Posted by:
Byron Brewer

Brew's Crew: The Savage Hawkman

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There are many alien superheroes in the DCU, Superman chief among them. But one of the most misunderstood and one of my favorites from the old (1970s) Justice League of America was Katar Hol, AKA Hawkman!

Now DC history has been scrubbed and rebooted many times, so take none of this as canon. But I do believe most if not all applies to the Hawkman now flying high in the New 52 Justice League of America

Katar Hol is an honored police officer on his homeworld of Thanagar who uses the anti-gravity ninth (also known as Nth) metal and his wings to fight criminals. These were the tools of an elite police unit tasked to track and apprehend the most dangerous criminals. Hawkman was sent to Earth to capture the shape-shifting criminal Byth. Following this mission, Katar elected to remain on Earth to work with authorities in the United Statesand learn human police methods. He adopted a cover as a museum curator, Carter Hall, and acted publicly as Hawkman.

Although initially depicted as surviving the Crisis on Infinite Earths intact, Katar Hol was rebooted (again, but pre-New 52) just a few years afterwards in a prestige format limited series named Hawkworld by Timothy Truman. A regular ongoing series of the same name followed, with writer John Ostrander joining Truman. Katar Hol, this time a young police officer on the planet Thanagar, rebels against the oppressive system of his planet and is sent into exile. He later escapes and uncovers a renegade police captain Byth. As a result, he is reinstated into the force and sent on a mission to Earth, where he again is dubbed “Hawkman.”

I do know that in DC's New 52 universe, it is Katar Hol under the guise Carter Hall. (All other names have been changed to protect the innocent … and to confuse older readers!)

All incarnations of Hawkman used the fictional "ninth metal" to defy gravity and allow them to fly. The metal is in their costume's belt, boots and wings. Its abilities are controlled mentally. Their wings allow them to control their flight, though they can be "flapped" through use of shoulder motions. In most comic books, he is known to have slightly enhanced physical strength.

All versions of Hawkman preferred to use archaic weaponry -- particularly maces, nets, spears and shields -- rather than modern or futuristic weapons. The current incarnation prefers this in part because it is too dangerous to use Thanagarian weaponry since there was too great a chance they could be lost or captured and then used or duplicated on Earth.

It has also been explained that the Nth metal greatly aids in healing, closing wounds almost instantaneously. The former Atom once commented that Hawkman laughs at anything less than third-degree burns.

The Nth metal also regulates the body temperature of the wearer, preventing the need for heavy protective clothing while in high altitudes. It also has the property of radiating heat, which can be controlled to warm the wearer in colder climates.

As Hawkman’s own book comes to an end, I am hoping this great character will be featured greatly during the coming “Trinity War” in the Justice League titles!

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