When it comes to the universe that exists inside Marvel comics I love the whole damn thing. I first ventured into the Marvel Universe when I was about 8 years old and I never left. I’ve pretty nearly purchased at least one Marvel comic book each week since picking up my first one. As a kid I would walk down to the Cardboard Jungle every weekend to pick up the books in my comic account/pull list and back then every single one of them was published by Marvel. Between Doug and I we collected almost everything Marvel put out and we completely ignored the books put out by DC. We didn’t have anything against Batman and Superman it’s just that we were full-on Marvel zombies back then. The first books that actually freed us from our one-track-Marvel-minds were those published by Image Comics when they first formed in 1992. Spawn became my gateway into the world of “other” comics. As a teen and then as an adult I’ve continued to purchase my books on a weekly basis only now I shop at Strange Adventures and my pull list is probably only 50% Marvel books. As the years have gone by I’ve found that my tastes have changed. I read more crime, horror, pulp and licensed books and less of the capes and spandex. I still love that stuff and I’m sure I always will but the art and writing on a lot of the books Marvel publishes no longer appeals to me.
Though I may be less well versed in the day-to-day happenings of the Marvel Universe than I was in my youth it doesn’t mean I don’t still love visiting. There are hundreds of characters in the Marvel Universe, maybe even thousands, and I have a soft spot for everyone that I’ve ever encountered. I’m always very pleased when I see obscure characters like The White Rabbit, Sidewinder, Impossible Man, Midnight Sun, or 3D Man just to name a few, pop up in a book I’m reading. One of the great things about event books like Civil War and Secret Invasion are all of the splash pages of big battles because you never know what characters the artist will squeeze into the panels. Rocker Raccoon joining the Guardians of the Galaxy or Slapstick joining the Avengers: Initiative team are both examples of a character that I was fond of but never expected to see again being worked into a major story line. And now Rocket Raccoon is even going to appear in a live action movie, how cool is that?
I just love all of the weird and wacky characters that populate the backgrounds of those big group shots. Spidey and Wolverine are always in the foreground but if you take the time to peruse the background you’re sure to stumble across underrated gems like Diamondback, Humbug or Nighthawk.
Nighthawk is one of those great looking Marvel characters who I’m always happy to see show up and who I have an attachment to from my days reading the Marvel Universe reference books. I used to flick through those reference books so often that I felt as if I knew characters whom I had never even seen in an actual comic book. I don’t think I owned any books with Nighthawk in them when I was a kid and so I mostly knew him from his biography in the official Marvel handbook. I did eventually come across him a few times over my comic reading career but he was usually just passing though. I really can’t tell you a lot about him but he’s always welcome to guest appear in any book I’m reading.
What little I do know about him is that he was originally created as a knock-off of Batman. Along with Hyperion, Dr. Spectrum and Whizzer who were knock-offs of Superman, Green Lantern and Flash, Nighthawk was a member of the evil Squadron Sinister. They all started out as baddies who fought the Avengers in their first appearance. Whizzer went on to become one of my favorite villains, Speed Demon, while Nighthawk reformed and joined another Marvel super team, The Defenders. The Defenders era Nighthawk is the one I’m most familiar with. Another interesting fact about Nighthawk is that his powers only work at night. He can use his self-made wings and claws whenever he likes but his super-strength and agility leave him when the sun is up.
I think this figure is pretty awesome, in part because it even exists at all. Nighthawk is not a likely candidate to be made into an action figure and that’s one of the things I love about the Marvel Universe action figure line, the inclusion of these C-list characters. What I don’t like about the line is the price and the crappy articulation. Vanessa picked Nighthawk up for me when she was in Toronto yesterday. He cost her $15 at the Silver Snail. When this figure eventually shows up at my local shops he’ll probably be marked at $17. This is insane given the lack of accessories and the lackluster quality of these figures. Nighthawk looks great when standing which is fine for my purposes of posing him in a display case. But god forbid some kid might want to play with this toy because the articulation sucks. He’s got joints in weird places and he’s nearly impossible to pose. This is a line wide issue that needs to be rectified if I’m going to keep shelling out my cash on these things. Now that I’ve ranted I will say that the paint job on this guy looks great and the red wings/cape look really cool. It’s one of those toys that looks as though it leapt (or stiffly walked) off of the comic page. If you’re a fan of the Marvel universe at large and are collecting this line then Nighthawk is a must-have. 7 out of 10.