Thursday, May 12, 2011
Part Thirteen: Flyboys
Doug: Winged Wonder day, friends. Just how much sartorial splendor can you have when you're flying the friendly skies? We shall see...
Doug: First up is Hawkman. I've always been a little curious -- if Thanagar is some advanced scientific society, then why did ol' Katar (oops -- excuse me. We need to be old school: Carter) dress like a barbarian? Fully exposed man-breasts? C'mon... You don't think it would get a bit drafty every now and again? But seriously -- I've always liked the Hawkman costume. Impractical, yes, but cool looking. But then, I'm generally a sucker for winged characters and giants. Even though I've never been a big fan of red and green together (outside of Christmastime, of course) I do believe that this works. Maybe it's the presence of the yellow or the gray of the wings. I think it's generally a good superhero suit. And the "helmet" -- yep, they always call it a helmet instead of a mask. I like the over-the-eyes version, as opposed to the older on-the-forehead version.
Doug: As a variation, there's also the cowled version of basically the same suit. You might also note the yellow piping on the boots -- to me it's somewhat akin to the white piping on Wonder Woman's red boots. I guess I don't find it necessary -- in fact, looking at the image at right, I would say that it makes the costume a little too busy. If my memory serves, it's the masked version of Hawkman that I first encountered as a waif, in the pages of the All-Star Comics revival. I know I had an earlier JLA, but I just don't remember Hawkman being in it.
Doug: I know there are plenty of haters toward all of the DC reboots that came after Crisis on Infinite Earths. I for one felt that they ably carried the momentum of change forward. The 1989 Hawkworld mini-series was a solid re-imagining of the Hawks' mythos, as DC really sought to "Marvelize" their stable of characters. Hawkworld certainly made Katar and Shayera dysfuntional characters! Although the image at left shows the basic Hawkman costume, the series was "teched up" and featured less skin than previous versions of the character.
Doug: Shifting over to the Marvel Universe, let's check out Warren Worthington III, the Avenging Angel. This dude's had a few outfits over the years, with some hits and some definite misses! To begin, we see him at right in his Xavier school uniform, the same basic design as was worn by all of the young mutants. It's pretty basic, OK I guess -- and hey, what do you think about the color scheme -- black and yellow or navy blue and yellow? I prefer to think of it as having navy blue, but I've seen it colored as black, and some artist commentary that supports that notion. A comment on the first two panels -- did I ever for a second believe that those wings actually fit inside the coveralls and then were not noticeable? Uh uh, I did not.
Doug: The Jim Steranko-era of X-Men furthered the adventures of the team in their post-graduation outfits. What do you think of this one? The "suspenders" give the illusion that the wings are fake. I also think the mask resembles Marvel Girl's a bit too much. Overall I'll say that it's a colorful get-up, but I'm not too keen on it. I did, however, like that all of the teammates unified their look to a degree with those big honkin' belt buckles that said "X".
Doug: Uh, no. This monstrosity hails from the latter part of the Neal Adams run. The yellow trunks seem out of place, and the shades of red and blue don't seem to work very well together. Too dark for each, in my opinion. I do notice the trend that the mask from here on out is open on the top to feature Warren's wavy blond locks. That's OK -- doesn't bother me. I don't know the artist of this particular image, obviously drawn in today's animation style, but the boots sure seem clunky.
Doug: Blue version as pictured, or the red version as first seen in The Champions? I do believe it was the red version that I saw first, so I've always tended to think of that as "natural"; this blue suit seems instead "nostalgic" to me. But whether blue or red, this costume has a sort-of bird look to it, with the white "underbelly" against the darker back. The cowl (if that's what we should call it) is a bit odd, however -- what would be necessary to get the points on the cheekbones to stay in place? Wearing tape on one's face all day couldn't be comfortable... The large halo is a nice touch as well.
Doug: And speaking of the Champions, here's the suit in which Warren first appeared in that title. Hmmm... Seems to have been ripped right out of Olivia Newton-John's Physical video, which doesn't make sense as that was almost a decade later. But where to begin on this disaster? The headband? Not a fan. The big chest reveal? Uh uh. The yellow on the arms and legs? Nope. I don't know who designed this (or who would even want to take credit), but it wasn't a finer effort, that's for sure! But I still, like many of you, liked that book.
Doug: Lastly, we come to the Archangel get-up, and if you ask my opinion, that's what I think it is. Not a fan at all. I didn't like the storyline, and I thought it was overall a setback for the character rather than a moving forward. This was the end of the line for me with X-Factor, and my interest in all things "X" waned shortly thereafter. I don't like the color scheme here, and I especially didn't like the complexity of the wings. Now, in fairness, do I think it was an able representation of Warren Worthington as the Horseman known as Death? Yes -- the costume is well-imagined for the role he played. I just didn't care for the storyline and the fall-out for the character.