The first issue of Blackhawks seemed to predict a bright future for the series. Unfortunately, poor profits led to it being one of several potentially great titles that was cancelled during the first wave of the New 52. As the final chapter of Blackhawks this finale left plenty to be desired. But the close of the series was satisfying – even if it's not something that's going to be talked about.
Mother Machine is back, and she isn't bringing the team much joy this mother's day! After invading a teammates mind, Mother Machine plans to use the Blackhawks' own base against them, aiming to kill them and model the world in her image.
The opening of this comic made lee-way into a great reveal half-way through the issue, but that almost couldn't make up for how poorly the opening was constructed. There was a terrible bit where one member of the team wet his pants with another member thoughtfully mocking him. This not only took us out of a serious tone, but was also a bad joke altogether. The one consistently bad part of the opening was the narration from Mother Machine. Her narration is very scientific, with a lot being said, but not much your going to understand after just one read through. Luckily, her final narrating line is half-way through the issue and is understandable, giving us the satisfying but not surprising reveal. That's when the action picks up and the techno babble is dropped.
The serious mood broken by the poor joke quickly comes back as the Blackhawks base begins to get taken over. When Mother Machine reveals her plan and drops most of her techno-speak, it does give the reader the appropriate feel of dread. The characters also react accordingly, and are at their most likable despite still needing more characterization. If they had been better established in previous issues, they would have been more impactful in this issue, but they still make a small impression with their dialogue, quick-thinking and actions.
The two particularly interesting characters were Kunoichi and an unexpected guest. They are both in Kunoichi's mind during her final battle with Mother Machine, and this final fight was the closest this issue got to 'epic.' It was a solid fight, and seeing the two characters come together was great, especially since it was an unexpected moment.
Never were penciler Cafu's and inker Bit's artwork breathtaking. Sometimes they were not even in sync. When the characters faces aren't distorted by darkened eyes, the rest of their face suffers with too much shading. Random parts of their faces are usually blackened out, creating an image that the artists were probably trying to get to be 'realistic.' Instead they overshadow themselves. But the bodies and hair were all proportioned pretty well, and despite faces being masked by shadows, emotions were still recognizable in their faces, making the panels have more of an impact by transmitting emotions to the reader. Bakcgrounds usually had little detail, however, which did make sense considering the Blackhawks base is in the middle of nowhere and Kunoichi's mind is a recreation of her own thought, which probably wouldn't be that detailed.
It was the artwork in Kunoichi's mind that was the worst. The bright palette of colors did make it obvious when we were in Kunoichi's mind versus the real-world, but the faces were so poor that they looked like a rough draft rather than the final product.
Really, this final issue encapsulates the Blackhawks series: it starts to mount into something great, but due to pacing and many other problems, this title is kept from what it should be. It's Static Shock all over again. Hopefully, the characters and stories will return again. But probably not. For anyone interested in sci-fi series, this may be a good place to start. Just don't expect amazing artwork or well-crafted characters – just passable artwork and likeable characters at best that could have been better.
An all-around nerdette, I’m a comic book connoisseur, horror aficionado, video game addict, anime enthusiast and an aspiring novelist/comic book writer. I am the head of the comic book department and the editor-in-chief of Entertainment Fuse. I also write and edit articles for Comic Frontline. I am also an intern at Action Lab Entertainment, a comic book publisher at which I edit comic book scripts, help work on images in solicitations and help with other comic book related project. My own personal website is comicmaven.com.