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Main article: Hawkman (Carter Hall)
In the days of ancient Egypt, Prince Khufu is engaged in a feud with his rival, the Egyptian priest Hath-Set. The priest eventually captures both Khufu and his consort Chay-Ara, and kills them using a cursed dagger of Nth metal. Millennia later, in 1940, Khufu is reincarnated as American archaeologist Carter Hall, Chay-Ara as Shiera Saunders, and Hath-Set as scientist Anton Hastor. After touching the same Nth Metal dagger used to kill Khufu, Carter regains the memories of his former life and realizes Hastor is the reincarnation of his ancient foe. When Hastor kidnaps Shiera, using a magic spell to draw her to his lair, Hall uses his newly-refound memories to craft a gravity-defying belt using Nth metal and a winged costume to become Hawkman. Carter successfully rescues Shiera, Anton is killed by electrocution, and the two begin a relationship.
Carter Hall and Shiera Saunders had a son together, named Hector Hall, who grew up to also have a superheroic identity as Silver Scarab and later adopted the mantle of Dr. Fate. Hector Hall was a member of the superhero groups Infinity Inc. and the JSA where he served alongside his father.
The incarnation of Hawkman that first appeared in the 2011 DC Universe relaunch, The New 52 identifies himself as Carter Hall.[volume & issue needed]
Main article: Hawkman (Katar Hol)
Katar Hol is an honored police officer on his homeworld of Thanagar. Along with his wife Shayera, they use the anti-gravity ninth (also known as Nth) metal and their wings to fight criminals. These were the tools of an elite police unit tasked to track and apprehend the most dangerous criminals. The pair were sent to earth in 1961 to capture the shape-shifting criminal Byth. Following this mission, they elected to remain on Earth to work with authorities in the United States and learn human police methods. The two adopted covers as a pair of museum curators, Carter and Shiera Hall, and acted publicly as the second Hawkman and the second Hawkgirl (later Hawkwoman).
Although initially depicted as surviving the Crisis on Infinite Earths intact, Katar Hol was rebooted just a few years afterwards in a prestige format miniseries named Hawkworld, by Timothy Truman. A regular ongoing series of the same name followed, with writer John Ostrander joining Truman. Katar Hol, 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, given a new partner, Shayera Thal, and sent on a mission on Earth, where he is the third Hawkman.
In DC's The New 52 universe, it is Katar Hol under the name Carter Hall.
Main article: Hawkman (Fel Andar)
Late in the 1980s, Thanagarian spy Fel Andar — who had been living on Earth for some time already — was ordered by the Thanagarian army to infiltrate the Justice League as the second Hawkman.
Main article: Zauriel
When Grant Morrison revived the JLA comic book in 1997, he expanded the roster to include over a dozen heroes. With frequent collaborator Mark Millar, he intended to create a new Hawkman with no links to the old characters. This new Hawkman, an Earth-bound angel of the "Eagle host" named Zauriel, was to be introduced into the JLA with issue #6 (June 1997). Morrison was denied permission to use the name "Hawkman" by DC editorial, which still considered it "radioactive", due to the complex post-Crisis continuity problems with the character.
In the Wizard JLA Special, Morrison made an appeal to the fanbase, "It's a good name and it seems a shame to let it go to waste. We're hoping that fans will figure 'For God's sake, let's just call him Hawkman and get him in the Justice League as Hawkman,' and the editors will relent. We're hoping to start a campaign." DC held firm, and the "Hawkman" name went unused for several more years.
Main article: Golden Eagle (comics)
Originally the Teen Titans member called Golden Eagle, Charley Parker was presumed deceased after an attack by the Wildebeest Society during the event known as Titans Hunt. He was later revealed to be alive in the fourth volume of Hawkman and went on to assist the Carter Hall Hawkman for some time. When Carter Hall seemingly perished, Charley Parker took on the mantle and became the fourth Hawkman, and revealed himself as the son of Carter Hall. In fact, he was actually the son of Fel Andar, and had been responsible for Carter's troubles and his apparent demise. Carter Hall eventually defeated the Golden Eagle, and their vendetta would later be dropped, and Carter Hall reclaimed his mantle.
Powers and abilities
All incarnations of Hawkman used the fictional "ninth metal" or "Nth 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.
The Golden Age Hawkman was also gifted by the sea god Poseidon with the ability to breathe underwater. He also discovered a hidden kingdom of sentient birds led by the old One-Eye, who taught him their language and later sacrificed himself to save the Hawkman's life. Among the leading birds was a hawk named Big Red.
The Silver Age Hawkman also had enhanced senses comparable (it was said) to a hawk's. He (and, sometimes, the Golden Age Hawkman) was also able to converse with birds, though he couldn't command them in the same way that Aquaman could command sea creatures. He also wore special contact lenses that allowed him to detect beams and radiation.
The Silver Age Hawkman also possessed a Thanagarian police space ship and a variety of science fictional weapons.
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, having the memories of living through many past lives, he is more proficient in their use than with contemporary weapons. In Katar Hol's case, it was 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. There is, however, one significantly unique weapon Carter employs occasionally: the Claw of Horus. Constructed of Nth metal by Prince Khufu in ancient Egypt, it was delivered to the newly resurrected Carter Hall by the time-displaced Jay Garrick in JSA Book 3: "The Return of Hawkman". Later, in Superman-Batman Book 1: "Public Enemies", Hawkman used it to defeat Superman, using its Nth metal to channel the Earth's gravitational field. As he explained to Superman, "Essentially, I just hit you with the planet."
All versions of Hawkman have shown enhanced levels of strength. The Golden Age Hawkman was said to have the strength of 12 men but later that idea was dropped. Whereas the Golden Age Hawkman's strength appeared natural, it was later explained (with The Silver Age Hawkman) that the Nth metal enables its wielders to carry great weights. The recent incarnation has interpreted this as the Nth metal simply enhancing the strength of the user. Also, several JLA and JSA stories indicate that Thanagar has greater gravity than Earth, and that Thanagarians are naturally stronger than humans because they are adapted to it, similarly to how Atlanteans (e.g. Aquaman) are adapted to deep sea pressures.
It has also been explained in the JSA series that the Nth metal greatly aids in healing, closing wounds almost instantaneously. One example is in the JLA story "Crisis of Conscience," in issues 115-118. Carter has his arm nearly severed during one part of the issue, but the wound has obviously closed and functionality returned by the end of the issue. The Atom has 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.