WingSpan: Geoff Johns flies high with 'Hawkman'

Tue, February 12th, 2002 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Arune Singh, Staff Writer

[Hawkman]After winning across the board acclaim for his writing on both "The Flash" and "JSA" (which he co-writes with David Goyer), Geoff Johns is ready to re-invigorate another classic DC character with the new "Hawkman" series (with acclaimed writer James Robinson), launching in March. Though he wasn't allowed to say much, Johns told CBR enough about the new series to excite many comic book fans.

If his exciting return and depiction in the pages of "JSA" haven't tantalized fans enough or if you haven't a clue to who Hawkman is, Johns offers this description of the winged warrior's new series. "Thousands of years ago, an Egyptian Prince and Princess discovered an alien-spacecraft from the planet Thanagar. The ship was powered by a mysterious anti-gravity element they called Nth metal. The unearthly energies of the Nth metal, enhanced by the strength of their love, transformed the souls of the Prince and Princess. For centuries, they were reincarnated, life after life, destined to meet one another and rekindle their love… until today… Today they are Carter Hall and Kendra Saunders, archaeologists and adventurers. The Winged Warriors known as HAWKMAN and HAWKGIRL!"

"The first four issues set-up the new status quo for Hawkman and Hawkgirl as they take residence in the mysterious metropolis of St. Roch, Louisiana - before adventuring half-way across the world. Green Arrow will ruffle their feathers in issues 5 & 6, and expect the Atom to show up within the first year. We'll also be doing special issues within the series entitled 'PAST LIVES' that will reveal previous adventures of our Winged Warriors. Artist Rags Morales has done an absolutely amazing job on this book. I expect him to shoot up to the top of everyone's favorite artists list very soon."

Speaking of Morales, Johns is ecstatic to have the artist onboard and cannot imagine a better person to bring these stories to life. "Check out page 2 in 'Hawkman #1' and you'll see why Rags and Michael Bair were born to draw Hawkman," gushes Johns. "He's a very thorough artist -- meaning, every line -- every figure in the background -- is related to the main image. He analyzes every single panel on the page and works hard to tell as much story as he possibly can. It's really amazing."

As is the case with Wally West, AKA the Flash, and the world's first superhero team, the JSA, Johns has a genuine love for Hawkman that will undoubtedly translate onto the printed page. "I love Hawkman's visual. He's an extremely powerful and iconic looking character. Initially, that's what intrigued me about him. The fact that he is definitely a 'partner' with another hero, and a warrior who's been reincarnated again and again...it just gives us a lot of elements to explore." And for those who also share an affinity for Hawkman but are intimidated by the convoluted continuity attached to the character, Johns confirms that he'll be approaching the character using the streamlined history that he and Goyer introduced in the "Return of Hawkman" storyline featured last year in "JSA."

"I think we've pretty much cleaned up Hawk-history -- as far as we're concerned we're starting pretty clean. All you need to know is answer what I've said about the series. James Robinson is on board co-plotting the series. He's got a great affinity for DC's history and creating aspects of every sort within a hero's world: the city, the supporting cast, the villains, etc. I'm very excited about creating a new world for Hawkman and Hawkgirl."

Continuity may also be a concern to "JSA" fans, some of whom have expressed worry that this new Hawkman solo-series could result in continuity conflicts between the two series (IE: How can Hawkman be doing things at the same time in both comic book series?) and that perhaps this series will lead to the dilution of the JSA characters, via an over-saturation of solo ongoing and mini-series. Johns is quick to assure fans that this will not be the case. "No more plans for 'JSA' spin-offs and hopefully none for awhile. 'JSA' and 'Hawkman' continuity won't affect one another too much either."

With love being a recurring and central theme in the Hawkman mythos, in addition to Johns' very public engagement (his girlfriend asked him to marry her during a panel at the San Diego Comic-Con last year), one could wonder if Johns would be more than tempted to turn this comic book series into a sappy adventure of two winged people in spandex. "Love is a theme we will explore, though it won't be the main theme," says Johns, re-assuring fans that the series will balance all the element of Hawkman and Hawkgirl's relationship. "What is love to Carter and Kendra? That will unfold throughout the series."

But with all this passion and creativity being devoted to "Hawkman," one could easily forget that Johns writes some other comics as well. In addition to "Flash," "JSA" and of course "Hawkman," Johns has some more great projects lined up. "'JLA/JSA' is coming out at the end of the year. 'Morlocks' and 'The Thing' mini-series hit in late Spring. And my 'Avengers' run begins at the end of the summer. August. That's pretty much my 2002 for now." And if you've been paying attention to the Superman comic book series and enjoying the excellent stories by Johns, the super-scribe is more than ready to you're your appetite for more by saying, "As far as Superman goes, I'm helping out where they need it. It's been fun. Working anywhere near Jeph Loeb is inspiring. He has so much love for Superman, and he always picks out the right notes to hit."

Even if it seems like Johns is a veritable Superman, taking on so many projects and pouring his heart into each one of them, he says that he is really enjoying his work on "Hawkman." "So far, it's been amazing. Peter Tomasi is really helping us steer the ship -- taking Hawkman in a cool direction. I can't wait for this first issue to hit the stands." Johns also reveals that the series will be a mix of both long and short story arcs, essentially mixing his approach to both "Flash" and "JSA," which should make this a very new-reader friendly series.

So if you're still not sure about "Hawkman," Johns says that the series will have unique flavor and adds, "It's about Superheroes, adventure and romance. It's focused around two individuals both relearning their place in the world. Whether their places will be together or not remains to be seen. Again, we're trying to go for a 'Starman'/ 'Indiana Jones' series. Complex characters and surroundings -- and kick ass action."

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