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Hawks of Outremer #1 – Review

Another of Robert E. Howard's creations, Cormac Fitzgeoffrey, makes his way to comics. Fitzgeoffrey is a warrior set in the time of the crusades, and he is a man that takes no shit from anyone. Besides sharing the same creator, Cormac also shares a lot of the same attitude from another one of Howard's creations: Conan. Whereas Conan is a conqueror, Fitzgeoffrey is more of a Knight without a King. He is loyal to men that he dubs worthy and gives little thought of those who are not.

The beginning of the story finds Fitzgeoffrey approaching an
Inn and scaring the living daylights out of a soldier standing guard. The guard informs him that he's supposed to be dead. Cormac, being the caring sort, picks the guard up by the throat and asks who's inside the Inn that would be important enough to guard. The trembling man answers, "Sir Rupert de Vaile of Rouen." This pleases Cormac as there are not too many people he considers friends, but Sir Rupert could be counted amongst those few.

https://www.entertainmentfuse.com/images/REH_HawksOfOutremer_01_CVRA.jpgRupert heartily greets Cormac and is glad to see the stories of his death were greatly exaggerated. The two begin to catch up with each other as Cormac explains how he first came to be in the crusades. After explaining that he joined for a friend, Cormac recounts a time he was fighting solo through an army of Turks. It was in that battle that he met King Richard and saved him from being over taken. Richard asks him who his master is, to which Cormac responds: none. Richard then asks what he thinks about him being his master, in which Cormac gives him a backhanded compliment, but also tells him no in the same breath.

Then the catalyst of Cormac's story is introduced. Cormac owes his life to one Sieur Gerard who is now counted amongst the dead. Sir Rupert informs Cormac of the tragedy, which instantly enrages Cormac. Sir Rupert shares all the knowledge he has of Gerard's death, apparently killed by a Sheik for falling in love with one of the women in his harem. Furious, Cormac wastes no time in seeking his revenge. Rupert gives him the name of the Sheik, Nureddin el Ghor, and another Lord that refused to help Gerard in his time of need: Conrad von Gonler. Cormac sets out with murder and revenge on his mind.

Fans of The Conqueror will love this book, as Cormac is very a Conanesque warrior who fights in the Crusades and not in the time of barbarians. Having never read the original story I can't speak for the quality of the adaptation, but given that Howard is bestowed a writing credit, it suggests the source material was heavily respected.

Adaptor Michael Alan Nelson (28 Days Later, Dingo), does a wonderful job of updating the story. The dialog is appropriate for the setting, but never hexing to read. Nelson does a good job of narrowing the focus to the characters introduced while finding a balance for presenting them all. Cormac is written like the ultimate bad-ass--- He tells off anyone he wants and most men would wet themselves if they were found in his path. Nelson does a great job of making Cormac his own character and not just another Conan. 

The art is perfect for this type of story and Damian Couceiro does a great job bringing Cormac to life. Cormac looks like a beast of a man who towers over others. Couceiro draws a very detailed world that has an ancient feel to it. Other than being very fitting for the story, the panels are framed wonderfully. In one scene, Sir Rupert is talking about Cormac's sword and the framing for the panel places the sword in the foreground as he gazes at it from the mid ground. There are a lot of creative panels throughout the book that adds to the story telling.

Fans of Conan and Howard in general will definitely latch onto this book. For others like me---less knowledgeable when it comes to Howard's --will still find a well told story and great art to enjoy. It's a great issue that appeals to readers looking for the ultimate bad-ass that can overcome any odds with his sword.

Overall Score – 8.2/10

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