Friday, April 27, 2007

First impressions are important, and that's why Hawkman sucks and Yellowjacket rules.
I swear, this was intended to be one of the first things I used for this blog, and I'm just getting around to it now.
This is why I keep harshing on Hawkman's wings: as near as I can tell, this appearance in All-Star Comics #65 was my first exposure to Hawkman, and he spends most of the issue sans wings, which pretty much reduces him to an older guy in a luchadore mask. Although, he's more composed than I would've thought, losing the one thing that seems to define the character. I sorta expected Carter, Katar, whatever, to curl up in a ball and weep openly.

(Incidentally, thanks to this issue, when I think of Superman, I think of the gray-templed Earth-2 version first; and think of Power Girl and Star-Spangled Kid as the new guard.)
I remember trying to draw that Kirby Krackle as a kid.  It's hard!
Very often, your first impression of a character is going to be how you remember them forever. For example, the first time I saw Hank Pym, Yellowjacket, he was blown up. No, not there, here: Marvel Team-Up #59, "Some Say Spidey Will Die By Fire. ..Some Say By Ice!" Written by Chris Claremont, pencilled by John Byrne, inked by Dave Hunt.

If I may sound like a total geek for just a moment: I would totally wear the Yellowjacket outfit. Especially since that's where the powers are--when exactly did Hank and Jan, the Wasp, 'internalize' their powers? Initially, they used gas to shrink and, um, stingers to sting people, I guess. For the Yellowjacket identity, Hank's put together a grab-bag of powers: control insects, shrinking and growing, flight, bio-electric disruptors. I suspect writers thought the initial gimmicks for the character weren't enough, and added more and more.

Then, since that didn't seem to be working, writers, probably Jim Shooter, started fiddling with the character of Hank Pym. The first appearences of Yellowjacket I read portrayed him as a hardcore science-hero, and an Avenger of renown; a guy who was more comfortable in the lab than with people, but also wasn't above fighting the good fight himself. Then the instability started and the next thing you know, Hank's hitting Jan, taking Paxil, and seems a lot more flawed and incompetant than his teammates, or his confederates Reed Richards and Tony Stark.

Hank's on the comeback trail now, or living on borrowed time. Could go either way.
Much cooler than seeing Cap smack him in the face, or being Reed and Tony's errand boy.
Now, keep in mind that since this is one of the earliest superhero comics I remember reading, I didn't know about Doc Ock, the Green Goblin, or any of Yellowjacket's lameass rouges' gallery. So Equinox totally blew my mind. As the issue sets up, Equinox had previously fought Iceman and the Human Torch to a standstill, because he had both their powers, and a head shaped like Wolverine's mask! I remember making Equinox out of red and white Legos as a kid, and alternating the colors on the top and the bottom.

Equinox does have the unfortunate honor of being yet another comic character that's black, but you can't tell because of his powers or mutation or whatever. But, next time we'll look at the plot, the revenge of the Wasp, and a slightly creepy birthday present from Hank.

Hawkman picture from All-Star Comics #65, "The Master Plan of Vandal Savage" Dialog by Paul Levitz, plot and art by Wally Wood.

No comments: