So, I would usually start with the character’s origin and history. However, I’m going to preempt that and be honest with you: Hawkman’s is a complete mess. If you read my Hal Jordan entry yesterday, you know that’s saying something for me.
There’s the pre-New 52 origin(s) and the New 52 origin. The old DC Universe origin involved reincarnations and multiple iterations based on a curse from back when Hawkman was an Egyptian pharaoh named Prince Khufu. He found an alien spacecraft and something something Hawk God something something curses something Hath-Set something we found a way to tie Black Adam into this origin.
The New 52 origin is simply that he is an amnesiac alien warrior from the planet Thanagar. I like the New 52 version far more for its simplicity, even if it kind of reduced Hawkgirl to a part of Hawkman’s backstory (and also blonde for some reason?).
In the old DC Universe, Khufu reincarnated in the present as archaeologist Carter Hall aka Hawkman was a founding member of the Justice Society and served with them for many years. He also spent some time with the Justice League. He later died and became reincarnated as Katar Hol, a Thanagarian police officer. He later reincarnated again as Carter Hall. He was killed during the Blackest Night, but was brought back by the White Lantern entity living within Earth. He then became the Air Elemental along with Hawkgirl during the Brightest Day.
In the New 52, his origins were compressed a lot. He was originally Katar Hol, a Thanagarian warrior. He stole the Nth metal that made up his armor and weaponry from the Thanagarian government when it started showing signs of totalitarianism. He hid away on Earth and lost his memory. He took on the identity of an archaeologist and became Carter Hall. He used his old hawk suit to become the super hero Hawkman. He later became tired of being a hero and attempted to destroy the suit. The alien Nth metal reacted in an unexpected way and melded itself to Carter. This gave him the ability to manifest the wings, armor, and an assortment of melee weaponry at will. He later learned of his alien origins when Thanagar came to Earth in search of the stolen Nth metal.
I like Hawkman for similar reasons that I like Hawk (ironically). He is perpetually angry and never does a thing to hide it. He is brutal with his justice and doesn’t shy away from killing when it seems necessary. He also has a sense of responsibility. He doesn’t really like being a super hero, and has even attempted to quit. However, he feels like it’s his duty and has continued onward. He feels a need to protect the innocent, even if the innocents can get on his last damn nerve.
The only one to ever get through his anger is Shayera Hall, his one true love. Also Kendra Saunders, her reincarnation/niece, but that takes some of the romanticism out of it, doesn’t it? Also, it’s a little weird.
As you can assuredly tell by now, I’m not a fan of many of the stories told about Hawkman. However, it’s a testament to how much this character appeals to me that I still like him so much in spite of the weird origins and stories.
He’s a raging hero sworn to protect the innocence of his adopted homeworld of Earth, and he has no patience for your stupid crap. He’s Hawkman, the Winged Warrior!
That’s it for now. Come back tomorrow for the sharp and sharply-dressed Number 2!