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America's Captain 

Location: Bayville New Jersey
Member Since: Mon Aug 06, 2012
Posts: 9,981
Subj: Darkhawn issues 1-26
Posted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 at 01:02:52 pm EDT (Viewed 77 times)

I hit the spoilers button, even though the issues in question are like 20 years old.

I finally finished reading the first 26 issues of the Darkhawk series from the 90s. Over all, I liked it. The art was really good and the writing was really good. Some thoughts in no particular order:

1. Darkhawk's powers are pretty typical of the genre, but I like his energy shield that pops up out of nowhere, which really isn't that common a power. Also, healing by switching back to his human form is surprisingly interesting when handled by a good writer. The key is that switching back to his human form while in the throes of battle is often highly inconvenient!

2. "Punching" someone with those talons on his fist should draw blood or even kill, yet the blows were always treated like plain punches. Weird. Nevertheless, he makes good use of the cable and talons as a grabbing tool.

3. I was surprised he hadn't learned to fly by issue 26. Does he ever learn?

4. The origin of his powers really surprised me. The Darkhawk was born of a villain's evil scheme! Our hero defeats (utterly annihilates) the vilain, and then just goes back to his recent status quo, having learned the story of how he got to where he is, yet the information does nothing to help him resolve any difficulties or choose a straighter path. Nevertheless, it's cool to realize his human form is sleeping in a sentient space ship in another dimension whenever the Darkhawk is active, and it's equally cool to realize that whenever his human form is active, the Darkhawk is being repaired and revitalized by the sentient space ship.

5. The villain's code name - "Evilhawk" - was lame, but I liked him for what he represented: the particular evil our hero must overcome in order to continue as a hero.

6. Dead Dad. Par for the course among superheroes. Yet Chris Powell has a living Mom and living younger siblings, which actually isn't that common, though it's become more so in the 21st century. (Blue Beetle. Ms. Marvel.) Chris's relationships with his brothers is one of the best parts of the series.

7. My biggest gripe is fundamental to the series: Chris Powell is a teen-ager trying to keep his alter ego a secret and live a normal life while battling super villains. It can't be done. Not by a teen-ager. Mom and the principal have too much ultimate power over a teen-ager's life. Nor is Chris Powell succeeding. The whole thing is painful to watch. Too painful to continue watching, frankly. Had I been reading the comic in the 90s, I would have dropped it. But what of Spider-Man, you ask? When I started reading Spider-Man, Peter Parker was already in college. The whole high school thing only existed in reprints. Had I been reading the Spider-Man comic in the 60s when Peter was in high school, I would have dropped it. I just can't stand the futility of what Peter and later Chris were trying to accomplish. Sure, Peter succeeded, but only because he had no siblings and his Aunt was routinely depicted as naive beyond belief.

8. Chris's Mom is depicted as a heroic figure in her own right. Not super-heroic. Just normal, human heroic. Too heroic, frankly, or maybe a better word would be "stupid" or "irresponsible" once her youngest son almost dies at the hands of the crime boss she's prosecuting. By all rights, the kid should have died. Yet the mother just keeps pursuing the same course, without even placing her kids in some sort of protective custody. Stupid. Irresponsible.

9. Chris getting suspended from school would definitely have been the last straw for me. It reminded me of Buffy. I was very fond of that show, yet I found it increasingly depressing as she saved other people yet could never manage to build even a semblance of a workable life for herself. Yet a secret identity makes this inevitable. You can't possibly succeed at other things when you consistently place your superheroics above everything. You have to find a way to make your superheroics your paying job. Nothing else will ever work, unless by some miracle you find yourself independently wealthy, so you can "dabble" in your mundane career (paying others to do most of the real work) while continuing to put your superheroics first.

10. Did Marvel ever show us the Darkhawk's face?

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