Marvel celebrates 30 years of Darkhawk with stories from some of its greatest creators, making it an engaging read for new and old alike.
Against all odds, Darkhawk has survived for 30 years. As one of the most iconic heroes of the early 90s, Darkhawk was loved by a generation of fans. While other heroes of his time have failed to stay relevant, Darkhawk has been able to indulge in a semi-regular role in Marvel’s grand cosmic universe. Coming out of recent appearances in Infinite countdown, Guardians of the Galaxy Y Scourge of AnnihilationDarkhawk has a renewed sense of purpose. Darkhawk: Heart of the Falcon Issue # 1 serves as a fitting tribute to the tumultuous life and times of Chris Powell, told through three separate and distinct stories with a who’s who of the classic Darkhawk creators. This number is a fantastic tribute to the fan favorite character that is sure to please new and old alike.
The first story, entitled “The cry of the city”, is in charge of the original. Darkhawk creative team of writer Danny Fingeroth and artist Mike Manley, with colors by Chris Sotomayor. Follow Darkhawk as he spies on the criminal mastermind Phillipe Bazin, a persistent foe from the original series. After saving Bazin’s daughter’s life, Chris ends up on a date with the young woman and confronts Savage Steel. This adventure fits perfectly between the numbers of the first Darkhawk series and is sure to make longtime fans nostalgic. At the same time, the story introduces the world of Darkhawk to anyone unfamiliar with it. While Fingeroth’s script feels somewhat dated, it matches well with the original series, and Manley’s crisp art is timeless, brought into the modern era by Sotomayor’s colors. The opening welcome page in particular is reminiscent of the first page of Darkhawk # 1 in 1991 and immediately captures the reader’s attention.
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Next, writer Dan Abnett teams up with Andrea Di Vito for a story set in the sequels to War of kings called “Long way from home”. Unlike the previous story, which fits in between existing adventures, this simplified story focuses on a small skirmish on a random planet that could take place at any time. This is arguably the strongest of the three stories, with Abnett’s simple plot allowing for greater emotional depth and gripping action. Di Vito has always been a very talented artist and does an exceptional job handling the complicated character designs that flesh out the backgrounds. This story is very efficient and accomplishes a lot in 10 pages, making it perfect as an addition to Abnett’s previous work or as an introduction to that Darkhawk era.
Finally, the writer Kyle Higgins and the artist Juanan Ramírez present “Last Flight”. As the title indicates, this story introduces Darkhawk on what could be his last journey through space. This is the shortest story of the group, but it has implications for Darkhawk’s future, setting things in motion that could change the character’s story. Ramírez and colorist Erick Arciniega do the heavy lifting here, immediately creating a dense atmosphere and a sense of despair through their epic landscapes. If this is a sense of things to come, this creative team is more than capable of doing impressive things, although they could have benefited from having more space for their story.
If there is a problem with Darkhawk: Heart of the Falcon # 1, is that he could have benefited by connecting the individual stories more thoroughly. There’s nothing linking the different adventures together, aside from a few brief flashbacks, and those are ultimately little more than a framing device. Fortunately, sign writer Travis Lanham sticks to the whole theme, providing a consistent sense of storytelling through his captions and balloons. All the stories flow effortlessly, even in complicated designs like Manley’s, and the design behind Darkhawk’s narrative is particularly enjoyable (complete with a miniature Darkhawk helmet).
General, Darkhawk: Heart of the Falcon # 1 carefully balances the desire to cater to existing fans and the need to intrigue new readers. While it would have been nice to see Darkhawk interact with other heroes or face an epic threat, this is an intimate one-shot with three fun stories that focus on the core of the character. Darkhawk has survived as a fan favorite for 30 years. And with more comics like this, it’ll be for 30 more.
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