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Sterling Gates Talks Hawk & Dove, the DC Revamp (Plus His Thoughts on Rob Liefeld)

What can we expect from the living avatars of War and Peace when Hawk & Dove are relaunched in September?

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Hawk and Dove always seemed like a team that flew (no pun intended) under the radar. I didn't get a chance to read much of the original team of Hank and Don Hall when their stories were first published as I started reading shortly before the time of Don's death.

With the announcement of DC's new relaunched 52 titles, Hawk and Dove #1 is among the new titles we'll see on store shelves in September. Sterling Gates is teaming up with Rob Liefeld, who actually worked on the team (with Hank and Dawn Granger) early in his career.

We asked Sterling some questions to see what we can expect this Fall.

Comic Vine: What excites you about the characters Hawk & Dove?

Sterling Gates: I love the balance and the conflict that Hawk and Dove embody. One of them is a living avatar of war and the other is the living avatar of peace. What does that mean for them? Does that mean they can never agree on anything, that they’re constantly battling back and forth? Does that mean that every time they fight something, they have to come to an agreement on how they do that? Or is it more like Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger, where their balance is necessary, or else one of them goes too far in either direction. A massively co-dependent relationship.

I started really thinking about that kind of thing, and then started thinking about their powers -- where they come from, what it means to be an avatar to these concepts -- and I got really excited to write.

== TEASER ==

On top of that, one of my favorite artists from my childhood is drawing the book! Rob Liefeld called and asked me to write this project for him to draw last year, so that adds a whole other layer of excitement for me. I feel very, very lucky to be working with the guy whose comics shaped a huge part of my childhood.

Hawk & Dove #2, 1988. Art by Rob Liefeld.
Hawk & Dove #2, 1988. Art by Rob Liefeld.

CV: Were you a fan of Hank & Don Hall growing up?

SG: I was! Don Hall’s death during Crisis was a big deal to me, and it was something I thought Barbara and Karl Kesel capitalized on perfectly during their run on Hawk and Dove in the late 80’s. DC did a huge crossover in 1991 called Armageddon 2001 and Hawk and Dove played a huge, HUGE role in it. I was crazy about the Hawk and Dove series, and gutted after the events of Armageddon 2001.

CV: Any plans to touch on the craziness of Armageddon 2001?

SG: Ha. No plans as of yet, but you never know!

CV: During Brightest Day, Hank acted as Dove's protector. Will we see more mention of the fact that both lost their original partners?

SG: Well, Hank losing his brother Don is such a big part of what people know about Hawk, so I think it’s absolutely worth continuing to exam. Losing not only your brother, but your partner, too, that kind of thing is going to have a huge impact on who you are. Think of a cop that loses his partner, the kind of trauma that must be and how hard it is to come to grips with that. In Hank’s case, it’s even harder, because he’s got the avatar of war fused to his soul! As a result, Hank’s constantly at war with himself, making it very hard for him to come to peace with the loss of his brother.

CV: The solicit mentions Deadman, how much will he be hanging around?

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SG: Deadman and Dove are an item, but he doesn’t have a big presence in the first few issues. At the start, I really wanted the spotlight to be on Hank and Dawn and their relationship. Deadman’s definitely around, though, and will play a bigger role down the line. I’ve heard that Deadman and Dove’s relationship will be reflected in other DCU books as well!

CV: What city will Hawk and Dove be operating in?

SG: Washington, D.C. I think that city is the best place for two characters that embody the ideas of war and peace. Politics of war will come up between Hawk and his father, greatly affecting their relationship, not to mention Hawk’s relationship with Dove! Plus, Washington is an iconic American city that isn’t used very often in DCU books, so I thought it’d be a good opportunity to explore it and see how different it is in that universe versus our own.

CV: How will you and Rob be working together? (Don't both you guys live in the same area?) Has he brought over any ideas from his days drawing Hank and Dawn back in 1988?

SG: So far, we’ve just had some bigger talks about concepts and the characters. The villains in issue three were characters Rob thought up way, way back, but all he had were the names and designs. I gave them backstories and personalities and I think they’re two of the coolest villains that will be running around the DCU, post-relaunch. Rob and I are having a hell of a lot of fun on this book, too, and I sincerely hope that people pick it up in September!

We will definitely be picking it up in September! Hawk and Dove #1 is on sale September 7, 2011.