This post contains SPOILERS for Blackest Night #1. You have been forewarned!
Well, looks like DiDio, Johns, and company were not lying when they said "wait for Blackest Night #1" in regards to the fate of Hawkman and Hawkgirl. Certainly all spelled out there on the page. My friend Adama of Dispatches From The Arrowcave sent me a message on Wednesday which read, in part, "You may not like Blackest Night #1..." and while I see where he was coming from, I did enjoy this issue quite a bit.
Specifically as it relates to the Hawks, this is one hell of an exit. Their apparent death in Final Crisis was decent, but certainly not the spotlighted demise we get here. And this is an appropriate way to go out, honestly: Johns (along with David Goyers) was the one who brought Hawkman back from obscurity, so it is only appropriate that he be the one who sends him to the great beyond. Same with Kendra; though she was created before Johns got his hands on her, he was the one who helped define her character (for good or ill) and was the writer most associated with her. It seems only fitting that their curtain call be handled by the man who drove them to the dance and acted as chaperone.
Now, what does this mean going forward? Black Hand may have said that they will not escape death this time, and I think I believe him... to a degree. I believe that we have seen the last of this iteration of Hawkman and Hawkgirl, but not that the Winged Wonders will not soar again the future.
In my speculated theory, Carter Hall and Shiera Saunders -- that is to say, Prince Khufu and Princess Chay-era -- are reborn on the relatively new Earth-2. My thoughts on this date back to Infinite Crisis, also by Johns. When the "new" Earth-2 was created, all of those folks who "belonged" there were transported there. What location makes more sense for the immortal souls of the Golden Age Hawkman and Hawkgirl than Earth-2? Carter and Shiera will at some point have high flying adventures on that alternate Earth, either with or without the Justice Society Infinity. What I especially like about this is that it does not invalidate anything which has been done with the character since the 90s -- the entire run of Volume 4 as well as JSA is still valid, and nothing has to be retconned away like the majority of Hawkman's Silver Age stories were.
That takes care of Carter and Shiera, but what about Earth-1/New Earth/whatever? Here's where things get complex.
In the Hawkman Special, as we have talked about many many times before on this blog, Synnar tells Hawkman that the aspect of his personality that was Carter Hall was a lie, grafted onto him by the Infinite Crisis. And when this Hawkman was first resurrected, it was with Carter Hall's soul being reborn in Katar Hol's body, and Katar's soul eventually "drifted off." Well, now, Katar's body is a Black Lantern. Which says to me that Katar's soul will be able to either a) retake possession of his body at some point or b) be reborn into his own new body. This solves a lot of the problems with Hawkman insofar as he is now a much more streamlined character (Space Cop from Thanagar) while also a clean slate from a continuity standpoint.
I like this solution (unsurprisingly) because it lets both the Johns-style Egyptian Prince Hawkman exist while still giving us our Thanagarian Space Cop Hawkman to bounce around in the main universe (hopefully written by Jim Starlin). Of course, this is all just fan speculation, but it's clear to me that big things are coming down the pike for Hawkman, and that this is an exciting time to be a Hawkfan.