Hawkgirl is the name of several superheroines appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The original Hawkgirl, Shiera Sanders Hall, was created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Dennis Neville, and first appeared in Flash Comics #1 (January 1940). Shayera Hol was created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Joe Kubert, and first appeared in The Brave and the Bold #34 (March 1961). Kendra Saunders was created by writer David S. Goyer and artist Stephen Sadowski, and first appeared in JSA: Secret Files and Origins #1 (August 1999). One of DC's earliest super-heroines, Hawkgirl has appeared in many of the company's flagship team-up titles including Justice Society of America and Justice League of America.

Hawkgirl
Hawkgirl (Shayera Thal / Shiera Hall) as depicted in Sensation Comics vol. 2 #1 (March 1999). Art by Dave Johnson and Lee Loughridge.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearance(Hall)
Flash Comics #1 (January 1940)
(Hall as Hawkgirl)
All Star Comics #5 (June 1941)
(Hol)
The Brave and the Bold #34 (March 1961)
(Saunders)
JSA: Secret Files #1 (August 1999)
Created by(Hall)
Gardner Fox
Dennis Neville
Sheldon Moldoff
(Saunders)
James Robinson
David Goyer
(Hol)
Gardner Fox
Joe Kubert
In-story information
Full nameShiera Sanders Hall
Shayera Hol
Kendra Saunders
Team affiliations(Hall, Sanders)
Justice Society of America
(Hall)
All-Star Squadron
Justice League
(Saunders)
Justice League
Justice Society of America
Birds of Prey
Black Lantern Corps
Blackhawks
Legends
(Hol)
Justice League
PartnershipsHawkman (various)
John Stewart
Notable aliases(Hol)
Shiera Hall
Hawkwoman
(Saunders)
Lady Blackhawk
Abilities
  • Flight via Nth metal feathered wings
  • Reincarnation via Nth metal knife
  • Superhuman hearing, vision, strength, senses, durability, and stamina
  • Healing factor
  • Highly skilled armed and unarmed combatant
  • Ability to communicate with birds
  • Utilizes Nth metal gravity-defying belt and archaic weaponry
  • Temperature regulation
  • Immortality granted through reincarnation process
  • Multilingualism

Several incarnations of Hawkgirl have appeared in DC Comics, most of them characterized by the use of archaic weaponry and artificial wings, attached to a harness made from the special Nth metal that allows flight. Some incarnations have real wings (DCAU "Justice League" and "Justice League Unlimited"). Most incarnations of Hawkgirl work closely with a partner/romantic interest Hawkman.

Since DC's continuity was rewritten in the 1985 series Crisis on Infinite Earths, Hawkgirl's history has become muddled with several new versions of the character appearing throughout the years, some associated with ancient Egypt and some with the fictional planet Thanagar. These versions of the character have starred in several series of various durations.

Shiera Sanders Hall, Shayera Hol, and Kendra Saunders have all been adapted into various media, including direct-to-video animated films, video games, and both live-action and animated television series, featuring as a main or recurring character in the shows Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, The Flash, Arrow, Young Justice, DC Super Hero Girls and Legends of Tomorrow. In particular, Ciara Renée portrayed Saunders in the Arrowverse franchise while Isabela Merced will portray an unidentified Hawkgirl in the DC Universe (DCU) film Superman (2025).

Publication history

edit

Golden Age

edit

Created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Dennis Neville, Shiera Sanders first appeared in Flash Comics #1 (January 1940), in the same 12-page story in which Fox and Neville introduced Hawkman.[1] Shiera first appears as Hawkgirl in All Star Comics #5 (July 1941), in a costume created by Sheldon Moldoff,[2] based on Neville's Hawkman costume.

Silver Age

edit

With the fading popularity of superheroes during the late 1940s, the Hawkman feature ended in the last issue of Flash Comics in 1949. In 1956, DC Comics resurrected the Flash by revamping the character with a new identity and backstory. Following the success of the new Flash, DC Comics revamped Hawkman in a similar fashion with The Brave and the Bold #34 in 1961. The Silver Age versions of Hawkman and Hawkgirl became married Thanagarian police officers from the planet Thanagar who come to Earth to study police techniques. Silver Age Hawkgirl is introduced as Shayera Hol (phonetically identical to Shiera Hall), who appears in costume as of her first appearance. Although Silver Age Hawkman joins the Justice League in Justice League of America #31 in 1964, Silver Age Hawkgirl was not offered membership because Justice League rules only allowed for one new member to be admitted at a time. In 1981, Silver Age Hawkgirl changed her name to Hawkwoman in the Hawkman backup feature of World's Finest Comics #274.

With the establishment of DC's multiverse system, the Golden Age Hawkgirl was said to have lived on Earth-Two and the Silver Age Hawkgirl on Earth-One.

Post-Crisis and One Year Later

edit

Following the events of DC's miniseries, Crisis on Infinite Earths, the histories of Earth-One, Two, Four, S, and X were merged into one single Earth with a consistent past, present, and future. As a result, both the Golden Age and the Silver Age versions of Hawkman and Hawkgirl live on the same Earth. Shortly after Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC decided that having the Justice Society on the same Earth as all of the other superheroes was redundant and most of the team, including Golden Age Hawkman and Hawkgirl were given a sendoff in the Last Days of the Justice Society one-shot. The Justice Society were trapped in another dimension, Limbo, where they would battle for all of eternity to prevent Ragnarök from occurring on the Earth.

Initially, the Silver Age Hawkman and Hawkwoman were kept in continuity unchanged after Crisis on Infinite Earths. However, DC reversed this decision and rebooted Hawkman continuity after the success of the Hawkworld miniseries. Originally, Hawkworld was a miniseries set in the past that revised the origins of Hawkman and Hawkwoman, but after the series became a success, DC Comics made Hawkworld an ongoing series set in the present, with both heroes only recently appearing on Earth after the events in the Invasion! miniseries, resulting in a complete reboot of Hawkman continuity. Several continuity errors regarding Hawkman and Hawkgirl's Justice League appearances then needed to be fixed, including their appearance in the Invasion! miniseries. All previous appearances by the Silver Age Hawkgirl in the Justice League were explained by the Golden Age Hawkgirl taking the Silver Age Hawkgirl's place. However, Hawkwoman continued to appear in some pre-Hawkworld Justice League adventures during the time Golden Age Hawkgirl was trapped in Limbo. To explain this continuity error, a new Hawkwoman, Sharon Parker, was created and retconned into the Justice League during the time Golden Age Hawkgirl was in Limbo.

After the Hawkworld reboot, Hawkgirl (Hawkwoman) was now Shayera Thal and not married to Katar Hol, instead merely his police partner. In post-Hawkworld continuity, Shayera adopts the name Hawkwoman from the very beginning of her costumed career and never uses the name Hawkgirl. The Golden Age Hawkgirl is eventually returned from Limbo, but during the Zero Hour miniseries she is merged with Katar Hol and Golden Age Hawkman into a new persona.

A new Hawkgirl was introduced as part of the 1999 revival of the JSA monthly title. The new Hawkgirl is Kendra Saunders, granddaughter of the Golden Age Hawkgirl's cousin, Speed Saunders. Hawkgirl would continue to appear regularly in the monthly JSA series and later in the Hawkman monthly. In 2006, the ongoing Hawkman monthly series was retitled Hawkgirl starting with issue #50 as part of the "One Year Later" jump forward; Kendra replaced Hawkman as the lead character. The Hawkgirl comic book series was finished with issue #66.

Fictional character biographies

edit

Shiera Sanders Hall

edit

The Golden Age Hawkgirl was Shiera Sanders Hall, the reincarnation of the Egyptian princess Chay-Ara, and partner of Carter Hall, the Golden Age Hawkman.

Shayera Hol

edit

Kendra Saunders

edit

Kendra Saunders was a young Hispanic woman who took her own life. When Kendra's soul left her body, that of her grandfather's first cousin Shiera Hall, the Golden Age Hawkgirl entered it, making Kendra a walk-in. Her grandfather, former OSS agent and globe-trotting adventurer Speed Saunders, recognized this, in part due to a change in eye color, and encouraged his granddaughter to embrace her destiny as the "new" Hawkgirl.

Powers and abilities

edit

Hawkgirl owes her powers to a belt of Nth metal, a substance native to the planet Thanagar (once home of another pair of Hawk-heroes, Katar Hol and Hawkwoman). The metal is psycho-reactive, responding to its bearer's thoughts and in its base form has a number of electromagnetic/gravitational properties. To the Hawks, it grants the power of flight, superhuman strength, super-acute vision, and an enhanced healing/regeneration ability.

Additionally, she displays advanced hand-to-hand combat skills. Like Hawkman, she retains the knowledge of several lifetimes worth of fighting. Her preferred weapons are a spear or mace, but she has also been depicted using swords, axes, warhammers, shields, and other melee weapons. She possesses shooting skills from her times as the gunfighter, Cinnamon.

In addition, the Nth metal knife which murdered Hawkgirl in her original incarnation as Chay-Ara had an unusual effect upon her soul and that of her lover Khufu (Hawkman). The pair are locked in a seemingly endless cycle of death and rebirth throughout the centuries. While not a superhuman power per se, this propensity for reincarnation has allowed Hawkgirl to cheat death and return to active duty in her current incarnation.

Like all modern Thanagarians, Shayera Hol has a pair of wings growing from her back which allows her to fly. As a Thanagarian, she has considerable physical strength, endurance and durability. As a former member of the Thanagarian military, she had extensive training in tactics, military science, and personal combat skills. Additionally, her focus in espionage can make her a difficult opponent to track, and provides her with an advantage when tracking villains.

Hawkgirl carries a mace made of Nth metal, which can generate electric currents and repel magical energies, her mace is highly effective against magic, as shown when Hawkgirl defeated Doctor Fate, a powerful magician of the DC Universe. Hawkgirl is skilled at wielding and throwing the mace accurately. She has creatively used the mace as a shield to deflect incoming projectiles as well as a makeshift defibrillator unit.

Hawkgirl is fluent in many Earth languages, through the use of the Absorbascon. Her unique Thanagarian physiology also enables her to verbally communicate with birds.[3]

The Nth metal also regulates the body temperature of the wearer, preventing the need for heavy protective clothing while in high altitudes. It also has the property of radiating heat, which can be controlled to warm the wearer in colder climates.[4]

Recently, Kendra has discovered that she had enhanced healing, strength, vision and limited hover abilities when not wearing Nth metal. She speculates that this is due to her prolonged exposure to the substance. It remains to be seen if she still possesses these abilities now that she is Shiera Hall once again.[5]

Other versions

edit

Flashpoint

edit

In the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event, Hawkgirl joined with the Amazons' Furies.[6] Later, Hawkgirl is seen aiding Artemis in her attempt to kill the Resistance movement member, Lois Lane.[7] Although, Lois is rescued by Resistance member Penny Black using the smoke grenades, Penny is seriously wounded. Later, when the Furies attack Grifter and the Resistance, Hawkgirl pins Grifter down, but he pulls Hawkgirl down and then stabs her chest with a trench knife.[8]

DC Bombshells

edit

In the DC Bombshells continuity set in World War II, Shiera is a technological genius and archaeologist who aids the Bombshells with her lover, Vixen. As Hawkgirl, she uses a jetpack rather than fly with wings, though when Cheetah forces her to build weapons out of ancient technology, she designs one with wings as well as a powerful mace.

Shiera grew up in an orphanage in Mexico. From a young age she had a passion for history and ancient cultures, as well as the magnificent structures that they built. She became an archaeologist and her work caught the eye of Hans Garber. He informed her of the Zambesi Amulets and the power that they possessed.

Intrigued, Shiera went to Zambesi to try to discover the secret of the amulets. There she met Queen Mari of Zambesi and the two of them fell in love. Shiera stayed in Zambesi with Mari and became her personal mechanic, building gadgets to assist Mari against her enemies.

Hawkgirl discovered her true Thanagarian origins while fighting against Baroness Paula von Gunther. After connecting herself with an ancient mechanic god it was revealed to Shiera that her parents were members of the Wingmen of Thanagar, they sought to warn the humans of the intentions of Thanagar who wished to conquer the Earth; due to their actions they were captured and murdered.[9]

Elseworlds

edit

Shayera and Katar are featured in the Elseworlds three-part series Legend of the Hawkman (2000). The story takes place in the Earth-One timeline, some time after The Brave and the Bold #34. She is shown wanting to return home to Thanagar while Katar has grown accustomed to life on Earth. Although this mini-series was never labelled as an Elseworlds project when originally published, it is now accepted as being one, with this story clearly based on the Silver Age versions of Hawkman and Hawkgirl during the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths era.

Legend of the Hawkman

edit

Hawkgirl (Shayera Hol) and Hawkman feature in this mini-series set soon after their arrival on Earth as the duo faces an ancient menace with connections to their Thanagarian heritage. In the first chapter, "The Fallen One", Shayera has been anxious to return to Thanagar, but Katar feels a responsibility to the museum, especially its upcoming extraterrestrial treasure exhibit. While Katar has adopted Earth as his home Shayera doesn't feel like they belong there. In Tibet a group of archaeologists discovers a Thanagarian gateway carved into a cliff side, after being informed of this Hawkgirl and Hawkman travel to the location.[10]

Hawkman deciphers the writing on the gateway and it depicts the life of Thasaro, a Thanagarian child so evil that he threatened the existence of Thanagar's ancient gods. The ancient gods of Aerie condemned Thasaro into a mystic urn. Shayera's ancestor was entrusted with burying the urn so no one could release Thasaro. The archeologists and Katar want to examine the gateway but Shayera insists that the gateway be left alone. Hawkman and Shayera get into a fight until Shayera flies away heartbroken because Katar cares more about archeology than her feelings. Katar's fingerprints genetically open the gateway. Shayera hears an explosion and heads back to the site. Thasaro appears and makes the stone sentries throughout his chamber come to life. The sentries attack Hawkgirl but she manages to defeat his enforcers and finds Katar within Thasaro's grip. Thasaro then summons corpses like talons that rise up from the ground and pull Hawkgirl into a cavern beneath Thasaro's chamber. The talons maim Hawkgirl, but she manages to break away. Shayera's distress in the cavern awakens the spirit of her ancestor. Shayera's ancestor channels his aura into Shayera and gives her the edge she needs to subdue Thasaro. Thasaro is banished once again into the urn. The urn is then transported to the Midway City Museum so Katar and Shayera can safeguard it.[11] Three months later Shayera is shown wanting to start a family, in the meantime Thanagarian zealots return to Earth to free the heinous fallen god. Thasaro's return brings chaos and devastation to Midway City, but using their Nth Metal weapons Hawkgirl and Hawkman are able to subdue him, banishing him to the fiery depths of Earth's Hell.[12]

JLA: The Nail & JLA: Another Nail

edit

In JLA: The Nail and JLA: Another Nail, Hawkgirl is a member of a Justice League, and remains so even after her husband's death by Amazo, although the team faces anti-alien prejudice and suspicion. She briefly contemplates abandoning Earth when anti-alien propaganda leads to a museum exhibit dedicated to Hawkman being vandalized, but when she returns to save two children from a burning building, her faith in humanity is restored when a group of civilians stand between her and government officials attempting to bring her in as an alien, the family she saved affirming that they still see Hawkman and her as heroes. In Another Nail, she appears to be close friends with Zatanna. She has forgiven Oliver Queen (in Amazo's body) after he admits feeling responsible for getting Katar killed, Queen believing that his attempts to prove himself caused Hawkman to put himself in danger to protect the more vulnerable Oliver. Her role as the sole Hawk with League membership is much like her animated counterpart in the Justice League animated series.

Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again

edit

In Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again, the Hawks tried to return to Thanagar to flee from Lex Luthor's military dictatorship, only to crash in the rain forests of Costa Rica. They decided to remain in hiding. They gave birth to a son and daughter, giving them natural wings. Katar and Shayera were killed in a military strike ordered by Lex Luthor, embracing each other in their final moments. The children were brought up in the jungle ever since. They were bent on revenge against Lex.[13] As Hawkboy, the son ultimately kills Lex with Batman's permission, since he understands what he has been through.

Justice

edit

In Alex Ross's Silver Age-toned Justice, Hawkgirl is a member of the Justice League and co-director of the Midway City Museum, alongside her husband. With the entire JLA's secrets and weaknesses in hand, the Legion of Doom stages a simultaneous attack on nearly every member of the League. Hawkgirl and Hawkman are surprised by Toyman in the Midway City Museum, but manage to survive and decide to investigate his warehouse, where they are assaulted by his forces, and discover that he is making multiple Brainiac androids. She also appears in Secret Origins and Liberty and Justice.

Gotham City Garage

edit

Kendra Saunders's version of Hawkgirl is featured in Gotham City Garage series. She is the youngest member of a very old team. It's revealed that Kendra's parents were killed during an alien invasion, she was later rescued by the Blackhawks and trained from a young age with captain Blackhawk. She is shown using the Lady Blackhawk costume and the alias Kendra Blackhawk. She resigns from the Blackhawks to help the Gotham City Garage against Lex Luthor's attacks.[14]

DC New Talents Showcase

edit

Hawkgirl was chosen for one of the seven features in the one-shot comic book. She lives in Chicago, working as a police detective. She is from Thanagar, her mace vibrates like a smartphone when Nth-Metal Thanagarian weapons are near and she has a secret Hawkroom. It is revealed that she did not leave Thanagar on good terms. After some time collecting Thanagarian weapons from crime scenes, she started suspecting something was wrong. This led to her fighting against an ancient Thanagarian that wanted her dead since she chose humans instead of Thanagarians.

Erica Schultz, said she was inspired by the DC Animated Universe version of the character: "I've always been drawn to strong characters, but what really solidified my love for Shayera was the Justice League cartoon show."[15]

Scooby-Doo Team-Up #17

edit

During a crossover with the cast of Scooby-Doo, the Silver Age version of Hawkgirl is featured alongside Hawkman in the Midway City Museum, working as curators. The heroes team-up with the characters from the animated series to discover who stole from their workplace. Later they uncover that Shadow Thief, Matter Master and Fadeaway Man were behind it. After a fight against the villains the heroes retrieve the stolen items.

Bombshells: United

edit

Hawkgirl appears as Shiera Hall in the continuation series to DC Comics Bombshells, Bombshells: United set in the United States in 1943. Shiera is shown in Green Light alongside her lover, Green Light.[16] Hawkgirl is later featured fighting against the Apokolips invasion on Earth.[17]

In other media

edit

Television

edit

Animation

edit
 
Hawkgirl as she appears in DC Super Hero Girls.

Live-action

edit

Film

edit

Video games

edit
 
Hawkgirl in a promotional image for Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.

Miscellaneous

edit

Reception

edit

IGN's list of the "Top 25 Heroes of DC Comics" ranked Hawkgirl as #22.[27] She was ranked 80th in Comics Buyer's Guide's "100 Sexiest Women in Comics" list.[28]

See also

edit

References

edit
  1. ^ Flash Comics #1 at the Grand Comics Database
  2. ^ Hawkgirl at the Grand Comics Database
  3. ^ Hawkman #3 (August 1964)
  4. ^ Flash Comics #18 (June 1941).
  5. ^ HawkGirl #58 (January 2007)
  6. ^ Flashpoint: Wonder Woman and the Furies #2 (July 2011)
  7. ^ Flashpoint: Lois Lane and the Resistance #1 (June 2011)
  8. ^ Flashpoint: Lois Lane and the Resistance #2 (July 2011)
  9. ^ DC Bombshells #24 (June 2017)
  10. ^ Legend of the Hawkman #1 (July 2000)
  11. ^ Legend of the Hawkman #2 (August 2000)
  12. ^ Legend of the Hawkman #3 (September 2000)
  13. ^ "mg-jluONCEANDFUTURETHING2". Fanboy Planet. Archived from the original on 2015-06-16. Retrieved 2015-06-13.
  14. ^ Gotham City Garage #18 (January, 2018)
  15. ^ DC New Talent Showcase (January 2017)
  16. ^ Bombshells: United #11 (November 2017)
  17. ^ Bombshells: United #37 (May 2018)
  18. ^ "Quinta Brunson & Tyler James Williams to Voice Hawkman & Hawkgirl in 'Harley Quinn' Valentine's Day Special at HBO Max". 6 February 2023.
  19. ^ "Shield". Smallville. Season 10. Episode 2. October 1, 2010. The CW.
  20. ^ "Dwayne Johnson's 'BLACK ADAM' Confirmed to Introduce Hawkgirl". 23 December 2019.
  21. ^ "Dwayne Johnson's 'Black Adam' Reportedly Features Hawkgirl". 23 December 2019.
  22. ^ @TheRock (August 23, 2020). "@boybenzedrine @SevenBucksProd Hawk..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  23. ^ Breznican, Anthony (2023-07-21). "'Superman Legacy' Cast Adds Isabela Merced, Edi Gathegi and Nathan Fillion: EXCLUSIVE". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2023-07-11.
  24. ^ Justice League Beyond #7(May 2012)
  25. ^ Justice League Beyond #8(June 2012)
  26. ^ Justice League Unlimited (January 2005)
  27. ^ "The 25 Best Heroes of DC Comics - IGN". 26 June 2019.
  28. ^ "Comics Buyer's Guide Presents #2 - 100 Sexiest Women in Comics (Issue)".
edit