Dean: Slick, sleek, and simple, Joel’s Darkhawk redesign really delivers. For those unfamiliar with the character, Chris Powell can become (or change places with) The Darkhawk, a powerful android superbeing, with the help of a mysterious amulet he…you know…found. Lucky. Anyway, Darkhawk’s been fighting crime ever since, recently appearing in Civil War, Marvel Team-Up’s League of Losers, and the Marvel mini-series, The Loners. Darkhawk’s been through a few costume and power upgrades over the years, and I think Joel’s design here is well in line with those developments, which have generally moved towards sleeker and more futuristic lines, I suspect as the future catches up with our old ideas of it. I particularly dig the claw upgrades, the feathered wingspan, and most of all, the new helmet.
Vito: I’ve never been a fan of those claws, but yeah…this is a functional redesign. I was always a little thrown off by how clunky the original looked. And just like Alex Ross’ Spider-Man and Captain America redesigns, nothing should ever be wasted; those wings are straight outta Harlem, via Joel’s Falcon redesign. I only wish he could have made that mask/helmet smaller. I get the idea of a “hawk” design, but that’s just too much for a human neck to hold.
Chris: What really strikes me on this is the shadowy profile that this takes — the wings especially make the design work. I liked Mike Manley’s original 1991 design, but Joel’s work here really kicks it up a notch. I’m undecided on the new helmet — the new outcropping beak is inline with the character name, but in terms of practical costuming it might sink him.
Joel: I had to hit Wikipedia on this one. On first impression, I thought this was a stylish but impractical costume: why wear stealthy (and slimming) black if you’re going to jazz it up with eye-catching white designs? And the helmet looks like a source of serious neck-strain and obscured vision. So, if this was an outfit that someone was dashing to a phone booth to change into, I wasn’t buying it. But, then I did my homework and, by golly, for an alien android, it works. In fact, if anything, I’d suggest departing even further from the human morphology. And maybe play with the eye-plate a bit. You know how good artists can change Iron Man’s expressions by the angle at which they show the mask? It’d be hard to pull off something similar with this design.