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Comic Book / Hawkman (2018)

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Once more unto the snarl.
"Outward exploration. Discovery within. I have to believe I'll find the answers I'm searching for. That no matter how deep the darkness, no matter how suffocating the spaces...I'll find my way to the light and open skies."

Hawkman is a comic book from DC Comics, written by Robert Venditti and drawn by Bryan Hitch, beginning in June of 2018.

Launched in the aftermath of Dark Nights: Metal, the series sees Carter Hall exploring the truth behind his multiple lives. Carter discovers that he did not begin life as Prince Khufu but as Ktar Deathbringer, a servant of the Lord Beyond the Void. However, Ktar would defect after meeting a woman named Shhra, who served a higher power, and the two would be intertwined throughout several lifetimes. Now, the Deathbringers are coming for Carter... and Earth.

The series is generally standalone and does not interact with the rest of the DCU (in fact, in typical fashion, it contradicts some of it). However, it does have an arc that ties into the Year of the Villain pseudo-event.

The series ended after 29 issues.


Tropes applying to Hawkman (2018) include:

  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • The Year of the Villain tie-in issues see Sky Tyrant take over Carter's body. Rather than have him be a Villain Protagonist, the series instead shifts to focus on Shayera Thal and Ray Palmer fighting off Sky Tyrant and attempting to return Carter to normal.
    • The JSA get to have some adventures with the Hawks when they are allowed to relive their Golden Age lives. It doesn't really have anything to do with, well, anything, but it's just a fun story with them after they'd made only sporadic appearances for most of the 2010s.
  • The Atoner: This is what Hawkman's lifetimes ultimately come down to — atoning for his time as Ktar Deathbringer.
  • Back from the Dead: Sky Tyrant is a past life of Carter's from Earth 3. He died on that world, but when Carter is infected by The Batman Who Laughs, Sky Tyrant's personality resurfaces and he takes over Carter's body.
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  • Big Bad: The Lord Beyond the Void is an ancient alien god who rules over a dark dimension. He wishes to cross over to the main universe by draining the life energy of thousands of beings and using it to open a portal between the realms. To this end, he sends his Deathbringers to slaughter countless planets, though his plan is temporarily halted when one of his commanders, Ktar, turns against him. In present times, he succeeds in transporting part of his army to the main universe using some of the energy that he had accumulated and sends them after Ktar's current reincarnate, setting the series' plot in motion.
  • The Big Guy: The Barbados Dragon and Catar-Ol are the heroes' main powerhouses during the battle against the Deathbringers, destroying the villains' machines with nothing but their own sheer strength.
  • Broad Strokes: The series plays loose with prior and con-current Hawkman stories or those relating to him, at least the ones set after Flashpoint. Namely, the adventures of Katar Hol of the New 52 seem to have been ignored in favour of the post-Crisis Katar Hol, and while the Ktar Deathbringer origin doesn't completely contradict Dark Nights: Metal, those events never come up barring a brief appearance by the Barbados Dragon form that Carter had in that event, and Kendra Saunders and her ties to the Totality in Justice League may as well not exist as far as this series is concerned.
  • Brought Down to Badass: After the Deathbringers and the Lord of the Void are defeated, the reincarnation cycle for Carter and Shayera ends. They're still badasses who have access to Nth metal that can heal them, but their next death is going to be their final death.
  • The Bus Came Back: Shayera Thal returns for this series. Prior to this, Savage Hawkman saw her killed. Prior to that, she had died in the lead-up to Infinite Crisis. She reappeared a few months prior in the pages of Justice League without explanation in an antagonistic role, but this sees her back in the Hawk books proper.
  • Casting a Shadow: Lex Luthor gives the Shadow Thief a special suit that allows him to control and weaponize shadows. Overwhelmed by the villain's new abilities, Hawkman seeks the help of the Shade, who possesses the same powers.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: A rare heroic example. As the Deathbringers ravage London, Hawkman realizes that the only way to save Earth is to force the aliens to accept him as their leader. To do so, he tortures Idamm by savagely beating him with his mace, tearing out his wing and breaking his spine, until the villain gives in and makes him the commander of the troops.
  • Complete Immortality: Idamm is several millennia old and survives being impaled through the chest. He explains that this is because those who fall into the world of Lord Beyond the Void become incapable of aging and cannot be killed by normal means.
  • Continuity Snarl: The issue namely comes from Kendra Saunders' existence. When Kendra and Shayera meet in Justice League, it is established that Shayera's life came before Kendra's. However, the ending of this series sees Ktar and Shhra lose their reincarnation cycle, so Kendra shouldn't even exist thanks to this series' ending. Justice League awkwardly attempts to divorce Kendra from the entire Hawkman mythos by handwaving her connection to Shayera away as an effect of Kendra's experience in the Dark Multiverse, but in terms of the timeline, it still doesn't make sense.
  • The Corruption: Sky Tyrant is the product of Hawkman being infected by a toxin developed by the Batman Who Laughs, who was working to corrupt superheroes into becoming villains as twisted as himself.
  • Cursed with Awesome: The origin of the Hawks' reincarnation is finally revealed. God himself tasked Ktar with saving as many lives as he had ended as a Deathbringer, and when he finally did so, the reincarnation cycle would end. Shhra was forced into it as well due to her role in Ktar's turn from the Deathbringers.
  • Dramatic Irony: In Carter's visions of Ktar's final days serving the Lord Beyond the Void, he is dumbfounded as to who the redheaded woman appearing to him is. We the audience are completely aware that she's going to become his reincarnation partner.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Twice.
    • After beating the Lord Beyond the Void, Carter and Shayera are given a chance to relive their happiest lifetime. It's the Golden Age, where they go on adventures with the Justice Society of America.
    • In a more proper sense, the epilogue to the series sees Carter return to being a scholar, while Shayera trains the new generation. Both have grown old and happy.
  • Evil Counterpart: Sky Tyrant, an evil Hawkman who is also one of Carter's past lives. This time, he reincarnated in Earth 3 (where everyone's morality is flipped), so Sky Tyrant's motivation is to kill people and add to Ktar's bodycount, thus prolonging the cycle of reincarnation.
  • Fiery Redhead: Shayera, as always, is the more violent of the pair in comparison to Carter's more philosophical and brooding nature.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: After being transported to the realm of the Lord Beyond the Void, Carter and Shayera destroy the villain by overloading him with their own life energy, which causes them both to die. This noble sacrifice is what ends up breaking their reincarnation curse.
  • It's All About Me: Subverted. Sky Tyrant sees an enormous statue of one of his past selves and accuses him of having a massive ego. Turns out the statue is actually the exact size of the person it's based on.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: It's impossible to discuss the series without discussing the reveal that Carter reincarnated through space, that his first life wasn't as Prince Khufu and what his past with the Deathbringers entails.
  • Long-Lived: Carter and Shayera are sent back to the 1940s to spend their final life together. In the epilogue, they are shown to have survived until at least the 40th century.
  • Me's a Crowd: The climax of the first story arc sees Carter summon an army of his past lives to fight against the Deathbringers.
  • Mortality Phobia: Having grown accustomed to the eternal cycle of rebirth, Hawkman surprisingly develops thanatophobia once the curse is lifted and he is granted the chance to live his final life.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Hawkman's superhero outfit is once again just tight pants and some straps that hide nothing of Katar's very ripped physique.
  • Love Transcends Spacetime: Ktar and Shrra's love transcends the boundaries of life and death, as their reincarnates keep finding each other and developing romantic relationships across space and time. The series ends with their final reincarnates growing old together.
  • Our Angels Are Different: Shrra is an angel from Heaven. However, she doesn't fly or possess any particular holy powers.
  • Phlebotinum Overdose: This is how the heroes defeat the Lord Beyond the Void. The evil god tries to absorb their life energy, but they have so much accumulated from their previous lives that the villain is overwhelmed and crumbles to dust.
  • Retcon: Sky Tyrant is established as Hawkman's evil counterpart from Earth-3 (an alternate universe where good and evil characterizations are reversed), who was killed by the good counterpart of the Gentleman Ghost. However, this contradicts the events of Forever Evil (2013), in which it's stated that Earth-3 is not a Mirror Universe, but a world where everyone is liable to being evil. The same work also mentions that Hawkman's counterpart from Earth-3 was called Hawkwing, and he had been killed by Mazahs.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Shrra, the angelic woman who spurns Ktar to abandon the Deathbringers. He just sees visions of her until learning who she is.
  • Time Travel: By interacting with objects that were somehow meaningful to his previous lives, Carter can connect with fragments of his consciousness across the time stream and transport his body to the past.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Shayera shows up alive and well, despite having died in the pages of Savage Hawkman. She had previously appeared briefly in Justice League (2018), but it's especially weird here since it means she co-exists with Kendra Saunders. Even with the weird approach to continuity that Rebirth took, the pre-Flashpoint version of Shayera was also dead.