An archaeologist discovered his past life as an Egyptian Prince is brought to the present by a glass dagger and an insane killer from beyond time, Hath Set. Taking up the mantle of the Osiris (the image of the hawk) and the ancient weapons littering his museum, Carter Hall fought the forces of injustice as the Hawkman.
Heavily influenced by the pulps and the Mummy feature film, the early Hawkman book is just as nutty as it sounds. Not only did Carter Hall discover his true self, he also found his reincarnated love, Shiera, who took up the mantle Hawkgirl. They remain one of the few husband-wife superhero teams in comics. To add to the drama, Hath Set had a history of killing them whenever they attempted to find true love in each others’ arms.
Chasing a villain from the planet Thanagar, space policeman Katar Hol established himself as an archaeologist. Using the weapons of the past, the Nth metal of his planet and alien police methods, Katar Hol became Hawkman, defender of the skies. Much later after the Crisis of 1985, DC Comics released Hawkworld, a stunning book that delved into the world of Thanagar and depicted a much more flawed Katar Hol and a cold Shiera. The real problem lay in the continuity conflicts when this new Hawkman landed on Earth after already being there.
But that’s another story.
At some point, a writer decided that these two creations from different periods needed to be merged. Rather ingeniously, Geoff Johns crafted Hawkman into a kind of Highlander, an immortal reborn time and again to resume his battle with his most dreaded enemy who chased him from incarnation to incarnation. However, when he found his Hawkgirl, she had no recollection of her previous lives and could not return his love. Their relationship was a strained one and along with the superb action by Rags Morales, made for an excellent monthly book.
A burly and headstrong man, this Hawkman was a brilliant tactician but often led with his mace and followed up with an axe. After Johns had established Hawkman, he left him in the hands of Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti whose run was no less extraordinary. The real problem arose when the title was renamed Hawkgirl and lead writer Walt Simonson wrapped up Katar’s battle with Hath Set, setting him free to chart his own course.
This is unfortunate because there were no plans for Hawkman other than a brisk death in the pages of Final Crisis. Hawkman recently returned in Brightest Day (along with Aquaman), but it is unclear what parts of that continuity have been held over to the new DC.
The new creative team have their hands full. Before taking over both Batman and Hawkman, Tony Daniel talked to ComicBookResources (I do hope they see the traffic I am referring to them because I adore their site) about his plans.
ComicBookResources: The copy for the first issue reads very much like an origin story. Is that the case? And if so, was it necessary to do an origin due to the character’s long, and sometimes convoluted, backstory?
Tony Daniel:It’s not an origin story, but the approach is, as if we’re meeting this guy for the first time. He’s already Hawkman. He’s already lost the love of his life. It took me several months to work through his initial arc. It was very, very hard work. He’s setting up new roots in NYC. I’m establishing a supporting cast of characters. Some are human, some are more than human. Some friend, some foe. I didn’t feel I had the luxury of a great rogues gallery, such as the likes of The Flash or Batman. I need to make challenges for Carter Hall/Hawkman from the ground up.
My first priority was to introduce a character who will eventually be his nemesis. His arch-enemy. I’m very excited about that.
CBR: What else can you tell us about “The Savage Hawkman” as it appears much more Indiana Jones in style than the gritty Bat-books you’re known for?
TD: Maybe a bit more Sherlock Holmes, the Robert Downey Jr. version, than Indy, but some of that too. Plus some savage beatdowns. It’s going to be very exciting. Lots of adventure. Lots of fun characters being introduced.
Daniel has made a name for himself for his Detective Comics run and I have high hopes that he can transform Hawkman into a real knock-out. The preview pages (below) look impressive and feature some impressive coloring.
The Savage Hawkman #1
By Tony S. Daniel and Philip Tan
Carter Hall’s skill at deciphering lost languages has led him to a job with an archaeologist who specializes in alien ruins – but will the doctor’s latest discovery spread an alien plague through New York City? No matter the personal cost, Carter Hall must don his wings and become the new, savage Hawkman to survive! Witness the start of a new action series from writer Tony S. Daniel and artist Philip Tan that will take Hawkman where no hero has flown before!
(preview via CBR.com)