WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Hawkman #1, by Robert Venditti, Bryan Hitch, Andrew Currie, and Alex Sinclair, on sale now.
Who is Hawkman? It's a question we have been asking for decades. Is he the bare-chested barbarian or a space cop? Will he be a member of the Justice League or Justice Society? Robert Venditti and Bryan Hitch return the character to his roots in Hawkman #1, turning him into an archaeologist and adventurer, while leaving the warrior in the past. This new series cuts through all the toxic masculinity Hawkman once embodied, and offers up a well-balanced and actually likable character.
However, just in case you thought DC Comics had everything figured out, there are still questions about Hawkman's past that need to be answered. These new mysteries promise to have an important impact on the character's future, and could prove to be vital to the survival of the entire DC Universe. Can Carter Hall figure himself out in time to save the world?
The New and Improved Carter Hall
Following the events of Dark Nights: Metal, Carter Hall is alive again, but he has left his most problematic baggage behind. Hawkman #1 does more than reintroduce a fan-favorite character back into continuity, it also changes the man for the better. Carter is no longer the Savage Hawkman we have come to expect, instead, Venditti and Hitch have recast him as something along the lines of Indiana Jones with wings.
DC Comics has also managed to bring back the mythology of Hawkman while stripping out all of the toxicity that has plagued the character for years. This means Carter is now an intelligent and likable person, not the monosyllabic man-beast he had previously devolved into. Instead of beating his chest and launching himself into battle, this new Carter is a thrill-seeking adventurer who is actually reluctant to fight. He is a world traveler who is capable of making friends and having pleasant conversation with those around him.
This change comes at just the right time because the social and political landscape of today would not buy into the worst traits the character once had to offer. When Geoff Johns reintroduced Hawkman back in the early 2000s, he was angry, belligerent, violent, and in some instances, abusive. He was not the kind of character you want to angle as an inspiration to young children, especially young boys. DC was right to hold back Hawkman until a new and better version of the character could be introduced.