Today I thought I would briefly talk about the Generations which I use in my reviews and other posts to let the reader know which Hawks they are reading about. Considering how complex some of the Hawk continuity is regarding retcons and what-have-you, keeping track of the heroes of the stories when they were published is useful -- hence why I include it, and this reference.
Keep in mind that when I try to figure out the Retcon Status, if I say "Changed Generation," that means that the story started out with one of these generations and now exists with another. A lot of the Silver Age stories were Retconed to feature the Golden Age Hawks, for instance, after Crisis on Infinite Earths. This is not really an exact science for me, since I am looking at it all after-the-fact, but if one of the hurdles to being a Hawkfan is keeping track of which Hawk is which, then I want to make those hurdles as low as possible. Also, this will not cover any non-"true" Hawks, such as the imposter Fel Andar. Maybe that will be another post?
Golden Age Carter/Golden Age Shiera -- The originals, first appearing in Flash Comics in 1940. Carter Hall is an archeologist, and the reincarnated spirit of the ancient Egyptian Prince Khufu. Shiera Hall-nee-Saunders, his wife, is the reincarnation of Khufu's bride Princess Chay-era. They fight crime using ancient weapons along with the mysterious Nth Metal in their wing harnesses which allow them to fly. Both were eventually members of the Justice Society of America.
Silver Age Katar/Silver Age Shayera -- Possibly the most iconic representation of the Hawks. Katar Hol and Shayera Hol-nee-Thal are a husband-and-wife team of police officers from the planet Thanagar, which orbits the star Polaris. After chasing a Thanagarian criminal to Earth, they stayed and made a life for themselves. They hold the secret identities of Carter and Shiera Hall, curators of the Midway City Museum. They fight crime using both ancient weapons and advanced Thanagarian science, and fly using the Thanagarian Nth Metal in their wing harnesses. The pair can also talk to Earth birds using their *wheet wheet* powers. Both were eventually members of the Justice League of America, and Shiera eventually changed her name to Hawkwoman. Also known as the "Pre-Crisis Hawkman and Hawkgirl."
Modern Katar/Modern Shayera -- Introduced by Tim Truman in the Hawkworld miniseries, these Hawks were a drastic departure from those who had come before them. Katar Hol and Shayera Thal were two "Wingmen" or law enforcement officers from the totaltarian planet Thanagar. After chasing a Thanagarian criminal to Earth, the set up shop in Chicago. Wearing their full Wingman's uniforms, they fought crime with modern weapons, including firearms, in addition to hand-to-hand weapons (including Hawkman's katar sword) and Thanagarian technology. Katar eventually ventured off on his own, and was possessed by the Hawk Avatar, an animal spirit, then driven mad and banished into limbo. Shayera was always known as Hawkwoman, and continued to fight crime until she died during the Rann-Thanagar War. This duo is also known as the "Post-Crisis Hawkman and Hawkwoman."
Kendra -- Kendra Saunders, grand-niece of the Golden Age Shiera, was a troubled woman who committed suicide. When she did, her great-great-aunt's soul entered her body. But the reincarnation did not work correctly, and she did not retain any memories of her past lives. Joined the new version of the Justice Society of America, and eventually partnered with the Modern Carter Hall in St. Roch, Lousiana. She fought crime using ancient weapons and is able to fly thanks to the Thanagarian Nth Metal in her belt. Kendra was murdered by during the Blackest Night event.
Modern Carter -- A reincarnation of the Golden Age Carter Hall, but with a few differences. During a ritual on Thanagar, the soul of Carter Hall was returned to a copy of Katar Hol's body, giving him black hair instead of blonde. Carter would become a mainstay at the Stonechat House museum in St. Roch, Lousiana, as well as become the chairman of the new Justice Society of America. Carter liked to use ancient weapons pretty much exclusively, and flew thanks to the Thanagarian Nth Metal in his wing harness. Carter was murdered at the beginning of Blackest Night, but brought back to life by The Entity.
Modern Shiera -- First seen during the end of the Blackest Night event. When The Entity resurrected a dozen dead heroes and villians, Kendra Saunders was ostensibly one of them -- but it was Shiera Hall who came back, with all of the memories of her past lives intact. The hows and whys of her return are still a mystery, apparently to be explained in the Brightest Day series.