INFINITY COUNTDOWN DARKHAWK #2 / Writers: Chris Sims & Chad Bowers / Artist: Gang Hyuk Lim / Letterer: Travis Lanham / Released: June 13, 2018 / Marvel
One of these things is not like the other. No phrase better sums up an Infinity Countdown series that has yet to feature or mention an Infinity Stone—a series whose sole connection to the main event, the Fraternity of Raptors, has been all but killed off. This distinction led to a confused first issue, but in Infinity Countdown Darkhawk #2 the series finds its footing as a gift for Darkhawk fans—one that doesn’t seem to care whether it ever encounters an Infinity Stone.
Picking up not long after the end of the first issue, Infinity Countdown Darkhawk #2 opens with Chris’ girlfriend Miranda on her way to a meeting with Chris. He’s been “captured” by Death’s Head in exchange for a trip to space and is looking to say goodbye. The conversation is short-lived as Death’s Head transports Chris and himself away. Death’s Head is eager to get moving and get paid. Unfortunately, upon reaching the rendezvous point, the ship is attacked and destroyed. Chris transforms into Darkhawk at the last moment and finds himself in a fight with the real Raptors.
Art continues to be the series’ strong point thanks to Gang Hyuk Lim’s expert handling of ordinary human characters. The meeting between Miranda and Chris, as he says goodbye, is drawn to perfection. Lim’s style, at times evocative of manga, delivers outsized facial expressions. This isn’t a bad thing, though; it means the reader knows exactly what Miranda’s thinking as she absorbs the information about the fight with Death’s Head, and Chris’ need to go to space. It also means that, right before Chris leaves, the two are able to share a moment that’s just a couple in love. That moment’s meaning would have been crystal clear, even if there had not been a single word in the panel.
Lim’s skill isn’t confined to these unmasked character moments, though. Late in the issue he draws a six on one fight, and it’s brutal. Darkhawk has no real chance. Lim frequently draws him off balance; in the panels when Darkhawk is looking over his shoulder in surprise, there’s even a slackened quality to his posture, as though he’s completely unprepared for what he sees. Lim’s choice to telegraph the fight’s outcome in this way adds to the tension, while reading the book, and perfectly supports Chris Sims and Chad Bowers’ dialogue and narration.
Sims and Bowers had an unenviable job in the first issue: introducing readers to a lesser-known hero and somehow linking his mini-series to the Infinity Countdown event. Infinity Countdown Darkhawk #2 doesn’t carry that same baggage and is a stronger issue because of it. This book is unapologetically a Darkhawk book. The Miranda and Chris scene that opens the issue is a shining example of the kind of slow, pure character sequence found in countless issues of an ongoing series. Further, it builds up Chris and Miranda in the readers’ eyes, so that they’re not just pawns sacrificed on the altar of whatever Infinity Stone machinations may be at work later, but instead major characters in their own story. The fight against the Raptors is all about Darkhawk’s amulet and the Raptors’ goal to take on the Phoenix. No mention is made, in this issue, of anything connected to Infinity Countdown, and the book is all the better for it.
Sims and Bowers know Chris Powell, Miranda, and Darkhawk. The first issue used the Infinity Countdown series to bridge the gap—however unattractively—to Darkhawk’s world. In Infinity Countdown Darkhawk #2, they abandon any pretense that this mini-series is primarily about the Infinity event. While this does the issue a favor in terms of storytelling, it does create a sense of being taken advantage of, if expecting Infinity Countdown books to be closely connected to the larger event. This is a fine Darkhawk story that, obviously, I enjoyed. Still, lacking even the list of Infinity Stones that every issue of other tie-ins has had, this great Darkhawk story is simultaneously a failure as an Infinity Countdown issue.
Verdict: 3.5 gold-toothed robot bounty hunters
Reading Infinity Countdown but missed our past reviews? Never fear! Plenty of humor and horror in the links below. And subscribe to doyouevencomicbook.com alerts so you won’t miss any upcoming Infinity Countdown reviews.
| Infinity Countdown Adam Warlock | Infinity Countdown Prime | Infinity Countdown #1 | Infinity Countdown #2 | Infinity Countdown #3 | Infinity Countdown: Daredevil #1 | Infinity Countdown: Darkhawk #1 | Infinity Countdown: Captain Marvel #1 | Infinity Countdown #4 |
Theron Couch is a collection of 1000 monkeys on 1000 typewriters trying to produce Hamlet. From time to time he accidentally types comic book reviews. Theron’s first novel, The Loyalty of Pawns, is available on Amazon and he’s published assorted short stories. Theron maintains a blog with additional comic and book reviews as well as posts on his personal struggle with mental health.