Darkhawk by Joel Carroll

Character: Darkhawk
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Artist: Joel Carroll
Reviewers: P:R Staff

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.

12 comments on “Darkhawk by Joel Carroll
  1. This design is very reminiscent of the costume redesign for Gatchaman ’94, the Japanese original of Battle of the Planets/G-Force. If memory serves, the Japanese themselves didn’t care much for the redesigns, preferring the clunkier ’70′s versions, but I quite liked them, and I like this muchly, too.

  2. incideus
    2008-01-13 06:26 am UTC (link) DeleteTrack This
    Comment Posted Successfully
    i’ve always been a huge Darkhawk fan, having discovered him when he fought Venom, my favorite comic book character of all time. Darkhawk’s Chris Powell shared my first name, so I latched onto him, but I really enjoyed him because he combined the sci-fi weirdness of my other Marvel fav, Silver Surfer, with the teenage angst of Spidey. He was basically Peter Parker as Silver Surfer via Iron Man.

    I loved the Darkhawk origin story because it present the eight other original Darkhawk android bodies and their quirky designs, so seeing this redesign outdoing all the originals is impressive. The sparse black with white accents reminds me of the symbiote Spidey costume (simplifying the claw as protruding straight from the wrist is a similar change) in the stark contrast, but the third element of the amulet and the visor in red helps differentiate and enhance the uniqueness of the hawk. i love the redesign of the mouthpiece, but it’s not quite as practical as the rest of the outfit, and the heavily exaggerated bill/beak is stylish but a bit too distracting.

    but then Joel proves that it all comes together with his mini-sketches, which look like they could easily come out of an animated series. and it works GREAT.

    this pictures warms my heart to see one my favorite characters re-rendered. thanks, Joel. (sorry for the x-posting)

  3. Overall, I’m liking it. Looks like a good, old-fashioned, super-suit. Just not feeling the head-gear. The idea is solid, but it’s over done. The beak is too big and I just don’t dig the extensions on the sides. The rest of the suit is so streamlined, so sleek, the headgear is incongruous with the overall look of the character. Simplify.
    Overall, a plus though.

  4. Sleek and simple, just how I likes ‘em! I don’t take issue with the helmet’s size but its profile does to me read raven rather than hawk. Nice work, Mister Carroll!

  5. It’s nice to see more Marvel characters featured. Will there be a meme/contest for a Marvel character, like with Batgirl, Wonder Woman etc.? I think that would be nice.

  6. Mmm… my favorite bit is the helm. I’m getting further and further away from spandex with my tastes, and Darkhawk’s is the kind of character who could use a Swamp Thing style Anatomy Lesson.

    I know reimagining a character in its entirety is outide the parameters of the project, but I would have liked to have seen more strange alien shapes like the helmet, and less bodysuit.

    Still, I love the streamlining of the essential armor/supersuit, something Carroll is an expert at. While he looks wicked-cool, he resembles villains, like Stormtroopers, Foot Soldiers, Manhunters and Doombots.

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