Review: Darkhawk (2021) #1

Series: Darkhawk (2021)
Writer: Kyle Higgins
Artist: Juan Ramirez
Colorist: Erick Arciniega
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Released: August 25, 2021
Received: Own

So, I know I’m a bit late for this train, but pardon me as I fangirl all over the place! Darkhawk is one of my favorite Marvel heroes (Okay, that’s probably a longer list than I would like to admit…). I also feel like he’s a hero that gets way too neglected in the comics. So, naturally, I’m thrilled about the news of this latest series, even if it is only five issues long (for now).

Darkhawk #1 is about to introduce readers to an all-new Darkhawk. We’ve seen it happen with other characters: the mantle gets passed down to another young hero, allowing writers to take a new spin through the universe. Even though I loved Chris Powell, I’ll admit that I was more than a little bit excited to meet Connor Young.

Speaking of; Conner Young was just your average teenage boy. Well, with a few exceptions. He’s a basketball star with so many plans waiting for him. But his life is about to get flipped upside down – in more than one way.

Before I officially begin this review, I just want to take a moment to thank Marvel Comics, Kyle Higgins (writer), Juan Ramirez (artist), Erick Arciniega (colorist), and VCs Travis Lanham (letterer) for bringing this series to life. The fangirl in me is so very happy right now.

Writing

Wow. So there’s quite a lot to take in here. Darkhawk #1 goes beyond being a triumphant return. Kyle Higgins captured some very human elements when introducing this new hero. Conner Young’s story is immediately compelling, but it kicks off in ways I had not anticipated.

Long story short: there’s more going on in Conner’s life than basketball. A lot more. He’s dealing with medical issues, an uncertain future, and a few other surprises. It makes for a shockingly well-rounded character right out the gate.

Additionally, I love that Higgins reached out to those with this condition to write Connor’s story. It certainly added to the realism and impact of the situation while also giving a voice to the community.

As far as origin stories go (which is essentially what this is), it’s pretty good. I already feel like I know Connor pretty well, which I’ve always found to be a critical part of appreciating a superhero and their battles. And the good news is because I’m behind, I get to keep on reading and see what happens next!

Artwork

The artwork for Darkhawk #1 is sublime. The colors, character designs, and lettering are like a perfect storm of artwork. Naturally, what first caught my attention was the cover itself: I love seeing Darkhawk with vibrant purple covers. I’ll never get over that thrill. I also adore all the variant covers available (and will be hunting as many of them down as possible, thank you very much).

The lead artist for the series is Juan Ramirez, and I enjoy his take on the world. Or, more specifically, his Darkhawk designs. His sense of motion is stellar – which is pretty important, given that a.) Conner plays basketball, and b.) the way Darkhawk tends to move. Finally, I respect that bruises and other injuries are lingering on our characters. This is yet another grounding feature.

As I already hinted at, I love the colors in this issue. Provided by Erick Arciniega, they run the gambit. There are times when the colors are bold and bright, and others are almost respectfully somber. It’s a brilliant balance, though naturally, I’m more drawn to the brighter pages.

As always, I love VC’s Travis Lanham’s lettering. His work tends to be understated, but it is also a vital part of the story. Everything is set up in such a way as to lead our eyes from one panel to the next.

Conclusion

Darkhawk #1 was an intense introduction to Conner Young’s story, but it worked. I’m already extremely invested in his character and will be rooting for him throughout the next four issues (and beyond?).

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