Not every issue in a crossover this size is going to be great. Is this one at least good?
Title: War of Kings: Darkhawk #1-2
Author: C.B. Cebulski, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Illustrator(s): Harvey Tolibao, Bon Dazo, and Paolo Pantalena (pencils), Harvey Tolibao, Joe Pimentel, Paolo Pantalena (inks), Jay David Ramos, Rain Beredo, and John Rauch (colours)
Cover Date: April and May 2009
Cover Price: $3.99 US (the extra price is because there are remarkably few ads and reprints of the original “Darkhawk” issues from the 1990s at the ends of the issues.)
As depicted in the recent Loners series, Darkhawk has been trying to get his anger under control. That doesn’t work very well when his home and family come under attack just after another Darkhawk appears.
The reference to a “fraternity.” It’s going to need to be far removed from the Nova Corps to work as its own entity, but it’s good to hear that this is part of something bigger. I was never a huge Darkhawk fan, largely because it seemed like it was a lot of power to find lying around at a carnival. Now it sounds like there will finally be a good reason for that.
This story is even less complete than “Kingbreaker.” That one at least felt like a whole entry in a series. This one feels purely like the introduction to another series (in this case, “War of Kings: Ascension.”) There are nice moments here, but it’s easy to skip if you aren’t reading the stories it bridges.
As it’s light on plot, it doesn’t feel that original. Most of the originality comes in the second issue with the new approach to Darkhawk. I give it 4 out of 6.
The artwork gets a little dense. There are a few panels in battle that can get hard to make out, especially with two virtually identical Darkhawks running around. Add in the persistently short panels and close views, and it gets tough on the reader. If not for the dialogue, I wouldn’t have noticed the armour reconfiguration right away. The emotional moments aren’t that well depicted either. It seems like the second issue uses digitally darkened pencils instead of regular inks, which means things aren’t as clearly delineated as one might hope. I give it 3 out of 6.
The story serves as a decent introduction to the “Ascension” miniseries. I never read “Loners,” but there’s more than enough recap here to follow the story. It just feels like this ends right when its getting started. I find myself wondering why this is treated as its own series, and Ascension is only 4 issues, rather than simply making Ascension six issues. I give it 4 out of 6.
The characterization of Chris Powell is pretty well done. We understand quickly that he’s angry, and that he’s angry about being angry. We don’t have time to get any depth from anyone else, though. I give it 4 out of 6.
The emotional response was weak. I wasn’t a big fan of Darkhawk when this started, and I’m still not. To give them credit, I see a lot more potential in the character here than I’ve ever seen, but it’s too soon to really tell if that potential is going to be realized. I give it 3 out of 6.
The flow within the issues starts out very well. In the second issue, the muddied art slows things down, and it suffers in general from being a bridging series. I give it 3 out of 6.
Overall, if you’re following the character, you’ll need this piece. If you haven’t been following the character yet, I’m betting there will be enough recap in “Ascension #1” to catch up. I give it 3 out of 6.
In total, War of Kings: Darkhawk #1-2 receives 24 out of 42.