SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Hawkman #2 by Robert Venditti, Bryan Hitch, Andrew Currie, Daniel Henriques, Jeremiah Shipper and Richard Starkings, on sale now.
With its debut issue, the new volume of Hawkman changed everything we thought we knew about DC's winged wonder, simplifying his complicated backstory into a more streamlined and easy to understand history. We now know that every Hawkman is part of the cycle of reincarnation, one that expands to both time and space, tying together the Golden Age and Silver Age concepts of the hero and opening up his history to more personal exploration and story opportunities than ever before.
In the series' second issue, we learned more about Hawkman’s history and the Horus symbol he proudly wears on his chest, which may be more than a simple superhero logo like Batman's emblem or The Flash’s lightning bolt. There’s a warning buried in somewhere in Hawkman’s history, and his Horus symbol is the key to figuring out his future, but to do that he’s going to need to come face-to-face with his earliest known incarnation; Prince Khufu Maat Kha-Tar of Egypt.
Hawkman as we know him didn’t always have the Horus symbol on his chest, connecting the straps to the wings on his back; there was always a red circle from the beginning but the stylized bird silhouette didn’t become standard until the Silver Age incarnation of the character in the early-'60s. Since then, it’s become a recognized part of the character incorporated into almost all version since, whether it be the reincarnated Egyptian prince or the space cop from the race of bird people.
Geoff Johns and James Robinson helped expand Hawkman’s personal history in the early 2000s by exploring more version of the character throughout time, including the Silent Knight of sixth century England and the cowboy known as Nighthawk of the nineteenth century American west. Each of these incarnations, including more introduced by Venditti and Hitch, bore the symbol of the Hawk for all to see and while Carter believed this was to represent their shared history and a representation of who he was, he has since learned that it’s something much more dangerous indeed.
The symbol of the Hawk actually isn't Horus at all and doesn’t represent Hawkman himself, but serves as a reminder of a threat that’s coming, something known only as the Deathbringer. Carter’s knows that The Deathbringer is coming but needs to find a way to stop him, which has led him all around the world looking for clues in his own history, in the hopes of finding an ancestor or previous incarnation who knows about The Deathbringer and knows how to plan for its eventual arrival.