One of the DC Universe's highest flying superheroes, Hawkman, has been trapped in a cycle of life, death, and rebirth for millennia. As a Thanagarian space-cop with links to ancient Egyptian society, Katar Hol, or Carter Hall as he goes by now, has been reincarnated alongside his destined love Shayiera on Earth throughout human history.
In the waning days of the New 52 era, Hawkman died again in the lead-up to DC Rebirth and his subsequent reincarnation linked to the crossover event Dark Nights: Metal. Now, CBR is breaking down how Hawkman died (again) and how he came back to life (again.)
HOW DID HAWKMAN DIE?
The 2016 miniseries The Death of Hawkman by Marc Andreyko and Aaron Lopresti featured a seemingly resurgent war between the alien worlds of Rann and Thanagar. A high profile assassination on Rann brought Adam Strange back to the planet, only to find the faraway world in ruins and his wife Alanna accusing the Thanagarians for the assault. Hawkman arrives and the two heroes begin an investigation searching for the attack's true culprit, while the forces of Rann and Thanagar dispatch Hawkwoman to hunt them both down.
Ultimately, Strange and Hawkman discover that the mind-controlling villain Despero is behind the attack, using his vast psionic abilities to force people from the two worlds to fight each other. With the worlds at war, Despero plans to gain Thanagar's vast deposits of Nth metal and his Zeta crystals for himself to launch a massive assault on Earth. Hawkman sacrifices himself to expel all the Nth metal in his body through Despero while Strange destroys the villain's Zeta crystals to cause a massive explosion. The aftermath leaves Hawkman dead, Despero blasted to the edges of the universe, and Strange trapped in a tear in the space-time continuum.
HOW HAWKMAN WAS REBORN IN METAL
Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's epic comic book crossover event Dark Nights: Metal saw Batman discover Carter Hall's old notebook, which detailed a hidden history stretching across time involving mysterious metals and dark forces on Earth. Warned by Hawkgirl that he is prophesied to open the Dark Multiverse and its imprisoned god Barbatos, Batman takes a piece of Hawkgirl's Nth metal to investigate at Wayne Manor along with Carter's notebook only to accidentally trigger the Dark Multiverse's invasion led by the Batman Who Laughs and his Dark Knights.
Superman ventures into the Dark Multiverse to rescue Batman and learn more about their new enemy, but the two are confronted by Daniel Hall, the new Dream of the Endless. Daniel informs them the the Dark Multiverse is a forge where new universes are created through hopes and fears, but that the Forge of Worlds has gone dark for some time after Barbatos killed the Forger.
While investigating the Forge, Batman and Superman contend with Barbato's enforcer, Dragon, a twisted, corrupted version of Hawkman transformed into a hawk-like behemoth. Armed with Carter's old Nth metal mace, Hawkgirl rescues them and restores Hawkman while Wonder Woman restarts the Forge, triggering the eventual defeat of the Batman Who Laughs and his invasion.
The New History of Hawkman
As the resurrected and restored Carter Hall acclimates to life during the DC Rebirth era, he learns that the source of his Hawkman identity came from his first human life as the ancient Egyptian Prince Khufu receiving visions of strange, winged creatures. Perhaps more interestingly, Carter begins to remember additional lives off of Earth, including lives on Krypton, the Microverse, Rann and as a New God on New Genesis with several lives actually existing simultaneously with one another, not unlike Hawkwoman and Hawkgirl.
Carter eventually realizes that the visions of the winged creatures are actually spaceships, aptly known as Deathbringers, attacking Earth in the future. Carter learned his very first life was as Ktar Deathbringer, aiding his brethren in genocidal attacks across the universe. The source of Ktar's constant reincarnations is revealed to be a means for him to continually atone for his murderous life as a Deathbringer. Just as the Deathbringers attack Earth, Carter rallies his past selves from across time and space to defeat them, becoming the new Deathbringer general as Carter gains his full memories of all his combined lives for the very first time.