I have always loved DC comics. Ever since I was a child and watched Super Friends, I have loved the DC superheroes. One of my all time favorites is Hawkman. Now, I must confess, few characters have as complicated as a history as the famed Carter Hall. However, the concept is classic, and one of DC’s best.
The story starts back in Flash Comics 1. In the original version of the story, Carter Hall fell in love with the lovely Shiera Saunders. They soon discovered their love was timeless. Thousands of years before, Carter was known as Khufu. He and his wife Chay-Ara were murdered by the evil Hath-set. However, due to a curse and a fabled element called Nth Metal, they were locked in an endless cycle of rebirth. They would meet and fall in love, sometimes remembering their past lives, while in other lifetimes, they didn’t. Each time, though, they would die violently at the hands or auspices of Hath-set, who also was forced to be reborn. Right before the Second World War, Carter discovered the truth of their origins and Nth Metal, which allowed him to fly and some degree of strength beyond that of mortal men. He adopted a costume based on a hawk, and became the Hawkman, who later became the leader of the JSA. Shiera soon designed her own costume and became Hawkgirl. Some of their other lives in the DCU were as the Silent Knight during the Middle Ages and Nighthawk and Cinnamon during the Old West.
Then, during the 1960s, DC decided to revamp their heroes. Gone was the reincarnation angle and instead they became space-cops from the planet Thanagar. Katar Hol and Shayera Hol were married from the start. They had similar powers and costumes to their Earth-2 counterparts, much like Superman and Batman, but had different origins, like Green Lantern and Flash. Still, otherwise, there was little difference. They got a job working in a museum, and used archaic weapons, usually, to fight crime on Earth, and repelled several alien invasions. They became long time members of the JLA.
Sadly, though, the Crisis of Infinite Earths changed all of this. DC decided to reboot several of their big name characters. This included Katar and Shayera. They decided that the couple from Thanagar didn’t come to Earth in time to join the JLA. Also, their homeworld was no longer the utopian vision that was popular during the 60s. Instead it became dystopian, like so many other 1980s sci-fi planets. Katar was no longer the noble hero. Instead, he had the chance to grow as a character into a classic hero. Also, because he wasn’t along to join the Justice League, they decided to have Carter and Shiera join up. This made for an interesting development for the older couple, but cost Katar and Shayera their chance at the big Leagues. Eventually, they did join, but it wasn’t the same thing.
Another problem was the fact that it led to their being two sets of heroes with almost the same costumes and names in the same world at the same time. Thus, there have been several times the Golden Age Hawks have been “permanently retired,” for example in The Last Days of the Justice Society, by Roy Thomas, one of the people most famous for writing them in the Bronze Age of comics. When they returned from that, they were subsequently merged with Katar, during Zero Hour. However, DC decided to have my favorite versions Carter and Shiera return. A few years before the return of the Golden Age Hawks, DC realized they had screwed up Katar, and killed him off, declaring him toxic to creators for a while. A few years later, they killed Shayera also. Sadly, I wonder if the Thangarian versions will ever return.
Now, we have the ancient love of Carter and Shiera back. Sadly, they are not on any team books currently. They are showing up in Brightest Day, but unfortunately this seems to be just a chance to further screw with the origins of the Hawks. I hope DC quickly realizes that it is a classic story as is, and decides to leave it alone. Then, get someone who is willing to write a book about it. I can even settle for the theory that Carter is Conan with wings. Put them back in St. Roch (DC’s version of New Orleans, basically) and let them work at the Stonechat Museum. Have the book mainly focus on the modern day, but once a year, do a “Lives Past” story, like the old “Talking with David” stories from James Robinson’s epic Starman run. Get a talented artist on board too. Throw in the occasional Thanager storyline, until someone comes up with a way to save Katar (which I have already worked out myself), and you have a title that should appeal to most Hawkman fans.