Nighthawk #1 (2016)
“The sole survivor of a world-destroying cataclysm, Raymond Kane finds himself on an Earth much like the one he came from, perhaps a bit worse. Patrolling the streets of Chicago as the vigilante Nighthawk, Kane battles crime, corruption and injustice in a city plagued with escalating racial tension. Feared by criminals, hated by the police, Nighthawk will save the city from itself, even if he must destroy everything in his path.”
Nighthawk #1 (Marvel Comics)
Writer: David Walker, Art: Ramon Villalobos, Colors: Tamara Bonvillain
David Walker’s first issue of Nighthawk #1 starts with a bang as Raymond Kane (Kyle Richmond), formerly of late Earth 31916 opens the book, eradicating a white supremacist group with brutal efficiency and extreme prejudice.
A man without a world, Raymond Kane has brought his war on crime to Chicago, a city with no shortage of crime and teetering on the edge of social collapse, barely held together by a very thin, overextended blue line.
Nighthawk is fit. Nighthawk is driven. Nighthawk is committed. And if you look too closely, you might thing Nighthawk is insane. Except there are much worse things out there than our hero.
A new player has entered the game. Efficient, brutal, takes a great deal of pleasure from his work. And maybe its just a little bit personal, too. Cops can’t even buy a clue. Nighthawk would immediately be out there stomping a hole in the mysterious bad guy, dubbed the Revelator guts, if he didn’t admire his choice of targets so much.
We aren’t sure what Kane is thinking but we do know this: Crime is not acceptable. If you commit a crime, you will answer to him. He’s already lost a world. He has no intention of losing another.
What truths will the Revelator set free? How will the intense personalities of the Revelator and Nighthawk finally play out? Maybe they’ll become besties? Meanwhile, can Nighthawks bloody crusade stay unnoticed for long? Once his efforts come to the attention of the superhero set, can their interference be far behind?
The dialogue and banter between the various characters is well paced and not forced. No more language than necessary, revealing nothing before its time.
Walker’s Kane is not a complete stoic, playing the straight man to his more playful technical genius, Tilda Johnson’s clever and sarcastic tone. There is an undertone to their relationship but its not clear what it is. Grudging mutual respect is clearly part of it and I hope we will get to see more of that develop in the series.
The art is a loose line form, and took me a minute to get into it. But once the fighting started, the angles and pure enjoyment shown in Nighthawk’s handiwork became evident in Villalobos style. The layout reminds me of work done on the Authority some years ago and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it was the same artist. Some of my friends at CNOC told me the work is reminiscent of the Authority artist, Frank Quitely. I love those guys, nothing gets past them.
The colorist gets props as well. The colors stay pastel and strange during the interactions with Kane and Johnson as if to say they are seeing the world through a strangely colored lens or light. Whenever we see the mundane world, colors return to normal, as if to say, this is a world of limits and boundaries and extremes do not apply.
VERDICT: Outstanding — 9/10
If you haven’t considered David Walker’s Nighthawk, I feel comfortable telling you to head down to your local comic shop and get a copy for yourself. It’s gonna be one hell of a ride.
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Thaddeus Howze is a writer, essayist, author and professional storyteller for mysterious beings who exist in non-Euclidean realms beyond our understanding.