As the Hawkman series explores the mystery behind Hawkman's past (and the strange threat he senses in his future), it's also utilizing Hawkman's continuity and giving it more depth.
For example, in Hawkman #2, readers learned that the hawk symbol the character has worn on his chest over decades of continuity has a deeper, connected meaning.
Written by Robert Venditti with art by Bryan Hitch, the new Hawkman has a plot and style that the writer calls Indiana Jones meets National Treasure. Over the course of just the first two issues, the creators have set up an action-packed journey for Hawkman that spins out of Dark Nights: Metal and ties into the character’s past lives and continuity.
As readers learned in Metal, Hawkman's own history (and that of Hawkgirl) reaches further back in time than either of them realized. And with Hawkman #1, it was discovered that his entire existence may be tied to a strange threat in the future that's connected to the symbol of the hawk that he's been wearing on his chest all these years.
The title's second issue also revealed that Hawkman is somehow able to travel back through time and meet himself in past lives. In issue #2, that meant Carter Hall found himself in combat with Prince Khufu, his life during Egyptian times. And in future issues, he'll interact with his Thanagarian version, Katar Hol, and presumably will meet the Rannian and Kryptonian versions of himself teased in Hawkman #1.
Newsarama talked to Venditti to find out more about the series, what it's been like to work with Bryan Hitch on the story, and what readers can expect next from Hawkman.
Newsarama: Rob, in Hawkman #2, readers learned that Carter is somehow gathering clues from his past lives, mysteriously time traveling to do so. As issue #3 is coming out next week, he's going to Dinosaur Island, but then after that, he's interacting with Katar Hol. It's been a really exciting story so far. Is this pace going to continue, going from place to place in the DCU as Carter searches for answers from his past to stop a future threat?
Rob Venditti: Yeah, Carter's on this adventure into his own past. He knows this great threat is coming to Earth, and he knows it's somehow connected to him. But he's been alive so long, and there's so much about his past that he's forgotten.
He doesn't know how he's connected to this threat or how he's supposed to stop it.
So what Bryan Hitch and I have done is, we've built a series that's very high adventure in the way that Indiana Jones is, but also it has elements of National Treasure to it, where he's following these clues that have been left throughout time that will give him the answer that he seeks.
So the twist here is that the clues he's following were left by himself throughout his various past lives because he realized that he's starting to forget. And these are things that he needs to remember.
Every issue is going to a different place. He's discovering a new clue that takes him somewhere new again.
And along the way, he's hoping he'll piece together what he needs to know to stop this threat.
It's incredibly fun to write because we get to visit a lot of unique places in the DCU like Dinosaur Island or, as you've seen in solicitations, the Mircoverse.
The way we're going to bring that all together in this first long-form arc, you're going to see these elements and all these past lives come together in a way that's going to be really fun and interesting.
It's a really exciting series to be working on, to be collaborating with Bryan and building something like this up from the beginning. I think that energy comes across on the page. So I'm glad you're enjoying it, and I hope other people are as well.
Nrama: One of the biggest surprises in the last issue was that the symbol of the "hawk" is not only part of his older mythology but it's connected to this mission he believes he's been tasked with, to stop this future threat.
Venditti: Yeah, that's not the only time we're going to do that. As we go through the series, you'll see it again in issue #4. We takes elements of his past that have always been there, throughout Hawkman continuity, whether you've been reading it in the Golden Age or the Silver Age.
We take these elements and we show them in a different way. In some ways, the answers were right in front of his face all this time and he never realized it.
And the emblem is one of those things.
When he goes into the past and encounters Prince Khufu, which is the earliest known version of him prior to Dark Nights: Metal, the original, sort of Golden Age version of the character, Prince Khufu's been haunted by the same visions that Carter has of these winged figures that are coming to Earth.
Khufu expressed that in the way that he best knew how, which was the statue of Horus and having him being caged.
It's that familiar visual of the winged figure, throughout the character's history, that has resulted in this winged image, whether be the hawk head on his chest medallion or the hawk image on Silent Knight's shield, or any of those kind of visuals, it's that same image of the winged figure that's been with him throughout.
It came to represent him as a hero and be an emblem as him as a character, but all this time, it was done as a reminder of this thing that was nagging at him. The winged figures, the winged figures, the winged figures. They're coming, and what does it mean, and how is he supposed to stop it?
Nrama: There's this real sense of Hawkman being a hero over time as well, not just because of the time travel element, but because your supporting cast is basically these people who are descended from people whose lives Hawkman has affected. It's a great way to show that passage of time and provide interest to his surroundings.
Venditti: Yeah, it just seems like if he's always been around and he's always been a hero, he would have built those people around him that would be very loyal to him.
I like the idea of him being more of a blue collar approach to that concept, instead of him being the guy who walks in who knows the owner of the bank who hides his millions and millions of dollars. Instead, it's somebody who gives him a free ride on the Tube in London or helps him sleep on the floor in Greece because he just needs a place to crash. We're having a great time with that as well.
Nrama: And it doesn't hurt to have Bryan working with you on this. As fun as the story is to read, it's probably even more fun to look at.
Venditti: Oh yeah, you can't say enough. He's just an amazing artist, not just in terms of being a draftsman, but just an amazing visual storyteller, and just a great creative mind and great collaborator. We just talk through story and bounce ideas back and forth off each other.
It's a real joy to work on this series, and I really feel like that energy comes across in the comics we're putting on the stands.