Convergence: Hawkgirl Found – I just finished reading parts of the Convergence (2015) series. The series consists of the main story in 9 issues (#0-8) and a whole slew of two issue series that each explored a subplot in the Convergence storyline. These two-issue books were categorized based on different eras in the history of the DC multiverse. One of the categories was the Pre-Crisis era. The two volume Convergence: Crisis collects all of the Crisis books. For now, I was interested mainly in reading the two issues of “Convergence: Hawkman” that appeared in book one.
What was “Convergence”?
The idea behind the Convergence stories was quite simple – imagine all of the different dimensions of the DC Multiverse “converging” together and mixing things up a bit.
An even simpler view of the story involves the super-villain, Brainiac and not one, but an entire planet full of bottled cities just like the bottled-city of Kandor, that Superman rescued from Brainiac in the early days of the Silver Age.
In the case of Convergence, Brainiac has grabbed cities from throughout DC Multiverse history and for whatever original purpose he had in mind they have now situated on a planet who itself is a sentient being named Telos. Confused as he is, Telos feels that the time is right for the domes to be raised from each city and inhabitants fight to the death each of the other cities until only one winner city is to survive. There are lots of twists and turns and I don’t want to be a spoiler, except I do want to talk about Hawkgirl and her appearance in the two issue “Convergence: Hawkman”.
Convergence: Hawkman #1 begins one year after the events of The Shadow War Series and somewhere on the edge of the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” series of 1985/6. The Shadow War of Hawkman was a 5-issue, limited series published in 1985. The Hawks in this series are the Silver Age pre-Crisis, Hawkman and Hawkgirl who first appeared in “Brave and the Bold” #34 in March 1961. The story told in Convergence contradicts the retconning of the Hawks that took place in the Hawkworld and Hawkman vol 3 series of the early-1990s.
For those familiar with the controversy that surrounds the continuity of the Hawks, please allow me to provide a brief explanation.
Once upon a time… In the 1940s, there was one Hawkman and one Hawkgirl. This pair was referred to as the Golden Age Hawkman and Hawkgirl of Earth-2. In these stories, Carter Hall, who as primarily an archaeologist was the secret identity of Hawkman. Along with his girlfriend, Shiera Sanders, they fought crime in the towns of Gotham and Midway City. Hawkman was a founding member of the Justice Society of America. Their stories appeared in “Flash Comics” and in “All-Star Comics”. By the beginning of the 1950s, many of superhero comics of the Golden Age had ceased publication.
At the very end of the 1950s, a new age of superheroes was born. The editors and the writers decided to reboot many of the heroes. Hawkman and Hawkgirl now became a married couple from the planet of Thanagar. They had come to earth, Midway City again, in pursuit of the shape-shifting criminal named Blyth Rok. Meeting the town’s police commissioner, the couple decided to hang-out on Earth and study the techniques of Earth police. Commissioner Emmett provided the Hawks with a cover as a couple of archeologist working at the Midway City museum. Katar Hol became Carter Hall and Shayera became Mrs. Shiera Hall. This began in 1961 and in only a couple years later, we learned that the “other” Hawkman and Hawkgirl, the ones from the Golden Age were alive and well and living on Earth-2. The concept of Earth-2 and Earth-1 came into being in an issue of “Flash” in 1959. Following a few introductory appearances in “Brave and the Bold”, “Hawkman” volume 1 was published from 1964 to 1968.
Throughout the 1960s and into the 1980s, the concept of there being two sets of Hawks flourished. Starting with the annual JSA/JLA cross-overs in “Justice League of America” and continuing in the revival of “All-Star Comics” in 1976 and finally “All-Star Squadron” (1981-1987). While the latter two series hosted the Golden Age Hawks and the Justice Society, the Silver age Hawks from Thanagar appeared in “Justice League of America” and in vehicles such as “World’s Finest” and “Showcase Presents…”
Then came the “Crisis”. That is the “Crisis on Infinite Earths”. Without going into detail, at the end of the “Crisis”, there was one Earth (New Earth). There was some merging going on and there were survivors on from multiple places, but primarily five universes. The folks from Earth-2, primarily the Justice Society of America, gathered in a meeting and decided that they would disband. This story is told in the post-Crisis, one-shot “The Last Days of the Justice Society (1986)” and in the story, the JSA is taken to another dimension (Asgard) where they must take the side of Good in an eternal battle versus Evil (Ragnorak). Both the Golden Age Hawkman and Hawkgirl went off to Asgard.
The Thanagarian Hawks continued to thrive Post-Crisis throughout 1986, ’87 and ’88. During this period was published the four-issue plus special, “Shadow War of Hawkman”, Hawkman vol. 2, 17-issues between 1986/87. There was at least one appearance in Action Comics and in the “Power of Atom” #4 (1988).
If It Doesn’t Fit…
Then in 1989, things started to change with the appearance “Hawkworld” vol. 1, a three issue series that performed a full reboot of the “Hawkman” story. The new story involved the Thanagarian Hawks arriving for the first time on the post-Crisis “New Earth”.
Hawkworld (Volume 2) Annual #1 (1990), the history of the Golden Age Hawks, now of New Earth, was told. That history completely eliminated the Silver Age Hawks who arrived from the planet Thanagar thirty years earlier. In a very brief summary, the story was told of how the entire JSA had gone into retirement in the early 1950s and came out again a decade later. All things, that could be attributed to the Silver Age Hawks were now attributed to the Golden Age Hawks, including membership in the JLA and exposure to Thanagarian technology. The upshot of this was that it was very controversial and also when you get into details (which comic book readers are inclined to do) the “retconn” of the Hawks defies logical explanation on many points and levels.
I belong to the school that chooses to ignore the “retconn of 1990”. I primarily choose to ignore it because when I do think about it does make me angry. I am angered because I feel cheated by the “retconn”. I grew up reading the JLA and Hawkman vol. 1. When I was a 12-year old, buying comic books I had a choice. I could have bought Green Lantern, Superman, Batman, etc., but I chose to buy Hawkman and if Hawkman or Hawkgirl was on the cover of JLA, I bought JLA. If someone had told me: “Hey kid, that comic book you just bought is ‘Fake News’ because 25 years from now someone will come along a say that they never existed.” – I would have changed my mind and bought “Batman” (or maybe even (*SHUDDER*) a Marvel comic book) instead.
Part of the retconning effort involves coming up with ways of explaining away aspects of everything involving the pre-Crisis Silver Age, Hawks. This involves glossing over most of the continuity issues that exist for stories involving any cross-overs involving the Thanagarian Hawks of Earth-1 and the Golden Age Hawks of Earth-2 .
In the retconn narrative, the activities of the Hawks in “Shadow War” and Hawkman vol. 2 are retconned to take place in an alternate universe designated “Earth-85” This occurred at the same time as all alternate Universes are destroyed by the Anti-Monitor except for the five lucky ones that survived. Also, in no other context is “Earth-85” referenced including within the New 52 multiverse where there is no “Earth-85”.
If the continuity does not fit the Earth-85 continuity, as in the case of the latter issues of “Justice League International” in 1988, then the explanation is that Hawkman and Hawkgirl were portrayed by the “imposters” Fel Andar and Sharon Parker. Outside of the Hawkworld continuity, the Fel Andar-story does not stand-up as it does not add any new information to the “JLI” storyline and most cases it is conflicting.
Here is an article by Tim Board that provides some of the other standard explanations in support of the “retconn of the Hawks” (see Putting Hawkman Back Together Again).
In “Convergence: Hawkman”, the Silver age, Earth-1, Thanagarian Hawks are alive and as well as can be considering their circumstances. For one year now, their “world” has been under a mysterious dome. Their “world” is essentially a larger metropolitan area. It has become isolated from the rest of the entire pre-crisis, Earth-1 universe. Katar (Carter) and Shayera (Shiera) were visiting Gotham from their hometown of Midway City when the dome came down. In their alter identities, the couple has become museum curators at the Gotham City Museum.
A “crisis” develops when, after one-year, the dome is lifted and the city of Gotham comes under threat of invasion from another of the domed cities. Hawkgirl (aka Hawkwoman) decides that it is time for her and Katar to reveal themselves in their superhero identities. This presents yet another opportunity for the Hawkgirl character to get dressed “in front of the camera.”
The Hawks have always been pragmatic about their destinies. It goes along with the reincarnation theme that is part of the character’s mythology.
Although the Hawks set out alone to do battle against an unknown force, they are assuming that their “universe” continues to exist as it was before the dome came down 365-days ago.
Once again Hawkgirl saves the day.
And in the final scenes of the story, it is hinted that the Hawks not only survive the fight but that they become aware that there is “something” beyond the reality in which they now exist.
In an interview, series writer Jeff King explained that “In Convergence #8 we reference Multiversity and show you some of the Post-Convergence worlds that make up the reconstituted DC Multiverse. In many ways, the number of Worlds is now infinite. There may even be more than one Multiverse, as well as “Post-Convergence”, every character that ever existed, in either Continuity or Canon, is now available to us as storytellers.” – see Decoding Convergence With Jeff King: The Finale (May 27, 2015)
We just might find out what that “something” is when “Dark Metal: Hawkman Found” comes out in December.