What the Hawk, man?

He's mad at his editorsI recently became interested in Hawkman due to his great-looking DCUC figure, much as I became interested in Deathstroke last year for the same reason. As a result, I’ve started looking into the character. And holy shit, is his continuity a mess.

And I once thought Marvel had ruined Wolverine’s history. As much as I hate stuff like the bone claws, at least Wolverine doesn’t have three or four other versions of him that may or may not exist at any given time running around the canonical universe.

I think I’ve managed to get a grip on Hawkman’s continuity as it stands right now, though. Here’s the timeline I’ve put together. Feel free to correct me on any inaccuracies, as I’m sure there are many.

  1. Thousands of years ago, a Thanagarian ship crashes in ancient Egypt;
    Khufu and Chay-Ara, two Egyptians, find the Nth metal and end up being reincarnated over the centuries;
  2. Khufu incarnates as the human Carter Hall in the 1940s along with Chay-Ara, who incarnates as his girlfriend Shiera Sanders (whom he later marries), and they become the Golden Age Hawkman and Hawkgirl;
  3. At some point, the Golden Age Hawkman and Hawkgirl meet Paran Katar of Thanagar, who returns to his home planet to found the Thanagarian police force, using Carter Hall’s Hawkman as his inspiration;
  4. Paran Katar also names his son Katar Hol in honor of his friend Carter Hall;
  5. The Thanagarians Katar Hol and his wife Shayera Hol come to Earth in the 1960s and become the Silver Age Hawkman and Hawkgirl;
  6. Both Carter Hall and Katar Hol are active throughout the 1960s-early 1980s, with Hall serving in the JLA while Hol defends Midway City (i.e., all JLA appearances of Katar Hol are now considered retconned to in fact be Carter Hall coming out of retirement to help the JLA out);
  7. The whole Hawkworld reboot happens. Shayera is no longer Katar Hol’s wife, but his partner, and is now called Shayera Thal.
  8. Carter Hall, Katar Hol and Shiera Saunders Hall are merged into the Hawkgod in the DC crossover event Zero Hour;
  9. Shayera Thal retires from the Thanagarian police and becomes a regular Earth cop in Detroit;
  10. The Hawkgod gets banished to limbo, along with Carter, Katar and Shiera Saunders Hall;
  11. The soul of Shiera Saunders Hall, the Golden Age Hawkgirl, enters the dying body of Kendra Saunders, her young cousin;
  12. Via Kendra Saunders/Shiera Hall’s mystic connection to Carter Hall via the whole Egyptian reincarnation thing, Thanagarian priests resurrect Carter Hall’s soul in Katar Hol’s body.

Comments now closed (15)

  • Yeah, Hawkman's continuity is a notorious thing, at this point. It makes Power Girl seem sensible.

  • the most recent run of halkman with Rags Morales art was very good for the first few years and it fixed a lot of the old continuity stuff

  • Even worse, I think Hawkman's (relatively) simple reincarnation bit has been changed by Jim Starlin. Bad idea.

    The downside to the reincarnation angle was that DC made a bunch of their old Z-listers, like the Shining Knight, previous incarnations of Hawkman. (And the Knight's girlfriend would've been an incarnation of Shiera, but let that go for a second…) And all these incarnations keep getting killed, over and over, which is kind of a downer.

    This new Hawkman figure will either redeem the character for me, or doom him to more years of open mocking. God help him if there's sticky joints…

  • DC has a bad habit of constantly replacing the person behind the mask. It's one of the most irritating things to me about their comics.

  • I actually broke down and bought the figure today even with continuity mess. Now he's supposedly has two identities so the Qatar personality is more dominant than the Carter personality or some such nonsense as you've outllined in the news entry. I just pay attention to the JLU one which ties to ancient Egypt. Fewer headaches that way. -;)

  • My first comic encounters with Hawkman were through Green Arrow, so good old Carter comes off as a pretty big schmuck. However, the figure has me looking at him again, as well as his big role in Trinity right now.

  • Ummm, sure.

    I guess all my knowledge of Hawkman stems from issues of JLA in the 70s and 80s and cartoons.

    None of those really got much into his past, which was fine with me.

    He's a cool-looking character, and that's enough for me.

  • If the Figure is cool enough then you do kind of forgive/redeem the character – no matter how ridiculous their backstory. And Hawkman does look awesome (can't wait to actually get one) but his continuity, or lack of it, is an object lesson in how not to write comics.

  • *SPOILER*

    And now, it seems that after all this, the Hawks got killed off in Final Crisis anyways, patiently awaiting their next reincarnation.

  • The easiest way to handle DC is just to use the Timmverse as the bible. He's the only one who's ever been able to make sense of DC, so much so that the actual DC comics often adopt his storylines.

    To that end Paul Dini and the rest of the animated crew should be credited as well.