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Hawkman (Carter Hall)

Hawkman: Secret Files & Origins #1 (2002).
Art by Rags Morales.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Flash Comics # 1
(January 1940)
Created by Gardner Fox
Dennis Neville
In-story information
Full name Carter Hall
Team affiliations Justice Society of America
Justice League
All-Star Squadron
Suicide Squad
Wingmen of Thanagar
Black Lantern Corps
Partnerships Hawkgirl
Abilities Nth metal grants:
Flight via artificial feather wings
Enhanced strength and eyesight
Temperature regulation
Limited physical regeneration
Serves as component of his artificial feather wings and archaic weaponry

Hawkman is a fictional character, a superhero who appears in comic books published by DC Comics. Created by Gardner Fox and Dennis Neville, he first appeared in Flash Comics # 1 (January 1940). There are two separate origins for Carter Hall: the Golden Age origin and the Post-Hawkworld (or current) origin.

Fictional character biography

Golden Age origin

In the days of ancient Egypt, Prince Khufu is engaged in a feud with his rival, the Egyptian priest Hath-Set. The priest eventually captures both Khufu and his consort Chay-Ara, and kills them. Millennia later, in 1940, Khufu is reincarnated as American archaeologist Carter Hall, and Chay-Ara as Shiera Sanders. Hath-Set himself is reincarnated as a scientist named Anton Hastor. Upon finding the ancient knife Hath-Set used to kill him, Hall regains his memories of his past life and recognizes Hastor as the reincarnated evil priest.

Using the properties of "Nth metal" to craft a gravity-defying belt, Hall creates wings and a costume, ultimately confronting Hastor as Hawkman after Anton captured Shiera with a spell that drew her to his lair. He also encounters and remembers Shiera during this time. Following Hastor's defeat, the two begin a romance.

Hawkman becomes a charter member of the Justice Society of America, and takes the position of permanent chairman, following the Flash and Green Lantern. Shiera, meanwhile, adopts the identity of Hawkgirl and fights beside Hall throughout the 1940s. In 1942, Carter enlists in the U.S. Army Air Force as an Airman[1] and serves as a pilot with the 1st Interceptor Command during World War II.[2]

Hawkman is JSA chairman in 1951 when the team is investigated by the "Joint Congressional Un-American Activities Committee" (based on the real-life House Un-American Activities Committee) for possible communist sympathies. Congress asks members of the JSA to reveal their identities. The heroes decline, and Hawkman and most of the JSA retire for the bulk of the 1950s.

Carter Hall finds the ancient knife connected to his past life. Interior panel of Flash Comics #1 (1940).
Art by Dennis Neville.

The JSA and Hawkman regroup in the early 1960s following the Flash's meeting with his counterpart on the parallel world Earth-1, the JSA being active on Earth-2. Around this time, the Halls, having married, have a son, Hector. Little is known of Hawkman's activities during the 1960s, other than the JSA's annual meeting with Earth-1's Justice League of America.

In the early 1980s, Hawkman is instrumental in denying his son and other JSA children membership in the JSA, leading directly to the formation of Infinity, Inc.

Following Crisis on Infinite Earths, some of Hall's history was retconned by DC when the parallel worlds were combined into one, but one piece of retroactive continuity was written before Crisis and fills out early Hall history: All-Star Squadron Annual #3 states that during a JSA battle against Ian Karkull, the villain imbued them with energy which retarded their aging, allowing Hall and many others - as well as their spouses - to remain active into the late 20th century without infirmity.

Also, following the Crisis, the Golden Age and the Silver Age Hawkmen lived on the same Earth, until Carter was cast off into Limbo in the Last Days of the Justice Society one-shot.

Originally, the Hawkworld miniseries retold the origins of Katar Hol and Shayera Thal from a modern perspective, but following its success, DC launched a Hawkworld regular series, taking place after the miniseries, resulting in a complete reboot of Hawkman's continuity.

Post-Hawkworld (or current) origin

Much of Carter Hall's post-Hawkworld history is fleshed out in the pages of DC's JSA and Hawkman (vol. 4). These two titles, penned to a great extent by writers David S. Goyer, Geoff Johns, and James Dale Robinson, examine Hall's previous lives.

According to the post-Hawkworld origin, Prince Khufu lives during the reign of Ramesses II in the 19th dynasty of ancient Egypt. Khufu believes that his ka, or soul, will not journey on to the land of the afterlife. Rather, his soul and that of his betrothed, Chay-Ara, are fated to remain in the mortal world.

As prophesied by the wizard Nabu, a spacecraft lands in Egypt. Prince Khufu, Nabu, and the champion Teth-Adam search the desert, finally coming across the remains of a Thanagarian ship styled with a hawk-like motif. Nabu casts a spell translating the strange language of the female space traveler. Just before dying, she whispers the words, "Nth metal", the name of the substance that powered the downed ship.

Teth-Adam lifts the ship back to Khufu's palace, where it is studied inside the Temple of Horus at Erdu. The remaining Nth metal is examined, and its most obvious property proves to be its ability to negate gravity. The remaining sample from the ship is melted and used to create several remarkable devices, including a scarab which allows Khufu to fly, a deadly knife, and a battle glove referred to as the Claw of Horus. However, the metal also strengthens 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 murders the two with the knife of Nth metal, their souls live on in the mortal plane. They are reincarnated over many lifetimes, always finding true love in each other, but cursed to be repeatedly killed at the hands of a reincarnated Hath-Set.

From Khufu to Carter Hall

After his death, Khufu's soul is reincarnated countless times in markedly different eras and locations. Some of his known reincarnated identities have been depicted in Hawkman (vol. 4) and include but are not limited to:

Eventually, the soul of Prince Khufu is reborn as Carter Hall, an archaeologist active during the 1940s. After regaining the memories of his first life in Egypt, Hall uses the hawk motif of the Egyptian God Horus to inspire his role as the original Hawkman.

File:Hawk lives.jpg
Some of Carter Hall's lives and wives. Art by Joe Bennett.

During the same period, his love Chay-Ara is reborn as archaeologist Shiera Saunders. After the two meet and marry, she becomes Hawkgirl, fighting at Carter's side. They become founding members of the Justice Society of America, and Hawkman takes the role of chairman. The pair reduce their activities in the early 1950s but became fully active again in the early 1980s when Hall briefly joins the Justice League of America as a mentor. The two have a son, Hector Hall, who later becomes an incarnation of Doctor Fate. Just following the Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series, Hawkman and the JSA become trapped in a battle in an ever-repeating Ragnarök. Odin tries unsuccessfully to give this repeating Ragnarök to Dream as a trade, noting that one of the fighting JSA team members, Wesley Dodds, the Golden Age Sandman, carries a fragment of Dream's essence (it is established in Sandman #1 that Wesley Dodds' crime-fighting career was in part a side effect of Dream's own imprisonment).

Years after they vanish, Hawkman and the JSA return to the modern day when a primitive but superpowered tribe volunteer to substitute themselves in the Ragnarök cycle. Soon after, however, death finds Carter once again during the events of Zero Hour. He and his wife Shiera merge with Katar Hol and a "hawk god" creature in a new version of Hawkman, attributed to them being fundamentally unstable due to their complex origins as a result of the last Crisis. This individual is active for a brief time but soon loses his sanity and is banished to limbo.

Alive again

Years later, JSA member Kendra Saunders is 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 use Kendra's centuries-old connection to Carter to bring him back to the mortal plane. Following this unorthodox resurrection, Hall retains all the memories of his past lives, as well as those of Katar Hol, the Thanagarian Hawkman. However, Kendra has no interest in renewing the relationship due to her lack of memories of their past time together, and the role as chairman in the JSA goes to Mister Terrific by majority vote (over both Sand and Hawkman) . During the Black Reign storyline, however, Hawkman takes over as chairman to lead the team against Black Adam's recent takeover of Khandaq, but after his actions result in two deaths and their main objective- to bring Adam's team back to America- fails, he is asked to temporarily step down from the JSA.

After defeating Onimar Synn, Hall once again becomes a member of the JSA. Operating both with the JSA as well as with Hawkgirl, Hall embarks on a wide variety of exotic adventures. His quest as a hero takes him from the streets of St. Roch to exotic dimensions and even into outer space as he fights in the Rann-Thanagar War. Following this event Carter stays in space to help mediate the truce on Rann and avenge the murder of Hawkwoman.

As a result, Hawkman is absent during DC Comics' One Year Later event. Hawkman (vol. 4) becomes Hawkgirl at issue #50 and Hawkgirl is left by herself to patrol and protect St. Roch. During the events of the missing year, Hall serves as a member of the Thanagarian police force, attaining the rank of Commissioner.

In 2007, Hall returns to Earth in a 4-part story-arc presented in Hawkgirl #59-60 and JSA Classified #21-22 and appears as an active member of the JSA in the pages of Justice Society of America. This series was canceled with Hawkgirl issue #66 in July 2007.

After that, it was stated that Katar Hol's soul has passed on from the realm of limbo, as have his memories that existed in Carter's mind. Despite this, Carter still existed in a reconstructed version of Katar Hol's body. However, in a Hawkman Special published in August 2008, the mysterious being called Demiurge told Carter Hall that his previous existence as Prince Khufu was all an illusion created by some unknown force. As Demiurge departs, he calls Hawkman "Katar Hol", indicating that Hawkman is in reality Katar Hol who believed he was Carter Hall.

He briefly assisted the Justice League during their battle with the Shadow Cabinet by knocking out Hardware as he tried to flee from the JLA Watchtower with Arthur Light's corpse. In the aftermath of the battle, Carter reunited with Kendra after she was dumped by Red Arrow.

Final Crisis

During the Final Crisis event, Hawkman, like all the other heroes, fights to stop Darkseid from destroying the Multiverse. In an attempt to save civilians, Checkmate creates a dimensional tunnel between universes. It begins breaking down, and Lord Eye tries to close it, which will kill all the people still in the tunnel. Hawkman and Hawkgirl manage to destroy Lord Eye, but are caught in the explosion. In the meantime all the other people are safely transported via a second Boom Tube. This fulfills the prophecy of the Demiurge.[3] While it is implied that Hawkman and Hawkgirl are dead, author Geoff Johns has stated they are alive at the beginning of the upcoming event, the Blackest Night.[4] It is later confirmed in Justice League of America that Hawkgirl is alive, but is hospitalized.

Blackest Night

Main article: Blackest Night

In Blackest Night #1, Kendra is shown having an argument with Hawkman over whether or not to visit Jean Loring's grave with the Atom. As the two heroes quarrel, the reanimated corpses of Ralph and Sue Dibny, now members of the Black Lantern Corps, enter Hawkman's sanctuary. The Black Lanterns attack, Sue impaling Hawkgirl on a spear. Ralph taunts Hawkman, telling him that Hawkgirl never loved him; a claim she refutes with her dying breath. Hawkman is killed shortly afterward, and both heroes are reanimated as Black Lanterns by Black Hand himself.[5]

It was also revealed in Green Lantern #46 that Khufu and Chay-ara's bodies were taken from Earth by the Zamarons and placed in the violet central power battery. Their love is the source of the Star Sapphire's powers. The pair receive black rings during the battle on Zamaron. Their escape from the central power battery causes widespread destruction on the planet, enough for the Star Sapphires to abandon the planet, and sets the Predator free; it does not seem to have affected the Star Sapphires' powers.[6]

During the battle at Coast City, the Atom is chosen by the Indigo Tribe to be more effective against Nekron's forces.[7] The Atom tells Indigo-1 to keep his involvement in the deployment of the troops a secret, and asks that she help him find a way to legitimately resurrect Hawkman and Hawkgirl.[8] In the final battle, Hawkman and Hawkgirl are both resurrected by the white light. Kendra is revealed to be Shiera Hall and remembers all her past lives; she and Carter joyfully reunite.[9]

Brightest Day

Main article: Brightest Day

In the Brightest Day crossover, 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.[10] 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.[11] 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.[12]

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.[13] 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.[14]

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.[15] 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".[16]

The New 52

In the timeline of The New 52, Hall tries to rid himself of his Hawkman armor by burning and burying it in a forest. However, the Nth metal suit re-bonds with him, preventing Hall from escaping his life as Hawkman.[17] It is later revealed that the current Hawkman is actually Katar Hol, with "Carter Hall" being an assumed identity.[citation needed]

Powers and abilities

An expert with archaic weapons. Promotional image for the cover to JSA #23 by Andrew Robinson.

The Nth metal in Hawkman's wings, belt, harness, and boots is controlled mentally and allows him to defy gravity. His wings allow him to control flight, though they can be "flapped" through use of shoulder motions.

Hall's Nth metal also enhances his strength and eyesight, speeds healing, and regulates body temperature, preventing the need for heavy protective clothing while flying at high altitudes. Nth metal is known to affect electromagnetism as well as the strong and weak nuclear forces of the universe, but only if one has the knowledge of how to use it in those ways. It is also mentioned in Hawkman: Secret Files #1 (2002) that Nth metal possesses powers still unknown to Hall.

Due to his multiple incarnations and having the memories of all of them, 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 (Hawkman, vol. 4, #9). Reincarnation has also given Hawkman knowledge of hundreds of languages.

As a result of his many lives and vast amount of experience, Hall is a brilliant tactician, fierce warrior, and strong leader; indeed, during the Public Enemies story arc in the Superman/Batman series, he was selected as the perfect hero to confront Batman, possessing the significant advantage of his flight and strength but otherwise being Batman's equal (although Batman outsmarted Hawkman). 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 soulmate.


He has been characterized in comics as having a quick, fierce temper with adamant views and opinions. Even in the Golden Age, he had no problem blowing up a villain's lair with the villain inside.[18] At the same time, Carter finds it difficult to balance the "savage barbarian" of his past lives with the "gentleman" of his current incarnation.[original research?]

Another prominent aspect of his personality is his staunch Conservative views; this has brought him into conflict with Green Arrow (a liberal) several times. During the miniseries Identity Crisis, it was revealed that the main reason for this animosity was the opposing views that he and Green Arrow took on the mindwipe of Doctor Light, to the point that they came to blows.

It appears, since his rebirth, that Carter Hall has integrated a lot of Katar Hol into his core being. He physically looks like a merger of Katar and himself, while also using the more rugged superhero attire that was a trademark of Katar Hol. Although he has Katar's dark hair, his voice and face appear to be his own as he is easily recognized by Jay Garrick upon return.

Other versions

  • In Mark Waid's Kingdom Come, Carter Hall is portrayed as an anthropomorphized, literal Hawkman, who has become an eco-terrorist in the absence of Superman, wielding a large mace. He dies in a nuclear explosion that kills nearly all the metahumans.
  • In Tangent Comics (now part of the Multiverse as Earth-9) Carter Hall was an architect who attempted to commit suicide, dragging police officer Harvey Dent with him, ultimately triggering Dent's evolution into the Superman.

In other media


  • In The Flash episode "Watching The Detectives," Tina McGee mentions that she is expecting a call from Carter Hall.
File:Smallville Hawkman.jpg
Carter Hall as he appears in Smallville, played by Michael Shanks.
  • Carter Hall appears thrice on Justice League Unlimited, played by James Remar. He is portrayed as an archaeologist who was born Joseph Gardner before changing his name to "Carter Hall" after he discovered an Egyptian temple with a device that he believed allowed him to relive the memories of a deceased Thanagarian warrior who had crash-landed on Earth with his mate, where they were worshiped as gods and used their technology to improve the land. Hall believed himself to be the reincarnation of this warrior, who was murdered when he along with his mate were both poisoned by a rogue official, and Hall also believed that Shayera Hol, aka Hawkgirl of the Justice League, was the reincarnation of his past lover, to the point that he became something of a stalker. Shayera, however, insisted that he had simply believed what he wanted to believe, and that the actual truth was different. In the end, Hall accepted Shayera's reluctance to go with him and he went on his way, continuing to believe that she would one day be with him again. In his second appearance, he is shown as a hero operating out of Midway City (the Silver Age home of Katar Hol on Earth), still infatuated with Shayera, which annoys Green Lantern to no end. When the Shadow Thief captures the Lantern, Carter, Vixen, and Shayera fail to rescue him. The Thief then reveals that GL is also reincarnated from Egypt—as the general who betrayed Katar by seducing Shayera. The Thief also reveals that he is the darker side of the reincarnated Katar, and offers Carter the chance to reclaim Shayera by murdering the Lantern, which he agrees to do - then frees GL and Shayera before forcing the Shadow Thief back into his own body. Shayera insists that the device the Thief used to tell his tale was a defective history log, and cannot be trusted. Carter acknowledges that he cannot force Shayera to accept what he knows as destiny, and leaves. Hawkman reappears briefly in the final episode ("Destroyer") to go out and battle the invading forces of Darkseid.
  • Actor Michael Shanks played Carter Hall in several episodes of seasons nine and ten of Smallville, including the two-hour television movie Absolute Justice (which includes several other members of the Justice Society of America).[19][20] In season 10 of Smallville episode 11, Carter Hall dies at the hands of Slade Wilson. He was buried in Egypt next to his wife and his burial was attended by the Justice League.


Video Games


  1. ^ All-Star Squadron #16 (Dec. 1982)
  2. ^ All-Star Comics #11 (June–July 1942)
  3. ^ Final Crisis #7 (March 2009)
  4. ^ "NYYC: DC Nation". Comic Book Resources. 2009-02-06. Retrieved 2011-04-11. 
  5. ^ Blackest Night #1 (July 2009)
  6. ^ Green Lantern (vol. 4) #46 (September 2009)
  7. ^ Blackest Night #6 (December 2009)
  8. ^ The Atom and Hawkman #46 (January 2010)
  9. ^ Blackest Night #8 (March 2010)
  10. ^ Brightest Day #7 (August 2010)
  11. ^ Brightest Day #13 (November 2010)
  12. ^ Brightest Day #17 (January 2011)
  13. ^ Brightest Day #18 (January 2011)
  14. ^ Brightest Day #19 (February 2011)
  15. ^ Brightest Day #23 (April 2011)
  16. ^ Brightest Day #24 (April 2011)
  17. ^ The Savage Hawkman #1 (September 2011)
  18. ^ All Star Comics #1 (Summer 1940)
  19. ^ Eric Goldman (2009-10-19). "Exclusive: Two of Smallville's Justice Society - TV News at IGN". Retrieved 2011-04-11. 
  20. ^

External links