Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Review: NIGHTHAWK #6

NIGHTHAWK No. 6 (2016)

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

WRITER: David F. Walker
ARTIST: Ramon Villalobos
COLORS: Tamra Bonvillain
LETTERS: VC's Joe Caramagna
COVER: Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz with Chris Sotomayor
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (December 2016)

Parental Advisory

Nighthawk is a Marvel Comics character.  While there have been several versions of the character, the first Nighthawk was Kyle Richmond, initially a supervillain and also a member of the Squadron Supreme.  Richmond, as the original Nighthawk, debuted in The Avengers #69 (cover dated:  October 1969) with two other members of the Squadron Supreme.

Marvel's 2015-debuting event/publishing initiative, “All-New, All-Different Marvel,” offered a new ongoing Nighthawk comic book.  This series focused on an African-American version of Kyle Richmond from Earth-31916, who also uses the identity of Raymond Kane.  Nighthawk was written by David F. Walker; drawn by Ramon Villalobos (except for issue #5); colored by Tamra Bonvillian; and lettered by Joe Caramagna.

The sales numbers on this Nighthawk series were apparently weak, and it was canceled after six issues, with the last issue being published about two months ago.  Nighthawk is set in Chicago, Illinois which is both roiled by racial strife and rotten with political corruption.  The city's streets, neighborhoods, and districts are Nighthawk's stomping grounds.  The first issue finds him stomping on the “True Patriots,” a White supremacist gang that deals in guns and meth production.  Nighthawk uses his physical and mental skills to destroy them, while his partner, Tilda Johnson, as usual, helps with the robotics and technology Nighthawk uses.

The series found Nighthawk trying to capture a serial killer called “The Revelator,” who is killing White people associated with the oppression of Black people in Chicago.  Nighthawk is also trying to discover the identity of the person who is using the True Patriots to flood Chicago with high-powered fire arms.  That would be powerful real estate mogul, Dan Hanrahan, who in turn uses Tom Dixon, a corrupt cop, as his go-between with the True Patriots.  However, Sherman Burrell, a good White cop, is trailing Dixon because he suspects that he is corrupt.

Nighthawk #6 finds Burrell fighting for his life after his final confrontation with Dixon.  Meanwhile, Nighthawk races to his final confrontation with The Revelator who believes that Nighthawk should be on his side.

I was truly stunned both by how much I liked Nighthawk #1 and by how high-quality it was.  I think that series writer David F. Walker is a fantastic emerging comic book talent.  I also think that if DC Comics were truly interested in African-American comic book writers, Walker would would be writing a few titles for them, even a Batman comic book.  [Walker recently had a short stint as writer of the Cyborg comic book for DC.]

To the end of Nighthawk, Walker does not disappoint.  He wraps up his six-issue Nighthawk series/arc with satisfying and tragic mayhem.  He also manages to make his readers realize how much potential this series had; if only it could have run for another six-issue arc.

As series artist, I liked Ramon Villalobos, whose work on Summer 2015's E is for Extinction (a Secret Wars title) wowed me.  He captured Walker's special mix of humor and the violence that made Nighthawk such an enthralling read.  In the end, I also learned to love the cover art by Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz (with colors by Chris Sotomayor), although I hated the first issue's cover


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2016 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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