Chay-Ara/Shiera Sanders/Shayera Hol/Kendra Saunders (Hawkgirl)

hawkgirlfilmA new trailer for the videogame Injustice: Gods Among Us introduces another character from the game’s roster, Hawkgirl, quite an unusual and interesting choice, and today we’ll speak about her, following casualgamer‘s request. She already appeared in Smallville, portrayed by Sahar Biniaz, even if she was shown only in flashbacks and without her costume. She was Carter Hall‘s wife, killed by Icicle during a battle with the Justice Society of America. This wasn’t the first time, since it is revealed in the series that Hawkgirl and her husband Hawkman were in reality two ancient Egyptians, desperately in love with each other and cursed by a jealous wizard to be reborn in every era only to see the other die. In the comics, Hawkgirl’s origin have some similar traits to this one, but it’s slightly different nevertheless. And, because of the infinite reincarnation cycle, her story is quite a difficult one to tell. Let’s try.

Everything began in Ancient Egypt, where Princess Chay-Ara fell in love with Prince Khufu and married him. The two deeply loved each other, and together they served their country, in a relationship of mutual respect and common responsibility. When Khufu found in the desert a ship from the gods (actually, a space ship from planet Thanagar), with the symbol of a falcon on it, he brought it to the Temple of Horus to be studied: his efforts brought him to learn the secret of Nth Metal, the material which the alien ship was composed of, a metal with some unique properties, first of all the ability to negate gravity. Khufu built many devices with the Nth Metal, for him and for his beloved Chay-Ara: daggers, amulets, an armor shapen in the form of the hawk god Horus whichhawkgirlcomics1 allowed them to fly. The metal’s influence, along with the collective Thanagarian knowledge it was infused with, also strenghtened the bond of the lovers’ kas, their souls, and chained them to Earth, in an infinite cycle of death and rebirth. When the evil priest Hath-Set murdered Chay-Ara and her husband with a Nth Metal dagger, the woman experienced what would have become but her first death. In every era, she was born again, and again she would have found her beloved Khufu, and again they would have died, hunted by Hath-Set’s cruelty all over the centuries. Of many reincarnations of the two lovers there’s no trace in history, but others have been renowned: in the Medieval Age, Chay-Ara was born the noble Lady Celia Penbrook, while Khufu was the heroic Silent Knight, aka Brian Kent (an ancestor of Jonathan Kent, putative father of Superman); during the 19th century, she was Katherine Manser, a bounty hunter known as Cinnamon, in couple with Nighthawk; the following century, she was Sheila Carr, in love with private detective James Wright.

Finally, during the 1940s, Chay-Ara was reborn as Shiera Sanders, an archaeologist, whose life had always been characterized by a deep fascination with Egyptian antiquities. It was during one of her travels in Egypt that she met Carter Hall, another archaeologist, with whom she immediately fell in love. The two felt a strange bond between them, a love so strong they couldn’t explain each other. Secretly, Carter was also the hero Hawkman, who used some ancient weapons found in an Egyptian tomb to fight criminals: when hawkgirlcomics2Shiera was kidnapped by Dr. Anton Hastor (a reincarnation of Hath-Set), Hawkman intervened to free her. Following this event, the two archaeologists regained their past lives’ memories, and got married, happy to have met again. Once, when Carter was away, Shiera donned his mask and weapons to scare some criminals, pretending to be Hawkman: the experience reawakened her battle instinct, and she decided she would have joined her husband in his crusade against evil, under the name Hawkgirl. Using a mace made of Nth Metal, Hawkgirl always accompanied Hawkman in battles against injustice and criminality, a heroic couple that soon became famous. The Hawks became a part of Justice Society of America, a superhero team, and, many years later, even of some formations of Justice League. Shiera’s destiny would have often crossed Thanagar’s one, and she would have been chosen as the planet’s champion against the evil Onimar Synn. She also merged consciousness with her alien counterpart, Shayera Hol. When Shiera and Carter became the collective being Hawk God and lost their sanity, being later banished into Limbo, Shiera incarnated once again, this time into the body of her suicidal great-niece, Kendra Saunders. She would have been reunited with Carter Hall soon after.

Chay-Ara and all her reincarnations share similar traits and personalities, being the same soul reborn over and over, but are also quite different, being born and raised in different historical periods. She always develops a natural will to fight evil, a strong sense of justice, a deep belief in right. As Hawkgirl, she’s an extremely proficient combatant, who brings the experience of many lives within her: she’s a well trained martial artist and armed combatant, and the Nth Metal she uses in battle grants her superhuman strength, speed, durability and stamina, accelerated healing, and of course the ability to fly. She primarily uses her mace in battles, but she is also a specialist in the usage of her Dart Gun, a weapon developed by the reformed criminal The Mole and given to her by Batman. Every time she is reborn, Chay-Ara is cursed to wander Earth in search of her eternal soul mate; when they reunite, anyway, they know that they’ll be killed again, to start the cycle all over again.

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16 Comments

  1. Thanks for doing a piece on Hawkgirl, she is my favorite superhero (next to Barbara as Batgirl… it’s a redhead thing 🙂 )

  2. Reblogged this on Day-to-Day and commented:
    Hawkgirl ❤

  3. […] be among the recurring characters in the team-up show (even if the scene will be all for his wife Hawkgirl). This is not Hawkman’s first live action appearance: he was among the heroes present […]

  4. […] the children of other JSA members Lyta (daughter of Fury), Hector Hall (son of Hawkman and Hawkgirl) and Rick Tyler (son of Hourman). Al played and grew up with his new friends, and decided he […]

  5. […] found a place he felt to belong to. He also started an intimate relationship with his teammate Hawkgirl, he gained the trust and apreciation of some of the most noble and powerful people on the planet, […]

  6. […] America who helped her with her search. Finally, thanks to the help of Batman, Robin, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, Elongated Man and Green Lantern, Allura’s spell was broken, and Zatanna was finally […]

  7. […] of the Egyptian prince Khufu, who was cursed to be born in every century to love and lose his wife Chay-Ara: his modern incarnation is the archeologist Carter Hall, aka the superhero Hawkman, so Supermand […]

  8. […] apparently is able to scare even Merlyn. Savage will hunt down for unknown reasons Hawkman and Hawkgirl, and his hunt will continue on Arrow in episode Legends of Today; he’ll also be the big […]

  9. […] in Legends of Yesterday: in the flashback showing us the first life (and death) of Hawkman and Hawkgirl, we also learn Vandal Savage‘s true name, which happens to be Hath-Set…who in the […]

  10. […] the powers of the Firestorm Matrix: alongside fellow Black Lanterns Martian Manhunter, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Sue Dibny and Elongated Man, Deathstorm engaged in battle The Flash and Green Lantern, but […]

  11. […] the hiatus, even Legends of Tomorrow is back, and in Left Behind we find Ray Palmer, Kendra Saunders and Sara Lance still stranded in the 1950s. Looking for a place she knows, Sara comes back to […]

  12. […] the Birds of Prey, and Scandal Savage gave proof of her skills by besting in one-on-one combat Hawkgirl. During a heated battle, Deadshot was forced by Spy Smasher to shoot Scandal repeatedly in the […]

  13. […] another surprise appearance in Legends of Tomorrow‘s final episode. In Legendary, Kendra is stranded in 1944, trying to escape from Vandal Savage, and she runs into an America sergeant […]

  14. […] but she was replaced by Lady Blackhawk, and over the years many other heroines (such as Big Barda, Hawkgirl, Dove, Vixen, Catwoman, Manhunter and many others) joined and left the Birds’ ranks. After a […]

  15. […] was forced to play a chess game with Doctor Mid-Nite, and the loser would have been electrocuted; Hawkgirl was imprisoned in a lethal time-prison, while Hawkman and Sand had to reach her in […]


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