Nighthawk has a long history in the Marvel universe and not all of it is positive. However, launching today is Ramon Villalobos and David Walker’s new crack at the Marvel “hero”. A spin off of Squadron Supreme, Nighthawk #1 is going to follow Raymond Kane (formerly Kyle Richmond) stalking the mean streets of Chicago and finding himself questioning who’s side he’s really on.
What’s more interesting though is Walker’s take on the character and how he dispenses justice to those he watches over in big city Illinois. In an interview with newsarama.com writer Walker had this to say on subject of racism in Nighthawk:
“The two biggest threats to black people in this country are racism and the criminal justice system that is infected by the disease or racism. At some point, if you are a black superhero, fighting to protect black people, you are going to reach a crossroads where you will realize that you must protect them from the forces of law and order—from the status quo. And at that moment, you cease to become a traditional superhero, and enter into a world where roles are less defined.”
Clearly Nighthawk is going to be a divisive comic book, but maybe one that we need. Truly, there aren’t enough comics out on the market that deal with this important issue head on. What Walker and Villalobos are putting to the page could be a death sentence for the book before it ever has a chance. On the other hand, maybe Nighthawk will open the door for more books from the Big Two that cover real world issues that people want to see addressed. After all, the world isn’t all sunshine and roses and there are people who deal with hatred and bigotry every day of their lives. Why shouldn’t the heroes they read and idolize confront the issues that they are concerned with too?
Nighthawk has a chance to be the next Black Panther, Luke Cage or Shang Chi. Originally Nighthawk was just another copy of DC’s Batman, but has grown into something very different. Not being afraid to kill when he deems it necessary and confronting his own teammates on Squadron Supreme for their failure to recognize racial issues. Nighthawk is a brutal and in your face hero that can hang right along side both the Punisher and Black Panther at the same time.