by Mario Di Giacomo
Welcome to Vanishing Point, a monthly column about the more outré
continuity problems in the DC Universe, and my personal *non-canon* attempts
to make sense out of them.
Unfortunately, my original plan, which was to show how the Hawkworld mini could have occurred before Katar Hol's first chronological appearance, was basically made impossible by the Hawkworld ongoing pity about that. It was shaping up nicely.
Hence, I'm forced to accept the DC line on the subject. Special thanks to Sean Macdonald, whose Hawkman FAQ supplied much of the data below.
In the beginning there was Prince Khufu Kha-taar, his girlfriend Chay-ara, and a fellow named Hastur. The prince was the latest of a long line of hawk avatars, and was contacted by the Hawkgod (who may or may not be the same as the Egyptian god Horus), and given wings of Night Metal, allowing him to save his girl from Hastur, killing him in the process. However, in one of those nasty death curses, Hastur decreed that they would meet again, in future incarnations.
Now, the Hawkgod created several other avatars over the intervening centuries, none of whom went by the name of Hawkman, and most of whom were killed by Vandal Savage.
Eventually, the prince reincarnated as archaeologist Carter Hall, who discovered the wings, met Shiera (his reincarnated Significant Other, and eventual wife), and became the Golden Age Hawkman (while Shiera became Hawkgirl). Hastur showed up too, of course.
Now, this is where it gets complicated. One of Carters best friends was Perry Carter, who was in reality Paran Katar of Thanagar, an alien scientist/sorcerer. Perhaps inspired by his friends heroic career (which lasted nearly forty years the Hallss aging was slowed in the forties.) Paran started research in an attempt to duplicate the Nth metal process in order to found a corps of winged policemen (The Wingmen) back home.
Unfortunately, perhaps because Carter was still alive, the only way he could make it work was to somehow imprison the Hawkgod, and use the resulting energies to empower the antigravity technology. Along the way, he married a Cherokee woman, eventually returning with their son to Thanagar.
Meanwhile, Carter and Shiera joined the Justice Society of America and the All-Star Squadron. Hawkman served as JSA chairman for much of its history. Their son, Hector, used some of the Night Metal (which the Halls called Nth metal) to become the hero/villain Silver Scarab.
When the new Silver Age heroes formed the JLA, Hawkman joined, serving as a bridge between the heroes of the past and present. Thanagarian teleport tubes, a gift from Paran, soon became a staple of JLA technology.
Then came Crisis. Whatever happened happened, and during a memorial ceremony honoring fallen heroes, the JSA was trapped in a pocket dimension, doomed to fight the Norse Raganarok for all of time. (apparently a year or two. J ).
It's probable that at this time, Carter ceased to be a hawk avatar. Since the Hawkgod was no longer on Earth, he chose a Thanagarian as his new avatar Katar Hol, the son of Paran Katar.
Now, Katar had become a Wingman, but was unfortunately the Thanagarian equivalent of a dirty cop. After a run in with a woman named Shayera Thal, and an even dirtier cop named Byth, Katar found himself exiled to a small island on Thanagar. It's likely his change of heart occurred simultaneously with the passing of the hawk mantle, due to Carter's imprisonment.
Sometime during the intervening ten years, the Thanagarians sent a spy, Fel Andar, who showed up soon after Carter disappeared, claiming to be Carter Hall Jr. Along with an earthwoman named Sharon (who played Hawkwoman to his Hawkman) he served with various incarnations of the JLA, only to be revealed as a spy during the Invasion (in which Thanagar participated). Fel slew Sharon, but was forced back to Thanagar.
Meanwhile Katar was rescued from his exile, and began to do charity work in Downside (the Thanagarian slums) much as his father had done before him. There, he met a Wingman (Wingwoman?) named Shayera Thal, the daughter of the original. After exposing Byth's corruption, the Thanagarians honored them, giving them the right to wear winged helmets, so it was only natural that when Byth was tracked to Earth, they were sent to capture him, a mission they completed with complete success.
As part of Thanagar's diplomatic relations with Earth, they were invited to stay. As Hawkman and Hawkwoman, they settled in Chicago. Political upheavals back home (including the formation of a Hawkman Corps, supposedly an elite force of Wingmen, but in actuality more elitist than elite), led to them breaking ties with their homeworld, even going as far as changing to new, red costumes.
They fled to Netherworld, a metahuman community in Chicago, and after a battle with Count Viper, vanished. Six months later, a new Hawkman arose, dressed in a black costume. He was revealed to be Katar, who had been brought to his mother by Carter Hall (who had returned from Limbo earlier), who had trained him in Cherokee magic.
Then the Hawkgod escaped, nearly destroying Thanagar. Katar's personality changed for the worse, as did Shayera's. The Thanagarian wings stopped working (although it's unclear whether or not the Night Metal wings functioned.)
When the Hawkgod arrived on Earth, Katar battled it, with the Halls at his side. The upshot of the battle was that Katar merged with both Halls, becoming the ultimate hawk avatar, with real wings, and access to the memories of every hawk avatar in history.
Katar found himself battling other animal avatars due to the machinations of Count Viper, now a snake avatar. After a visit to the ruins of Thanagar, Hawkman returned to Earth, only to have the spirits of the other avatars awakened by the demonic being Neron. The madness proved to be almost uncontrollable, so Katar agreed to be cast into limbo (perhaps the same dimension that the Hawkgod had been trapped in earlier?) by a spell cast by the Atlantean sorcerer Arion, where he (and the Halls) remain today.
Simple, isn't it? Now, apparently Shayera Thal wasn't an avatar, so she's still around. Of course, the wings don't work anymore, since the Hawkgod is free, but it's important to remember that Carter Hall's wings worked differently. With a little bit of work, she could become Hawkwoman again.
In the alternate future of Kingdom Come, which may very well be the true DC future (Shyeah! Right!), the spirit of Khufu returns in the body of the Hawkgod as the newest Hawkman. Unfortunately, he's not immune to atomic bombs, so the job is still available.
Oh yes the angel Zauriel was in the running to become the new Hawkman, but apparently the Powers That Be changed their minds. There are occasional hints that DC has "plans" for Hawkman, but no mention was made in the recent '98 preview, so it's not going to happen soon.
Personally, I think that the whole avatar mess is a good candidate for the Cosmic Reset Button, but that's just me.
Next Issue: Good question tune in and find out. :)
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This piece is © 1998 by Mario Di Giacomo.
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