The "War of Kings" tie-in and crossover machine gets rolling right here, right now. True, this latest of events may have started elsewhere (like here and here), but the banner unfurls here in a book with the distinct purpose of crossing into "War of Kings".
That said, I don't see the crossover. Granted, this is a first issue, with a great deal of exposition to work through, but there aren't any kings in this book. At least not that I could see. There is, however, a story crafted by C. B. Cebulski about a character he feels pretty strongly moved by, or at least that's the impression Cebulski's script gave me. He likes Darkhawk. So much so that he's going to make Darkhawk suffer. The good things that have happened for Chris Powell (that's Darkhawk's not-so-secret identity) get pummeled in this issue and it looks like Darkhawk's is going to be the worse for it on the other side.
It does need to be noted, however, that there are two glaring typos or misspellings in the first four pages. Not sure if that's on Cebulski or Petit, but seems to me there would be a spell-check run by one or both of them. Did this majorly affect my ability to enjoy the story? Not completely, but it was pretty distracting, especially since both words are pretty common.
The art is pretty standard for Marvel books nowadays, at least in style. Tolibao and Dazo bring a level of detail and sense of anatomy heavily influenced by Chris Cross, which works, as Cross was the artistic influence for the current renaissance of all Marvel things cosmic (at least in theory) with his work on the "Captain Marvel" series earlier this decade (has it really been that long?!?). The two pencilers do a nice job of maintaining a consistent feel in detail, tone, and composition, with some noteworthy exceptions. Darkhawk's battle with Vector is action-packed and smartly framed by intimidating profiles of the combatants, a method reminiscent of Todd MacFarlane's classic work.
This book has quite a bit going for it, especially for readers who may have only discovered Darkhawk recently in the pages of "Nova" or through Cebulski's "Loners." The cliffhanger ending is sure to leave readers uneasy, especially as it serves as the deepest descent in this issue's roller coaster ride for Darkhawk. As a bonus for the price paid for this book, Marvel has included the first issue of Darkhawk's series from 1991, which helps ease the sting of the $3.99 price tag on this issue.
For readers looking to get in on the ground floor of a space-faring adventure, this is a nice investment and enjoyable read, just as it would be for fans of the character. While I would not define this book as the best thing Marvel put out this week (it was a monstrous week for them) it is certainly an angst-filled adventure that will have repercussions for months to come.