Alas, poor Sterling Gates. He gets to be involved with DC's grand scheme to revitalize their lineup, and that has to be exciting news for a comic book writer. He's getting Hawk and Dove? Great, that's an interesting, underrated duo with a cool dynamic that might be fun to explore. and… what? No. No, he didn't hear that. He… there's no way what he thought they said is what they actually said. It would make any sense! Why on earth, if they're trying to shed the detritus of the past, would they ever have Rob Liefeld involved?
Maybe that's not how it happened. Maybe Gates is actually super-excited to be working with the guy who helped define everything that was wrong with the 1990s. Liefeld does seem to have a tiny, horribly wrong but weirdly devoted core group of fans who refuse to notice the stuff they thought was cool when they were 10 is not actually cool. But I read Hawk and Dove #1, solely out of dedication to New 52 completism, and the only thing I really took away from it is that damn screaming, constipated Hawk face you can see above – hell, that same ugly face is on the cover of the issue twice. What the hell's the point of doing a background image like that if it's going to be the exact same look as the foreground thing? Seriously, Hawk's expression changes maybe twice in the whole book. We're lucky if his mouth is ever closed. Also, those weird flaring streamers off his shoulders never look like they're actually connected to his costume – they're just constantly floating there like inexplicable floating parabolas.
I know, I know, it's really easy to heap scorn on Liefeld, and it's old hat at this point, but it's kinda all you can do after you have to slog through a fresh batch of his work rather than avoid it like most everyone else does. His puckered-sphincter mouths, his Play-Doh noses and his misshapen proportions just never seem to get any better. The only improvement seems to be in his use of shading and inks, but it ain't much of one, and that's only a band-aid on the problems. It feels like Liefeld has spent his career trying to be Jim Lee and has constantly gone wide right in the attempt. It's just so damn unpleasant to look at. Oddly enough, though, that unpleasance* kinda works for the zombies they fight here.
In order to get through the book, I had to look at the word balloons and only the word balloons. Hawk apparently thinks Dove just plain sucks, even though they've been working together for two years. Apparently, Hawk's still pissed about his brother dying, who was also the first Dove. The new Dove is a lady who apparently has some secret past with the first Dove that Hawk is never to know about, but Dove's boyfriend Deadman knows. Also, the world is threatened by some mullety monster-making twerp who either has a skeevy 9th grade mustache or just a really cruddily shaded set of lips and – gah! You just cannot ignore Liefeldage! It permeates everything and murders enjoyment!
Sorry, Mr. Gates. I'll be happy to give you another shot at some point in the future, but you crapped out this time.
* yes, I'm trying to make 'unpleasance' a word. If 'no1curr' and 'totes' can be words, I can make one that sounds cool.
CRAVE ONLINE RATING: 1/10