Superior Hawkman: DC Just Stole Marvel's Most Infamous Spider-Man Plot

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Hawkman #18, by Robert Venditti, Patrick Olliffe, Tom Palmer and Jeremiah Skipper, on sale now.

The current Hawkman title has followed Carter Hall throughout time and space as he explores the various different lives that he has lived in the past. Hawkman  #18, however, reveals a version of the character from another universe: Sky Tyrant, the Crime Syndicate Hawkman of Earth-3. Unlike his other lives, in which he is a sort of guest or participant, Carter Hall is literally taken over by Sky Tyrant. This results in something that feels a lot like Marvel's Superior Spider-Man title.

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In the previous issue, Hawkman, who had been experiencing erratic bouts of violent behavior, suddenly transformed into his dark Earth-3 counterpart. This encounter with one of his "lives" is more of a possession than a simple visitation. It would seem that Sky Tyrant was also a member of the Earth-3 equivalent of the Justice Society, referencing Hawkman's longstanding membership in that team.

Whereas modern Hawkman has typically been written as almost arrogantly intelligent and solemn, Sky Tyrant revels callously in violence, enjoying the mindless barbarism that he had engaged in upon the citizens of Earth-3. On Earth-3, he last remembers facing his version of Hawkman's traditional villains, such as heroic versions of Lion-Mane, Gentleman Ghost and Shadow Thief. His current possession of Hawkman would seem to be the first time that he's returned to life, and the culprit for his return would be the unspecified machinations and infection through The Batman Who Laughs.

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Sky Tyrant's attempts to wreak havoc upon Hawkman's home of Midway City are rebuffed by Carter Hall himself. Carter, in a sort of apparition form, fights for control of his body back, handicapping Sky Tyrant's actions at pivotal moments. This is very similar to what happened during the Superior Spider-Man story arc.

In this initially highly controversial storyline, Otto Octavius/Doctor Octopus had taken over the body of Peter Parker and seemed, at first, to have completely killed Peter's consciousness, as well. Peter's mind would slowly but surely return in an attempt for dominance, and would psychologically soften or stop Otto Octavius's actions whenever the body-hopping villain would become aggressively violent towards his opponents. The two, like Carter Hall and Sky Tyrant, would psychologically/mentally argue back and forth to debate the merits of what Octavius was doing.

Peter would also be drawn in a ghost-like form in those issues, though his presence was a bit different. His appearance there was just meant to be a physical representation for readers to follow, whereas here, Carter's actions literally do physically affect/connect with Sky Tyrant. Peter would later gain this as his consciousness grew stronger, but for Carter, that's already the case. Sky Tyrant even sees his ghostly visage -- vainly striking at him with his mace.

The Superior Spider-Man storyline ended with Otto eventually conceding possession of the body back over to Peter, but not after being mentally and psychologically affected by Peter's memories to become a better person in his own right. It's doubtful that this storyline will have the same effect or be as drawn out, as it serves mainly as a tie-in to the Year of the Villain/The Batman Who Laughs story event for this year.

For now though, the heroic body of Hawkman is ruled by the merciless mind of Sky Tyrant.

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