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Nostalgia November Day 16 — Darkhawk #19

Each day in November, I will read and review/discuss/whatever one comic taken from a box of some of my childhood comics. Today, it’s Darkhawk #19.

The Nostalgia November archive can be found here.

darkhawk19Darkhawk #19 by Danny Fingeroth and Mike Manley has no cover. Well, my copy has no cover. It hasn’t had a cover for so long that I don’t recognise the cover to this issue honestly. I have no idea when or how the cover got ripped off, but I’m used to seeing Toad’s ugly face on the first page splash acting as the cover. Rereading this issue for the first time in a long time, I struck by how bad it is. Bad in a way that tells me why I never got into Darkhawk despite his darker, Spider-Man-esque character seeming like something my younger self would like on the surface. No, this comic pretty much killed Darkhawk for me, I believe, because it is very, very, very bad. Bad in that obvious sort of way where you wonder what the hell happened to allow this comic to be produced.

First, the art… cluttered, horribly influenced by the artists that would found Image as Manley throws in lots of little lines everywhere to suggest more detail. Characters are posed awkwardly, the actions sequences are nearly incomprehensible, and Spider-Man doesn’t look cool… how can Spider-Man not look cool?

The writing… I’m not sure what the point of this story is. There’s this armour that’s kind of like Darkhawk’s and people want it, including a guy named Portal, the US government, and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Why? Don’t know. What does the armour do? No idea. Should they fight over it? I guess? Spider-Man and Darkhawk show up to help things possibly and there’s a lot of fighting and the issue ends with Sleepwalker showing up, wanting the armour… so I guess the armour is important somehow?

There are no motivations explained for most of the characters, the fight scene is there because, well, you need a fight scene, and I’m left with an empty feeling as I quickly forget what I just read since it’s not the sort of comic you remember five minutes later, hence the very short post. It’s a race against time before this comic goes back into the box and I forget all about it. That will be nice.

15 Comments

Sigh… Another Darkhawk hater…

Not the character, just the comic that I read today.

The War of Kings: Darkhawk mini that came out recently featured a reprint of Darkhawk #1. I’d have reviewed it pretty much word-for-word like you reviewed #19. Also, I recently was given a copy of Amazing Spider-Man: Round Robin (Sidekick’s Revenge) in TPB. It also featured Darkhawk, and Mark Bagley’s art couldn’t even salvage the concept.

Come to think of it, outside of U.S. War Machine (Marvel’s black and white MAX line weekly book) and Runaways/Loners, I can’t think of a single Darkhawk appearance that is a satisfactory comic book. I don’t know if it’s a case of hating the character, or a strange curse that seems to crapify virtually any book he appears in.

Craig, Darkhawk appeared in a couple of New Warriors storylines that were decent enough.

I loved Darkhawk. He was Spidey but with cooler powers. (And once 1993 rolled around, DH started being called Marvel’s own Power Ranger)

There is still a surprising amount of Darkhawk love in the world, though even as a kid of about ten or so I thought the Darkhawk series was the definition of mediocrity. At that time, I didn’t find it to be atrocious, but I didn’t find it to be outstanding, either. It would do in a pinch if there was nothing better lying around.

I was amazed to learn from the counter-guy at my LCS recently that there were actually quite a large number of people who picked up the recent War of Kings Darkhawk stuff and couldn’t stop talking about how much they loved the character and were glad to see him back. I guess its true what they say – every superhero is somebody’s favorite superhero. Even Darkhawk.

I totally dug the Darkhawk comics at the time, and even rereading them I imagine they’d be covered by the veil of nostalgia, so I probably can’t be judgmental about this.

I preferred Sleepwalker and Thunderstrike, but Darkhawk’s another 90s favorite.

Yeah, I completely missed the Darkhawk train back in the day. Guess I wasn’t missing much.

I had this comic.

Darkhawk was a series that I really enjoyed for the first while. Still, I remember being pretty upset when Mike manley changed his style in an effort to ape the more popular artists of the time. It was not that I didn’t like the Liefeld style, I did, but it seemed so shameless that he would not stick to his own style, which I also liked. Around the same time, the stories became very convoluted and incomprehensible which was very different and much worse than the way the series started. All in all I really like the character and buy his appearances when I see them but by the end of this series it had really lost its way.

The first 25 issues (plus the Spider-Man Round Robin storyarc and the Sleepwalker issue) work better when read together. It’s shortly after that that the series really lost it’s way, and issue 38′s when it went completely off the rails (new armor and powers, a body split, etc). But it was a nice little mystery about his powers and the fate of his dad for a while.

It was fun to see him grow from a newcomer with no idea how to use his powers to an experienced hero following Spidey’s ideal of power with responsibility, while trying to find his dad, protect his family, and discover the true origin of the amulet.

Darkhawk was cool on Robert Kirkman’s Marvel Team-Up storyline “League of Losers”, but then he was with a bunch of characters so bad they make him look good!

It’s a GREAT story, BTW. Everyone should read it!

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Never, ever liked Mike Manley’s art. it may be my personal kryptonite.
DFTBA

This issue is definitely a bad example of the series. The first 15 issues hold together pretty well, and with some tinkering, could actually be adapted into a pretty cool movie.

@Pedro: I was also going to mention the League of Losers, which was awesome. Go read it if you haven’t!

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