Warning: SPOILERS For Hawkman #1.
It is a well known fact among comic book trivia buffs that the high-flying Hawkman has been reincarnated numerous times across the course of history. However, the first issue of the new Hawkman series delivers a startling revelation - his rebirths have not been limited to Earth's history and the Winged Wonder has been a hero on worlds beyond Earth and Thanagar!
First appearing in Flash Comics #1 in 1940, Hawkman has one of the strangest and most convoluted backgrounds in American comics history. Originally Hawkman was introduced as Carter Hall - an archaeologist/adventurer in the same vein as Indiana Jones, who discovered that he was the reincarnation of an Egyptian prince and could fly through the use of a mysterious metal that negated gravity, which he discovered in an ancient tomb. The Silver Age of Comics, which saw DC Comics revamping many of their characters with science-fiction themes, introduced Katar Hol - a winged lawman from the planet Thanagar, who came to live on a different parallel Earth than Carter Hall. Eventually, as the various Earths were merged following Crisis On Infinite Earths, the history was rewritten so that Katar Hol was one of Carter Hall's many reincarnations and the mysterious metal that gave Hall the power to fly was revealed to be of Thanagarian origin.
The most recent retelling of Hawkman's origins for the reality of DC Rebirth has reestablished this status quo, with Carter Hall alive and well in the modern day DC Universe and recalling another life as the Thanagarian warrior Katar Hol. The action of the first issue focuses upon Hall's efforts to retrieve an ancient artifact called The Nautilus of Revealment. Once used by lawmen to expose thieves, liars and spies, it is said The Nautilus has the power to reveal all the hidden secrets of a person's past, making it a handy object if you are an amnesiac eternal champion like Cater Hall.
With the assistance of the clairvoyant Madame Xanadu, Carter Hall is able to activate the Nautilus of Revealment. He is treated to a rush of images as he recalls all of his past lives. This leads to the revelation that in addition to being Katar Hol of Thanagar, Carter Hal was also once Catar-Ol of Krypton and Katarthul of Rann. Krypton will be naturally be familiar to fans of Superman and Supergirl but the world of Rann is another key planet in the cosmology of DC Comics, being home to an advanced race protected by the Earthman Adam Strange.
Hall's vision concludes with a brief glimpse of a dark future in which Earth is destroyed by giant winged men. He feels that the reasons for his reincarnation and the origins of his first life are tied to this coming disaster and his need to stop it. Where this may lead in future issues of Hawkman is anyone's guess, but it proves a rousing hook that is sure to keep readers anxiously awaiting the answers.
Hawkman #1 is now available from DC Comics.