Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hawk & Dove #1

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.

Grade: F


Yan Basque said...

I've noticed that you've only been reviewing the most awful books to come out of the DC relaunch. Was that a conscious decision, or are you just really bad at picking what books to get when you go to the comics store?

Marc-Oliver Frisch said...


I'm reviewing all of them, actually. I preordered the whole bunch to talk about them in a more conversational format at a German Web site, so I thought I could as well do more traditional reviews in English here at the blog. Other than sorting them by release date, the order in which I'm going through them is more or less random.

So I'm not THAT bad at picking, thankfully. About a quarter of the 52 new titles I would have bought anyway, another quarter I expected to be pretty terrible, and the rest I didn't know what to expect. So far, I'm about halfway through the week 2 releases, and there have been some surprises -- some good, and some bad.

The next one's going to be positive, for that matter, although I didn't really expect it to be.

Yan Basque said...

I see.

So far, I agree with your opinions of the comics reviewed. Was just wondering why you were concentrating on all the bad ones and not talking about the good ones.

I haven't read all of them, but so far I really enjoyed Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Wonder Woman and a few others.

Marc-Oliver Frisch said...

Yeah, those three I would have bought anyway, too, even if I wasn't in "industry observer" mode.

Thanks for reading and chiming in!