Superman on Television

Justice League: Episode Reviews

Season 5 - Episode 2: "Shadow of the Hawk"

Reviewed by: Barry Freiman

"Shadow of the Hawk" Eclipses Superman

Ever since the first Justice League story arc, "Secret Origins", secret origins have brought the animated League's adventures to a grinding halt. The introductory story for Hawkman, "Shadow of the Hawk", is no exception. Of course it doesn't help that Superman shows up only briefly on Batman's video screen - by the way who's filming all these JLU adventures? Hey great deductive bat-mind, the guy who's always there with the video camera is Shayera's stalker, not Hawkman!

The problem with secret origins is that they require exposition. It doesn't matter how much flying the Hawks end up doing, or how cool the ultimate battle with Shadow Thief is; there's no way to get those dialogue heavy minutes back sans a time machine.

The premise of JLU is that secret origins are unnecessary. The heroes are just there. A well-worded sentence or two summarizes everything the viewer needs to know about powers and personality.

Except, that is, in the confusing case of Hawkman.

First, there's already an established HawkGIRL on TV. Second, the Hawkman character in the comic books has a minimum of three separate secret origins to pick and choose from. The Golden Age Hawkman is a resurrected Egyptian prince. The Silver Age Hawkman is a Thanagarian cop. The Modern Age Hawkman (or the "Mod Now Hawkman" - you make the call) is one-half of an ancient Thanagarian couple who are perpetually reincarnated so they can be together, except a quirk in the reincarnation process only has Hawkman aware of the Hawk couple's destiny. Naturally the animated Hawkman is an amalgam of these three bird brains.

While this is an important story that viewers have been waiting for, and it is a well-told origin story, the episode drags. It feels like an obligation - like visiting family or seeing "Grease 2".

The next new episode is "Chaos at the Earth's Core". Folks, this is the episode that brings on the blue - the blue topped Supergirl that is. If the number of hits for the news item on the animated Supergirl's new uniform is any indication of interest, the blue suited Kara is already ready for her close-up, up, and away. Till then - Peace out.

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