Art by Adam Kubert

Apr 24, 2019

Hawkgirl Day 2019

Art by Jim Lee
Happy Hawkgirl Day to the Hawkgirl fans all over the world! Ever since Hawkworld started a few years ago, we have celebrated April 25th as Hawkgirl Day. Today I want to look back at how my fascination with Hawkgirl started, talk about how she has evolved, and then share the reason why I am so excited about her future.When I fell in awe with Hawkman back in 1977, I was immediately interested in all things Hawkman. One of the things that took my interest in Hawkman to a whole other level was when I discovered that he had a wife and a partner named Hawkgirl. While all the other superhero spouses were on the sidelines or off doing their own thing, Hawkman and Hawkgirl were equals, members in the Justice League, always together, and always looking out for one another. This set them apart and made them special to me. A true DC Comics superhero couple if there ever was one. 
Art by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez
When Gardner Fox created Shiera Sanders in Flash Comics No. 1 (released November 10, 1939) and then had her become Hawkgirl in All-Star Comics No. 5 (released April 25, 1941), he made have intended for her to be just a sidekick to Hawkman. But as her story continued and we entered the Silver Age of comics, Hawkgirl, now Shayera Hol, became a superhero in her own right. But the Hawks were always together, always fighting for the same cause, and always heading in the same direction. 
Art by David Hillman
But since the mid-90s, the Hawks have been ripped apart. We've seen Shayera Thal join the Detroit police force after Katar Hol was sent into the Hawk Realm. We were introduced to Kendra Saunders who wanted nothing to do with Carter Hall. Shayera Hol fell in love with John Stewart on the animated TV series. We ever so briefly saw Shiera Saunders return in the Blackest Night series, only to see her quickly erased the next year. We were introduced to a new Shayera Thal in the Savage series, only to see her die after a few issues. There was a new version of Hawkgirl named Kendra Munoz-Saunders over on Earth 2, but Hawkman never showed up. A new Kendra Saunders has arrived in the new Justice League series, but she seems more interested in the Martian Manhunter. 

Art by Jorge Jimenez
For fans of the Hawkman-Hawkgirl partnership, it has been disappointing to see how the relationship has been portrayed. The partnership which was once the most solid, unbreakable, reassuring relationship in comics has become either forgotten by veteran fans or unrecognizable by the younger. There are fans who want Hawkman and Hawkgirl to be split up, for each to become a superhero in their own right, without the help of the other. That's understandable. But for a fan who saw their relationship as a strength and something beautiful to see, it's been a bit disheartening.

From Hawkman Vol. 4 No. 1 (2002)
Currently, Hawkgirl (Kendra Saunders) is on her own in the Justice League. She has been a central figure in the scheme of things since Scott Snyder's Metal series in 2017. She has different powers from Hawkman, and seems to have her eyes on John J'onzz. Hawkman (Carter Hall) is in his own series, occasionally thinking of Shiera, but seems to have a platonic relationship with Kendra.
From Justice League No. 14 (2018)
 However, I am currently very excited about the presence of Hawkgirl in Hawkman's life. My enthusiasm and hope for Hawkgirl come from Hawkman No. 7 (released in December 2018) by Robert Venditti. In this issue, we see the origin of Hawkman. His first name was Ktar, the general of a horde called the Deathbringers. They appear to have been created to serve an evil entity. Their mission is to invade one planet after another, killing as many as they can, sacrificing lives to the entity until it is strong enough to enter this dimension. Ktar is starting to question his purpose when he meets a red-haired woman. She begins to appear before him. No matter which planet they are on, she is there watching him. It seems that she slowly breaks him down and gives him the resolve to rebel against the evil that he has helped spread. While stopping the Deathbringers, Ktar is mortally wounded. She appears before him once again, takes his hand and says "No one deserves to die alone." 
From Hawkman Vol. V No. 7 (2018)
We then see Ktar transported to a place covered with the skulls of those he killed. A bright entity gives him the power to reincarnate and atone for his sins until he saves as many lives as he took. This starts the story of Hawkman. 
We're left with the question; who was that red-haired woman? We never learned her name, and she has not appeared since. But I believe this is Venditti's way of making Hawkgirl/Hawkwoman something greater than she has ever been. While Ktar served the dark side (forgive me, Star Wars fans), this woman served the good entity. She may have existed longer than Ktar. Or better yet, she may be the entity that gave Ktar his ability to reincarnate. After Ktar was impaled, she said, "Warrior, your pain is gone." Perhaps she had the power to take away his pain. After giving him the ability to live time and time again, perhaps she joined him in some of his lives, fighting alongside him, helping him to fulfill his destiny. This would be an amazing, incredible, and stunning way to bring Shiera back into Carter's life. She would be something good, a presence to help Hawkman overcome his evil past and the source of his power as a superhero. 
We don't know how Venditti will reintroduce Hawkgirl/Hawkwoman into Hawkman's life, but I believe it has already begun. Venditti has mentioned that he has been thinking about Hawkgirl before the Hawkman series started, and eventually plans to bring her back. As the series continues, we will eventually find out her own amazing origin. 
Art by Ed Coutts
Since we started celebrating Hawkgirl Day in 2016, we have seen Hawkgirl brought back in a big way in the Metal series (2017-2018), the Justice League series (2018-), and now I believe we are on our way to seeing an incredible new story about Hawkgirl. There are also rumors about a Hawkman/Hawkgirl movie in the plans as well. Hawkgirl is soaring high again, and she is taking her rightful place once again as one of the main characters in the DC Universe. Here's to good times ahead! 

2 comments:

  1. Great write-up, Tim! Long live Hawkgirl and Hawkwoman!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for this post.
    I hope we get to see Shiera someday again.

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