By: Geoff Johns and Peter J. Tomasi (writers), Ivan Reis, Ardian Syaf, Joe Prado (artists), Vicente Cifuentes (inker), Peter Steigerwald, John Starr, Ray Dillon (colorists)

The Story: All Hawkman! All the time! Step right up for the eternal lovers in danger and mace-to-the-face action!

What’s Good: As with the last (successful) issues of Brightest Day, #13 focuses principally on one plot thread. So, I may have forgotten what the heck Aqualad is up to, I got a satisfying faceful of Hawkman, and I mean satisfying. If you’re a purist looking for pulpy adventure à la Flash Gordon, this one’s got the action, menace and violence. Johns and Tomasi have Hawkman leading the lion men of Hawkworld (shades of Mongo) against the floating Nth city of the hawkmen to tear them a new one. Result: victory? Ummmm…well, you’ll see. So, the writers did such a good job that the action swept me along in a complete joy of escapism. The pace and adventure was so good, that I didn’t notice most of the mechanics of the writing. Most.

Same thing on the art work. The art team turned in some fine fine stuff. Hawkman looked cool, dangerous and gritty throughout. Dust, scratches and blood detailed him as much as bunching muscles and wrinkled seams on his belt and gloves. The hawk men and lion men were animalistic and viscerally detailed. And the bonework and purpled effects of Hath-Set’s portal were pretty damn cool. I should add one other thing on the art. Colors! I rarely comment on colors, but Steigerwald and crew really made Hath-Set’s portal come alive. Very cool.

What’s Not So Good: While the action was fast and fun, the plotting in Brightest Day is getting so detailed in some place that the need for explanations forces the writers to insert long pauses in the action to do expository lumps (so called because they’re the literary equivalent of lumps in a homemade pudding). In this issue Johns and Tomasi, to establish Hawkman’s mother-in-law’s motivation, chose to do a two-page spread to introduce a level of historical detail (a) not suggested by anything in the first 12 issues of this series, and (b) that started with the villain saying to the hero “as you know”, which is a dead giveaway that the writers couldn’t think of any other way to tell the backstory other than to have talking heads. This is a sign of a weak spot in the writing or of an overly complex plot. I couldn’t wait ’til that part was done.

Conclusion: This was a good, fun issue of Brightest Day, firing on most cylinders and worth the price of admission. Pick it up!

Grade: B

-DS Arsenault