DC Comics, 20 pages, $ 2.99
Writer: Sterling Gates
Artist: Rob Liefeld
Colorist: Matt Yackey
Letterer: Dezi Sienty
Quick: You’re DC Comics editor-in-chief Bob Harras, and you’ve just been tasked with assembling 52 creative teams that will reintroduce the DC Universe to a big, bright new audience of first-time readers—who do you call?
Hawk & Dove is everything you’d expect from a comic drawn by Rob Liefeld, unfortunately. The notorious artist’s repertoire of facial expressions begins and ends with gritted teeth; the way his characters are staged seems awkward and unlikely at the best of times; and his page-to-page storytelling skills still fail to meet baseline expectations. In one panel the plane’s control stick is broken, in the next it’s restored—and looks completely different than before. In one panel the protagonist is wearing a T-shirt, in the next it’s a sweater. Liefeld continues to be the most singularly careless and incapable professional artist working in U.S. comics who also somehow manages to shift a truckload of copies of whatever he’s drawing.
Writer Sterling Gates does his best to accommodate his collaborator, which means the plot and characters aim for an elementary-school type of complexity, with added hyper-violence and zombies. The script seems almost willfully dumb, and the characters are reduced to delivery machines for clunky, ham-fisted exposition that reads like it was concocted by a particularly mean-spirited five-year-old.
As long as books like this one exist, Marvel and DC have bigger issues than the lack of attention from a mainstream audience. Bluntly, no self-respecting publisher would release this kind of garbage into the world, let alone make it part of a highly publicized outreach to potential new readers.