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Comic Book / Hawk and Dove

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Hawk and Dove!

Hawk and Dove are a duo of superheroes created by Steve Ditko and Steve Keates.

Hank and Don Hall are two brothers with opposing points of view; while Hank believes in violence as the only way to solve any problem, Don believes in reaching his enemies with an open hand instead of a closed fist. Two Lords of Order and Chaos (cosmic entities of The DCU), to show their peers that order and chaos can work together, bestow the brothers with heightened strength and agility each time that Hank yells "Hawk!" and Don says "Dove!" Hawk and Dove eventually meet and join the Teen Titans.

After Don's death during Crisis on Infinite Earths, a woman named Dawn Granger became the new Dove to keep Hawk balanced. This lasted for a while, between 1986 and 1991, until Armageddon 2001, when due to behind-the-scenes reasons, Hank became the supervillain the Monarch, and Dawn died. Hank disappeared for some time, before re-appearing in Zero Hour: Crisis in Time! as Extant, the supposed Big Bad (though he was actually working for Parallax, the real villain of that story).

(At around this point, another Hawk & Dove were introduced in the wake of another Crisis Crossover, who had absolutely no connection with the Lords of Chaos and Order or Hank and Dawn. They got their own miniseries, joined a Titans offshoot that didn't go anywhere, and were never mentioned again.)

During Geoff Johns run on Justice Society of America, Extant was killed by Atom Smasher. And then Dawn turned out to have been alive all along, her death having been faked by the evil wizard Mordru, who was also responsible for Hank's descent into villainy. The next time Dawn reappeared, she had a new partner, her never-before mentioned sister Holly, who'd been living in Britain. The duo remained mostly in the background for a time.

Then, in Blackest Night, Hank was brought back as a Black Lantern, who hunted down and killed Holly. At the end of the event, Hank was revived by the White Lantern. He and Dawn then joined the newest version of the Birds of Prey. At the same time, Dawn began a relationship with Deadman.

When DC instituted the New 52 line-wide reboot, Hawk and Dove (the Hank and Dawn version) got a new series, which introduced several new bird-themed avatars, opposed to Hawk and Dove. However, it didn't sell well, and failed within eight issues. They have appeared in Titans Hunt (2015), which reveals that a version of the classic Titans once existed in the New 52 universe, but everyone involved had their memories wiped. Apparently including Hank's memories of Don, who sacrificed himself to save the team.

Hank and Don Hall appear sporadically in Justice League Unlimited, including one episode named after them where they are the focus characters with Wonder Woman. The Hank and Dawn incarnation of Hawk and Dove appears in the live-action series Titans, portrayed by Alan Ritchson and Minka Kelly, respectively, with Elliot Knight portraying Don in flashbacks. Holly is confirmed to also exist, though she doesn't make an appearance (at least not yet).

General tropes

  • Action Duo: Most versions of Hawk and Dove are two people who fight crime.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: They’re themed after a hawk and dove, respectively.
  • Anti-Hero: Part and parcel of being Hawk is being generally belligerent and aggressive.
  • Doves Mean Peace: Dove, who is based on a dove, is always less aggressive than Hawk.
  • Force and Finesse: Hawk and Dove's natural inclinations, respectively, with Hawk always eager to beat the crap out of his foes and Dove preferring to deal with them using non-violent methods.
  • Henshin Hero: The duo transform into their costumed selves by shouting the name of their respective animal.
  • Morality Chain: Many times, it's been shown that a Hawk without a Dove is bad news waiting to happen.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Hawk is the Red Oni to Dove's Blue Oni.
  • Sibling Team: Hank and Don, Holly and Dawn.

Hank Hall and Don Hall

  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Despite their fights and bullying each other, the brothers genuinely care about each other. Especially in Issue #5 of the Silver Age run where Don beats up someone when he thinks they killed Hank and Hank later comforting him when Don is guilt stricken over the incident.
  • Character Development: Over the course of the Silver Age series, Don turns from a Shrinking Violet to a Deadpan Snarker. He also gains investigative abilities, making him the brains to Hank’s brawn.
  • The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: Mixed with The Fog of Ages. Hank's turn to Monarch came about because of Dawn's death. As Extant, he gains the power to rewrite history, and even becomes a full-blown Reality Warper. He brings Dawn back, but then forgets who she even is and why she mattered to him, chaining her up in a dungeon before accidentally killing her. In fairness to him, by that point it have been several billion years from his perspective. Anyone's memory would get spotty.
  • Deader than Dead:
    • In the New 52 series Condor makes an offhand comment about having eaten Don's soul. He's interrupted before he can finish, and the series was cancelled before it could be explained any further.
    • In the Blackest Night crossover, Word of God explicitly stated that Don was the only person in the universe whom the black rings couldn't corrupt, as he was totally at peace in death.
    • However, a panel in One-Star Squadron shows a very much alive Don with Hank working security at a convention.
  • Depending on the Artist:
    • Hank Hall/Hawk's build has varied from being simply brawny to full-on Liefeldian beefiness (it doesn't help that the '80s mini-series was drawn by Liefeld to start with).
    • Artists also waver between showing Hawk and Dove's eyes through their costumes or doing a full-on Batman effect with whiting out their eyes. Their DCAU versions split the difference with Hawk having white out eyes and Dove having cut outs.
  • Downer Ending: "After The Cat" ends with Don both failing to prevent The Cat from getting shot (and it’s implied that he’s dead) and he doesn’t get the girl he had a crush on, either. The final scene is him yelling at Hank to leave him alone while he walks forlornly down an empty street.
  • Evil Counterpart: The second issue of the original series had the brothers fight a pair of criminals where one was aggressive and belligerent like Hawk and the other was unwilling to use violence like Dove.
  • Fatal Flaw: Especially prevalent in the Silver Age comics:
    • Hank is Hot-Blooded to the point where he hits first and asks questions later and refuses to even try an alternative solution.
    • Don is an Actual Pacifist to the point where he won’t even fight to save himself.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Hank in the early comics, exploding at the smallest trigger. He calms down over time.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Due to some Executive Meddling, Hank wound up becoming the villain Monarch in Armageddon 2001. He then changed his codename to Extant and killed a number of Justice Society members, as well as attempting to rewrite history. Post-Blackest Night, Hank's on the side of the heroes again, though not all together.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Dove, during Crisis on Infinite Earths. In the actual event, he was disintegrated by the shadow demons. This was retconned in Post-Crisis continuity to him being crushed by falling rubble, so that there would be a body left behind to bury (and confirm his death).
    • In the New 52 continuity he sacrificed himself to stop Mr Twister, presumably at the start of his career.
  • Hero Killer: Hank, as Extant, killed several members of the Justice Society.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: While they’re not completely hated, Hawk and Dove aren’t entirely liked by the community. Especially their father, who dislikes vigilantes. However, Hank’s behavior doesn’t exactly help things with his reaction to The Drop-Outs robbing an event is to beat them up without trying to get them away from the civilians, causing several injuries.
  • I Know Your True Name: Issue #15 (1990) features a subversion of this. Hawk and Dove find themselves stranded in Druspa Tau, a place of magic, different from their superheroic place of origin. There is a magical liquid metal called "tridic metal". It can be made to form any object the wielder can imagine but only if the wielder knows that object's True Name. One master does amazing things with the True Names of "staff" and "sword" and "morningstar" etc. Hawk? Figures out that if you know every last detail of an object, you don't need the True Name. So he picks up a blob of tridic metal and goes "Trigger. Muzzle. Safety catch ..."
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Don Hall during Blackest Night is the only corpse immune to Black Ring resurrection. He was apparently so at peace with his death that his white aura utterly obliterated any Black Lantern rings that tried to reanimate his corpse.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Hawk, in some writers' interpretations. Otherwise, he's more known for being an outright Jerkass.
  • Killed Off for Real: Don's death has never been either Retconed or reversed; even 30 years (and a reboot) later, his successor Dawn remains the new Dove and his brother Hank's partner.
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up: Underwent this in a guest appearance in The Brave and the Bold in the 1970s. Overlapped with a bit of a Continuity Snarl, as Hank and Don were aged up to being adult men while the rest of the DCU didn't age with them. Marv Wolfman then poked fun at the continuity error in their cameo at Donna Troy's wedding, with the college-aged Hank and Don being baffled when someone had the impression that they were much older.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Dove and Hawk respectively. Subverted as the series went on. When Don thought Hank had died, he became more violent as a result and delivered a No Holds Barred Beat Down.
  • Ship Tease: In their guest appearances on Teen Titans, Don and Lilith have chemistry together and a later comic claims they had a offscreen relationship.
  • Sibling Team: They're an Action Duo made of two brothers.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Hank was generally characterized as a short-tempered and fight-happy loudmouth, with Don being the calmer, more pacifistic, and studious brother.
  • Snap Back: Hank went insane and evil, became the villain Extant and was killed via time-travel shenanigans by Metron and Atom-Smasher. On his revival in Blackest Night, the whole "Extant" thing was politely but firmly ignored.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: The Silver Age series ends with a fed up Hank and Don deciding to give up on being heroes. However, they return to action quickly as members of the Teen Titans East and making sporadic appearances until Crisis On Infinite Earths.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Hank is afraid of heights, which isn’t helpful when he has to run on roofs and climb buildings. He mostly overcomes it throughout the Silver Age series.

Holly and Dawn Granger

  • A-Cup Angst: Dawn and Dove both were originally more athletic than busty, something Dawn quietly found embarrassing.
  • Break the Cutie: Dawn goes through this in spades. She gets raped and impregnated by Hank Hall when got possessed by Mordru to produce a new vessel of order and chaos to be his new body. The baby was cut out of her via a C-Section and eventually was essentially taken over and Ret-Gone by the spirit of Hector Hall and aged to adulthood. Hank eventually dies and after losing her partner, being raped, and losing her baby, her new sister and partner gets her heart ripped out in front of her.
  • C-List Fodder: Holly got her heart torn out by a Black Lantern, Hank Hall. Though turned into a zombie as well, she was not resurrected (having been disintegrated to ash by her sister's light powers)
  • Covert Pervert: At one point, it's implied Dawn moved back in with her parents after she was caught streaking. Her sister Holly also mentioned she had some role-play sex as Supergirl with Supergirl's ex-boyfriend and stalker Power Boy For the Lulz.
  • Depending on the Artist:
    • Holly was shown with brown hair, red hair, and blonde hair throughout her short-lived time in the comics. The length of her hair also varied wildly, as did her height and bust size.
    • Dawn was originally depicted as a woman of average height in her civilian form, and would grow to be taller as Dove. Her hair would also change from blonde to white, and grow in length. Some of the later colorists forgot this and had her hair white in both of her identities, while artists depicted her hair as the same length in both.
      • During her brief time in Birds of Prey, Dawn's hair was exactly the same as Dove's, since the team already had several blonde women.
      • In her introductory miniseries, Liefeld sometimes drew Dove with a Cleavage Window, sometimes with a diamond pattern between her breasts. Later artists also forget that Dove was intended to be modestly endowed.
  • Depending on the Writer: Geoff Johns and other writers intended for Holly to be the younger sister, though Judd Winick had the impression she was older. Some of the writers also seemed to forget that Dawn was around the age of the New Teen Titans, at times treating her as if she were a little younger.
    • Dawn's post revival character has symptoms of Chickification and Badass Decay. Essentially Dawn became more passive,empathetic, and less accomplished as a fighter compared to her more proactive and snarky self of the Kesel run. Almost like the writers forgot that Dawn isn't Don's Distaff Counterpart. Dawn would throw down just as quick as Hank, she just tended to be calmer in a fight using her wits and pragmatism to get the advantage.
  • Dying to Be Replaced: Holly is killed off by Black Lantern Hank Hall during Blackest Night: Titans, and then replaced by... a resurrected Hank Hank. Ouch.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Dawn's was so strong that her aura could destroy Black Lanterns.
    • And fatally wounded the friggin' Anti-Monitor.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Holly, just like Hank, cared enough for Dawn to not be a complete pill.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The mini-series where Hank first met the female Dove made us guess if Dawn Granger, Donna Cabot or Renata Takamori was Dove. Nowadays everyone knows it's Dawn.
  • Legacy Character: Dawn Granger, the current Dove, inherited the title from Don Hall. Holly was this to Hank, till the powers that be decided Hank needed to come back.
  • Light 'em Up: During Blackest Night, Dove displayed the ability to give off a bright white light that destroyed Black Lanterns.
  • Male Gaze: Dawn gets many as Dove.
  • Remember the New Guy?: In the Kesels Hawk and Dove series, Dawn was stated to be an only child, which was something which she felt bad about. Geoff Johns attempted to quickly explain Holly's existence by stating that she had been living away in England since her childhood. But a confusing point was that he and other writers treated Dawn's parents as if they had been long divorced, while the Kesels showed them to have a happy marriage.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: During their time as a duo, Dawn was portrayed as the more responsible and cautious elder sister. Meanwhile, Holly was louder, reckless, and more fight-happy.

Hank Hall and Dawn Granger (New 52)

  • Aborted Arc: The New 52 series had mention of a "war circle" Hawk was a part of, not to mention the whole deal with Condor and Alex Quirk, all abandoned after the series was cancelled.
  • Ax-Crazy: Swan, an Evil Counterpart to Dove, who got her powers by stabbing another avatar.
  • Battle Couple: In contrast to the Sibling Team incarnations, Hank and Dawn's relationship outside their superheroics are romantic.
  • Code Name: Hank Hall and Dawn Granger are Hawk and Dove, matched avatars for War and Peace, respectively.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Dawn, in the reboot. The exact details never get expanded upon, but the implication is she was homeless, and much more violent than her present behavior suggests.
  • Deducing the Secret Identity: Subverted when Hawk is desperate to find the woman who he thinks has stolen his dead brother's secret identity. Using faulty logic he decides that his girlfriend Ren must be Dove, so he grabs her and tries to scare her into turning into Dove. When the real Dove shows up to show that Ren isn't Dove, Hawk makes another incorrect guess. This convinces Dove to reveal her secret identity to keep Hawk from falsely accusing other women.