New 52 Review – “Blackhawks #1”

This is a high tech military title, and the last to be reviewed that seems to be mandated to diversify the line.

General Information

Title: Blackhawks #1

Author: Mike Costa

Illustrator(s): Graham Nolan (layouts), Ken Lashley (finisher and cover) and Guy Major (colours)

Cover Date: November 2011

Cover Price: $2.99

Buy the digital edition.


A group of U.N. covert operatives called the Blackhawks are out in force, and are trying to stay hidden. They’ve got other problems than high tech terror, though.

High Point

The quick and clear characterization.

Low Point

I almost picked the point where a character reacts to being bitten several panels before the artist actually draws her getting bitten, but I’ve got to go with this instead: if photos of your covert teams’ emblem appearing on the Internet is really such a huge problem for you, then why do you have an emblem painted on every person and vehicle in your organization in the first place? Using that as the team’s first “big problem” just makes your “team” look like idiots.

The Scores

This has some originality in terms of filling a unique role in the line, but the tone feels a lot like the 1990s run on “Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.” to me. I give it 4 out of 6.

The artwork is smooth and clear, with effective levels of detail. Unfortunately, there are multiple points where there appears to be poor communication between writer and artist, such as when a character says “Sorta busy here, Chief. I — AOW! You’re a biter?! Come on, man!” two pull panels before the guy bites her, at which point she doesn’t react. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story has potential, but with two gaping problems in the plotting in this first issue, this S.H.I.E.L.D. addicted reader has very little hope for the long term future. I give it 3 out of 6.

The characterization is the strongest element in the title. This is an interesting bunch, and we get to know them very quickly. I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response oscillates dramatically. There are some moments that really deliver, and then there are the jarring and massive problems in the middle that turn me off immediately. I give it 4 out of 6.

The flow has the same problem as the emotional response. What should be a fast paced title derails itself with inconsistency and stupidity. If you want to reboot the title with the classic insignia, you either don’t make them a secret team, or you keep the insignia inside their secret base only. You don’t take a team meant to be elite and secret and then give them a logo to paint on all of their stuff. I give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, this is a title that stumbled out of the gate. I’m particularly frustrated, as I’ve been craving something Nick Fury-esque since Secret Warriors ended, but this just failed to live up to its own expectations, let alone mine. I give it 3 out of 6.

In total, Blackhawks #1 receives 28 out of 42.

The New 52

Here are handy links for the reviews of all 52 new #1 issues:

  1. Action Comics
  2. All-Star Western
  3. Animal Man
  4. Aquaman
  5. Batgirl
  6. Batman
  7. Batman and Robin
  8. Batman: The Dark Knight
  9. Batwing
  10. Batwoman
  11. Birds of Prey
  12. Blackhawks
  13. Blue Beetle
  14. Captain Atom
  15. Catwoman
  16. DC Universe Presents
  17. Deathstroke
  18. Demon Knights
  19. Detective Comics
  20. The Flash
  21. Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
  22. The Fury of Firestorm
  23. Green Arrow
  24. Green Lantern
  25. Green Lantern Corps
  26. Green Lantern: New Guardians
  27. Grifter
  28. Hawk and Dove
  29. I, Vampire
  30. Justice League
  31. Justice League Dark
  32. Justice League International
  33. Legion Lost
  34. Legion of Super-Heroes
  35. Men of War
  36. Mister Terrific
  37. Nightwing
  38. O.M.A.C.
  39. Red Hood and the Outlaws
  40. Red Lanterns
  41. Resurrection Man
  42. The Savage Hawkman
  43. Static Shock
  44. Stormwatch
  45. Suicide Squad
  46. Superboy
  47. Supergirl
  48. Superman
  49. Swamp Thing
  50. Teen Titans
  51. Voodoo
  52. Wonder Woman