The Fraternity of Raptors, led by Robbie Rider aka Talon-R, have found a way to bring the old Raptors back into our dimension. Things don’t go as planned for them, however. On Earth, Chris Powell, aka Darkhawk, is still getting used to the return of his own Talon armor and the absence of Razor. He solicits Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S to study this new version of his armor while planning for a trip off Earth to deal with the Fraternity of Raptors himself.
Infinity Countdown: Darkhawk #1 shows a lot of promise for an interesting revival of the character, but it is certainly a troubled read. There’s a lot to like in the content but a few notable issues in the storytelling.
First and foremost is the amount of extraneous details and the longwinded nature of their expositive delivery. A lot of time is spent on Chris Powell’s police job which only seems to set up for a slight status quo change in the latter part of the comic. It’s text-heavy material too, and it slows the more interesting plot about the return of the original Talons and Chris coming to grips with his new Darkhawk loadout.
I hadn’t realized how convoluted the inner workings of Darkhawk were, as Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning never dove into it whenever they used the character in their Annihilation stories. Infinity Countdown: Darkhawk #1 did nothing to streamline this, only adding a new and bizarre feature to the transformation between Chris and his alter ego. It has potential to be an interesting new struggle for Chris Powell, but it remains to be seen.
All of this aside, Darkhawk does read like a different kind of hero from what is common, and he is a likable character. A superhero who uses alien technology to fight evil is far from something invented by this character, but the differences with this specific version of that idea has some unique aspects.
Gang Hyuk Lim’s artwork takes almost all its queues from the visual design of manga/anime. The expression, texturing, and facial details are distinctly akin to anime. While it largely looks quite good, it does have some of the drawbacks of the style too. Characters are primarily distinguished by hair and skin tone (though western comic art tends to have this problem too), and facial expressions are rarely subtle. The color art is very good, and Lim’s choice of palette and contrast is very appealing to look at.
Infinity Countdown: Darkhawk #1 is flawed but promising. Chris Powell is a character that should never have been left by the wayside, and the complex conflicts he faces in this book could lead to some interesting places if the narrative can tighten, quicken, and trim the fat. Gang Hyuk Lim’s artwork looks quite good and adds a youthful air to the book. All things considered, this one still earns a recommendation.
Also, I never expected to see Code Blue mentioned again.
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