Originally Prince Khufu of ancient Egypt, the hero who would become known as Hawkman discovered an alien spacecraft from the planet Thanagar, powered by a mysterious anti-gravity element called Nth Metal. The unearthly energies of the metal transformed his soul, and he and his love Princess Chay-Ara were reincarnated over and over for centuries. Currently he is Carter Hall, archaeologist and adventurer.
Ancient Egyptian Origins
Prince Khufu lived during the reign of Ramesses II in the 19th dynasty of ancient Egypt. Khufu believed that his ka, or soul, would not journey on to the land of the afterlife. Rather, his soul and that of his betrothed, Chay-Ara, were fated to remain in the mortal world.
As prophesied by the wizard Nabu, a space ship landed in Egypt. Prince Khufu, Nabu, and the champion Teth Adam searched the desert, finally coming across the remains of a Thanagarian ship styled with a hawk-like motif. Nabu cast a spell translating the strange language of the female space traveler. Just before dying, she whispered the words, "Nth Metal", the name of the substance that powered the downed ship.
Teth-Adam lifted the ship back to Khufu's palace, where it was studied inside the Temple of Horus at Erdu. The remaining Nth metal was examined, and its most obvious property proves to be its ability to negate gravity. The remaining sample from the ship was melted and used to create several remarkable devices, including a scarab which allowed Khufu to fly, a deadly knife, and a battle glove referred to as the Claw of Horus. However, the metal also strengthened the souls of Khufu and Chay-Ara, binding them together in their love and imprinting them with the collective knowledge of Thanagar. Although the villainous priest Hath-Set murdered the two with the knife of Nth metal, their souls lived on in the mortal plane. They were reincarnated over many lifetimes, always finding true love in each other. However, they were cursed to be repeatedly killed at the hands of a reincarnated Hath-Set.
After his death, Khufu's soul was reincarnated countless times in markedly different eras and locations. Some of his known reincarnated identities have included:
- Brian Kent (also known as the Silent Knight), alive during 5th century Britain, lover of Lady Celia Penbrook;
- Koenrad Von Grimm, the son of a blacksmith in 14th century Germany;
- Captain John Smith of the 16th century English colony in Virginia;
- Hannibal Hawkes, the Nighthawk, a gun-fighter in the American Old West, lover of Cinnamon;
- Detective James Wright, a Pinkerton detective in the early 20th century, lover of Sheila Carr.
During the same period, his love Chay-Ara was reborn as archaeologist Shiera Sanders. After the two met, she became Hawkgirl, fighting at Carter's side. They became founding members of the Justice Society of America, and Hawkman took the role of chairman. The pair reduced their activities in the early 1950s but became fully active again decades later when first Carter and then Sheira joined the Justice League of America (while continuing to also work with the revived JSA). The two had a son, Hector Hall, who eventually became a founding member of Infinity Inc. as the Silver Scarab, and later adopted the identity of the Sandman before becoming an incarnation of Doctor Fate. Following the event known as the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Hawkman and the JSA became trapped in a battle in an ever-repeating Ragnarok. The Norse god Odin tried unsuccessfully to give a crystal sphere containing this repeating Ragnarok to Dream, lord of the Dreaming as a trade, knowing that Dream had by this time selected Carter's grandson, Daniel Hall, as his successor. Back on Earth meanwhile, others took up the mantles of Hawkman and Hawkwoman, first Thanagarian spy Fel Andar and his human wife, and then a more benevolent pair of Thanagarians.
The Hawks Return
Years after they vanished, Hawkman and the JSA returned to the modern day when a primitive but super powered tribe volunteered to substitute themselves in the Ragnarok cycle. Soon after, however, death seemingly found Carter once again during the events of Zero Hour. He and his wife Shiera seemingly merged with Katar Hol, a Thanagarian police officer who had succeeded Carter as Hawkman in his absence, as a new incarnation of Hawkman who briefly acted as host to the mysterious "hawk god" creature. This individual was active for a short time but soon lost his sanity and was banished to Limbo (it was eventually revealed that Shiera's soul had actually migrated to the body of her great-niece, Kendra Saunders, who had committed suicide).
Years later, JSA member Hawkgirl (Kendra Saunders) was transported to a ravaged Thanagar by the High Priests of the Downsiders. Seeking a champion to stop the evil Onimar Synn from enslaving the planet, the priests used Kendra's centuries-old connection to Carter to bring him back to the mortal plain. Following this unorthodox resurrection, Hall retained all the memories of his past lives, as well as those of Katar Hol, the Thanagarian Hawkman. It has since been stated that the soul of Katar Hol has passed on from Limbo and that Carter no longer retains his memories, though his current form still retains some of Hol's physical characteristics (notably his dark hair).
After defeating Onimar Synn, Hall once again became a member of the JSA. Operating both with the JSA and with Hawkgirl, Hall embarked on a wide variety of exotic adventures. His quest as a hero took him from the streets of St. Roch to exotic dimensions and even into outer space as he fought in the Rann-Thanagar War. Following this event, Carter stayed in space for some months in order to help mediate the truce on Rann and avenge the murder of Shayera Thal, who as Hawkwoman had been the partner of the late Katar Hol.
As a result, Hawkgirl was left by herself to patrol and protect St. Roch.
Returning to space to help during the Rann-Thanagar Holy War, Carter was approached by the Demiurge, a nameless god who inspired Plato into describing his namesake. The Demiurge denounced the cycle of incarnation and rebirths of Khufu and Chay-Ara as lies, simple grafts of the alternate versions of Carter and Shiera residing in the different worlds of the multiverse that existed before the Crisis on Infinite Earths. He informed Carter that there were "Six Aberrations" in total, including Hawkman, whose origins were muddled and damaged by the the destruction and recreation of the universe. Carter was moderately impressed, until the Demiurge inexplicably began addressing him as Katar Hol. Nothing appears to have come of this though, and it has since been stated that these events were not as they seemed.
Carter and Kendra were reunited, only to be attacked by Black Lanterns Ralph and Sue Dibny, who were recently resurrected by Black Power Rings, before having their hearts torn out from their bodies, and becoming undead Black Lanterns themselves.
However, by the end of the horrific crisis, Carter and Shiera Hall (no longer looking like or believing herself to be the deceased Kendra), along with ten other people, were reanimated by the power of the White Lantern.
In the Brightest Day, Carter and Shiera follow Hath-Set, who has collected the bones from all of their past bodies, and created from them a portal to Hawkworld. While there, Carter is told by the Entity to "stop the Queen Khea" from leaving. While Hawkgirl is held by Hath-Set and his Queen Khea, Hawkman and his group of the panthera attack the Manhawks homeworld. Hawkman hears Hawkgirl's cries and charges toward to rescue her. His arrival leads to a confrontation with Queen Khea, who turns out to be the mother of Shiera Hall. During the fight, Queen Khea controls his Nth metal mace and armor, and Hawkman is tied together with Hawkgirl. Queen Khea opens the gateway and enters the portal to the Zamaron homeworld. When she arrives on the Zamaron homeworld, Star Sapphire (Carol Ferris) frees them both to stop Queen Khea's invasion. The two attack Queen Khea as Hawkgirl wants to face her, but the Predator Entity bonds with the Queen.
Shiera and Carter manage to eventually separate both of them by stabbing Khea at the same time with weapons made of Zamaronian crystals. The bones of the past lives of Hawkman and Hawkgirl separate from the gateway, and, animated by the violet light of love, grab Khea and imprison her in the Zamaronian Central Power Battery. Shiera and Carter, with both of their missions accomplished and lives returned are teleported back to St. Roch by Carol. Carter and Shiera are interrupted by Deadman, whose white ring tells the two of them that they should lead separate lives. Carter refuses and says they are not going to live apart again, the ring responds "So be it" and unleashes a blast of white light that kills Hawkman and Hawkgirl, turning them into dust. Deadman orders the ring to resurrect both Hawkman and Hawkgirl, but the ring refuses, saying that Hawkman was brought back to life to overcome what held him back in his past life because he was essential in saving Earth.
When the "Dark Avatar", made his presence known, Hawkman and Hawkgirl are revealed to be part of the Elementals, guardians of the forest located in Star City. They were transformed by the Entity to become the element of air and protect the Star City forest from the "Dark Avatar", which appears to be the Black Lantern version of the Swamp Thing. The Elementals are then fused with the body of Alec Holland in order for him to be transformed by the Entity into the new Swamp Thing and battle against the Dark Avatar. After the Dark Avatar is defeated, Swamp Thing appears to have brought the Elementals back to normal; however, as Hawkman looks around for Shiera, he discovers that she was not brought back like he was. He is later told by Swamp Thing that Shiera is everywhere, revealing that she was still the elemental of air. Afterward, Hawkman returns home yelling "Shiera".
- Blessing: Carter Hall was a priest in a past life, and still possesses the ability to bless mundane objects. For example, by muttering a prayer in front of a building's sprinkler system, he was once able to convert the water into Holy Water in order to destroy a vampire.
- Divine Empowerment: Hawkman was granted the ability to breathe underwater, by the god Poseidon.
- Reincarnation: The Nth metal knife which murdered Hawkman in his original incarnation as Khufu had an unusual effect upon his soul and that of his lover Chay-Ara (Hawkgirl). The pair are locked in a seemingly endless cycle of death and rebirth throughout the centuries. While not a superhuman power per se, this propensity for reincarnation has allowed Hawkman to cheat death and return to active duty in his current incarnation.
- Weaponry: Due to his multiple incarnations and having memories of all of his past lives, Khufu/Hall has become proficient in many types of weaponry. As a result, he is an expert with a wide array of archaic weapons from his past lives, including battle axes, maces, swords, spears and shields. As Nighthawk, he was a marksman with a pistol. In addition, Carter Hall is sometimes depicted handling futuristic technology. He has used a Thanagarian ship called "The Brontadon", and during the Rann-Thanagar War used Rannian hard-light armor. Hawkman is even depicted using technologically advanced laser weaponry in a possible future.
- Reincarnated Knowledge: Due to his many lives and vast amount of experience, Hall is a brilliant tactician, fierce warrior, and strong leader. At the same time, however, he is extremely intelligent (considered a leader in his field of history and archaeology) and expresses a deeply romantic side in relation to his beloved soul-mate. Often, Carter finds it difficult to balance between the "barbarian" of his past lives and the "gentleman" of his current incarnation. He also has an extremely innovative approach to science and technology.
- In the summer of 1942, Hawkman invented a method to store complete meals in tiny capsules. The meals then expanded to full size, when a special solution was applied. This technology was used by the Justice Society on a famine-relief mission to Europe, during WWII.
- In the late 1940s, Hawkman invented a bubble-shaped antigravity flying vehicle. Little if any use was made of this vehicle afterward, and it was not commercialized or mass-produced.
- Early in his career, Hawkman encountered and defeated another inventor working with antigravity technology, and confiscated one of his gravity-inducing weapons, for future study.
- Tactical Analysis
- Curse: Every time he is born again he must wander the earth till he meets again with his eternal soul mate. But as soon as they form a deep bond, they are destined to be murdered again and it continues.
- Nth Metal Belt & Boots: Hawkman flies by way of an anti-gravity Belt & boots constructed from Thanagarian Nth Metal its abilities are controlled mentally.
- Nth Metal Enhancement: The metal is psycho-reactive, responding to its bearer's thoughts and in its base form has a number of electromagnetic/gravitational properties. Among these is the ability to generate a heat aura, sufficient to keep a man alive under Arctic conditions.
- Nth Metal-induced Enhanced Strength: Carter's strength level is increased by the Nth metal. Carter is capable of ripping a car door of its hinges with little effort.
- Nth metal-induced Enhanced Durability: Hawkman is able to withstand blows from superhuman opponents as powerful as Black Adam.
- Enhanced Vision: Hawkman can observe objects at great distances or at speeds faster than can be perceived by the normal eye. He once spotted Flash vibrating through a wall before he was visible. He can also count the flapping of a hummingbird's wings.
- Accelerated Healing
- Artificial Feathered Wings: His wings, which are laced with Nth metal, allow him to control navigation and guidance during flight, though they can be "flapped" through use of shoulder motions. He can reach an airspeed of 225 miles per hour, if not better.
- Antigravity Flying Vehicle: He invented a flying machine, but made little if any use of it afterward.
- Archaic Weaponry: Hawkman has access to an entire arsenal of medieval weaponry. His favored weapons are the mace and flail.
- Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-Two era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985–86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character's Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and no longer apply.
- He has in the past had an antagonistic relationship with fellow JLA member Green Arrow.
- Carter's closest friend is Ray Palmer, the second Atom.
- Thanagarian spy Fel Andar took on the name Hawkman while Carter was fighting Ragnarok with the JSA, claiming falsely to be Carter's previously unsuspected second son "Carter Hall, Jr" and duping a woman named Sharon Parker into becoming his partner. The Golden Eagle was actually their son.
- Charley Parker - the Golden Eagle, once claimed to be the son of Carter Hall, but this was later proven to be false.
- Hawkman Recommended Reading
- 830 Appearances of Carter Hall (New Earth)
- 260 Images featuring Carter Hall (New Earth)
- 26 Quotations by or about Carter Hall (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Carter Hall (New Earth)
- Hawkman at dccomics.com
- Hawkman (Carter Hall) at Wikipedia.org
- Hawkman at Wikipedia.org
- Hawkman Profile by Alan Kistler
- Hawkman Timeline
- Hawkfan Homepage
- Hawkworld at the DCU Guide
- Hawkman at TV Tropes
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