Comic Review: Hawk and Dove, Vol. 1: First Strikes

Title: Hawk and Dove, Vol. 1: First Strikes
Author: Sterling Gates 
Illustrator: Rob Liefeld
Book Format: Trade Paperback 
Published:  August 21st 2012 by DC Comics
Issues: 1-8
Pages: 192

I should preface this review by letting you know, I had never heard of Hawk & Dove until I picked this book up at my library. Prior to checking out the book I had read and heard lots of reviews on this New 52 series which seems to have been done several times but never gained any traction as the series typically only ever made it to about 5-8 issues. This series being the longest as it contains 8 issues.

I have yet to read a positive review of this book, and unfortunately, you won’t read an entirely positive review from me either. I started out giving this book 2 stars but after considering the story as a whole including the artwork and writing, I cannot in good conscience relegate the story down to just 2 stars.

Hawk and Dove are the Avatars of War and Peace. We don’t specifically get much explanation of what that means. What does the Avatar of War and the Avatar of Peace specifically do? That would have been useful. It was nice getting a review of all of their superpowers which seems to be uncommon in comics so that was helpful.

The first several issues/chapters were a bit confusing to figure out the point of the story. The story really got good when Hawk and Dove go to Gotham and run into Batman and Robin. This part of the story really engaged me. This is probably because Batman is my absolute favorite superhero and he can do no wrong in my book. It could also be because the story actually started making some sense. There was finally a reason that Hawk and Dove were doing something. Blockbuster stole the Amulet of Ra for the Necromancer. I won’t get into what the Necromancer was planning on doing or what the result was, but these last two issues were the best and is why I increased my rating to 3 of 5 stars.

The writing was definitely the weak link in this series. At times it was somewhat cheesy which is hard to accomplish being cheesy in a comic world where dialogue in comics is known to be cheesy.

The art was solid. The only issues I had with the artwork was how the characters were constantly grimacing. Anger can be depicted in more ways than just showing your teeth. The other thing that bugged me was not so much art, but every time Hank Hall and Dawn Granger become Hawk and Dove they yell their names. Seriously? That was just really lame for me.

One positive I found with the story and the concept behind the story is the fact that Dove is the stronger hero. It is obvious throughout the book that she is the stronger character and Hawk is weaker. This is a great opportunity for a strong female character to stand out in comics. Unfortunately of course, she’s still drawn in the traditional sexy vixen style which sends a mixed message which is why, in addition to the violence, I wouldn’t have my daughters read this book, which is just disappointing because they don’t have a lot of options out there.

Overall, I would say this book was just run of the mill. I won’t be buying this book for my own collection unless I find it really really cheap, but it was still worth the read just to get an idea of who these superheros are. I wouldn’t hold it against anyone if they skip this series though as I don’t see much of this story having anything to do with the rest of the DC Universe.

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