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The Hilarious Fake Hawkman in Justice League International Retcon

by  in CBR Exclusives, Comics, Comic News Comment
The Hilarious Fake Hawkman in Justice League International Retcon

In Abandoned an’ Forsaked, we examine comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent).

Yesterday, in another article, I referenced a retcon introduced involving Hawkman and Green Arrow’s relationship. Today, we look at an even stranger retcon.

Okay, so during Justice League International #10 (by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, Kevin Maguire and Al Gordon), a number of heroes team-up as part of the Millennium crossover. Since it was one of those “every hero shows up” type of crossovers, we got to see some characters appear in the pages of Justice League International that normally would not appear in that book, like Hal Jordan, Superman and, of course, Katar and Shayera Hol, Hawkman and Hawkwoman. Giffen and DeMatteis decided to play up the whole “Hawkman is nostalgic for the old League”/”Hawkman is a stick in the mud” routine throughout the issue…

This almost certainly was also Giffen and DeMatteis having a little fun with what was likely a common complaint from older fans at the time. “This isn’t the real League! They joke around too much!”

Giffen and DeMatteis must have liked the dynamic, as in Justice League International #19 (by Giffen, DeMatteis, Maguire and Gordon), they had Batman recruit Hawkman and Hawkwoman to the League (in an error, Batman refers to Katar as Carter, which WAS Katar’s Earth secret identity, but Batman would normally call him by his Thanagarian name and Shayera definitely wouldn’t call him Carter)…

Once again, you can tell that Hawkman is also being used as a stand-in for a specific criticism that the title got back then.

The next issue (by Giffen and DeMatteis and artists Ty Templeton and Joe Rubinstein), we see the basic dynamic we would see the rest of Hawkman’s brief time on the League. He complains about the modern league, Hawkwoman apologizes for him, rinse and repeat…

It all came to a head in Justice League International #24 (by Giffen, DeMatteis, Maguire and Gordon), when the League tried to recruit new members and Hawkman continued to complain about the League to anyone who would listen to him…

And then he finally just quits…

And that would be it for Hawkman and Hawkwoman in Justice League International.

Soon after they left, though, a new miniseries came out called Hawkworld

It introduced us to Hawkman and Hawkwoman, Katar Hol and Shayera Thal, a non-married Thanagarian crimefighting duo.

Here’s the kicker, though, it was happening NOW. So suddenly there had been three years’ worth of Post-Crisis stories featuring the Pre-Crisis versions of Katar and Shayera Hol and now they were no longer part of continuity!

The earlier stories featuring Katar were retconned in Hawkworld Annual #1 (by John Ostrander and Gary Kwapisz) as to being Carter Hall coming out of retirement from the Justice Society to work with the younger League members. Okay, that solved that.

But what about the Justice League International Hawkman and Hawkwoman?

In Hawkworld #23 (by John Ostrander, Graham Nolan and Rick Bryant), it was revealed that they were actually impostors pretending to be Carter Hall JUNIOR and his wife! During the alien invasion, though, Fel Andar turned out to be working with the invaders and his Earth-born wife found out and freaked out…

She died, but not before telling J’onn the truth. Ostrander then used this to explain why Hawkman was such a dick to the rest of the League…

So there ya go, Ostrander explained away a continuity glitch that, honestly, could probably have just been safely ignored. But it was a clever solution, at least!

If anyone else has a suggestion for a notable comic book retcon that they’d like to see featured, drop me a line at!

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