THE STEVE DITKO OMNIBUS VOL. 2 STARRING THE HAWK AND THE DOVE (DC, First Printing, 2011; Hardcover)
Note: Book actually released in 2012
Collects The Hawk and the Dove Nos. 1, 2, Legion of Super-Heroes Nos. 267, 268, 272, 274, 276, 281, Man-Bat No. 1, Showcase No. 75, Adventure Comics Nos. 467-478, Detective Comics Nos. 483-485, Legends of the DC Universe 80-Page Giant No. 1, Outsiders No. 13, and Tales of the New Gods (cover dates June, 1968- 2008)
Writers: Steve Skeates, Gerry Conway, Len Wein, Paul Levitz, Paul Kupperberg, J.M. DeMatteis, Mike W. Barr, Bill Mumy, Peter David, and Mark Millar
Artists: Steve Ditko with Inking by Steve Ditko, Al Milgrom, Dick Giordano, Romeo Tanghal, Dave Hunt, Bob Wiaceck, Frank Chiaramonte, Bruce D. Patterson, Jerry Ordway, Kevin Nowlan, and Mick Gray
There are no sacred cows in my mind. No artist, especially one as prolific as Ditko, is exempt from critical analysis of their work. I understand that he had to eat and many of the issues compiled in this book were Ditko cashing a check and nothing more, but that has no bearing on how I as a fan feel about this material.
The classic The Hawk And The Dove finally sees a collected edition. This concept was pure Ditko and very much of it's time. Two brothers are given powers by some strange “Voice”, and their powers are amplified versions of their personalities. The Dove is a hippie, all peace and believing the best of humanity, i.e. that criminals can be rehabilitated, while The Hawk is a pro-establishment, might makes right, pro-war kind of guy. Their methods of fighting are as different as their philosophies. This is a fascinating read with some superb artwork by Ditko. Unfortunately the rest of the series remains uncollected to this day.
Next is the story from Man-Bat #1, which is fantastic. It makes me wish that someone would have given Ditko a shot at the Caped Crusader, as his version of Batman is great. No cover is provided for that issue. If DC's collected editions that are artist centric do not feature artwork not by that artist, that would be one thing. If DC held true to that I might be able to at least understand that, but they throw in the non-Ditko drawn covers to Legion of Super-Heroes #268, 272, 274, 276, 281. The next story has Ditko's rendering of The Demon, a real treat since this was a Jack Kirby creation. Kirby and Ditko are like The Beatles and The Stones for comic fans. While I love both everyone tends to pick a side.
The title of this book makes it sound like The Hawk And The Dove get the lion's share of the book, but this is false. Starman's co-headlining strip from Adventure Comics #467-478 take up 102 pages to H&D's 73 pages. This could also be because Starman totally sucks balls, with my will to leave decreasing with each passing page. I was a Marvel zombie in the very traditional sense of the term. You couldn't pay me to read a DC comic between 1979-1990, as they seemed stupid and cheesy with lame writing and even lamer artwork. I know this to be false today but such was my perspective at that time. Comics like this make a poor argument for DC, though. Ditko's work was mutilated by hack inker Romeo Tanghal. Making matters worse was Paul Levitz's embarrassing writing. I am serious, if you enjoy this abysmal dreck then you need your taste buds checked. Of course DC only provided the cover to #467.
|Note DC's sucktastic gradient shade recoloring on what should be flat colors.|
Things go from bad to much, much, much worse with Legion of Super-Heroes. They say that if you can't say anything nice then you should not say anything at all. I disagree. If you pay money and something sucks ass like these comics do, shout it from the rooftops of the Internet. It is your right as a consumer and your duty as a comic book connoisseur to dissuade folks from buying bad books. The LoSH also get more pages than the book's headliner, with 109 to H&D's 73. DC has misled you not once but twice. Oh, and the assclowns omitted the cover to #267.
There are three random back-up stories from 1986, 1998, and 2008. The first is a Black Lightning one, which is lame. The next is a Spectre one, which makes me wish that Ditko got a shot at the character when he was in his prime, and finally, an Apokolips story which sucks. So out of the 400 pages, more than half of this book sucks. I guess that I will keep it for the parts that I liked but will never, ever reread Starman or Legion of Super-Losers for as long as I live.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 2 out of 5.
The OCD zone- DC's original Omnibus branded books are a joke. Cheap paper, cheap glued binding, and a garish casewrap design. This design is echoed in the opening pages of the book, with cheesy nostalgic affectations like faux benday dots and pulp paper anomalies added to images taken from film. These are done to give the book a kitschy, pop culture feel. The problem is that the whole thing is obscured by the dustjacket, so the type of idiot who would buy a book because of this godawful design never sees it to begin with.
DVD-style Extras included in this book: Introduction by Mike W. Barr. (3 pages)
Pin-up page from Superman #400. (1 page)
|The further into the book that you get, the worse the coloring is. Look at those harsh, horrible, gradient blends. Just awful.|
Linework and Color: A mixed bag to say the least. The linework is tight and clean while the recoloring starts off strong, with authentic blends like those found in the original issues. Then it seems like the budget ran out and so DC brought in their intern first semester community college art students to do the coloring, with harsh airbrush gradients sticking out like a sore thumb everywhere. Just awful, amateur hour stuff like the coloring and the typos that the idiots created because they were in such a rush that they couldn't be bothered to, I dunno, read the sentence before turning a G into a S.
Paper stock: This is a hot topic for these books. DC fans are so accustomed to incomplete, nonsensical collections that they resort to binding their own floppies into hardcovers. As such, they are accustomed to cheap, crappy toilet paper like the junk DC passes off in these supposedly high-end hardcovers. The paper is slightly thicker than regular comic book paper, with it's only benefit being that it produces zero glare. Oh, that and the fact that it makes the book weigh almost as much as a pack of cigarettes.
Binding: Perfect (read: GLUED) binding on supposedly high-end hardcovers is a joke. A complete and utter joke. Folks who state that these things keep the books “more affordable” are in the wrong hobby. Connoisseurs of high end collected editions scoff at cost saves like this and how DC skimped on shrinkwrap a while back to save a half a penny.
Hardback cover notes: The garish image on the casewrap has a nice thick lamination to it. So DC used a good lamination on a crappily designed book with crappy paper and binding. Winning?