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Saturday, 4 June 2022

Top of The Pile: Hawk The Slayer #5


Packaged with the most recent issue of the Judge Dredd Megazine was the final part of Rebellion's sequel to the greatest old school Dungeons & Dragons movie of all time, 1980's Hawk The Slayer.

Penned by Garth Ennis (of The Boys, Preacher, Punisher etc fame), with cracking art by 2000AD's Henry Flint, the five-issue mini-series concluded with a chapter that was all about the final confrontation (between our hero, the square-jawed swordsman Hawk, and his villainous brother, the back-from-the-dead Voltan) and its aftermath.

The ultimate showdown took a surprising turn when Voltan dramatically hit his brother with what appeared to be a contest-ending blow, but Hawk's match-winning trickery was a stroke of genius from Ennis, playing with a gimmick that had been foreshadowed throughout the series but finally used in a most unexpected manner.

Issue five, Die By The Sword, was an immensely satisfying conclusion to this series, that has been a fun read from the get-go.

Unsurprisingly, Ennis did a grand job on scripting this adventure and reviving many of the unique qualities of the original film, that teeters towards parody but then subverts that with knowing humour (as with the annoying minstrel Wain, who, in a different writer's hands, would have turned out to be some great hero).

However, Ennis has gone on record as saying that this tale was a one-and-done for him, so if Hawk The Slayer is to return to comics (and I really hope he does), publishers Rebellion will need to find a scribe of a similar calibre as Ennis has set a high bar.

I also hope, should the title earn its own sequel, that Flint is retained as the artist.

His style worked perfectly for the gritty sword-and-sorcery nature of the tale, expertly capturing the feel of the cult movie, while simultaneously giving it an edge of "reality" that the source material's ultra low-budget perhaps couldn't always.

Massive thanks to Rebellion publisher Jason Kingsley for finally being able to revive this franchise - a pet project of his - through the medium of comics.

All being well the success of this mini-series will open the door for more Hawk projects in the near future (and we don't have to wait another four decades to see the characters again).

Action figures, novels and more comics telling other stories of Hawk and his adventurous colleagues, prop replicas (I mean, who wouldn't want their own Mindsword?), a live-action streaming serial, the possibilities are endless.

My own roleplaying game world is heavily influenced by Hawk The Slayer (in my world, Hawk is the king, with Crow as his seneschal), but I'd still love to see an official Hawk The Slayer RPG... if only to mine it for more material for my own game.

Let this be the start of a grand Hawk revival. Attempts to bring a live-action sequel to life faltered at the Kickstarter stage back in 2015, but that doesn't mean Rebellion shouldn't now start mining this IP for as many quality spin-offs as it can.

Hawk The Slayer has been part of my life, and part of my geeky gamer make-up, since I first saw it in the cinema in 1980. I accept that it has some shortcomings, but the passion that was poured into it by its creators, and the world it conjured up in my mind beyond what we saw on screen, means I shall never tire of revisiting this very British sword-and-sorcery universe.

Meanwhile, the direct market/American iteration of the Hawk The Slayer comic still has a few issues to run (reprinting the same story, but wrapped up in a spiffy new cover):


My thoughts on the previous issues: 

2 comments:

  1. Wait, Hawk really is king in your RPG world? How have I missed that? Is Gort around?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't really written much here about the backstory to my proposed campaign (for fear of jinxing it, as I often do), but once it finally gets going (whenever that is), I'll definitely say more.

      The game is set on an alternate Earth, about 15 years after the events of Hawk The Slayer, and thus 13 years after the events of the comic book mini-series. Currently only Hawk and Crow have appeared in my brief background documents.

      Delete

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