Hawkgirl

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CHARACTER

Hawkgirl

An immortal warrior who's been reborn into countless lives, Kendra Saunders uses her past to plot a course for a brighter future.

Introduction

Aliases: Chay-Ara, Shiera Sanders Hall, Shayera Hol, Kendra Saunders, Kendra Munoz-Saunders, Hawkwoman, The Winged Wonder
First Appearance: Shiera Sanders Hall (FLASH COMICS #1, 1940), Shayera Hol (THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #34, 1961) Kendra Saunders (JSA SECRET FILES vol. 1 #1, 1999) Kendra Munoz-Saunders (EARTH 2 vol. 1 #2, 2012)

 

 

 

Throughout the history of the Multiverse, there has been a line of fierce, winged women who have defended the Earth and gone by the name Hawkgirl. Although most often seen fighting at the side of a Hawkman, she is no mere love interest or sidekick, but a formidable hero in her own right. Different iterations of Hawkgirl have served as members of such teams as the Justice Society, the Justice League and the Wonders of the World.

Although the women who have worn the wings of Hawkgirl have come from different backgrounds—even different planets—they’ve always struck an imposing figure in any DC Super Hero team’s lineup. More often than not, a Hawkgirl has been the Justice Society and Justice League’s secret weapon, due to her fighting skills and ferocity in battle. Suffice it to say that if one is fighting an alien invasion or the entire Secret Society of Super-Villains, one wants a flying warrior woman wielding a gigantic mace to have their back.

Origin

Golden Age (1940-1952)

In the 1940s Shiera Sanders was the first Super Hero to go by the name Hawkgirl, but her story began long before that—in the days of ancient Egypt. Thousands of years ago an Egyptian woman named Chay-Ara and her lover, Prince Khufu, were killed by a priest called Hath-Set. The murder was committed with a knife forged from a mysterious alien substance called Nth metal. The strange energies of the metal, and the power of the couple’s love for each other, created a bond between them that transcended space and time, which caused their souls to be reborn multiple times throughout the centuries.

Chay-Ara was reborn in the early 20th century as Shiera Sanders. History then played out as it had centuries before. She was kidnapped by Dr. Anton Hastor, who himself was a reincarnation of Hath-Set. This time, however, she was saved by Hawkman, who was secretly archaeologist Carter Hall, as well as her reborn lover, Khufu. Shiera fell in love with her former flame all over again, and the two became a couple. Eventually she became the costumed adventurer Hawkgirl, and was given a costume similar to Hawkman’s, as well as a belt of gravity-defying Nth metal.

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Like Hawkman, Hawkgirl fought against the Axis powers in World War II by joining the All-Star Squadron and the Justice Society of America. Shiera eventually married Carter, and the two had a child named Hector, who would grow up to become the Super Hero known as Silver Scarab. The first Hawkgirl’s home was originally known as Earth-Two, until the Crisis on Infinite Earths merged her timeline with that of Earth-One. Shiera later died when she merged with Carter and Katar Hol, the second Hawkman, to form a “hawk god” during the events of ZERO HOUR.

 

 

Silver Age (1961-1969)

The second heroine to call herself Hawkgirl was Shayera Hol, who was born on the distant world of Thanagar. While still a teenager, Shayera joined the Thanagarian police force, where she was assigned to train under Katar Hol, Thanagar’s most decorated police officer. Although the pair did not get along at first, eventually they fell in love and were married. A decade later, the couple were dispatched to Earth in order to capture the criminal known as Byth. On Earth, they established a base of operations in Midway City, whose police commissioner established cover identities for them as museum curators Carter and Shiera Hall. After bringing Byth to justice, Shayera and her husband decided to remain on Earth in order to study its crime-fighting methods. They began careers as the Super Heroes Hawkgirl and Hawkman.

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Bronze Age (1970-1985) 

Although Hawkman was inducted into the Justice League of America shortly after its formation, Hawkgirl was not at first due to a bylaw that required that all members of the team have unique powers. After assisting the League on several missions, the team changed its laws and inducted her into the JLA. She also changed her name from Hawkgirl to Hawkwoman. While she made a new life for herself on Earth, her homeworld of Thanagar had become a military dictatorship that began conquering other worlds. Hawkwoman and Hawkman stopped the Thanagarians’ plans to invade Earth, causing them to be branded as traitors and exiled from their native planet. The second Hawkgirl’s home was originally known as Earth-One, until it merged with the parallel world of Earth-Two and formed a new Earth.

 

 

Post-Crisis (1986-2006) 

Shayera Thal

In the altered timeline resulting in a new Earth following the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Shayera Thal was a Thanagarian police officer who never married Katar Hol. Abandoned as an infant in the slums of Thanagar, she was taken in and raised by her grandfather. Shayera grew up and became a police officer, and she and her partner Katar Hol were sent to Earth as goodwill ambassadors after a thwarted invasion in which Thanagar participated. The two were assigned to the Chicago Police Department and adopted the identities of Hawkwoman and Hawkman. Eventually Shayera retired from adventuring and became a regular police officer in Detroit, before returning to Thanagar and enlisting in its army. She was murdered by the Tamaranean queen Komand’r during the Rann-Thanagar War.

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Kendra Saunders

hawkgirl-origin4-kendrasaunders-JSA_23_04-v1.jpg During the post-Crisis era, another heroine emerged who took the name Hawkgirl. This was Kendra Saunders, a troubled young woman who had committed suicide. When Kendra’s soul departed her body, the soul of Shiera Hall, the Golden Age Hawkgirl, entered it. Her grandfather, who was once the adventurer called Speed Saunders (Shiera’s cousin), realized what had occurred, mainly based on the sudden change in her eye color. From this point on, Speed Saunders encouraged his granddaughter to follow in his cousin’s footsteps as the new Hawkgirl. Although she still believed she was Kendra, as she had all of Kendra’s memories, she used the original Hawkgirl’s costume and equipment and joined the newly reformed Justice Society of America.

 

Her arrival was a shock for Hawkman (Carter Hall), since he remembered all of their past lives together and Kendra did not. Nevertheless, Hawkman believed they were destined for each other. Although she worked alongside Hawkman as his partner, it took a long time for Kendra to admit her attraction to him. This Hawkgirl eventually joined the Justice League, and sometimes worked with the Birds of Prey, in an effort to forge her own identity. Shortly after Hawkgirl finally admitted her love for Carter Hall, the two were murdered, and their corpses were reanimated as members of the Black Lantern Corps during the events of the Blackest Night. The pair were then resurrected by White Lantern energy. But upon being reborn, Kendra was fully Shiera Hall once again, and remembered all of her previous lives.

 

 

The New 52 (2011-2016)

Shayera Thal

After the continuity-altering events of 2011’s FLASHPOINT, Shayera Thal was alive once again, and a winged warrior once more. In this new timeline, she was a Thanagarian princess and the fiancée of Katar Hol, who would become the post-FLASHPOINT Hawkman. Her brother Corsar took the throne and framed Katar for attempted murder, resulting in his accidentally shocking himself to death. Shayera believed Katar had killed her brother, and ordered her men to arrest him for murder, but he managed to escape.

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Shayera tracked Katar to Earth, where she captured him. Although Shayera was able to capture Katar, she soon learned that her brother Corsar had faked his death in order to frame her great love. Realizing that she had wronged Katar, she let him go, and went off to fight her brother. The two were on board his starship when it exploded, presumably killing them both. In this timeline, Shayera never actually took the name Hawkgirl or Hawkwoman.

 

 

Kendra Munoz-Saunders 

Another Hawkgirl emerged in the post-FLASHPOINT Multiverse, this time on the world designated as Earth-2. On this world, the despot known as Darkseid invaded and laid waste to a significant portion of the planet, killing its only heroes. Five years later, a new group of heroes emerged, and among them was Kendra Munoz-Saunders. An adventurer and treasure hunter, she was recruited by Earth-2’s World Army for a secret project in Egypt, which resulted in the permanent grafting of wings to her back. She was asked to explore the tomb of Nabu, and when she did, she found herself mysteriously changed. As Hawkgirl, she later joined that world’s Flash, Green Lantern and other heroes as the Wonders of the World. 

 

 

Rebirth (2016-Present) 

After the events of 2016's DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1, Kendra Saunders reappeared as Hawkgirl, although her backstory differed from her pre-FLASHPOINT origin, or the Kendra of Earth-2. In this timeline, Kendra was also once Chay-Ara in a previous life. But this Kendra was the leader of the Blackhawks -- a team working to stop the apocalypse -- as well as a member of the Council of Immortals, a gathering of the oldest known beings on Earth. It was she who warned the Justice League of the invasion of the Dark Multiverse and later worked with the League to stop this invasion. Upon the reorganization of the Justice League, she was asked to join by the Martian Manhunter.

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Powers and Abilities

hawkgirl-powers-JusticeLeague#6-P.21-v1.jpg The Nth metal knife, which was used to kill Hawkgirl in her original Egyptian life as Chay-Ara, ended up having a mystical effect upon her soul and that of her lover Khufu, who would become Hawkman. With the ability to reincarnate, both the Shiera Sanders and the Kendra Saunders versions of Hawkgirl have cheated death and returned time after time. 

 

Because she possesses an Nth metal belt and boots, Hawkgirl has enhanced strength and durability, as well as accelerated healing, along with her artificial feathered wings. Hawkgirl is also a master of various fighting styles and archaic weaponry. Due to her many past lives, she has a vast amount of experience, and is both a formidable warrior and a genius-level tactician.

 

In addition to the same Nth metal enhancements that the human Hawkgirls possess, the Thanagarian Hawkgirls have extra powers that are unique to their alien species. A Thanagarian’s lifespan is far greater than that of a human being from Earth. They also possess enhanced strength compared to that of humans, and greater durability, among other enhanced senses. The Thanagarian Hawks also have access to advanced alien technology that the other Hawkgirls do not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essential Storylines and History

Becoming Hawkgirl (ALL-STAR COMICS #5, 1941)

Shiera Sanders first appeared in 1940’s FLASH COMICS #1—the same issue in which Hawkman first appeared—but it was a year later that she finally became a Super Hero in her own right. When a criminal named Mr. X sent various lackeys after the individual members of the Justice Society, Hawkman built an Nth metal belt and wings for Shiera to match his own, making ALL-STAR COMICS #5 her first official appearance as Hawkgirl. It would, however, be some time before she was actually called by that name, or fought regularly by her boyfriend’s side.

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Getting an Alien Makeover (THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #34, 1961)

hawkgirl-essential2-gettinganalienmakeover-BB_34_Cv-v1.jpg Unlike her earlier Golden Age incarnation, the Shayera Hol version of Hawkgirl was a full-fledged Super Hero from her very first appearance, fighting alongside her partner and husband Hawkman. In this first Silver Age story featuring Shayera, she played as important a part in capturing the alien criminal Byth as her male counterpart.

 

 

Joining the Justice League (JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #146, 1977)

Although her husband Hawkman was admitted into the Justice League of America all the way back in issue #31 of the team’s titular series, it would take more than a decade for the League to welcome Hawkgirl into its ranks, due to an archaic rule in its charter against the duplication of powers among members. But when Shayera helped the League defeat the artificial intelligence called the Construct and saved their teammate the Red Tornado, the team finally threw out its old rule book and let Hawkgirl join. 

 

 

A Gritty Makeover (HAWKWORLD #1-3, 1989)

After the reality-altering events of 1984’s CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, the Thanagarian Hawks were reintroduced as new heroes freshly arrived on Earth in the miniseries HAWKWORLD. This Shayera was not married and had experienced a very rough childhood. In this incarnation, she was born the illegitimate daughter of a Thanagarian official, abandoned and raised in a slum in a poor area of Thanagar called Downside. As a young officer from a lower class of society, she teamed up with police officer Katar Hol to bring the renegade police captain Byth to justice.

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The Original Hawkgirl Returns (JSA #1-4, 1999)

hawkgirl-essential5-theoriginalhawkgirlreturns-JSA_#02_Cover-v1.jpg After many decades spent in retirement, the Justice Society of America reformed, with a few original members and many new heroes who took up the mantles of the great champions of the Golden Age. Among those heroes was young Kendra Saunders, the latest heroine to call herself Hawkgirl. Unbeknownst to the JSA, Kendra’s body hosted the soul of the team’s original Hawkgirl, Shiera Hall. With her teammates, Kendra investigated the death of Doctor Fate and lent her skills in the battle against the sorcerer Mordru.

 

 

 

A World of Wonders (EARTH 2 #1-6, 2012-2013) 

On the parallel world of Earth-2, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman fell in battle against the forces of Darkseid. A new breed of heroes stepped up to fight when Steppenwolf and the hordes of Apokolips returned to this world. Among this new breed was Kendra Munoz-Saunders, who received her wings when exploring a mysterious Egyptian tomb. The Hawkgirl of Earth-2 defeated the forces of Apokolips and proved herself a worthy successor to the trinity of “Wonders” who had given their lives to save their world. 

 

 

 

The Ultimate Hawkgirl (DARK DAYS: THE FORGE, DARK DAYS: THE CASTING, DARK NIGHTS: METAL #1-7, 2017)

hawkgirl-essential7-theultimatehawkgirl-JusticeLeague(2018)#7_Cover-1-v1.jpg Following the events of 2016’s DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1, the history of Earth was again altered, and Kendra Saunders returned as Hawkgirl. In this history, she led the Blackhawks, an anti-apocalyptic strike force. During the events of DARK NIGHTS: METAL, Kendra bonded with the mysterious property known as Nth Metal, which changed her physiology, grafting Nth Metal wings to her back. Here, she not only remembered her past life as Shiera Hall, but also her past life as a Thanagarian, resulting in her becoming a combination of all the women who had ever called themselves Hawkgirl. She then joined the newly restructured Justice League.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team Affiliations

  • • Justice Society of America
  • • All-Star Squadron
  • • Justice League of America
  • • Justice League International
  • • Birds of Prey
  • • Black Lantern Corps
  • • Blackhawks

Appearances in Other Media

Television

Main Character Appearances

 

Live Action:

  • • The Flash (2014)
  • • Arrow
  • • Supergirl
  • • DC’s Legends of Tomorrow
  • • Krypton

 

Animation:

  • • Super Friends
  • • Justice League
  • • Justice League Unlimited
  • • Young Justice
  • • DC Super Hero Girls

 

Guest Appearances/Cameos

Animation:

  • • Static Shock

 

 

Film

Main Character Appearances

 

Animation:

  • • Justice League: The New Frontier
  • • Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths
  • • DC Super Hero Girls: Hero of the Year
  • • DC Super Hero Girls: Intergalactic Games
  • • DC Super Hero Girls: Legends of Atlantis
  • • LEGO DC Super Hero Girls: Brain Drain
  • • The LEGO Batman Movie
  • • Teen Titans Go! to the Movies

 

 

Video Games

  • • DC Heroes
  • • Justice League: Injustice for All
  • • Justice League Chronicles
  • • Justice League Heroes
  • • Infinite Crisis
  • • DC Legends
  • • DC Universe Online
  • • LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
  • • Injustice: Gods Among Us
  • • Injustice 2
  • • LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham
  • • LEGO DC Super-Villains