Thursday, 8 December 2011

Hawk and Dove #4 review

We join Hawk and Dove soon after the events of last issue, as they interrogate the murderous Condor about their mutual connection. Along the way we're filled in as to how the fight between the heroes, Condor and his ally Swan at the White House panned out, and learn that Deadman has a bigger part to play in this storyline than 'annoying ghost boyfriend'.

There are also mysteries - Condor claims to be 200 years old while Dawn insists she wasn't always a peaceable type - and the usual action in the best issue of this series to date. The usual action there may be, but there's less of it, allowing for the intrigue and plot movement mentioned above. And calmer things to draw seem to have slowed penciller Rob Liefeld down, bringing his best work yet. There's no let-up in the dynamism of the fight scenes, but Liefeld also finds the drama in the quieter moments, using intelligent layouts and expressive bodies to bring the best out of Sterling Gates' nicely measured script. Hawk still has the manic intensity, the killer grin, but the look is restrained, less warped.
The inks from Adelso Corona and Liefeld himself are similarly noteworthy, with pleasing effects, such as background figure blurring. This may be a Photoshop trick, and if so, fine - a tool is a tool, the clever bit is knowing when to use it. An impressively hands-on finish sees a close-up of the elderly Condor come off like classic Joe Kubert, partly thanks to the fine colouring of Matt Yackey (click on image to enlarge). The final element of the pages, Dezi Sienty's letters, are equally sympathetic - this is a creative team that's gelling extremely well.

If you've been dubious about this DC New 52 book, give this issue a try - it's slambang action with a side order of suspense.

6 comments:

  1. (Mart here, re-posting this comment from Rob as a Blog blip meant I had to lose the original version of this review. Apologies!)

    Rob S. said...
    It's nice to read a review that doesn't immediately dismiss him because of his rep, and considers what's actually there on the page. Nice job!

    What I see there, on the page you posted, doesn't entirely defuse my feelings about his art -- for one thing, all the figures seem to bee viewed straight on or exactly in profile -- but that *is* a nice look at Condor.

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  2. I also appreciate a positive review of a Liefeld book. I realize it's not everyone's taste, but I really appreciate his work for what it is.

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  3. Did you hear Rob Liefield interviewed on the Word Balloon podcast a few weeks back, Jeff? He sounds a nice guy, pretty astute and genuinely keen to connect with an audience who may not know his Nineties work.

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  4. Yes, I sure did. I liked him before that interview, but it certainly helped things when I heard it. I just want to support the guy's work even more now. I get the feeling that if I ever met him, he would be genuinely glad to meet me--and as a person, it makes me want to help support whatever he does.

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  5. Hmm, Sterling Gates off the book, Rob Liefeld writing as well as drawing. I'm not optimistic, but we shall see.

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  6. Hmm, Sterling Gates off the book, Rob Liefeld writing as well as drawing. I'm not optimistic, but we shall see.

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