Review – Hawks of Outremer #1-2

Cormac Fitzgeoffrey is the main character in this tale set just after the Third Crusade. As he adventures from place to place in this title seeking vengeance and his place in the world, I found myself strangely reminded of another sword-toting badass. I was forced to take a second look at the credits and I found myself wondering why the name Robert E. Howard sounded so familiar. I am embarrassed to say I had to look up the reason, and found that Howard is the creator of another character I’ve enjoyed, Conan the Barbarian! BOOM! Studios brings another quality title to their ranks with Hawks of Outremer, which was adapted by Michael Alan Nelson with Damian Couceiro completing the art, Juan Manuel Tumburus on colors and Johnny Lowe on letters.

Well, suddenly these things made sense to me. While this is based in our world and loosely on our history, Cormac is pretty close to Conan. They are both talented fighters of immense stature. They are feared throughout the lands and not many dare to stand up to them. I’m sure simply surviving the Crusades is enough of a testament to Cormac’s toughness, but let’s just say he proves it in these first two issues. If you enjoy Conan – since I’ve read some of the literature, watched the movies and even enjoyed the Age of Conan MMO I understand – you will enjoy Hawks of Outremer. Read on for a brief story outline and to check out some interiors.

Outremer, we learn quickly, consists of the areas fought so fiercely over in the crusades. While there is peace currently, Cormac states that Saladin will not sit idly by for long while Acre, Antioch and Tripoli remain in the hands of Christians. As Cormac discusses the crusade with a friend we learn of his encounter with King Richard and Cormac’s spurning of an offer to pledge allegiance. Cormac eventually learned to trust and even ride with a knight named Sir Gerard. Cormac soon learns of the political intrigue that lead to Gerard’s death, leading him off to pursue his quest of avenging his friend.

On his quest we learn of Cormac’s skill with thrown weapons. Now, I use the term thrown weapons lightly, for while many weapons can be thrown, the ones that Cormac chooses are not MEANT to be thrown. Ah but who am I to argue with the results he achieves? Eventually Cormac meets up with one of Gerard’s squires and more pieces of the puzzle come together, guiding Cormac on his way.

I really enjoy stories of medieval times. While I’m sure it wasn’t fun to be present at the time of the Crusades I am still fascinated with the historical setting. The artwork, armor and battles are done very well and believably and lend to the overall look and feel of this title. All of the elements blend together very well, and while I can’t comment to far having never read the original writings of Howard, I am sure this is a good adaptation of the stories. The fights are visceral without being over the top using blood and gore. Cormac is certainly overpowering, but never so much so that you still couldn’t believe he is just a freakishly strong normal human.

As usual BOOM! Studios has pushed out another quality title with good writing, excellent art and an intriguing story that feels familiar and unique at the same time. That is a good thing in my book. Check out the interiors below and look for these issues in stores next time you are out.