52 book I've read since last week's Justice League relaunch. I had very high hopes for this issue for two reasons - I enjoyed the old Hawk & Dove issues I read, and I'm a long-time Rob Liefeld fan. Unfortunately, I was let down quickly and right to the end of the issue.

Writer Sterling Gates tries to hook readers right from page one by showing our heroes in action. It's dull, boring, and doesn't work. Hawk beats on some S.H.I.E.L.D. wannabes, and the enhanced intelligence Dove can't even move a plane off course. Now I'm no pilot, but I think I can even get a plane to move to one side a bit. Then a no-name zombie with unexplained metal chest-straps causes some trouble before Hawk wraps him up in some metal that appears out of nowhere. Once the plane is finally landed we meet Washi Watanabe from the Special Crimes Unit. From his name I assume he's Asian, but from Liefeld's artwork you can't tell since everyone looks Caucasian.

hd3Next, Gates shows our heroes apart for some forced backstory. Hawk is chatting with his twin looking father about his dead brother (the previous Dove), while the current Dove is flying around with her boyfriend Deadman. She eludes to a history she has with the former Dove, but she can't tell Hawk for some unknown reason. I'm sure Sterling Gates will connect all these dots in future issues, but currently they are too far disconnected for new readers to care.

It's no secret I love me some Rob Liefeld art, but in Hawk & Dove #1 Rob does more harm to the story than good. There are a few panels where the old Liefeld shines through, but overall his current work is well below my expectations. I think he's getting worse with age (sorry Rob). Some panels show Hawk with fangs, while in others he has 'normal' teeth. The zombie has a nose in some panels, but it's missing in others. Even the zombie's teeth are screwed up - he has a huge gap in the front of them, then the gap is gone. I think my favorite part is Hawk fighting near the front of the plane where the cockpit is, then suddenly having to run down a corridor to reach said cockpit. Once there, Hawk looks out the 10 foot hole in the window which is half the size on the next page. I could go on about the inconsistencies of the artwork, but I don't want to be up all night.

Matt Yackey's colors don't do anything for the artwork. They are overly bright, and he obviously loves to use glows from random light sources. I don't know if the rain disappearing in the last few panels is his fault, but he's getting the blame.

Overall, this was a horrible issue for DC to use to help launch their NuDC Universe. I understand that Sterling Gates only had so many pages to use to try to give readers some character history, establish a villain, and create a cliff-hanger, but I feel he failed to hit a home-run. Part of the problem is too much backstory was forced into the current story, and it didn't work.

Writing: 13/25
Art: 14/25
Accessibility: 10/25
Enjoyability: 12/25

TOTAL: 49/100 - Highly unlikely I'll be reading issue #2

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About the Author - Christian

Christian is the exasperated Abbott to the Outhouse's Costello. When he's not yelling at the Newsroom for upsetting readers or complaining to his wife about why the Internet is stupid, he sits in his dingy business office trying to find new ways to make the site earn money. Christian is also the only person in history stupid enough to moderate two comic book forums at once.


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