Dark Nights: Hawkman Found #1 (DC Comics)

Runners Up: Thanos #14 (Marvel Comics), X-O Manowar #10 (Valiant Comics

Jeff Lemire explodes on to the forefront of the DCU with Hawkman Found, another great Dark Nights: Metal Tie-In. This isn’t to say that Lemire hasn’t done significant work with the company before, but it is nice to see his name on a big book in what is becoming a definitive era for the brand. Lemire brings a similar sensibility to the one he brought to Thanos at Marvel. It isn’t always text heavy, but he makes sure that his statements are clear and, in this book especially, profound. Within a single issue, Lemire brought a great deal of depth and emotion back to Carter Hall.  Bryan Hitch and Kevin Nowlan back up this take with veteran finesse. I highly praised Lemire’s recent collaborations on Thanos with Mike Deodato, and this team delivered as those books did.  It is often hard to make a brief, profound comment stick in a grand narrative such as Metal, but all of the writers on the one shots have been doing superb work.

Speaking of Thanos, I was worried that after Lemire’s departure that the book would slip. While it has taken a left-turn story wise, that is far from the truth thanks to the efforts of Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw. Cates and Shaw take us on a fun, classic Marvel ride into the a possible future for Thanos and some other familiar faces. There is both a comfort in the traditional nature of the tale and plenty of intrigue when it comes to the ultimate possibilities. The art echoes the work of Ron Lim on Infinity Gauntlet, though Cates’ retains much of the tone established by Lemire in the previous run. This book also continues to wave the banner for the excellent but now cancelled The Ultimates and Silver Surfer. The cosmos are in good hands.

Finally, Matt Kindt and Renato Guedes take time for an interlude in what will likely be a definitive run for X-O Manowar. This book is just plain brilliant both in writing and art. I’ve mentioned this before, but I am constantly struck by how much is reminds me of the the heyday of Conan at Dark Horse. This issue does especially, as it takes moment to look at a coming storyline and devotes the issue to what is currently a side plot. Though I would encourage new readers to start earlier, this may serve as a decent jumping on point as well.