A few days ago a well read friend of mine checked out the post on my 5 Black Comics from Marvel and said “Read Nighthawk, you won’t be disappointed.” I picked Nighthawk up a couple of days ago. I wasn’t disappointed. Nighthawk follows the blood soaked trail of a man named Raymond Kane who is driven by the necessity to shut down the beast that is racism in Chicago, and serves as a metaphor for what needs to happen in real life. Writer, David Walker with artists Ramon Villalobos and Tamra Bonvillain in just two issues, has already delivered a hard pill, thick with current, high tension problems concerning racism in america today.
When I read the first page of the first issue, and the news report was already addressing the killing of a young black male at the hands of an officer who is facing trial, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to stop. I don’t have to drop names like Trayvon Martin or Tamir Rice for you to get the point. This story is plainly direct, and I must say, the next few pages of a superhero beating the brakes off of a group of white supremacists was likely the most satisfying thing I’ve ever seen in a comic book.
It continues on to address issues with race, by boldly creating a mysterious killer who is specifically targeting criminal white people who have one way or another, benefited at the expense of black people. Nighthawk points out that the police had put all their time and effort into going after that man without addressing the corrupt officers on the force who seemed to get some sort of high off of using excessive force against unarmed young black folks, which is analogous to law enforcement in the real world’s refusal to properly charge officers for excessive violence and promoting other duties as more important.
I am liking this book because it is uncomfortable, and I think uncomfortable is good. People like to try to turn a blind eye to the some of the worser things in the world because they don’t want it to concern them. Nighthawk places those things right in your face, and isn’t shy about expressing what those issues are. Racism is real, and this comic addresses that in a brutal fashion. And while a mask manned running around dressed as a hawk is hyperrealistic, the secret corruption plaguing the system is not. I’ll admit it is damn satisfying to see a bunch of racists get pummeled into the ground, or cop who just beat an unarmed kid, get his own dosage of “excessive” treatment. Who wouldn’t want to see that? I encourage everyone to take a peek at this story and take a look at just how relative it is to current racial struggles in America. You won’t be disappointed.