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Ed Love

In Reply To

Subj: Re: I really liked Ostrander's stuff.
Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 10:26:22 am EDT
Reply Subj: I really liked Ostrander's stuff.
Posted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 at 08:00:37 pm EDT

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> >
> > Fantastic! Thankyou, Is the 90's Hawkman stuff any good just out of interest?
> It's readable, quite good in parts even. I liked Katar Hol a great deal but that series was just frustrating as while it was pretty decent storywise it absolutely wrecked the character we'd come to know.

Well, yeah, everything after Ostrander.

> He was inexplicable revealed to be half-human(!) then the Avatar stuff was introduced along with a 'Hawkgod deity' and he both became the Hawk avatar and merged with Carter & Shiera Hall plus other Hawk variants which produced a Hawkman who was quite removed from humannity and didn't seem very human at all \:\-\(
> The entire premise to Katar was that he was a policeman from Thanagar adjusting to life on earth and that all went... the disaster it turned into was such that they ended the series exiling him mortally wounded to another dimension and he was slapped with a strict veto by DC. Unsalvagable basically \:\-\(
> When Geoff Johns decided to reintroduce Hawkman it would understandably be the simpler to understand Carter Hall version...

And consequently, he's far less interesting.

Anyway, the original Hawkworld bookshelf format mini was never supposed to "reboot" the character. It was simply an updated version of Gardner Fox's story on how (and why) Katar and Shayera made their way to Earth.

However, it was a critical success. So DC wanted to launch another Hawkman book. They got Truman to return and picked up his pal, John Ostrander (best known for his work on Suicide Squad) to handle writing duties.

From what I understand, Ostrander thought they would simply be penning a Hawkman series based on the the version seen in Justice League of America, although a tad "darker" as seen in the Hawkworld mini. Well, this was not to be the case.

DC editorial wanted the title to be called "Hawkworld" and continue from the point the mini left off. As a sort of Post-Crisis version of Katar Hol.

Only problem? Well, Katar had already appeared Post-Crisis in books such as Justice League and Invasion.


Ostrander, in the beginning, wrote the book as a Post-Crisis version of Hawkman. And made sure to include the goings-on of Thanagar to ensure the title "Hawkworld" made sense. He even rewrote Post-Crisis history by suggesting the Hawkman that had been a member of the Justice League of America was, indeed, Carter Hall. Yes, Hall, who had also served with the Justice Society. (This was all covered in Hawkworld annual #1.) And ya know what? It was written well. And made a lot of sense. Again, in a Post-Crisis world.

But again, who was the Hawkman who had worked with the Justice League during the Invasion? Well, turned out he was a spy, posing as Hawkman. (There were a LOT of 'dirty' Thanagarian politics in those stories. Which were picked up on in the "Justice League" cartoon. In fact, Shayera's 'tough-as-nails' personality on that show is identical to that of the Shayera in Hawkworld.)

Anyway, the series rocked.

But once Ostrander left and "Zero Hour" made its presence known... Well, the fanboys wanted to see the 'ol bare-chested Hawkman of old. Substituting armor and firearms for straps and maces.

So William Messner-Loebs merged Carter and Shiera Hall with Katar Hall AND the Hawk God/Avatar (that had just destroyed the planet Thanagar ... I have no idea how it came back). Now, Katar was otherworldly and determined to be a reincarnated form of the Hawkgod. Too bad he disappeared into another dimension at the end of his series.

Well, not really. 'Cause again, once Ostrander left the book, it all went downhill FAST.

And I really loathe the reincarnated Hawkman introduced by Johns into the pages of JSA. Hell, watching the "Justice League Unlimited" episodes with Hawkman? He seems more of a kook than a hero.

So long story short? Reading Hawkworld and the first six issues of the 90s Hawkman = GREAT. Everything else = um, not so great.

I found the themes Ostrander explored were interesting. However, the characters and the actual storylines themselves just bored me to tears. I've tried numerous Ostrander titles since then and mostly this has always been the case. They might be interesting to write about and dissect, but the actual reading of the book is often a chore. I found his "explanations" of which Hawkman served in the League just muddied the waters further. First, because the original explanation didn't really explain the problem, which Hawkman was with the Justice League post-crisis (as well as helping Animal Man out in his title). We already knew the pre-Crisis stories were a bit screwed up, and treating the two Hawkmen as being interchangeable just doesn't really work. It would have been better to just ignore that aspect and say there was no Hawkman with the League pre-crisis. So, on top of Ostrander's retcon, we need to have a second ret-con to explain what that one was meant to.

I generally like Mesner-Loeb's work, but his post-Zero Hour Hawkman generally was a mess. To the point, when discussing the character and concept with friends, I often said it would be simpler to just bring the original Hawkman back.

But, then they take a few panels from THE GOLDEN AGE and make the barbarian Hawkman his default personality. This was the guy that was the leader of the JSA for decades? Again, doesn't really work. Enjoyable if you just chuck that mindset. Just as the Hawkworld Katar Hol isn't the same character that Fox and Kubert came up with, Johns' Hawkman isn't really the golden-age Hawkman, that character was gone since THE LAST DAYS OF THE JUSTICE SOCIETY. Though the Rags Morales art was gorgeous.

Ostrander's solution would have been great if applied to Wonder Woman, that the JSA and the JLA character was the same, she came to America in the forties, served with the JSA. After the JSA disbands, she and Steve Trevor disappear. She re-appears after Trevor's death to be active with the JLA, has a young daughter (Infiniti Inc's Fury) that is being raised/schooled on Paradise Island. She rescues a young girl, Donna Troy, from a burning building who becomes Wonder Girl. Fury remains the character she always was as does Donna Troy, majority of pre-crisis Justice Society, Justice League and Teen Titans stories are kept pretty much intact.

Golden-age hero and villain encyclopedia: www.geocities.com/cash_gorman


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