You’re reading The Complete Infinite Crisis, a Comprehensive and Encyclopedic look through the universe-changing superhero event published by DC from 2005 to 2006. Shelfdust are proud to provide a complete overview of the story, and everything that happens in it. We’ve had to get some experts in though – there’s so much going on that needs to be explained!

Things are getting cosmic now, as we’re almost halfway through the first issue! Phil Jimenez has thrown a whole galaxy of different warring species at us – and Tegan O’Neil, we need your help! The planets Rann and Thanagar are at war – but why? What’s going on? Tell me more!

*

Tegan! What can you tell me about Thanagar, and the people who live there?

Tegan O’Neil: Thanagar is the home planet of the Silver Age Hawkman, Katar Hol, and like Hol was created by Gardner Fox and Joe Kubert. (This is not to be confused with the Golden Age Hawkman, Carter Hall, archaeologist with an Egyptian theme.) Its not a peasant place in most depictions. Katar is a space policeman who comes to earth to learn out law enforcement methods. That alone tells you a lot: not only are Thanagarians obsessed with law enforcement, but they’re impressed enough with our cops to study them. Even back in Silver Age DC, Earth was famous for its cops.

In case you think I’m inserting undue editorial slant, it should be noted that Thanagar has been explicitly depicted as a bellicose authoritarian state in the comics for decades. Check out Tim Truman’s Hawkworld (1989), if you like depressing stories about alien fascists. No one likes the hawk people, they’re all tremendous dicks who ruin every party to which they are invited.

Who are their most famous citizens? Are there any… Thanagar…ians? We might know?

O’Neil: The most famous citizens of Thanagar are the aforementioned Katar Hol and his wife Shayera, otherwise known as Hawkgirl. They like dressing up in magic BDSM harnesses with big grey wings and smashing people on the noggin with medieval weapons. The big grey wing thing is actually a common motif on their world. Everyone wears wings, all the damn time. They make the wings out of the magic Nth metal (said metal being one of the few common threads between the two Hawkmen).

The problem with Katar Hol is that his continuity is an absolute nightmare. Sheer quagmire. I won’t even begin to explain. Frankly, I don’t know who could. Leave it be said: Crisis on Infinite Earths (1986) screwed over Hawkman continuity just as bad as the Legion of Superheroes. The aforementioned Hawkworld series was a new origin for Katar Hol, coming on the heels of the old Katar Hol having continued to appear in comics after the Crisis. Problem was that Hawkworld practically created an new character who bore little resemblance to the old Katar Hol, who still existed in recent continuity. Somewhere along the line by the early 90s there was a hawk god eating all the alternate Hawkmen. Zero Hour happened. Someone was drinking.

The situation compounded over the course of the 90s until the continuity morass surrounding Thanagar and Katar Hol effectively iced the character. His tangled continuity was a running joke in Wizard for much of that magazine’s run. Then the Justice Society returned to prominence at the end of the 90s, which pushed Carter Hall back into the spotlight. People really only needed one Hawkman at a time, and the older guy with the Egyptian motif just had a lot less baggage than the fascist space guy. Katar’s place in limbo was cemented. When Hawkgirl appeared as part of the Justice League in the mid-00s cartoon, Katar was nowhere to be seen.

I’m a bit out of the loop, for all I know Katar Hol could be back now. But MIA or no he nevertheless remains Thanagar’s most famous son, dubious honor that it is. Shayera is cooler, mostly because she stopped hanging out with Katar.

Right now in Infinite Crisis they’re at war with Rann. But why? What’s their justification?

O’Neil: I had to check Wikipedia to remind myself. Turns out a group of rogue Thanagarians accidentally on purpose teleported Rann into Thanagar’s solar system, so as to conquer Rann, or something. Only, they screwed up and Thanagar ended up falling into their sun, which is totally how gravity and space work. So at the outset of the Rann / Thanagar War, everyone who evacuated Thanagar is living on Rann, triggering the biggest refugee crisis in the galaxy. Cue conflict!

There’s another factor involved, in the form of a plot twist in Infinite Crisis which I won’t give away for fear of spoiling. But would you believe there’s another reason Thanagar and Rann go to war? That perhaps an evil mastermind from beyond time and space may have been conspiring behind the scenes to create a lengthy, enervating, and destructive war? Naw. Couldn’t be.

I don’t remember how it turns out. Honestly I’ve blocked most of Infinite Crisis from memory. Who do you possibly root for in the fight between fascist bird people and sterile technocrats? As always, safe money remains on Dr Doom.

*

Tegan! This is wonderful – and people say this stuff is COMPLICATED? Hah! Here’s your new Thanagar bible, DC!! Everything has been explained and we have no more questions, except wait: we have more questions…

 

Tegan O’Neil is an Eisner Award-winning critic (she has two!) who shouldn’t have been subjected to this. For more, you can support her work on Patreon over here, and follow on Twitter here!