If you’ve read my first review of Nighthawk, you know that one of the big focuses on David F. Walker’s story is the concept of black rage. I’ll post the link of the review for the first issue down below. Black rage is the concept that racism can drive a person insane, to the point they will act irrationally. That irrational action can take any form. Violence, verbal abuse, or constant lashing out are some of the forms. I talked about this extensively in the last review. Racism is something you can’t explain with a series of tweets or even a long Facebook post. Whether people want to admit it or not, America is, in its nature, a country built upon racism. While the founding fathers wrote the Constitution, claiming all men were created equal, slaves were outside taking care of the everyday chores. No thought entered their minds in regards to equality. You weren’t considered an evil man for owning slaves, and most people didn’t care if slaves were abused or pushed past their human limits. Rape was common during this time as well. White men looked at the black women as objects, even more so than the white women. It was a game to them. How many could you get to lie with you? How many could you do in one night? The black men were looked at as objects too. Not sexual though, these men were looked at as animals. Big, black specimens that could work long, hard hours for no pay. White slave owners salivated over the idea of free labor.
In time, though, the government realized it wasn’t profitable to have slaves anymore. There were uprisings, white abolitionists who joined the fight, and the Civil War. The United States had to recover and rethink their position on slavery. Not everybody wanted to move on though. Slavery, and the idea black people were inferior, was the American way of thought for over 200 years. It’s human nature for people to fight back against things that are out of the ordinary. The government realized this. They even had people within their ranks against the thought of complete integration. Not only were they against it, but it made them ill. “How can these monkeys ever achieve anything more than what we used them for?” This probably wasn’t an outlandish thing to say if you were a government official. From 1870-1910 most of the men in power probably agreed with that statement. But things had changed, no one wanted another Civil War, so they would assimilate when needed, but would try and preserve their white America. Blacks could work for money now. They could also learn how to read and write now too. There were caveats to these freedoms of course though. Certain cities, especially ones in the South, restricted blacks from owning land, voting, and getting different types of jobs. Race relations were put on hold for a bit though during World War I. Things were really put on hold during World War II. But the citizens and the government never forgot their white America. Blacks were separated in the army during both wars. Black men were competent, well-trained, and brave, but still were discriminated against. Just because the government said they had to play nice, didn’t mean they had too.
The Tuskegee Airmen were one of the most influential groups during World War II. They were the first black pilots in the United States Army. Still, despite their skill and dedication, they experienced racism in their everyday life as well as their military one. They were officially formed in 1941. A full 75 years removed from the end of the Civil War.
I hardly even scratched the surface of racism just now. The more you learn, the more you realize America seems to have completely forgotten their past. Not only have they forgotten, they have yet to reconcile with the disgusting acts done back then, and even the acts that are being done today. It is upsetting. It is mainly upsetting because there is a bevy of people who seem to have a selective memory when it comes to racism. After a while, everyone deals with it in their own way. How they deal with it, and if it’s healthy isn’t our judgement to make. Raymond Kane aka Nighthawk decides to combat racism his own way. He deals with systematic racism as a business man. He also confronts it when he’s protecting the streets of Chicago. He’s an educated man. Raymond knows things might not ever get better, but at least he can do his part and protect the people of Chicago.
If you didn’t read my first issue review, here’s a little recap. Nighthawk blows up a warehouse where a group of white supremacists, known as the True Patriots, are smuggling some very high-tech weapons. Nighthawk’s assistant, Tilda tells him that these weapons are far too advanced for that group of inbred fools to have. All while this is going on, the city of Chicago is dealing with increased racial tension due to another police shooting. It’s your routine “Racist cop shoots unarmed black teen” story. We’re introduced to a crooked cop and a crooked real estate agent. Both are working together to keep the city of Chicago violent. Along with this, the main “villain” of the series is running around killing people who have been known to mistreat minorities. It’s put Nighthawk in a very compromised position. On one hand, he doesn’t give a damn about the people dying. They are known bigots whose policies or careers have ruined the lives of poor minorities. On the other, Nighthawk wants to protect the people of Chicago, but does that include the corrupt? Our villain, The Revelator, doesn’t think so at all. Our second issue opens with a flashback.
THE GOOD OLE’ DAYS
I love flashbacks in comics. Nighthawk has been around for quite some time during this series, but we get a glimpse into a moment from when he first started. Two cops are harassing a group of young kids. One cop is pointing the gun at the kids, who all have their hands up. The other cop, O’Neil, is the one who eventually kills the unarmed teen in the current story. He’s beating a youth with his night stick. The art here is graphic. Just as O’Neil is about to hit the teen again, Nighthawk grabs his arm. O’Neil turns into a child instantly, yelping and crying that his arm is broken. The cops do their best to get away, but to no avail. The kids help their friend who was beaten with the night stick get away. It was hard to read this because the art here looked so brutal. This isn’t an extraordinary event when it comes to young black males, and middle-aged white cops. It’s quite common sadly. Nighthawk tells the police that everyone on the force should be worried. He wants O’Neil and his partner to tell everyone this is how he deals with police brutality in his city. An awesome moment. Heroes always seem to be more talkative during their flashbacks.
Back to the present now. Protests have become normal this day and age in the city of Chicago. People are protesting during Officer’s O’Neil’s trial. Tilda and Nighthawk are watching. I love Tilda’s character. She’s full of life, and adds much needed humor to Nighthawk’s dry, but cool personality. Next, we’re introduced to another cop. This one though, isn’t crooked. He’s investigating the Revelator’s most recent murder. The Revelator killed a man who was being charged of child trafficking. The cop is trying to put the pieces together, but he isn’t having any luck. He calls Nighthawk so they can talk about the case. The two meet at the crime scene. We learn the man’s name is Detective Burrell. We also learn that Nighthawk saved Burrell back in the day, which is why Burrell trusts the vigilante.
Burrell is a good man. He’s working the system the best he can. But Burrell doesn’t see everything clearly. The conversation they have about police corruption show that. He tells Nighthawk that catching the Revelator is top priority, even though Chicago PD doesn’t want to spare the extra man power. Nighthawk responds by saying the Chicago PD has no sense of priority. Burrell assures Nighthawk he knows how corrupt the system is. Nighthawk responds by noting the hypocrisy of Chicago PD’s situation. He states that the city is on the verge of another race riot because another cop killed an unarmed black teen. Meanwhile, the cops can’t pull together enough resources to catch one serial killer. Kill the teens, let the killers roam free. It’s maddening. Nighthawk then asks Burrell if he’s even noticed a connection between the victims of the Revelator. Detective Burrell shows he’s not completely ignorant next. Like I stated earlier, he’s a good man. But his white privilege has still shielded him throughout his life whether he knows it or not. Burrell says that all of the victims are white. He said they also did very bad things, mainly to black people. The way he says this is cheesy, but I think most people feel this way when talking about racial relations. Burrell doesn’t want to offend Nighthawk, but he sees the reality of the situation. Burrell also notes that Chicago has a bad history of white people screwing over black people. Nighthawk responds by saying, “Thank you for saying it out loud.”
Here’s my little PSA of the day. This moment is written very well by Walker. We all see white people in power, whether it’s on television, in movies, or our everyday lives. Sometimes, no, most of the time, all black people want is for white people to at least accept that racism is one of America’s biggest, and current faults. Not only do we ask white people to accept it, but to vocalize those thoughts. It shouldn’t be a big deal when someone speaks out against injustices against minorities in our society. Gays, Muslims, Women, Latinos, whoever. Any injustices must be brought to light, and it must become the norm in our society to do so. Not something that causes controversy because white people want to be included on the oppression train too. Burrell gained Nighthawk’s respect just then and I’m not even sure he realized it.
Nighthawk is about to leave the crime scene. He asks Burrell to look into the warehouse he blew up in the first issue. There hasn’t been a police report on the True Patriots. Nighthawk believes that a cop is on someone’s payroll. This cop has been paid to cover up the warehouse, and Nighthawk wants to know why. The issue then goes to our other villain, Dan Hanrahan. He’s the real estate developer involved with the cops and the True Patriots. Their leader comes to talk to Hanrahan about the situation that happened the other night. Hanrahan is furious because the True Patriots couldn’t lay low for a while. Hanrahan then goes on a little rant about making America great again. Where have we heard that before? His plans involve taking America, starting with Chicago back from the people who have ruined it. His exact words were, “And we see who it is that’s keeping us from greatness. They’re everywhere. Standing in welfare lines, illegally crossing the border and committing crime on every corner. But you talk about what you want to do, Caldwell, and I do it.” There are millions of businessmen who think this way, as evident by the election of Donald Trump. Hanrahan only sees his bottom line. Affecting that bottom line are people who he deems “illegals.” Everything about his mentality is toxic, but he sleeps well at night, because he thinks he’s helping the city of Chicago. Evil sometimes isn’t Thanos wanting to impress death. Subtlety is the flavor of the day for racist businessmen nowadays.
The issue ends with Tilda and Raymond talking. We don’t see him too often with his mask off. They’re talking about the Revelator’s motives. Tilda says that the Revelator is him on a bad day. Raymond assures her that he’ll never turn into this. She says that if he ever decides to turn over to the dark side, this is what he’ll become. Nighthawk once again says this isn’t who he is. Tilda says “Tell that to the families of the redneck Nazis you blew up the other night. We’re all the hero in our own personal narrative.”
The last thing we see is the Revelator sitting in his lair. We don’t see his face, but just a shadow. The grand jury decided not to indict O’Neil in the killing of the black teen. He’s been cleared to return to duty. The Revelator gets up and puts on a police uniform. I think it’s safe to say we know who his next victim is.
All in all, this was another solid issue. I really love the art of this series. It makes Nighthawk feel different, even though he exists within the Marvel universe. The first issue introduced us to Chicago. An intense city riddled with violence and protests. Black rage was introduced, and the character of Nighthawk began to take shape. This issue introduced us to another one of Nighthawk’s allies, Detective Burrell. What Tilda said at the end of the issue really stuck with me. It’s becoming a theme throughout this series. Everyone thinks they’re the hero in their mind. Hanrahan, Dixon, Burrell, Nighthawk, and especially the Revelator. Each of them believes in their cause, and this issue showed us different views, but did a good job keeping the story going. Not too much action happened here. I wasn’t expecting much, given the fact Nighthawk killed so many people in the last issue. This was a calm issue that continued to build the racially divided city known as Chicago. I’m sure it only gets better from here.
I hope you enjoyed this review! Nighthawk #3 Review will be coming up soon. If you’ve enjoyed my first two reviews and don’t want any more spoilers on the series, please go pick up the next four issues. If not, enjoy these reviews, and remember to follow me on Twitter @Hero_Review
My next review will be coming up this Wednesday when I dive into Riri Williams’ debut as Iron Heart as well as Nighthawk #3. Until next time!