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A Man Called Hawk...man, Part 3

CINESCAPE offers you a quick primer on the many Hawkmen that litter the DC Multiverse (yes there is, thanks to Hypertime)

By Arnold T. Blumberg     April 15, 2002


THE SHADOW WAR OF HAWKMAN added another chapter to this convoluted saga.
© DC Comics
Last time we took a look at the Silver Age Hawkman and the very beginnings of his long and tangled career as a solo adventurer and a member of the Justice League of America, but now we must enter one of the most confusing bits of DC history ever devised - the murky mess that is the Hawkman mythos post-Crisis. While a great deal of research was conducted to at least try to provide a quick and reasonably clear explanation of what happened and where we stand (or fly) at this point with Hawkman and his timeline, there's bound to be a mistake or two here. So apologies in advance to all those Hawkman devotees who believe that this doesn't offer the most complete and clearest picture of the current Hawkman mythology. Having said that, let's begin...

Rather than slog through all of the bizarre permutations that were introduced, discarded, overwritten and otherwise obscured during the late '80s and '90s, we'll try to present a brief historical overview of the new Hawkman mythos incorporating all of these adjustments and see where it leaves us as we approach the present and the all-new HAWKMAN title now hitting comic shop shelves.

Even the new Hawkman encounters familiar villains like the Shadow Thief.

While the post-CRISIS Hawkman actually remained pretty much the same, resulting in a sort of delayed retcon effect that took a while to catch up to him, the real damage was done in the HAWKWORLD mini-series, the subsequent ZERO HOUR DC Universe fix, and a few other cosmic events as well, including the ARMAGEDDON crossover that introduced the time traveler called Waverider. As HAWKWORLD established, our hero was now a different Katar Hol, son of Thanagarian inventor Paran Katar and a Cherokee woman named Naomi. Katar remained on Thanagar while his mother returned to Earth, and he eventually became a Thanagarian Wingman in the Corps created by his father. Katar's father and a Commander named Byth became involved in some complex political machinations, and the massive tensions led Katar to turn to narcotics (what, a drug-addicted Hawkman? Read on). Katar soon posed a threat to Byth and the commander decided to eliminate them. Katar was tricked into murdering his own father while Byth managed to convince the people that he himself was a hero. Katar obtained a pair of wings while in exile and cleansed his system of the drugs.

Continuity cops beware: HAWKMAN is relaunched...again!!!

After a ten year sentence, Katar aided the downtrodden and was noticed by Wingman Shayera Thal. Katar and Byth finally came to blows, Byth escaped, and Katar was at last cleared and reinstated as a Wingman. Katar and Shayera, now partners, followed Byth to Earth, and while they soon captured Byth, Katar was now lauded in the press as "Hawkman." A brief journey to the past revealed the existence of Carter Hall, and when he came back to the present, Katar was honored to take on the mantle of Hawkman. He began to filter Thanagarian refugees to his adopted world, and a political brouhaha erupted between Earth and Thanagar. Later, Shayera apparently died, and Katar was injured. When Carter Hall's incarnation returned from limbo (a state he and the rest of the Justice Society had been placed in earlier), Carter took Katar to Naomi for healing and Katar learned of his true Earth heritage. Taking on a slightly modified Hawkman guise, Katar tried to smoke out the villain who was holding Shayera, whose death Katar never truly accepted. As it happens, he was correct, and Shayera was actually in the clutches of Count Viper. Viper was defeated, but the worst was yet to come.

Hawkman returns in JSA #23.

Following the events of ARMAGEDDON: INFERNO, two versions of Hawkman and Hawkgirl encountered one another. Two Hawk avatars in the same place represented an unwanted imbalance, so something had to give, and indeed it did. The Hawk God, source of all the Hawk avatars, escaped its confinement in another reality, destroying much of Thanagar and then heading to Earth. Linked to the God via the Ninth metal, Carter and Katar - both incarnations of Hawkman - felt the God's approach, but suffered from disorientation that led to some unexpected conflicts between heroes (a tried and true method of ratcheting up comic book excitement). Eventually, with Zero Hour near at hand, all Hawkmen united against the Hawk God, drove the being back to its own dimension but found themselves merged into one single body - the "new" Hawkman. Physically similar to Katar Hol, he now possessed the spirits of Katar, Carter and even Shiera. Must be tough to sort out the voices in his head.

In fact, just such a crisis (no, not that one) emerged when Neron awakened the voices of other Hawk avatars in Katar's head, pushing him to seek revenge against immortal Vandal Savage, who had killed many of them in the past. When his vengeance was not fulfilled, the darker sides of his psyche led him to murder, but with the help of the JLA and the Martian Manhunter (who was also temporarily influenced by the past Hawk avatars), Hawkman found a way to defeat these powers, but it meant exile to the dimension of the Hawk God. But would this last? Come on, has any of it stood the test of time?

Cover art to LEGEND OF THE HAWKMAN #1.

Skipping ahead a bit (if we really took the time to explain it all, we'd never be done), we come to the new HAWKMAN series, a spin-off of the successful new JSA. In this series, Kendra Saunders is the reincarnation of Prince Khufu's soul mate (remember him from the Golden Age version?), and she's also Hawkgirl. But unlike in previous incarnations, she's not too keen on Hawkman, the reincarnation of the Prince. She needs him, however, to investigate the murder of her parents, and the two find themselves in the New Orleans-esque St. Roch, where Hawkman will not only uncover some sinister mysteries but seek to reignite the romance between himself and Kendra. Sigh, so as before, the more things change, the more...you're ahead of me, aren't you?

As before, this combined Hawkman retains his ability to fly, his affinity for ancient weapons and his knowledge derived from the Absorbascon. He occasionally employs technology to enhance his abilities but possesses some spiritual insight that allows him to perceive a person's aura and communicate with animals. Ah, but after ZERO HOUR, some of those abilities altered yet again, and even his wings became a physical part of him, able to be absorbed and redeployed when necessary (and composed of Ninth metal!). He even started packing heat in the form of a Thanagarian sidearm known as a Graviton pistol.

All this and we never even talked about Fel Andar, the infamous impostor who posed as Carter Hall Jr. but was actually a Thanagarian spy. Whew. So did we make everything crystal clear for all you new Hawkman readers? No, I didn't think so. But then again, it was a fun ride, wasn't it? Hmm...

THE END...FOR NOW

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