In this review of Hawkgirl #2, Kendra and Taylor continue to explore their friendship as the villain Vulpecula continues to kidnap people.
Hawkgirl #2 begins with the antagonist Vulpecula collecting two more of her victims or is it four. This unfortunately brings up the biggest issue I have in this story. From captions this plan of Vulpecula has been going on for decades, at least fifty years. She hunts down kids she can manipulate into wearing Nth metal talismans by offering them their most desirable wishes. Last issue gave us Maureen who wanted a pony. Decades later she returns to kidnap the now grown adult but in the narrative she does it twice?
This issue taking place last night and we find two brothers. One is a hopeless drunk who has been “rescued” once again by his brother. After an argument Vulpecula arrives grabbing both men. The next scene is fifty years ago, Vulpecula gives two twin boys the talismans while one asks for a race car and the second asks for a puppy.
The next scene taking place now, shows a man, presumably the brother who wanted the puppy, there are several dogs in this scene relaxing with his husband. Side note, yay, gay representation that is not down anyone’s throat. It is just a matter of fact that two men in love are married. These two are watching a car race talking about whether or not the man’s brother will win the race. Simultaneously two monsters attack both men. The confusion here is what is actually going on? Are these the same characters and if so why the completely different scenes? Is there some kind of mind play?
Throughout these scenarios, we get a voice over story or a fable about a dog with meat looking into a river, seeing a reflection of himself and then being tempted to go after the reflection by a crafty fox. The dog goes after the reflection and loses the meat to the fox. This parable, if I may use that word, seems to indicate that the men are the dog and Vulpecula is the fox. She gets the meat, in this case the men and all the men get is a false reflection? This really is not clear.
What is also confusing is what Vulpecula is doing to these people she kidnaps. The talismen she gives them are Nth metal. The properties of Nth metal as established in a Hawkgirl series after Infinite Crisis was that in time the person starts to manifest the powers the Nth metal gave them in prolonged exposure. In Kendra’s case, she is able to levitate without her wings, a property that was forgotten in the first issue of this series when Kendra is saved from plummeting to her death by Galaxy when her wings fail to open. Vulpecula uses this property of Nth metal to change her victims into her monsterous lackeys. What is that about?
Galaxy and Hawkgirl finally become friends
Back to the story, Taylor, AKA Galaxy pushes her girlfriend Kat out of their apartment so she can take her next exam. Kat however wants to help, after some domestic banter where we learn that Kat’s mom is paying the two’s rent and Taylor has lost another job because she was occupied being a superhero when she rescued Kendra from falling to her death, Kat goes to take her exam leaving Taylor alone with Kendra.
We get another reminder that Kendra is not alone as she is shouting at her previous incarnations in the kitchen. Taylor walks in on this and Kendra eventually explains that she has memories of her past lives and sometimes she feels those lives are not happy with her choices now. This is interrupted by another attack leaving Kendra writing in agony.
The scene shifts to Vulpecula’s layer where we see the creation of two more of her henchmen. One a mechanical car like creature and the second a rabid dog creature, presumably the two men from the beginning of the issue.
Back in Taylor’s apartment Taylor uses her energy manipulation powers to link Kendra’s wings to her body. This is rough because Taylor is unfamiliar with Nth metal but it is effective. Kendra is feeling great and she can even feel her wings. She also hears Argus, Taylor’s “dog” speak for the first time. This leads to a little exposition bringing readers up to date on the mythos of Galaxy as found in Galaxy: The Prettiest Star graphic novel. A young adult story that I highly recommend while on their way to bring Kendra back to her apartment.
This exchange leads to a friendship between the two women leading them to embrace . Galaxy even invites Kendra to a bar, Planet X that evening to celebrate Kat’s acing her exam. Before flying off Galaxy tells Kendra that there is something protecting her but to be careful in that it might be keeping her from something.
Planet X Club
Kendra does show up to the club. Here we learn that it is in fact a gay club when we find Abilene there as well. In Hawkgirl #1, we had a coffee scene where Kendra meets up with her old friend Abilene. We learn that she got married to a man earlier in her life. She was trying to meet a heteronormative expectation and divorced. Abilene learned that she was in fact gay and she may even be a different gender as well. She concludes the meeting by asking Kendra out, which she declines and awkwardly leaves. Taylor and Kat giggle at this, why would they go to a straight t bar.
Meanwhile Vulpecula is using her creatures to sniff out more Nth metal. Another aspect of her scheme. The end goal for her is to go to the Nth metal world. She needs Nth metal to do that so she is always on the hunt for the metal. Cyril, the dog creature has a scent. One guess where they end up.
Kendra goes dancing with Taylor upstairs and she realizes that she misses this part of her life. With so much obsession with rescuing everyone, she forgets her own self care. This is a valid point. Caregivers in general have the problem of always focusing on others and forgetting about their own well being. Kendra even admits that a dance could only last for three minutes, not a lot of time but something that can keep her better grounded.
Unfortunately this is short lived as Vulpecula and her creatures show up to collect the Nth metal. Galaxy engages the villains, but they beat her down. Hawkgirl arrives in the nick of time to join the fight. Argus even assists in the fight making it three heroes on four villains. Hawkgirl loses her helmet in the fight with Vulpecula. The antagonist gets a full whiff of her Nth metal and realizes that she is the target. She tells Kendra that she cannot take the Nth metal by force. Kendra has to come to her. She does rip off a part of her wing and leaves. Hawkgirl #2 ends with Abilene holding Kendra’s helmet. She knows that Kendra is Hawkgirl.
The artistic choices in this issue are terrific. The overall design of the characters are great. There are a multitude of body types and hair styles. Kendra in particular is gorgeous. I appreciate using a darker skin tone for her as well as the beautiful muscle tone on her body. She looks like a fit warrior and that is fitting for this gladiator of the sky. It is easy to see why Abilene is so attracted to her. The whole sequence in the gay bar is very dynamic. Kendra makes a comment about the bar being very colorful and with the use of colors that is certainly true. The atmosphere has a fun electric vibe to it and it is easy to see the characters getting lost in this place.
Despite my misgivings and confusion in the overall plot, I do like the design of Vulpecula’s creatures. It matches the desires of the victims. The first meeting a horse creature. This matches the desire of Maureen, the first victim from issue one. The two additions, the dog and car creatures match the desires of the two brothers.
The gay representation in this is fantastic. Not only do we have queer characters and a variety at that but we have a gay hangout in Metropolis. What more can you ask for? It is refreshing to see this type of representation.