Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Talking About My (Hawk) Generation

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.

Any questions?


Skyhawke said...

You did a good job covering the changes of the Hawks during the different ages of comics.

Count Drunkula said...

Good synopsis of the different Hawk incarnations. It'll be interesting to see if their future aligns more with the Golden Age Carter/Shiera style or if Johns will incorporate any more of the Thanagarian concepts. After all, as you point out, these are probably the most well known versions of the characters.

Luke said...

Dan DiDio seems to think that the Silver Age Hawks are the most iconic as well, if the Starlin Special and Wednesday Comics are any indication.

I think Johns will stick close to what he and David Goyer concocted for JSA and Volume 4, which did have some Thanagarian elements in it, but we shall see, I suppose.

The Irredeemable Shag said...

Nicely done. Trying to keep all of this straight is difficult, that's for sure!

Is it worth mentioning that in the Post-Crisis retcon the Golden Age Carter/Golden Age Shiera took the place of the Silver Age versions in the JLA? Well, I guess that's for a later post on Retcon Status.

Is there any part of the Silver Age versions that exist in current continuity? It's a shame if all of that has been lost.

The Irredeemable Shag

Luke said...

@Shag: I intend to cover some of the major retcons like the Golden Age Hawks replacing the Silver Age Hawks in another post, because the retroactive history of the Hawks is exceptionally complex, even for someone who has read them for years and years -- and I've only been a Hawkfan for a cup of coffee (relatively speaking).

About the only part of the Silver Age, Pre-Crisis Hawks which I think still exist in modern continuity is the imposter Hawks Fel Andar and Sharon Parker. They were created during "Invasion!" to take the place of Katar and Shayera in certain Post-Crisis/Pre-Hawkworld stories where using the Golden Age Hawks couldn't work. This also includes their brief stint in the JLI. These two dressed and acted like the Silver Age Hawks, but were really secret agents from Thanagar yadda yadda yadda. I haven't read enough of the stuff with them to really know it yet, but I hope to get there... at some point... and get it all straight.

The Irredeemable Shag said...

Let's see if I can remember this correctly. The issues after Crisis on Infinite Earths and before Hawkworld actually featured the Silver Age Hawkman/Hawkgirl. Once Hawkworld came out, those appearances were retconned to be the imposter Hawks, Fel Andar and Sharon Parker. After that Fel and Sharon appeared in an issue or two of Hawkworld, but I think that's it.

Regardless, I'm getting hung up on details for a later post. Sorry, I love me some Hawkman and I lived through the Hawkworld era.

The Irredeemable Shag

Diabolu Frank said...

Luke, none of this has ever made sense, so just stop promoting the dirty, ugly lies of Ostrander! You can't have the Golden Age Hawks involved with all of the Thanagarian elements in the Silver Age tales. You also can't say it was Fel Andar & Sharon as conspirators in every Hawk story prior to Hawkworld. DC has towed that line for years, but it falls apart under any kind of scrutiny. To my mind, the best retcon yet to be done is to reveal the Hawkworld Katar & Shiera as the spies, and they were responsible for spreading the Post-Crisis confusion, since they're the ones that screwed everything up in the first place. Just say the good and evil Hawks all got mixed up during the Zero Hour consolidation, and we can finally get free of this boondoggle.*

*All tongue in cheek, in case you worried I took this too seriously.

Luke said...

Of course you can't Frank, but what other choice do we have? I got into an argument with a guy on a message board once about how to position Hawkworld; my view is that if you make it "5 Years Ago" you invalidate even more stories than Hawkworld being set in the modern day did!

This lack of general sensiability is the reason why I put more effort into the Generation than into the Retcon Status -- I want a story to make sense in the context of itself first and foremost!