Hawkgirl is the name of several fictional superheroines all owned by DC Comics and existing in that company's DC Universe. The character is one of the first costumed female superheroes. All of them are partners, and sometimes spouses or lovers, of the various incarnations of Hawkman, and share many features with the character Hawkwoman.
With the fading popularity of superheroes during the late 1940s, the Hawkman feature ended in the last issue of Flash Comics in 1949. In 1956, DC Comics resurrected the Flash by revamping the character with a new identity and backstory. Following the success of the new Flash, DC Comics revamped Hawkman in a similar fashion with Brave and the Bold #34 in 1961. The Silver Age versions of Hawkman and Hawkgirl became married alien police officers from the planet Thanagar who come to Earth in order study police techniques. Silver Age Hawkgirl is introduced as Shayera Hol (phonetically identical to Shiera Hall), who appears in costume as of her first appearance. Although Silver Age Hawkman joins the Justice League of America with Justice League of America #31 in 1964, Silver Age Hawkgirl was not offered membership because Justice League rules only allowed for one new member to be admitted at a time. Several years later, Silver Age Hawkgirl joined the Justice League of America with issue #146 in 1977. In 1981, Silver Age Hawkgirl changed her name to Hawkwoman in the Hawkman backup feature of World's Finest #274.
With the establishment of DC's multiverse system, the Golden Age Hawkgirl was said to have lived on Earth-Two and the Silver Age Hawkgirl on Earth-One. Although Golden Age Hawkman makes his first Silver Age appearance during the first JLA/JSA teamup in 1961 and continues making appearances during the annual JLA/JSA teamups, Golden Age Hawkgirl does not reappear until 1976, in the revival of the All Star Comics monthly comic. During the publication gap between the cancellation of Hawkman at the end of the Golden Age and the reintroduction of Earth-Two Hawkman during the Silver Age, Golden Age Hawkman and Hawkgirl are married off-panel. Golden Age Hawkgirl made further appearances as the mother of Silver Scarab in the Infinity Inc. comic and as Hawkgirl as a member of the All-Star Squadron, retroactive team of Golden Age heroes active in the 1940s.
Initially, the Silver Age Hawkman and Hawkwoman were kept in continuity unchanged after Crisis on Infinite Earths. However, DC reversed this decision and rebooted Hawkman continuity after the success of the Hawkworld miniseries. Originally, Hawkworld was a miniseries set in the past that retold the origins of Silver Age Hawkman and Hawkwoman, but after the series became a success, DC Comics made Hawkworld an ongoing series set in the present, resulting in a complete reboot of Hawkman continuity, and introducing several continuity errors regarding Hawkman and Hawkgirl's Justice League appearances which needed to be fixed. All previous appearances by the Silver Age Hawkgirl in the Justice League were explained by the Golden Age Hawkgirl taking the Silver Age Hawkgirl's place. However, Hawkwoman continued to appear in some pre-Hawkworld Justice League adventures during the time Golden Age Hawkgirl was trapped in Limbo. To explain this continuity error, a new Hawkwoman, Sharon Parker, was created and retconned into the Justice League during the time Golden Age Hawkgirl was in Limbo.
After the Hawkworld reboot, the Silver Age Hawkgirl was now named Shayera Thal, and was not married to Katar Hol, but was merely his police partner. In post-Hawkworld continuity, Shayera adopts the name Hawkwoman from the very beginning of her costumed career and never uses the name Hawkgirl. The Golden Age Hawkgirl is eventually returned from Limbo, but is killed during the Zero Hour miniseries when she is merged with Katar Hol and Golden Age Hawkman into a Hawkgod.
A new Hawkgirl was introduced as part of the 1999 revival of the JSA monthly title. The new Hawkgirl is Kendra Saunders, granddaughter of the Golden Age Hawkgirl's cousin, Speed Saunders. Hawkgirl would continue to appear regularly in the monthly JSA series and later in the Hawkman monthly. In 2006, the ongoing Hawkman monthly series was renamed Hawkgirl starting with issue 50 as part of the One Year Later jump forward, with Kendra replacing Hawkman as the lead character. The Hawkgirl comic book series was cancelled at issue 66, to the dismay of some Hawkgirl fans. However, she is now a member of the Justice League of America.
The Golden Age Hawkgirl was Shiera Sanders (or Saunders), the reincarnation of the Egyptian princess Chay-Ara, and partner of Carter Hall, the Golden Age Hawkman. Centuries ago, Chay-Ara and her lover Prince Khufu were killed by Hath-Set with a knife forged from an alien substance called nth metal. The properties of the metal and the strength of the duo's love created a bond between them, causing them to be reborn multiple times throughout the centuries. Some of her incarnations include:
In the early 20th century, Chay-Ara was reborn as Shiera Sanders. She was kidnapped by Dr. Anton Hastor (reincarnation of Hath-Set) but subsequently rescued by Hawkman (her reborn lover Khufu). Shiera became the hero's frequent ally and love interest. Eventually, she was granted a costume of her own and a belt of gravity-defying nth metal and joined him at his side as Hawkgirl.
The Hawks were members of the All-Star Squadron, and while Hawkman was a member of the Justice Society of America, Hawkgirl was not, only assisting the group on occasion. Recent retcons seem to point to Hawkgirl being formally inducted into the JSA at some time however. Eventually, Carter and Shiera married and had one son, Hector Hall, the most recent Doctor Fate.
Through retcon Carter and Shiera also joined the Justice League of America in the late 1980s, serving as liaisons between that group and the Justice Society.
The current Hawkgirl is Kendra Saunders, a young woman who committed suicide. When Kendra's soul left her body, that of her grandfathers 1st cousin Shiera Hall, the Golden Age Hawkgirl, entered it, making Kendra a walk-in. Her grandfather, former OSS agent and globe-trotting adventurer Speed Saunders, recognized this, in part due to a change in eye color, and encouraged his granddaughter to embrace her destiny as the "new" Hawkgirl.
Still believing herself to be Kendra, she debuted as a heroine using the original Hawkgirl's equipment and set out in search of a being called the Fate-Child (actually her own reincarnated son, Hector Hall). This led to a meeting with the Justice Society and Kendra's induction to that team.
She currently has all of Kendra's memories, but almost none of Shiera's save for fighting experiences. This creates tension with Hawkman since he remembers all of their past lives together and believes they are destined for each other. Kendra has been presented as a very troubled young woman, haunted by the murder of her parents by a corrupt cop and confused by her jumble of memories and feelings. She has operated as Hawkman's partner but only recently began to actually admit her attraction to him. The truth about Kendra's identity was eventually revealed to her by the angel Zauriel.
She is one of the heroes who fought in space during the Rann-Thanagar War. Following the events of Infinite Crisis, a Zeta Beam transporter malfunction injured many of the superheroes in space, including Hawkgirl, causing her to grow over twenty feet tall. Some time later, her proper stature restored, she is protecting St. Roch, Louisiana, in the absence of Hawkman. She was later abducted and put on trial for high treason against her people by a group of rogue Thanagarians. After being found guilty, one of the rogues tied her hands behind her back and covered her mouth with a piece of duct tape, and then attempted to lynch her. Kendra found that she could hover without her wings and was able to fake her death and escape by using this new power.
She is also a returning member of the new Justice League, having briefly served with the team when the original members were previously missing. A brewing relationship between Hawkgirl and Red Arrow has become one of the major subplots in the series.
Hawkgirl is now 100% Kendra Saunders. Shiera Sanders' soul left Kendra's body and moved on to the afterlife. Shiera hopes her passing on will finally remove the curse of Hath-Set.
Additionally, she displays advanced hand-to-hand combat skills. Like Hawkman, she retains the knowledge several lifetimes worth of fighting. Her preferred weapons are a spear or mace, but she has also been depicted using swords, axes, warhammers, shields, and other melee weapons. She possesses shooting skills from her times as the gunfighter, Cinnamon.
In addition, the nth metal knife which murdered Hawkgirl in her original incarnation as Chay-Ara had an unusual effect upon her soul and that of her lover Khufu (Hawkman). The pair are locked in a seemingly endless cycle of death and rebirth throughout the centuries. While not a superhuman power per se, this propensity for reincarnation has allowed Hawkgirl to cheat death and return to active duty in her current incarnation.
Recently Kendra has discovered that she had enhanced healing and limited hover abilities when not wearing Nth metal. She speculates that this is due to her prolonged exposure to the substance.
The character of Shayera "Hawkgirl" Hol appeared in the animated series Justice League on Cartoon Network. Based on the Silver Age Hawkgirl, Shayera was an advance scout for a Thanagarian invasion force. Her personality was completely re-designed for the series by the producers, who wanted a second woman for the team (taking Aquaman's place) but wanted her to be clearly set apart from Wonder Woman. While Black Canary is traditionally more associated with the Justice League, the producers preferred to have the Hawk family represented.
In Secret Origins the Martian Manhunter gathered her with Flash, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern to join him, Batman and Superman against an alien invasion on Earth. After the defeat of the invasion, the seven remained a team, the Justice League, dedicated towards the defense of Earth against attack both within and without.
To the rest of the League, Shayera was a mysterious woman with angelic wings from another world. She explained that she found herself on Earth when, while pursuing some criminals who were trafficking in forbidden technology, she was accidentally transported by the rays of a dimensional transporter known to her people as a Zeta Beam, which has been traditionally associated with DC's science fiction hero Adam Strange.
In the second season 2-part adventure titled "Wild Cards" (episodes 2x21 2x22), while fighting against the Joker and Royal Flush Gang's attack on Las Vegas, John Stewart is injured and Shayera disobeys an order to keep fighting in order to get Green Lantern to safety. While later recovering on the watchtower, John and Shayera show their true feelings for each other, and Shayera allows John to remove her mask, giving us our first look at what Hawkgirl looks like underneath the mask.
In the second-season finale "Starcrossed", Shayera reveals herself to actually be a military officer of her planet's armed forces, working as an advance scout on Earth. When her people suddenly arrive in force on Earth, she works to help the Thanagarians gain the support of Earth's leaders to protect the Earth from the Thanagarians' mortal enemies, the Gordanians. She is also reunited with her commanding officer and fianceé Hro Talak (an anagram for the name of the Silver Age Hawkman Katar Hol), with both her now-revealed spy mission and this unmentioned romance creating considerable friction between herself and her human love interest Green Lantern John Stewart.
Unbeknownst to Shayera, the Thanagarians' true intent is to transform Earth into the final link in a hyperspace bypass, destroying Earth, but allowing the Thanagarians to strike a mortal blow at the Gordanian's homeworld. When Shayera learns of this plan, she betrays her people and informs the Justice League of the Thanagarians' true purpose. The Thanagarian forces are eventually defeated by the League and forced to leave Earth, with Shayera left behind as a traitor.
The other six members of the League take a vote on whether to allow Shayera to stay on the team, but before they can tell her the result, she resigns from the League and departs (in "Wake the Dead", we learn that the decision, while split, was in favor of letting her stay, with Superman breaking the tie). She eventually comes to reside with Dr. Fate and his wife Inza in Fate's tower stronghold in an effort to decide what to do with her life. In the episode "Wake the Dead", Solomon Grundy's corpse is reanimated, and he wreaks havoc. Shayera takes the responsibility of killing Grundy, whom she once considered to be a friend. After this, she returns to the League, but it is some time before she is properly re-accepted among its members, particularly Wonder Woman and Batman. After she is allowed to rejoin the Justice League, Shayera reclaims her seat among the seven founding members and changes her costume to be much less militaristic, removing the Thanagarian headdress permanently.
The show ends with Shayera and Green Lantern (who is by this point in a relationship with League member Vixen) having resolved to be friends for the time being. It is, however, indicated that John Stewart once traveled to the future and discovered that the superhero Warhawk, is actually his son with Shayera named Rex Stewart, a revelation he did not immediately share with her until she confronted a stalker in the form of Carter Hall, the would-be Hawkman. Series creator Bruce Timm said in an interview that while he was deliberately ambiguous about the future of their relationship and understood why some fans disliked where it was left at the series finale, it was his opinion that "You can put two and two together and imagine what happens." It is possible that Timm may be referring to The 2-part Batman Beyond episode "The Call" in which the character Warhawk appears as a member of the JLU.
In addition to John, Shayera shows a strong friendship with The Flash that is touched on several times through both JL and JLU series, usually in a sisterly way.
Hawkgirl is voiced by Maria Canals.
Hawkgirl is a playable character in the video game Justice League Heroes voiced by Collette Whittaker. She can be unlocked by paying 70 orange shields on the menu screen. The profile included is that of Kendra.