Monday, February 09, 2009


One of the reasons I give Hawkman a bit of crap is that in most versions, whether he's a reincarnated Egyptian prince or an alien cop or an alien cop that's a reincarnated Egyptian prince; Hawkman's wings aren't real. The anti-gravity belt is what keeps him aloft, and the wings are for propulsion or steering. Except, that shouldn't work either, since they aren't mechanical, they're just feathered lumps.

The X-Men's Angel's wings, are real. Except for when they were impaled in the Mutant Massacre and had to be amputated. Suicidal, Warren took the offer of new, artificial wings from Apocalypse, and became the Horseman Death. Later, he would turn against Apocalypse and rejoin X-Factor as Archangel. (He also turned blue for some reason there.) Still later, his metal wings molted and he had fluffy white ones again. Eventually, the blue went away and I'm not positive on his current status: I think Warren can hulk out and turn into Archangel under certain conditions, which means he's way more effective than he used to be. (Convoluted as twenty-plus years of continuity might be, that's cake compared to Hawkman's multiple backstories, isn't it?)

I'm pretty sure I picked up the Angel primarily for the Sentinel Build-a-Figure piece he came with, but he's not a bad figure. The wings are heavy, though: his legs have taken a bit of a beating, and he's bent the tip of a Doop stand to hell.

Let's come back to Hawkman: in Justice League #109, Hawkman announces his resignation from the JLA. At the time in the continuity, he and his wife Shayera (then Hawkgirl) were police officers from the alien world Thanagar, pulling a tour as an exchange program on earth to study "various criminological techniques!" Like most exchange programs, it kinda seems like Katar and Shayera spent the whole time slacking off and partying; later, they would probably have to try to pass off their collection of medieval weapons as the crème de la crème of earth's crime fighting gear. I'm mincing words: that was a terrible exchange program. Did Hawkman share any crime-fighting tricks with earth cops? Aside from, "Most criminals are a cowardly lot, afraid of being hit by a mace or dropped from a great height."

Still, it doesn't look like earth's police taught the Hawks anything either, I think they usually just pointed them at bad guys and let them go. But doesn't an exchange program imply that either a new Hawkman would be sent to earth, or that a earth cop would be stationed on Thanagar for a while? (That would probably suck, since I bet the Thanagarians don't just hand out anti-grav belts and wings. It would be like living in Venice, except you don't get to use a boat. And can fall to your death super easily.)

Back to the issue at hand: Hawkman hangs out for one more case, a ludicrous one involving Eclipso split into three separate bodies, going to destroy the earth, blah, blah, blah. Even for comic book science it's pretty bad. Let's look at a Hawkman page instead:
Finished? I have questions: If Ralph punches out that guy with the jetpack, isn't he going to fall to his death? Is Green Arrow just floating there? Like a balloon? A balloon that will shoot a tear-gas arrow at your head, but still, floating there like a balloon? How would Hawkman's wings provide "propulsion"? They don't flap or have jets in them. We'll look at another Hawkman appearance another time, where I think it's established that he has to use "will" to fly, which maybe makes the stuff too.

And is Nth metal the same metal that Mon-El invented for his initiation into the Legion of Super-Heroes, that was later used in their flight rings? If that was the case, Mon-El would have merely rediscovered it, not invented, and his membership in the Legion may be in doubt, since they were sticklers on that kind of crap. Also, if the Legion flight rings are Nth metal, they could share the same anti-magic properties, which would mean Booster Gold could punch out the Gentleman Ghost, which would be pretty awesome. (Per wikipedia's Nth metal entry, the flight rings are an Nth Metal alloy called Valorium. I'm not sure if the anti-magic bit, which seems to be from the Justice League cartoon, has carried over into regular continuity.)

Speaking of Nth metal, I don't think it's mentioned this issue: the belts are a mechanical contrivance, and Ralph gets his broken and nearly falls to his death; Green Arrow thinks his "ran out of gas." Hawkman does use one of the tricks he picked up on earth: speaking the language of birds! Which I never got, at all. Did they just figure, well, if Ant-Man can talk to ants, and Aquaman can talk to fish, why can't Hawkman talk to birds? (Confession: even though I've never cared for that aspect of Hawkman, per the preview art at the Beat, Kyle Baker is drawing the hell out of it, so I'll give it to him. Baker is cool.)

In the end, Eclipso's stupid plan is stupidly beaten, and Hawkman takes his leave of the Justice League, and earth:
This issue does further two other JLA staples: Green Arrow being a jerk yet crying in the end, and Red Tornado asskicked. (He takes a beating from Eclipso to start the plot, and Ollie cries for his friend, even though he could never express his feelings for Hawkman and may in fact have not liked him, at all, ever.) Pages from Justice League of America #109, "The Doom of the Divided Man!" Written by Len Wein, art by Dick Dillin and Dick Giordano.

There'll probably be some more Hawkman nonsense later, since that DCUC figure is great. One more thing: in the Justice League cartoon, Hawkgirl and the Thanagarians' wings were real, but the Hawkman from the last season had fakes. And for a stretch in the 90's, post-Zero Hour, I think Hawkman had real wings for a couple years, before drowning in the continuity. I enjoy making a bit of fun, but if it's done well--like Baker's comic looks to be--it doesn't matter if the wings are real, fake, feathery or metal. Now, Hawkman's mask, that's another issue...


SallyP said...

Trying to untangle Hawkman continuity always makes my head hurt. Nevertheless, I'm pretty sure that he could take Angel, with BOTH wings tied behind his back.

Sea-of-Green said...

Let's not forget that, with his real wings, Warren had the greatest superpower EVER -- the ability to completely hide those ginormous wings under a shirt! ;-)

And people think Captain America hiding his shield was impressive. Bah!

grifter said...

you remember him running around in X-Factor? he hid those things inside a box strapped on his back and made it look like Ghostbuster equipment ready to "terminate" mutants ... heeeheee.

Anonymous said...