Review: War of Kings: Darkhawk #1
WRITER: C.B. Cebulski
PENCILS: Harvey Tolibao & Bong Dazo
INKS: Harvey Tolibao & Joe Pimental
COLORS: Jay David Ramos & Rain Beredo
LETTERS: VC’s Cory Petit
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Michael Horwitz
EDITOR: Bill Rosemann
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Joe Quesada
PUBLISHER: Dan Buckley
COVER PRICE: $3.99
COVER DATE: April 2009
IN STORES: February 4, 2009
The first story (of two contained in this issue) is a new 22-page story centered on Darkhawk and his situation following his recent appearances in Nova (Vol. 4) #17-19. The story opens with Chris Powell rushing around his bedroom, chiding himself for his current predicament: running late for work. While pondering his anger issues and growing concerns that he may lose control as Darkhawk, Chris rushes downstairs to the dining room where his mother and two brothers are already eating breakfast. Chris has moved back east to his family’s home in New York since becoming the Chief of Security at Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. Chris transforms in to Darkhawk and flies off to work, feeling good about himself and his world (yeah, we’ll see how long that lasts!).
Darkhawk arrives at Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. and finds problems are waiting for him. Dr. Necker, one of the Project scientists, briefs him about a Skrull booby trap (left over from the Skrull infiltration of Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. during Secret Invasion) bringing down a containment field long enough for X-Ray and Vector of the U-Foes to escape from their cells. Just then, Vector breaks through an adjoining wall and immediately attacks Darkhawk. Goaded by Vector, Darkhawk takes the battle to the air. Vector attempts to rip the amulet from the Darkhawk armor, and the amulet responds by fatally (?) blasting Vector. Darkhawk returns to the ground near where Vector’s body fell, very upset over losing control of the amulet again. Dr. Necker approaches Darkhawk from behind, when he raises up and hits her, saying, “Get away! You can’t have it!” Darkhawk immediately apologizes, explaining that his armor seems to be reacting on its own. Dr. Necker suggests that he let Project personnel study it, but Darkhawk hurriedly leaves, preferring to not let anyone else get hurt.
Some time passes, and Chris shows up at a meeting of the Loners’ support group being held in Manhattan. Mickey (formerly the super-hero known as Turbo) is speaking to the other members when Chris arrives, asking for help. He explains to Mickey and the group about his armor reacting on its own instinct, then reverting back to his control. Mickey and Chris leave the meeting and grab some sushi, discussing Chris’ apprehension about being the subject of tests at Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. Mickey recommends that he go through with the testing for his family and for her.
After the meal, Mickey goes with Chris to his house. They talk briefly outside, with Mickey declining Chris’ invitation to come in and meet his family. Just then, the amulet begins glowing red-hot, burning Chris. Before he has time to react, a fireball appears in the sky, headed directly for the Powell home. As it crashes in the Powells’ backyard, Mickey and Chris rush around the house to find a humanoid figure wearing a suit of armor remarkably similar to the Darkhawk armor, complete with its own amulet. As Chris remarks that his amulet was the last one, the figure speaks, saying that is what “Designate Powell” was supposed to believe. From behind them, Chris’ mother and brothers come out to the backyard to see what is happening, and Chris orders them back into the house and to call the Initiative for help.
Chris turns back to the mysterious figure, asking how it knows so much about him. The figure says it is there to save Chris, then reaches out to Chris and touches his amulet, initiating his transformation to Darkhawk. As it does so, it hints at a larger threat requiring the both of them to work together. Darkhawk is stunned, asking the figure how it transformed him. The figure responds by telling Darkhawk there is much he does not know. Another fireball appears in the sky, again headed for the Powell home. The figure exclaims, “No! It’s found us already,” as the fireball lands with great impact, destroying the Powell home. To be continued…!
The second story is a reprint of Darkhawk (Vol. 1, 1991) #1, and is included for historical reference.
The bulk of this issue was exposition and first-person narration from Chris’ point of view, filling in the reader as to what Darkhawk has been up to since he left the Loners and became the Security Chief at Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. This seems to have given the story the accessibility necessary for the reader who may not have been familiar with Darkhawk; however, it also includes elements for those familiar with Darkhawk to be able to enjoy the story as well, such as the fight with Vector – Darkhawk (with an assist from Daredevil and Captain America) first fought the U-Foes back in Darkhawk (Vol. 1, 1991) #6, so it was nice to see a subtle nod to the older continuity. Given that this is a two-issue mini-series, it seems like it is designed to provide the transition for Darkhawk from Earthbound hero (his role up to now) to cosmic bad-ass (his larger role in the Marvel Universe proper) in fairly rapid fashion. The next issue should illuminate us to the real purpose of the Darkhawk armor, how it is connected to the Shi’ar, and what side he will fight for in the War of Kings. From there, Darkhawk’s story will continue into the War of Kings: Ascension four-issue mini-series, where it seems he will become involved in a skirmish in the Negative Zone (King Blastaar anyone?). I am stoked for this, and can’t wait until War of Kings: Darkhawk #2 (of 2) is released on March 18 to find out more!