There’s a little bit of action (in the modern story) at the open of the issue, then it’s a trip down memory lane.
Parker makes the connection between Ken, his past and his current mission rather quickly; I’m glad he didn’t try to keep it for a surprise. He’s able to cover a lot of history here—even though the origin of Gorilla-Man (as a gorilla man) probably won’t be part of it. It’s interesting to see how Parker deals with Ken’s timeline. It seems like if Parker had more issues, he might have just told the story without the frames. It’s solid stuff, the flashback to the thirties and forties.
The issue ends on a soft cliffhanger but it’s a good one.
The Caracuzzo continues to work (it might be better this issue). Though, since it’s Tom Fowler style, why not just get Tom Fowler on the book?
The Serpent and the Hawk, Part Two; writer, Jeff Parker; artist, Giancarlo Caracuzzo; colorist, Jim Charalampidis; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Nathan Cosby, Michael Horwitz and Mark Paniccia; publisher, Marvel Comics.
Parker sets the series (presumably, at least the first issue implies) in modernity. It’s in between Atlas titles, with Ken on an Atlas mission to Africa to stop some bad guy. That part of the story isn’t the most interesting, of course. The most interesting is the flashbacks to Ken’s childhood Parker peppers the issue with. It gives a look at his early history—and some part of it will likely tie in to the modern story because it’s a comic book limited series, after all.
The drawing factor isn’t the plot, but the charm Parker brings. Ken’s not an absurd character— Parker plays the idea of a Gorilla-Man against the content. Even if the opening is some fantastical art thief with a bunch of beautiful henchwomen (Ken recruits a few for Atlas, of course).
Caracuzzo’s art is decent and a fine match.
It’s off to a good start.
The Serpent and the Hawk, Part One; writer, Jeff Parker; artist, Giancarlo Caracuzzo; colorist, Jim Charalampidis; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Nathan Cosby, Michael Horwitz and Mark Paniccia; publisher, Marvel Comics.
Rasputin still doesn’t get identified by name—but based on all the expository dialogue, it’s surprising Hellboy couldn’t figure it out. I guess he never took any history classes.
The series winds down with some more big action sequences, one involving Abe and Liz Sherman. Well, not exactly Liz Sherman. Mignola and Byrne had very little use for her (Hellboy talks about her in the narration more than she talks in dialogue). It makes her feel like a fifth wheel, only around because the comic book readers must have a pretty face.
Also interesting is how passive Hellboy and Abe are in the grand conclusion—Hellboy gets a little moment alone with Rasputin with foreshadowing—but the big part is resolved somewhat without them.
Still, it’s decent.
The Monkeyman backup features Adams screwing up tenses in his first person narration. There’s little else to say about it, except weak art.
Writers and letterers, Mike Mignola and John Byrne; artist, Mignola; colorist, Mark Chiarello. Who Are Monkeyman and O’Brien?, Chapter Three; writer and artist, Art Adams; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, L. Lois Buhalis. Editor, Barbara Kesel; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.