Dark Nights: Metal Changes Hawkman’s Origin (Again)

by Shean Mohammed
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With all the hype leading into Dark Nights: Metal, a hero in the canon of DC Comics, who fans just lost, is coming back. Hawkman will be returning for the epic event in August, even though fans just said goodbye to him in Death of Hawkman, and much like any other event in comics, there are some changes in the canon of this Golden Age superhero, specifically his origin.

Vaneta Rogers, over at Newsarama, uncovered the news as she attempts to clear up where the confusion lies for most fans:

(The) two different versions of the character, one from the Golden Age and another that replaced him, launched in 1959 during the science fiction era of the Silver Age.

 For years, the Silver Age version lived happily on Earth-1 and while the Golden Age incarnation continued on Earth-2. But after Crisis on Infinite Earths did away with alternate Earths, but DC tried to keep its Justice Society history, Hawkman had an identity crisis of sorts.

Suddenly, there were two different Hawkman origins on the same Earth — one called Prince Khufu who got his powers via the mysticism of ancient Egypt, the other called Katar Hol, whose origin was tied to the science fiction of an alien planet called Thanagar.

Credit: DC Comics

The two origins were eventually reconciled in the JSA story “Return of Hawkman,” written by now-DC executive and “Rebirth” architect Geoff Johns with screenwriter David Goyer. This new origin — with a Thanagarian Nth Metal ship crashing in Khufu’s ancient Egypt – was the official continuity of Hawkman through the early 2000’s.

This version kept the idea of Khufu being reincarnated to reunite again and again with his beloved Hawkgirl, who was also exposed to the Thanagarian ship and its Nth Metal.

Native to Thanagar, the home planet of the Silver Age Hawkman and Hawkwoman, Nth Metal gave Khufu and his betrothed Chay-ara their power of reincarnation. They also wore various artifacts — in particular, belts — made of Nth metal. Johns’ revamped version of Hawkman’s history lasted for years until DC relaunched its universe as “The New 52″ in 2011, giving Hawkman a new history as well. As most of the DCU became younger and less experienced, Hawkman joined the trend, now positioned as an archaeologist who couldn’t remember his own history.  In a series called Savage Hawkman, Carter eventually finds out that, although his name on Earth is Carter Hall, he’s actually Katar Hol from the planet Thanagar.”


His origin is being tweaked once more, as Geoff Johns, it seems, is trying to create a singular history which honors his past origin stories:

Hawkman in Dark Days: The Forge is telling a new origin that harkens back to the one from “Return of Hawkman” from JSA. And it highlights even greater the importance of Nth Metal. So it appears that the only impact Death of Hawkman has on the present day is his vision when he was “between” incarnations. And it might be important that, during the story of Death of Hawkman, Despero removed much of the universe’s Nth Metal. So the Nth Metal at the center of Dark Nights: Metal should, theoretically, be a very rare object now……When the Golden Age version of Hawkman was introduced, he used something called “ninth metal” to fly and fight crime. When the hero was revamped for the Silver Age, that material was renamed “Nth Metal.”…..As Dark Days confirmed, the present history of Hawkman includes the hero’s discovery of a spaceship made of Nth metal when it crashed in ancient Egypt. Hawkman says that Nth Metal is a “clue to the greatest mystery in the history of mankind.” The issue hinted about the metal being part of an ongoing battle between clans who were around at the beginning of the Earth (including Vandal Savage and the Immortal Man).”

As Rogers pointed out, it seems Hawkman will not only play a big part in Dark Nights: Metal, but he is even more integral to the plot than even Batman.


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