Monthly Archives: April 2012

My Current Hawk & Dove Pitch Idea

A couple days ago, I wrote up my idea for what I would’ve done with a Hawk & Dove title around 2002 (when Dove first returned.) I’ve had enough people encourage me that I’ve decided to write up what I’d do with Hawk & Dove today. First of all, one key element of my previous idea is being thrown out: Hank Hall is back, and I think it best to keep him as Hawk.

 

To start with, let’s get a bit of history on the characters: the first series was conceived in the Vietnam War era, and the concept was to show that both the Hawks and Doves had valid points, and needed to work together. The brothers Hank and Don Hall were given powers by a mysterious voice. Hank became Hawk, and was the embodiment of aggression and war. Don became Dove, and was the embodiment of pacifism and peace. When the duo was revitalized in the late 80’s, war and peace were thrown out in favor of chaos and order. Specifically, the mysterious voices that gave the brothers their powers were revealed to be Terataya, Lord of Order, and T’Charr, Lord of Chaos, who were in love, and were trying to prove to the others of their kind that order and chaos could get along, and were, in fact, stronger together than apart. Toward this end, they felt that Don Hall wasn’t an acceptable candidate after all, and thus had his powers removed at the most inopportune time possible. He died as a result. Dawn Granger was given the powers in his place, which allowed for romantic tension between Hawk and Dove as a not-quite mirror of their creator’s love. Now, with the most recent return of a Hawk & Dove title, they have returned to the concept of Hawk and Dove as avatars of war and peace. I really liked this as a concept, but think that it fell apart in the execution, as they continued to act more like the embodiments of chaos and order than war and peace. Still, that gave me an idea: what if there were a reason for that?

 

My original Hawk & Dove pitch was to have Kestrel (and the Lords of Chaos she represents) interfere with the natural process of someone becoming Hawk. What if that was flipped – what if it wasn’t the bad guys that subverted the process, but the good guys? What if Hawk and Dove weren’t attached to Terataya and T’Charr, but were a naturally occurring power passed down from avatar to avatar throughout the ages. Only, to further their own purposes, Terataya  and T’Charr used their own power to force the powers to enter Hank and Don Hall (and later Dawn Granger) to further their own end? If this is the case, maybe they corrupted the process and infused peace with order, and war with chaos. As a result, Hawk and Dove are not who they were meant to be. If we alter their origin thusly, we now have the ability to tell stories about war and peace, as well as chaos and order. This is exactly what I would want to do.

 

The first issue of this new series would be from the perspective of the Phantom Stranger. Hawk and Dove have come to his attention, and something about them is nagging at him, though he can’t place it at first. As he watches them go about their heroic and personal lives, he begins to realize the above problem: that the avatars of war and peace have been “corrupted” with chaos and order. The issue would end with the Phantom Stranger making a decision to correct this imbalance. From the second issue onward, the Phantom Stranger would be repeatedly seen in the background, subtly manipulating both the people they come into contact with and the situations they’re called into action to deal with. We wouldn’t see things from his perspective again. This would allow the reader to be outright told what direction the series is going in (allowing them to be “in the know,” as it were), but keep them guessing throughout the series as to how the Phantom Stranger’s manipulations are furthering this goal. (Incidentally, this is how I think modern comics work best – don’t hide information for a big reveal, as readers may not stick around for that big reveal. Instead, give them the information, and let the implications be the big reveal.)

 

For Hawk, I would introduce him to a miniatures wargaming group (who he would find via involvement in a paintball team). One of the players who repeatedly beats Hank would constantly quote “The Art of War,” by Sun Tzu (who would be revealed to be a previous avatar of war). As he pushes himself to learn about tactics and strategy, the change would carry over into his heroic identity. I envision a moment, during a major conflict, when the heroes are planning strategy, and Hawk interjects with a reasoned, logical tactical suggestion, and everyone stares at him in shock – with Batman frowning and stating “That’s…a good suggestion. We’ll go with that.”

 

For Dove, I would push her toward non-violent solutions, as well as the benefits of chaos to peace. Toward that, I would also reintroduce Captain Brian “Sal” Arsala, though I would combine him with his “partner” from my previous Hawk & Dove idea. By that, I mean he would be the one who acts on hunches, and thus, shows Dove the positive sides of chaos, especially where peace is concerned. (Oh, and he’d make a good love triangle with Dove and Deadman.) The big event I see for Dove is a situation where she was too busy helping Hawk fight an enemy that could’ve been avoided, and results in the death of a peaceful protester. As he lays dying, she promises him to try resolving conflicts without throwing a single punch for a full year (and I’d hold to that – for 12 issues, she wouldn’t throw a single punch.) This, of course, will irk Hawk, but he’ll quickly realize that she’s still helping in other ways, and grudgingly accept it. Also, while Hawk is studying Sun Tzu, Dove will be studying a previous avatar of peace: Ghandi, and his words will inspire her to be a new kind of super hero.

 

Of course, that’s what I’d do with each of them separately. Together, I would use two quotes to embody their relationship:

“The purpose of all war, is peace.” –Saint Augustine

“Si vis pacem, para bellum” –Latin adage meaning “If you wish for peace, prepare for war”

The idea being that they compliment each other in paradoxical ways. During peace-time, they must prepare for war, but during wartime, they must fight for peace. Each of their actions would help the other, while being diametrically opposed to their own philosophy. My goal for the Hawk and Dove title hasn’t changed: it would be to have each and every issue show that both sides have valid points, and that differences, when working together and brought toward a common goal, only serve to make them stronger.

 

Oh, and the Phantom Stranger wouldn’t be the only one trying to manipulate them. The Lords of Chaos would still be trying to woo Hawk away from Dove (and I’d bring in the Lords of Order trying to woo Dove away from Hawk). I’d also bring Kestrel back – this time, Sal would be taken over (as he’s a perfect conduit for chaos, even as he rebels against Kestrel’s evil…)

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My Original Hawk & Dove Pitch Idea

Years ago (sometime around 2001-2002), after Geoff Johns resurrected Dawn Granger/Dove in the pages of JSA, but before he brought her and her sister, Holly Granger/Hawk, into the Teen Titans (and long before Hank Hall/Hawk was resurrected in Blackest Night), I came up with a pitch idea for a Hawk and Dove title. I brought this up a week or so ago, and was surprised to learn that a few people were interested in what I would’ve done. So, three months since I wrote anything in this blog, I decided to track down my old notes and write ’em up into a blog entry. What follows is what I would’ve done with a Hawk & Dove title back then. Warning: it’s LONG.

 

To my mind, every issue of Hawk & Dove should make you see that there is usefulness and truth in both viewpoints. With that in mind, Hank and Don Hall were the WORST choices for Hawk & Dove. Hank was on the slow side (mentally speaking), and Don looked up to his brother too much, causing him to be swayed to the side of War/Chaos more than fulfill his role of Peace/Order. When Dawn Granger became Dove, it both helped and hurt the situation. War and Peace were thrown out in favor of Chaos and Order, and that worked – especially since a peaceful/pacifist super hero would be pretty hard to write, especially back then – I mean, how would you include her in the fight sequences? Yet Hawk was always seen as someone who was useful, if you could rein him in, keep him from being too much of, well, himself. And that doesn’t work for the core idea that both are valid viewpoints. So when Dove returned, but Hawk had not, I decided that the answer was to set Dove on a quest to find a new Hawk, just as she had sought out Hank Hall/Hawk when she first became Dove.

 

Opening Scene

I actually wrote the introductory sequence of events for the first issue (though I didn’t break it down into panels and pages yet). Here’s what I came up with:

Open with Dove (in her secret identity of Dawn Granger) in a car, following her old flame, former Captain Brian “Sal” Arsala as he pulls into a High School parking lot in the “bad part of town” in Washington D.C. Dawn pulls into a vacant lot across the street and watches. Sal gets out of the car, and opens the passenger side door for a woman. The two talk for a bit in the background while Dawn argues with herself.

Dawn: What am I doing?

Dawn: I SHOULD be looking for the new Hawk, not following my old love interest as he drives some lady around…

Dawn: Well, maybe she’s just his sister, or a friend. Besides, it’s not like there have been any leads to finding Hawk!

Dawn: Yeah, if that’s his sister, then I’m… I’m having an argument with myself. /sigh/ Be careful, Dawn, you don’t want to crack up now.

Sal kisses the woman lovingly, and Dawn sees that both he and the woman have wedding rings on.

Dawn: Well, that settles that! Time for me to leave…”

A gun taps on the windshield. Two young punks are on either side of her car in the alley – they’re car jacking her.

Punk 1: Get out of the car, or your brains will decorate the interior!

Dawn rolls her eyes.

Dawn: Oh, you’ve GOT to be kidding me!

Dawn: Okay, okay! Just don’t shoot!

Dawn holds one hand up in feigned surrender, while she opens the door with the other.

Dawn: DOVE!

Halfway through the transformation into Dove, Dawn kicks the door she was just opening into Punk 1, while using the momentum to push herself toward the passenger side door, open it, and slam it into Punk 2 – all in one fell swoop. She continues her movement out the passenger side door, clocks Punk 2 with a punch that drops him while grabbing the gun from out of his hands. She then leaps over the car to land on Punk 1, who was just getting up from having the car door slammed into him. She picks up the gun he was carrying, which was flung away when he went unconscious.

Sal (from off panel): Dove?

Dove now sees Sal, service pistol out but lowered, moving down the alley. He apparently heard the commotion and crossed the street to help. He looks shocked to see her (which makes sense, since the last he knew, she was dead.)

Sal: Is that really you? You’re…alive?

Dove looks uncomfortable (rubbing the back of her neck, etc.). She was planning on avoiding him entirely, and now that’s obviously not possible.

Dove: Yeah. It’s…a recent development.

Sal looks overjoyed – almost in tears (his eyes DO water up).

Sal: I-I’m late for picking up my partner, but you should join me – us! You should join us! We’ve a lot of catching up to do!

Dove: Well…I really need to be looking for the new Hawk…

Sal gets angry.

Sal: Then you’ve heard? Did it finally leak to the media? I knew it would eventually, but dammit!

Dove stares at him blankly.

Dove: Did what leak?

Sal: Wait…you mean you DON’T know? Come on, there’s something you need to see.

 

That’s as far as I wrote out, but I did plot out all five issues of a first story arc/mini-series.

 

Issue One

Dove has been searching for Hawk with no luck. Frustrated, she returns to Washington, D.C. (her old stomping grounds), and finds herself drawn to her old lover, Captain Brian “Sal” Arsala. Only, now he’s Detective Arsala – demoted for behavior and alcohol problems due to his inability to deal with her death (he truly loved her, and her death broke him). In the intervening time, he’s gotten his life back on track thanks to the help of the woman who would become his wife (building tension when they meet – he still loves her, but he’s married now.) In point of fact, when Sal brings Dove to see his partner, the partner (who I didn’t name) warns Dove about all that’s happened with Sal (in a “you better not mess up his recovery – or his marriage!” kind of way).

The big reveal of the issue is that the new Hawk is a serial killer. For almost a year, Sal’s partner had been obsessed with catching a serial killer, and a month ago had even cornered him in an abandoned apartment building scheduled for demolitions.(The partner tracked him there because he was following a hunch.) Just as he got the drop on the killer, though, he felt a blinding pain and blacked out. When he woke up, he found a new victim with the word “Hawk” written on the wall in the victims blood (something new for this serial killer). This new evidence has been at every murder scene since.

(Note: Hawk and Dove need danger to stay in their heroic identity. My thought here was to have Dove explain that she wasn’t quite…right since her return [a lie], and needed to have him keep his gun trained on her, in case she attacked. She wouldn’t realize about Hawk being a killer yet, but because of that, Sal REALLY believes her, and the small amount of danger keeps her in her Dove persona.)

 

Issue Two

This would focus on Dove learning about the killings, reviewing the evidence, and coming to terms with the fact that the new Hawk will not be her partner, but her enemy. She’ll feel alienated and alone, especially with Sal now married, and his partner watching her like she’s going to destroy Sal (his animosity is what allows her to keep in Dove persona for this issue – “I’m no danger. I just said that to insure I stayed in the Dove persona.” “Maybe you were telling the truth and maybe you weren’t. Have no fear that I WILL put a bullet in you if I feel it’s necessary!”) Still, she feels it’s her responsibility to catch Hawk, so she bears up under the burden. But she’s unable to make heads or tails of a pattern. The partner points out a few things, and while they make sense, it just doesn’t add up to a pattern to her – not one she can follow anyway. (Hawk is chaos, Dove is order – his “pattern” doesn’t follow any logic, so she can’t understand it. So having a keychain at the previous crime scene that spells out the street corner Hawk abducts his next victim from doesn’t help when it’s a different clue that points toward the crime – maybe the name of the victim’s dog is the name of the next victim. Strangely, Sal’s partner seems connected enough to be able to figure this unpattern out every so often… He was good at tracking the serial killer all along, but has been IMMENSELY better at it since the serial killer became Hawk.)

The issue ends with the reveal (by a final page appearance) that Kestrel is behind the whole thing.

 

Issue Three

Dove, Sal, and Sal’s partner vs. Kestrel and Hawk. Kestrel and Hawk have the advantage, and Dove and crew are simply trying to get away this time. Since she feels assured of victory, the new Kestrel reveals that she subverted the natural process of the new Hawk receiving the powers, and instead imbued them into the serial killer (who is now her lover).

After escaping, Dove comes to the realization that Sal’s partner was supposed to be the new Hawk. She also realizes that she is never going to be able to track down “Hawk,” but Sal’s partner can – that he’s still connected to the Hawk persona. She departs, but gives them a number and tells them that she’s off to get a secret weapon and to call her before approaching. After they barely escape the last fight, they have no problem calling on a super heroine (and her secret weapon) when a confrontation is expected.

 

Issue Four

Focuses on the investigation of Sal and his partner as they try to track down the false Hawk. Interspersed with this is Dove, seen fighting alongside the JSA as she tries to convince them to relay a message to someone who they believe won’t want to hear from her. Once she explains the situation to them, though, they agree to relay the message, though they don’t promise he’ll show up. The issue ends Dove arriving just in time to witness Sal’s partner having a burst of inspiration and finding, not the next victim (as he’d been hoping to), but the false Hawk’s base of operations. The head to the base of operations, only to find it was a trap laid out for them. Sal saves Dove at the cost of a mortal wound on the last page.

 

Issue Five

The final issue in the story arc opens with the arrival of Dove’s secret weapon – Dr. Fate (who, at the time, was Hector Hall – who had the soul of Hawkman and Hawkgirl’s son, but the body of Hank Hall and Dawn Granger), who stabilizes Sal’s wounds before he dies. A fight sequence happens, but Dr. Fate is able to reverse the ritual Kestrel did, and Sal’s partner becomes Hawk in time to save Dove from Kestrel. The comic ends with Kestrel fled to a new body, the serial killer captured, Sal recovering in a hospital with his wife beside him, and Hawk and Dove partners again.

 

Obviously, as soon as Holly Granger showed up as the new Hawk, I shelved my idea, and haven’t looked at it again until the “New 52” Hawk & Dove series came out. I don’t think there’s much about my original proposal that I would save – I really like that Sterling Gates and Rob Liefeld went back to the War and Peace dynamic over the Chaos and Order one, though I feel the execution was a bit off (Dove never really seemed to be about peace, for one). Anyway, I’ve whole new ideas for what I would do with a Hawk & Dove series, and maybe one day soon I’ll write those up…

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