While Hawk and Dove fight to keep Washington DC safe from Alexander Quirk’s Monsters of Mass Destruction, super-criminal Condor kills rival Osprey so his powers can turn a psycho into a Swan …
… spotting a pattern? Yup, everyone’s a bird. And everyone has a variation on the same costume: Hawk and Dove, Condor and Swan – without Matt Yackey’s colours you’d have trouble telling them apart.
Actually, you’d have trouble telling anyone apart: Hank and his dad dress alike, share hair wax and have identical rictus grins; Hank’s old bird Ren and Dawn go to the one hair stylist and both dress in tinfoil slit to the waist. And yes, I realise Ren is Asian-American, but most people in this book look Asian-American.
And everyone talks through a toothy grin. I swear, if DC wanted to conquer the ventriloquists’ market, they’d show them Hawk and Dove.
‘I’m going to gash your grains out, Hawk!’
‘Gugger off, you gig guffoon, Dove has my gack!’
A few of the splash pages apart – there are five in this 20-page comic – the work here is awful. I’m not a Rob Liefeld fan, but when he’s on form his art does the job. Here the illustrations – inks by Liefeld and Adelso Corona – are often excruciating. Body shapes are seen that are never found in nature, Hawk turns into a giant, a head twists like an Exorcist tribute act … Liefeld either needs to take more time, take an art lesson or take on an inking partner willing to overpower his pencils and make the figures work. Maybe even – whisper it – draw in regular backgrounds.
Still, it’s not like Liefeld is ruining a good story. The usually reliable Sterling Gates doesn’t move the Quirk business any further on, Dove’s Big Secret doesn’t come up … instead pages are wasted with unconvincing soap involving Dove’s boyfriend Deadman and the aforementioned Ren – both centred on inappropriate jealousy.
As for all the Hawk and Dove-alikes running around, Kestrel was bad enough in their last series, now the book is going all Green Lantern on us with a horde of rainbow bird baddies. So next month it’s Hawk & Dove vs Condor & Swan, which sounds like a court case. Certainly someone should sue for a painful reading experience.
This comic has so much potential, but so far it’s for the birds.