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Black Lantern Hawkman

DCD Blackest Night
by yo go re

The Blackest Night crossover was very good for DC. Not only did they get more than a dozen new titles out of it, but there have been five series of tie-in figures from DC Direct, with more on the way.

Hawkman, Carter Hall, is one of the first heroes to face the ultimate consequence of the Black Lanterns' rise on Earth. After witnessing the death of his eternal love, Hawkgirl, at the hands of resurrected Black Lanterns Elongated Man and Sue Dibny, Carter meets his own violent end. Immediately following his death, the Black Rings of Power emerge to resurrect the Winged Warrior as the newest member of the Black Lantern Corps.

If you're going to write a crossover, it pays to start off big. After pages and pages of Geoff Johns' inexplicable love for characters better left in the past, things aactually start to happen (seriously - Hal and Barry having a sad little cry together is not a high point in any comicbook, let alone a giant action/adventure zombie story). As far as an attention-grabber goes, though, killing the Hawks is a pretty good one. After all, it's not like Aquaman or Martian Manhunter: people care about Hawkman and Hawkgirl.

Hawkman was sculpted by McFarlane Toys escapee Jean St.Jean, and anybody who made his name sculpting for Spawn is going to know a thing or two about how to make an undead superhero look right. Hawkman's skin looks dessicated, like a mummy, and his costume has been "Black Lanternized" as well: his boots and bracers have been turned into studded bands, and the nth metal harness that normally holds his wings has been adjusted slightly to become the triangular Black Hand logo. Metal bands circle his thighs just above the knee, and joining bands come to a point at his stomach. His boots still have the folded tops and the three-toed "claws" on the top, and there's a silver hawkish symbol where his belt would be if he still had one. All the costume parts have very crisp edges, because they were sculpted in styrene to make sure they didn't get soft.

The helmet is mostly unchanged, though it's definitely taken on a more sinister aspect. The "beak" is more hooked, and all the features of the mask's face have been exaggerated slightly to make him look even more threatening than usual. But the overall design, the big wings over the ears and the bits that come down the cheeks, are the same as always. His eyes are black with small white dots in the center, and his mouth hangs open. There seems to be yellowish drool clinging to his lower jaw, as well as some silver thing poking off his chin. What is it? We asked St. Jean, and he pointed out it's a chin cap, as seen on the cover of Atom & Hawkman #46.

There are two daggers attached to Hawkman's legs, but though they were sculpted separately, they're a molded part of the final figure. Other than the Black Lantern display base, his only accessory is a heavy studded mace. St.Jean had created an ornate axe during the sculpting process, but it didn't make it to the final figure (even though it did make it to the earliest promo shots) - that's why both his hands are shaped to hold things.

This is another one of the DCD figures to show improved articulation. No, he doesn't have a waist, but there's still a swivel/hinge neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinge elbows, swivel wrists, swivel hips, swivel thighs, hinged knees, and swivel boots. He also has several joints in his wings, which is where the problems start to come in.

The wings both come from the same sculpt, with some minor changes to flip it to the other side. Each wing has four sharp spines in lieu of feathers, and a hinge joint at the top. The wings plug into his back with a peg on a hinge, but... oh, how it sucks! The pegs are cast from translucent plastic, because apparently DC Direct never learns its lesson. If you remember the Man-Bat they made years ago, you'll know that clear plastic can be very brittle and prone to breakage. Sure enough, I tried to move the hinge, and the peg snapped off. Melonfarmer! The pegs are bastard-hard to move in the first place, and even if you get them free without breaking them, getting them to keep moving is still an impossible task. It's bad design and shoddy materials, which is really disappointing. Oh, and the spines get warped out of shape by the packaging. DC Direct should know better by now.

If you get wings that don't break the instant you try to put them in the figure's back, Hawkman is a great figure. If they do break and you have to sacrifice a joint there, well, he's still pretty good, but it would be nice if the production quality lived up to the work that went into the sculpt.

-- 10/09/10

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