Hawkman II + Hawkgirl II aka Hawkwoman I

Pre-Crisis/Earth-One

Created by Gardner Fox and Joe Kubert

Written by Aaron Severson
Special thanks to Dark Mark's Indexing Domain and the JLA Satellite

NAME + ALIASES:
Katar Hol

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Paran Katar (father, deceased?), Shayera Hol (wife)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Justice League of America

FIRST APPEARANCE:
The Brave and the Bold #34 (Feb./March 1961)

NAME + ALIASES:
Shayera Hol (nee Thal)

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Katar Hol (husband), Rhon Du (ancestor)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Justice League of America

FIRST APPEARANCE:
As Hawkgirl: The Brave and the Bold #34 (Feb./March 1961)
As Hawkwoman: World's Finest Comics #272 (Oct. 1981)

History

After the success of the new Flash and Green Lantern, DC editor Julius Schwartz, writer Gardner Fox, and artist Joe Kubert revived another Golden Age hero: Hawkman. While the Silver Age Hawkman and Hawkgirl looked almost the same as their Golden Age counterparts, they had a new origin that cast them as Katar and Shayera Hol, married police officers from the planet Thanagar. This version of Hawkman (subsequently established as existing on Earth-One) later became a member of the Justice League of America, eventually joined by Hawkgirl, who was more appropriately renamed "Hawkwoman" in 1981.

Although the Hawks' own book didn't survive the sixties, Katar and Shayera survived in a nearly uninterrupted stream of backup features and guest appearances, eventually regaining their own ongoing series shortly after the Crisis. Their pre-Crisis history (which confusingly lasted three years into the post-Crisis era) was overwritten by the 1989 series Hawkworld. » SEE: Hawkman III and Hawkwoman. This profile describes the Earth-One (aka pre-Hawkworld) Hawkman and Hawkwoman.

Interstellar Policemen

Katar and Shayera Hol travel to Earth to catch the Thanagarian criminal called Byth. FromThe Brave and the Bold #34 (1961); reprinted art by Joe Kubert.

Earth-One's Katar Hol and Shayera Thal were natives of Thanagar, a planet in the Polaris system, some 434 light years from Earth. While still a teenager, Katar earned widespread acclaim after using an anti-gravity belt and mechanical wings invented by his father, ornithologist Paran Katar, to defeat the alien Manhawks then terrorizing Thanagar. After that incident, the government of Thanagar adopted Paran's equipment (including the hawk-like mask he had created to protect Katar from the Manhawks' deadly eye-beams) for a new global "Hawk police," the Wingmen. (Brave and the Bold #43)

(The term "Wingmen" was originally applied only to lower-ranking members of the Hawk police, the equivalent of beat cops, who had a distinct helmet style and lacked Katar and Shayera's space-survival enhancements. (World's Finest #269) By the second Hawkman ongoing series, the term Wingmen had been applied (presumably retroactively) to the entire Hawk police force.)

Katar was an early recruit to the Wingmen — the first, by some accounts — and earned many awards and commendations; he was one of only two officers to earn the vaunted "honor wings." He originally worked alone, but during his investigation of the Rainbow Robbers, he was assigned a partner: Shayera Thal, then a rookie officer. The two soon fell in love and were later married. (Brave and the Bold #42)

Katar was eventually promoted to district commander of the Thanagarian capital, Thanaldar, reporting to Hawk police chief Andar Pul. (Brave and the Bold #42) Not long after that, he and Shayera were sent to Earth in pursuit of Byth, an escaped criminal whose use of an experimental drug gave him shape-changing abilities.

Arriving on Earth, Katar and Shayera used their Thanagarian Absorbacon to familiarize themselves with Terran customs and approached Midway City Police Commissioner George Emmett, introducing themselves and explaining their mission. Emmett helped the Hols arrange local cover identities as Carter and Shiera Hall and got them jobs as directors and curators for the Midway City Metropolitan Museum. While in their Hawk police duty uniforms, the couple dubbed themselves Hawkman and Hawkgirl.

After Hawkman and Hakwgirl apprehended Byth and sent him back to Thanagar for prosecution, Emmett asked the Hawks to remain on Earth to assist the Midway City police. Katar and Shayera applied for detached duty from the Wingmen, ostensibly to study Terran "police methods." At first, no one on Earth but Emmett was aware of the Hawks' extraterrestrial origins. (Brave and the Bold #34)

The Hawks soon made a name for themselves defeating menaces like Matter-Master, the Shadow-Thief, and I.Q. Hawkman and Hawkgirl also met and worked with Adam Strange (Mystery in Space #87 and 90), the Atom (The Atom v.1 #7), Aquaman (Brave and the Bold #51), and Zatanna. (Hawkman v.1 #4)

Joining the Justice League

Hawkman is offered membership in the Justice League. From Justice League of America #31 (1964); art by Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs.
Hawkman and the Atom begin working as a team. From The Atom and Hawkman #39 (1968); art by Murphy Anderson and Joe Giella.
Hawkman is reinstated as a member of the Justice League. From Justice League of America #117 (1975); art by Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin.
Hawkman and Hawkgirl agonize over the League's rule that bars membership from anyone who duplicates the super-powers of an existing member (Shayera is later elected regardless). From Justice League of America #146 (1977); art by Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin.
Shayera's breaking point. From World's Finest Comics #272 (1981); art by Alex Saviuk and Rodin Rodriguez.
Hawkwoman leaves her husband. From World's Finest Comics #274 (1981); art by Alex Saviuk and Rodin Rodriguez.

Later that year, Hawkman was invited to join the Justice League of America, (Justice League of America #31) although the League initially did not extend the invitation to Hawkgirl, claiming their bylaws prohibited it. She played a role in many JLA adventures anyway and was formally admitted several years later, shortly after the League's second battle with the Construct. (Justice League of America #146) By mutual agreement, most of the JLA's members originally did not know each other's secret identities, but after the Key forced the League to temporarily disband, Hawkman and Hawkgirl used the Absorbacon to learn their comrades' real names. (Justice League of America #41)

Despite several interruptions, Hawkman and Hawkgirl were JLA stalwarts for many years and even contributed some Thanagarian technology to the JLA satellite, including the teleportation system (based on the Thanagarian "relativity beam"). (Justice League of America #78)

The Hawks were on generally good terms with their JLA comrades, although Hawkman was sometimes at odds with Green Arrow's increasingly anti-authoritarian attitude. Hawkman was among the members who voted for the expulsion of the Flash after he was charged with murder in the death of the Reverse-Flash, (Flash v.1 #237) a decision Katar later regretted. (Hawkman Special)

The Hawks finally resigned from the League in the wake of the Martian invasion (Justice League of America #228-230), unwilling to make the full-time commitment Aquaman demanded. (JLofA Annual #2)

The Equalizing Plague

Hawkman had briefly resigned from the JLA several earlier after the Hawks were ordered back to Thanagar, (Justice League of America #109) which had fallen victim to an alien plague unleashed by a being called the Equalizer that caused all Thanagarians to become equal (and equally mediocre) in physical strength, intellect, and even imagination. (#117) Although Katar was cured, defeated the Equalizer with the help of the JLA, and eventually rescued Shayera, the "equalizing plague" persisted, taking a devastating toll on Thanagarian society. (#119)

Thanagar later received a partial cure for the plague thanks to the exiled alien monarch Hyathis, who took advantage of her newfound popularity to claim dictatorial control of Thanagar and launch a war against the planet Rann, then under the domination of Kanjar Ro. The conflict between Rann and Thanagar was finally stopped by Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and Adam Strange, but while Kanjar Ro was deposed, the Hawks were forced to leave Hyathis in power on Thanagar and accept exile on Earth. (Showcase #101-103)

Hawkgirl was later forced to return to Thanagar to seek medical treatment for Hawkman, who had been poisoned by Lord Insectus. On Thanagar, they learned that Hyathis was about to launch an armada to conquer Earth (World's Finest #268-270), but the Hawks were able to stop the attack force by trapping it in hyperspace. (#272)

During the abortive Thanagarian invasion, Shayera changed her heroic name from Hawkgirl to Hawkwoman. After the invasion, she left Katar, frustrated at years of deferring to his decisions, and departed to free the Thanagarian fleet from hyperspace. (World's Finest #274)

After receiving a message that civil war had broken out on Thanagar, Hawkman recruited Superman and Batman to help him overthrow Hyathis and turn her over to the resistance. (World's Finest #278) Hawkman then turned down an offer to become the new ruler of Thanagar (#279) and, after a lengthy search, was finally reunited with Hawkwoman, who had succeeded in sending the lost Thanagarian fleet back home. (#282)

The Shadow War

Katar and Shayera later discovered that not all Thanagarians had abandoned Hyathis' ambitions of conquest. A group of Thanagarian infiltrators led by Fell Andar attempted to neutralize the Hawks to pave the way for a new invasion of the Earth, murdering Katar and Shayera's human friend Mavis Trent and nearly killing Shayera. The Hawks were forced to destroy their own starship to prevent Fell Andar's men from crashing it into the city of Detroit. Katar and Shayera escaped via a relativity beam, but Fell Andar's men were killed and Andar himself was left embedded in a cavern wall. (Shadow War of Hawkman #1-4) Afterwards, Hawkman made peace with the spirits of the dead Thanagarians with the unlikely assistance of his old enemy, the Gentleman Ghost. (Hawkman Special)

Despite Fell Andar's defeat, the Thanagarian infiltration was only stymied, not stopped. The Thanagarians had a secret weapon: the Absorbacon, which was capable of reading even the subconscious thoughts of almost any non-Thanagarian mind. Fearing that their human friends might become unwitting spies if they knew the truth, Katar and Shayera opted to keep the "shadow war" a secret, even after Superman almost fell victim to a Thanagarian "thrill-killer" assassin. That decision put the Hawks at odds with their former JLA comrades, who were puzzled by Katar and Shayera's sudden evasiveness. (DC Comics Presents #95)

After the Crisis

The Earth-One Hawks were initially unaffected by the Crisis, although their struggle against the Thanagarians' sub rosa invasion continued. Not long after the Crisis, Katar and Shayera's secret identities were publicly revealed — along with the fact that the were aliens, something that had not been widely known outside the JLA. (Hawkman v.2 #1-2) The Hawks' few remaining allies included the Gentleman Ghost and George Emmett, now retired, who were both immune to the Absorbacon.

Hawkman, Hawkwoman, and the Gentleman Ghost finally demolished the Thanagarian infiltration force's Terran headquarters and defeated its leader, Deron Ved. (#10) With the help of Superman, they repelled the Thanagarian invasion fleet only hours before it began orbital bombardment of the Earth. (Action Comics #588) The Hawks then returned with Ved to Thanagar, which they found was now a military dictatorship ruled by a cadre of generals in the name (but not the presence) of Hyathis. (Hawkman v.2 #11) Katar and Shayera defeated the generals and Katar once again refused an offer to become the ruler of Thanagar, leaving his father's old friend Rul Pintar and the Wingmen in charge. (#12)

Returning to Earth, Hawkman and Hawkwoman allied themselves the new Justice League during the battle with the Manhunters (Millennium #5, Justice League v.2 #10) and briefly joined the League at the urging of Batman. (#19) They also aided the Terran resistance to the Dominator-led alien invasion. (Animal Man #6)

Soon after that, Hawkman and Hawkwoman's post-Crisis history was belatedly overwritten and they were replaced by their New Earth counterparts. (Hawkworld v.1 #1)

Continuity Notes

Despite its radical reimagining of Katar Hol's origin, the 1989 Hawkworld miniseries ends where their origin from Brave and Bold #34 begins, which might have allowed for at least the broad outlines of Katar and Shayera's previous history to remain in continuity. That possibility was undone, however, by the editorial decision to launch a Hawkworld ongoing series as a direct continuation of the mini-series, and set in "the present." The Hawkworld series also considerably refashioned post-Crisis versions of characters like Hyathis and Kanjar Ro, which were largely incompatible with their pre-Crisis incarnations.

The preference for Hawkworld continuity forced a cumbersome series of late post-Crisis retcons to explain the Hawks' membership in the original JLA (which was later assigned to the Golden Age Hawkman and Hawkgirl) and those recent post-Crisis appearances. The Shadow War of Hawkman mini-series and most of the events of the second Hawkman series were completely removed from continuity and the Hawks' post-Crisis guest appearances in Justice League, Millennium, Superman, etc. were attributed to a Thanagarian spy — the post-Crisis version of Fell Andar, now spelled "Fel Andar" — who posed as the son of the Golden Age Hawkman and Hawkgirl. » SEE: Hawkman III/Hawkwoman II for more about these retcons.

(The belated erasure of the Silver Age Hawkman and Hawkwoman did avoid one minor continuity snarl: trying to explain how in the reformed universe, Katar and Shayera Hol had ended up with the same names and similar professions as the Golden Age Hawks, which in pre-Crisis continuity was just one of the many odd parallels between Earth-One and Earth-Two.)

Even before Hawkworld, Katar Hol's age was the subject of a minor retcon. The early stories in Brave and the Bold indicated that he was about 28 years old when the Hawks first returned to Thanagar (Brave and the Bold #43) and said he had joined the Hawk police 10 years earlier, shortly after his 18th birthday. Shadow War of Hawkman #1 later established that he was actually around 100 Terran years old, attributing his youthful appearance to Thanagarians' great longevity; Shayera was much younger than he. Several of Hawkman's earlier Silver Age and Bronze Age appearances were also removed from continuity at that time, including the later issues of the first Hawkman series (#22-27).

The Hawkman and Hawkgirl who appeared in the Super Friends comic book were very similar to the Earth-One characters, but those stories are not generally considered to be part of Earth-One continuity, nor is the 2000 miniseries Legend of the Hawkman, which presents modernized versions of the Silver Age Hawks closer in spirit to their earliest appearances.

+ Powers

Hawkman and Hawkwoman's principal power was the ability to fly using their mechanical wings and anti-gravity belts. The Hawks could only actually fly by using both devices together; without the belts, they could only glide, but the belts alone provided no control over speed or direction. (The Shadow War of Hawkman and Hawkman v.2 imply that the Hawks' masks contained cybernetic devices necessary for control of the wings, but that isn't consistent with most earlier Hawkman stories, some of which showed the Hawks flying without their masks.) The Hawks had extensive training in acrobatics and aerial combat, allowing them to take full advantage of the agility and mobility provided by their wings.

Katar and Shayera had superhuman senses, although their acuity fluctuated over time due to atmospheric differences between Earth and Thanagar (and the inconsistent memories of different writers). The Hawks had great though not superhuman strength that could be effectively boosted using their anti-gravity belts. Like all senior officers of the Wingmen, Katar and Shayera's bodies were augmented to enable them to survive for brief periods in open space (although they still needed to breathe) and endure extreme temperatures. The Hawks were also exceptionally resistant to friction heat; some accounts suggest that they could actually survive orbital reentry without other protection.

Thanks to their use of the Absorbacon, the Hawks possessed a wide range of knowledge of Terran history and culture. Not all of that knowledge was consciously available to them, but it did (among other things) allow them to speak most terrestrial languages and communicate with Terran birds.

Hawkman and Hawkwoman came to Earth in a Thanagarian patrol cruiser capable of faster-than-light speeds. The ship, which was armed with energy weapons and contained a variety of Thanagarian weaponry and equipment far beyond anything available on Earth, was normally left in a parking orbit, cloaked from Terran sensors. (The Hawks' original ship was destroyed during the first attempted Thanagarian invasion, but they later commandeered several others.) Concerned about the potential consequences of advanced Thanagarian equipment falling into the wrong hands, Katar and Shayera generally used it only sparingly, instead employing a variety of archaic Terran weapons such as axes, maces, slings, and bows. Early on, the Hawks borrowed their weaponry from the Midway Museum, but they later used Thanagarian technology to create their own duplicates.

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:  

  • The Brave and the Bold #34–36, 42–44, 51, 70, 139, 164, 186
  • DC Comics Presents #11, 37, 74, 95
  • Showcase #101–103

» SERIES:

  • Hawkman v.1, 27 issues (1964–68), becomes…
  • Atom and Hawkman #39–45 (1968–69)
  • Justice League of America #31–228, Annual #1–2 (1964–84)
  • Detective Comics #428, 434, 446, 452, 454-455, 467, 479-480, 500 (1972–81)
  • World's Finest Comics #256-261, 263-270, 272-282 (1979–82)
  • The Shadow War of Hawkman, 4-issue mini-series (1985)
  • Hawkman Special (1986)
  • Hawkman v.2, 17 issues (1986–87)