As a ’90s kid, I love Darkhawk and this anthology is a great showcase of what the character is capable of. It’s a mix of endings and new beginnings, all tied together.
Chris Powell has come a long way since finding a strange amulet in an abandoned amusement park. As the hero, Darkhawk, he’s fought organized crime, teamed up with Spider-Man, went to space, and saw friends die in a cosmic war. Darkhawk: Heart of the Hawk celebrates the 30th anniversary of the character, telling untold stories from his past and looking towards the future.
Most anthologies like this are all over the place with tales that have no real connection. That’s not the case here, as each one is tied together as we look at different parts of Powell’s life. It makes for a more cohesive reading experience and it’s all the better for it.
Each story fits in with its time period from Chris’ life well. The opener, “Cry of the City” from writer Danny Fingeroth, artist Mike Manley, and colorist Chris Sotomayor, lines up with the ’90s aesthetic well. Powell’s narration is a little wordy, but it serves to quickly remind us of his background as he jumps into battle against the villain known as Steel. This works as a nice primer for the character for newcomers and as a way to jog the memory for those somewhat familiar with Darkhawk.
The artwork lines up to that time period too with a classic-looking style. I realize I just said the word “classic” when referencing comics that debuted in the ’90s and now I feel really old. It’s not quite the “extreme” look of the likes of Cable and Deadpool, but since Darkhawk is very much of that era, it fits pretty well.
The second story, “Long Way from Home” from writer Dan Abnett, artist Andrea Di Vito, inker Le Beau Underwood, and colorist Sebastian Cheng, takes us to space, showing Powell picking up the pieces after the War of Kings. It’s a more somber tale that also has some call backs to the first story in this anthology. Darkhawk’s space-faring adventures were a highlight and having Abnett back to pen this short is perfect. It shows how much the character has changed since running around the streets of New York.
The artwork here is grittier and more realistic, again, lining up well with the time period and setting. It’s a darker time in Darkhawk’s life and it shows here. Despite the horrors he’s seen in the space war, Chris is still a hero and he leaps into action to save people when needed.
Wrapping up Darkhawk: Heart of the Hawk is “Last Flight” from writer Kyle Higgins, artist Juanan Ramirez, and colorist Erick Arciniega. This serves as an ending and a beginning for Darkhawk. The character’s publication history has been spotty at best and this story is a great capper to everything that’s come before it, while also putting forth the possibilities for new stories. I am very curious as to where this goes next and Marvel teases more Darkhawk comics coming in the future, so I’m excited about that.
Letterer Travis Lanham also ties all the stories in this one-shot together, providing the word balloons, captions, and sound effects for all three. This creates some further consistency while also adding some additional flair when needed.
As a ’90s kid, I’m predisposed to loving Darkhawk. This one-shot captures all of the nostalgia, while telling some great stories that are will be welcomed by new and old readers alike. Darkhawk is clearly rife with potential and Heart of the Hawk taps into that, showing us what the character is capable of in the right hands.