DARKHAWK: Page 3 of 8

Publication Date: 21st Oct 2021
Written By: Monolith.
Image Work: Gremlin.


Darkhawk’s battle with Tombstone went poorly, as he was distracted by St. Johnny’s injuries. After Tombstone beat on him for a while, Darkhawk was saved by a smoke bomb. A man claiming to be Darkhawk’s predecessor pulled him to temporary shelter. This man claimed to be the one who had been calling and leaving notes warning Chris about the curse of the Darkhawk. In vague terms, he described how the amulet ruined his life and that he left it in the funhouse, hoping it would be destroyed in the demolition. The predecessor disappeared again before Chris could wring any clear answers out of him, but Chris had time to use the fast-healing trick before re-engaging with Tombstone. It didn’t help. Tombstone regained the advantage yet again, dug his fist into Darkhawk’s chest, and ripped the amulet completely out of his body. [Darkhawk (1st series) #11]

Tombstone was ready to finish Darkhawk off when St. Johnny made a disorienting move. Chris saw the homeless man transform his arm into an energy cannon and blast Tombstone into retreating. Moments later, though, Johnny was normal again and acted like he hadn’t done anything unusual. Chris was too weak to press Johnny for straight answers, and allowed the mystery man to support him into the sewer pipe where he camped. Darkhawk was getting progressively weaker, leaking vital energies from the gaping hole in his chest and unable to revert back to Chris without the amulet. St. Johnny patched the hole to keep it from leaking so much, but Chris had to face the possibility that he would die in a body that wasn’t even his own.

The Bazin trial continued to grow in stakes as it neared its conclusion. Grace was increasingly rattled after a second attempt on Jason’s life at the hospital. She also had a shock running into the disguised Chris taking clothes from the house to hide his Darkhawk body. In a surprising turn, Bazin’s own family came out against him. Allegra Bazin had come to realize how diabolical her father was, and she could not condone trying to murder a child. Allegra had already damaged her credibility in the courtroom, though, after picking a fight with Chris’ girlfriend Cheryl in the gallery. Therefore, she blackmailed her brother Broderick into offering Grace Powell testimony about the crimes he had overheard his father ordering from their house. The defense couldn’t recover from this unexpected angle of attack, and the jury returned a guilty verdict against Philippe Bazin.

The courtroom erupted into chaos after that. Savage Steel blasted his way into the courthouse, ready to execute Bazin on the spot rather than allow him to skate free on an appeal. Darkhawk had arrived on the scene and knocked Steel down before his uncoordinated fire could harm Grace or the innocents nearby. Bazin’s own people arrived via helicopter and started shooting, running a contingency scenario for Bazin to flee the country in the event of his conviction. And, on top of all this, Mike Powell charged onto the scene with a gun, ready to kill Bazin for the chaos he had introduced to the Powell family. Darkhawk easily floored Savage Steel, even in his weakened condition, in stark contrast to the vigilante’s previous appearances. Steel was unmasked to reveal a dazed Harry Lennox. In the meantime, Bazin boarded his helicopter and Mike Powell was captured by the mobster in his attempt to seize revenge. [Darkhawk (1st series) #12]

Darkhawk accosted St. Johnny again to try and learn anything that might help him save his adopted body. As he had in the past, however, Johnny claimed to have no memory of what Chris was talking about, and could offer no assistance. Chris made the decision to pursue Bazin and his dad rather than try to track down Tombstone and the amulet, even though it would likely mean his death. Darkhawk shook down Louis McPhee again and learned Bazin had a private residence on Althea Island in the Caribbean. He stowed away aboard a plane being flown by Bazin’s thugs to the locale. After being caught during the trip, Chris was forced to bail out of the damaged plane. As fate would have it, he landed on another island serving as the private refuge for Venom, and had to fight the symbiote serial killer before escaping in a raft heading towards the bearing of Althea Island.

Bazin had kept Mike Powell alive in order to find out what he knew about Darkhawk and Savage Steel. Chris arrived on the scene and started fighting with Lodestone and Bazin’s goons, but witnessed Philippe Bazin stab his father in the gut, seemingly delivering a mortal wound. A distracted Darkhawk was caught by Lodestone and magnetically strung up for Bazin to finish off. Mike Powell had enough breath left in him to shoot Bazin in the back, distracting Lodestone so that Darkhawk could blast her unconscious. Chris raced to his father’s side to hear his last words, and Mike Powell asked Darkhawk to look after the Powell family once he died, without ever knowing it was his oldest son under the mask. With his own energies rapidly dwindling, Darkhawk collapsed by the surf shortly after his father. [Darkhawk (1st series) #13-14]

Sometime later, Chris awoke on the beach being confronted by Althea’s military, who told him the corpses of Bazin and Powell had washed out to sea. Revelations came fast and hard as Darkhawk escaped the militia and trekked back to New York. Facts came out showing that Mike Powell was part of a Cabal of past and present police officers seeking the “edge against crime” Mike had always wanted. They commissioned the construction of the Savage Steel armor from former Stane International engineers, creating a vigilante that would secretly be controlled by cops. The members of the Cabal would take turns using the armor in order to avoid suspicion and keep any one of them from acting against the others. Cabal members like Mike Powell had to swallow their convictions and take bribes from the likes of Philippe Bazin in order to gather the capital for the Savage Steel project. Unfortunately, the other members of the Cabal had plans to murder criminals on the streets as Steel, which Mike Powell and Harry Lennox refused to go along with. With both Bazin and the Cabal gunning for him after the night at Wonderland, Mike Powell was forced to go underground until his family was safe from all parties who wanted his head.

Chris learned the truth about his father’s compromises in time to track down the Cabal, who had kidnapped Grace Powell after she started snooping around Lennox and the Savage Steel armor. Darkhawk and Grace’s efforts ensured the truth about Mike Powell would get out, but Chris was unprepared to reveal his identity to his mother when he was still dying from his missing amulet. With only hours to spare on his life, he sought out Tombstone and fought the stone-cold mobster in a rematch. Using his brain, Darkhawk overloaded Tombstone on an electrical box and retrieved the amulet. Chris had a few tense minutes where the change did not trigger, even with the amulet back in his possession, but it finally did and he was back in his own body. Reflecting upon the last few months, Chris decided to remain as Darkhawk, committing to his father’s ideals, if not his actions. With reports coming in from the Caribbean to let the Powells and Bazins know their fathers were dead, Chris and his family prepared to move forward with their lives. [Darkhawk (1st series) #15]

Chris tried to get back on track. His father’s funeral with an empty casket was under-attended, as the stigma of corruption surrounded Mike Powell even after the revelations about the Cabal were made public. In an eerie parallel, the Powells passed Allegra and the Bazins holding their funeral for Philippe in the same graveyard. Jason and Headset both left the hospital on the same day, and Chris’ friend helped him decide on an internship at a local radio station as an after school job.  Chris found he couldn’t commit to schoolwork, though, and the anger building inside led him to skip school repeatedly to go fight crime as Darkhawk. [Darkhawk (1st series) #16] Chris’ past encounters with members of the New Warriors led to the teenaged super-heroes seeking the help of Darkhawk. Nova and Speedball recruited Darkhawk for the team when their founder, Night Thrasher, went rogue in search for answers about his past. Darkhawk and Rage joined the New Warriors as they flew to Cambodia and battled Tai and the Folding Circle at the Temple of the Dragon’s Breadth. Having peers to turn to made Chris even more comfortable living as Darkhawk these days rather than as Chris. [New Warriors (1st series) #22-25]

Chris’ anger was getting the best of him when he nearly started a fight as Darkhawk after his amulet poked a friend in the eye while playing basketball. The coach got Chris to cool off, and he agreed to store the amulet in his locket during gym. Afterwards, he was tagged by his faculty advisor Mrs. Bauer to set up the recording equipment for a lecture of superhuman abilities being given in the auditorium. However, Professor Anatoly Vonya was targeted by some of his own creations from the former U.S.S.R., the Peristrike Force. These super-terrorists interrupted the lecture to seize Vonya. Chris was overlooked in the projection booth, but his amulet was still back in his locker. He had to use his after-school karate training to knock out one of the Force’s armed goons as Chris before he could become Darkhawk again. [Darkhawk (1st series) #16]

As Darkhawk retraced his steps to the auditorium, the situation had become a full hostage crisis, with Midtown High surrounded by the authorities. With three super-villains and a dozen armed terrorists covering the crowd, Darkhawk was reluctant to jump in without a plan. However, when Cheryl came to the defense of Professor Vonya, Scattershot from the Peristrike Force nearly killed her and Darkhawk was forced to intervene. The quick-witted Vonya sent feedback through Scattershot’s communicator, disabling the other terrorists and leaving Chris with only Scattershot, Volga Belle and Siberon to fend off. Cheryl and Mrs. Bauer got the other civilians to safety, and Darkhawk was successful in defeating the Peristrike Force members he could see. However, their telepathic leader Psi-Wolf emerged from the shadows and psychically overpowered Darkhawk. [Darkhawk (1st series) #17]

Psi-Wolf ordered Darkhawk to kill himself, and only Chris’ unfamiliarity with his body prevented him from carrying out the telepathic command. Scattershot recovered and suggested her leader use Darkhawk to help them escape instead. The mesmerized Darkhawk helped the Peristrike Force batter through the cops with Vonya to a helicopter and make their escape. Scattershot then blasted him out of the copter, sending Darkhawk crashing to the streets below. Only his healing trick saved Chris from dying of his wounds. Grace Powell thought Chris locked himself in his room later because he was traumatized by the hostage crisis, but really he was just determined to make up for his earlier failure and save Professor Vonya. The Peristrike Force intended to commandeer a plane from JFK airport, and Darkhawk intervened on the police action trying to control the situation. Darkhawk defeated the terrorists, but Vonya was accidentally killed by Siberon during the confusion. Despite his best intentions, Chris had failed to live up to his responsibilities, and Vonya’s death would haunt him for months to come. [Darkhawk (1st series) #18]