The final chapter of April 14's one-shot Darkhawk: Heart of the Hawk #1 from writer Kyle Higgins and artists Juanan Ramírez and Erick Arciniega sets a new path forward for the legacy of the classic '90s hero – one of the first to make their mark on the decade at Marvel – while also closing the book on Darkhawk's previous chapter.
Spoilers ahead for Darkhawk: Heart of the Hawk #1
The last third of Darkhawk: Heart of the Hawk #1 catches up to Chris Powell in the current day, following a pair of flashback stories showing his early adventures as well as his middle years alongside the post-Annihilation Guardians of the Galaxy.
But Powell isn't in Darkhawk form in the final chapter. In fact, he's stationed alone aboard a spaceship facing down a massive void, the last line of defense against whatever mysterious forces are attempting to come through. Powell says "We're at the precipice of a shadow war, one that will kill billions and consume existence, and this is a breach point," alluding to dire circumstances about to befall the Marvel Universe.
As it turns out, the reason Powell is in human form is because he's in the process of transferring his 'datasong' – a record of his life as Darkhawk – into his amulet, in preparation to send it off into space to find a new host.
Powell unleashes his amulet in the nick of time, wondering if his time as a hero was all worth it and hoping that whoever becomes his successor will be able to learn from his mistakes and triumphs.
Lamenting, "I wish dad could have seen me now," referring to his father Mike Powell, a corrupt cop whose disappearance coincided with Chris's turn to Darkhawk, the ship – and Chris with it – are swallowed up by the void as the amulet flies off to parts unknown.
2021 marks the 30th anniversary of Darkhawk's 1991 debut in Darkhawk #1, an ongoing title that ran for 50 issues while the character himself had stints alongside the New Warriors, Avengers, and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Created by Danny Fingeroth and Mike Manley (who reunite for the chapter on Darkhawk's early years), Darkhawk is actually one of the Raptors, an elite force of alien warriors, with whom the human bearer of the amulet swaps places, controlling a powerful android form with wings, 'darkforce' energy blasts, enhanced strength, and a grappling claw.
With Powell now apparently dead, the final page of Darkhawk: Heart of the Hawk promises Darkhawk will return "this year." Perhaps not coincidentally, writer Kyle Higgins, who wrote Powell's death scene, tweeted teasing a new project the night before the one-shot's release, which may indicate he'll be relaunching Darkhawk at some point in 2021.
"I really, really, really can't wait to announce this thing I'm staring at right now, so we can all talk about it," Higgins tweeted. "Sigh. Soon. I promise."
Of course he could be tweeting about something completely unrelated. But perhaps "soon" for both Higgins and Darkhawk could mean later this month, when Marvel's full July 2021 solicitations are announced.
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