Hawk The Slayer
Garth Ennis & Henry Flint
Review By Luke Williams
In the realm of geekdom I think I may be in the minority, I have never watched the “Hawk the Slayer”.
I remember loving the less fondly remembered “Krull” when I was 10 (not seen it since), another 80s fantasy film but released a few years later and also starring “we need to cast a giant”; “Ladyhawke” (1985) all the others completely passed me by. This kind of admission attracts sideways glances from friends, tuts and the risk of being shunned.
Garth Ennis, who seemingly has returned to the 2000AD stable with glee and given almost free reign to do whatever the hell he wants, is clearly a big fan of cheesy 80s fantasy films with weird soundtracks (or at last I’m told it has a weird soundtrack) and alongside the distillation of a 2000AD artdroid Henry Flint, in resurrecting Ennis’ childhood favourite “Hawk The Slayer”.
Handily Ennis and Flint provide a brief recap of the events of the previous film before getting into this, a direct sequel to the film. Hawk is out for vengeance against his brother the evil Voltan – who sought the Mindsword, a superpowerful weapon held by Hawk and inherited from their father, and killed his girlfriend.
Accompanied by a motley band, Hawk seemingly commits fratricide at the end of the film. He settles down – threat removed, a companion or two fewer.
Of course, you can’t keep a good baddie down and Ennis & Flint pick up the story : Voltan is back, belligerent and stubborn tyke that he is, and after the Mindsword.
Hawk picks up what remains of his old gang plus some substitutes, including a Cacofonix like bard to provide light relief, he’s off again to settle Voltan’s hash.
The five issue series adopted a weird publishing model. Released as in the floppies of “Judge Dredd Megazine”, a welcome relief from some of the material that has been bundled with the Meg’. It’s a remarkable way to release the work of two incredibly popular creators, on an admittedly obscure cult “intellectual property” ( sadly, everything is reduced to IP now isn’t it?), I don’t suppose there was a lot of competition for Rebellion’s bid to buy the rights?
If you haven’t picked it up with the Meg (which has consistently been at least a good read for a few years) then you could buy it in the comic shop as an “American market” title with beautiful covers by Greg Staples, though wildly different in style to Flint’s interiors.
So, as it’s Ennis you can expect lots of manly posturing and bonding, occasional splashes of toilet humour and extreme violence. But this time, instead of guns and bombs – it’s swords and sorcery – not a genre he is usually associated with. Henry Flint – GOD of art pulls out the stops with work that is slightly surreal, dynamic, occasionally grotesque, scratchy and beautifully rendered art.
What’s not to like? I still haven’t seen the film, I may find the time to do it, but you don’t need to watch it to enjoy this. Essential? Hell no. Fun? Crumbs, yes. If you can wait, there will be a trade paperback out in March. More from Ennis and Flint please: War, fantasy, science fiction : whatever genre, I’m not fussy.