Fighting the Gordanians
A general in the Imperial Thanagarian Forces, Hro Talak was both a proud and effiecient commander, desperately trying to defend his people from the Gordanians. At one point during the conflict he was captured and imprisoned by the Gordanians, leaving him with a prominent scar across the right side of his face. The incident only served to further his hatred and make his desperation to defeat the Gordanians even stronger.
At some point he and Shayera Hol (later Hawkgirl) entered a relationship and became promised to each other (a Thanagarian form of engagement). A lieutenant and instructor in espionage, Shayera was sent on a secret mission to study Earth's defenses under the pretense of protecting them for a Gordanian attack. In reality they were planning to use Earth as a hyperspace bypass in order to lead an assault on the Gordanian homeworld, destroying the planet in the process.
Five years later, Talak led his Thanagarian forces to invade Earth, under the pretense of strengthening the planet's defenses against a supposedly imminent Gordanian attack. Under his command, the Thanagarians started to build an apparatus, which was supposed to project a protective force shield around the planet, the Justice League assisting them. However, the machine was in reality a means to turn Earth into a link in a chain of several hyperspace bypasses, which would allow the Thanagarians to penetrate the Gordanians' defense system and wipe them out permanently. Batman, who did not trust Talak from the beginning, found this out and spread the word, but was subdued and imprisoned before he could escape. Talak then overrode the planet's defense systems, imposed martial law and enlisted forced human labor to finish the contraption.
Hawkgirl aided him until she found out that such approach would result in the destruction of Earth. After Hawkgirl was arrested for treason, Talak confronted her about her feelings for him. He pleaded her to renounce any feelings she might have had for John Stewart and admit she loved him instead. However, Hawkgirl simply offered herself in exchange for the safety of Earth. Enraged, Talak spurned her and carried on with his plan, thinking that she might forget about John once Earth was destroyed. Despite his best efforts, the Justice League escaped and launched its counterattack, destroying a significant portion of Hro's fleet. When John attempted to deactivate the force field guarding the generator bypass before Batman crashed the Watchtower into it, Talak engaged him in combat for two reasons: to stop Batman from succeeding and to exact revenge for his "stolen" love.
During the fight, he managed to destroy John's power ring, and nearly killed him, if not for Hawkgirl stepping in on time. Talak fought her off, and finally put his feelings for Hawkgirl behind him. John then provoked Talak, tricking him into destroying the force field that protected the deactivation switch, severely injuring him. After the bypass was destroyed, Talak declared defeat and retreated from Earth.
Fall of Thanagar
Upon returning to Thanagar, he discovered that the Gordanians had attacked and, with the fleets off waiting for his orders to attack the Gordainan homeworld, the battle was over, and Thanagar had fallen. Nevertheless, Hro Talak relentlessly engaged and destroyed a dozen Gordanian battleships. However, his entire fleet was destroyed, so he sent his remaining officers (includings the likes of Paran Dul and Kragger) onto a scout ship in order to escape. Finally, Talak sacrificed himself, flying his ship on a suicide run to destroy the Gordanian flagship. His ship hit the Gordanian ship's weapons emitter just as it fired, the resulting explosion destroying both ships, along with the entire Gordanian fleet in orbit of the planet. Though it was a Pyrrhic victory, the Gordanians won and Thanagar was lost.
Despite the defeat of the Thanagarian Empire and Hro Talak's death, Paran Dul, Kragger and a squadron of rogue Thanagarians later returned to Earth in order to exact revenge on Shayera, whom they blamed for their loss. Shayera was shocked upon hearing of Hro Talak's demise, and she admitted to Vixen and Vigilante that she still loved him. Dialogue during the battle also made it clear that a resistance was in action back on Thanagar, and that Kragger, and Paran Dul were part of it.
Hro Talak didn't look at ethics to protect his people, and was willing to sacrifice an entire planet (several planets in fact) in the process. This hardhearted fixation to defeat the Gordanians resulted from Hro Talak having been captured and tortured by the Gordanians at one point, leaving him physically and physiologically scarred. Therefore, while he is undeniably villainous, he is more of an anti-hero/tragic villain than a true villain, as unlike most of the Justice League's adversaries, he is driven by determination to protect his people and loved ones, but is still not above stepping on or even killing others to achieve his goals. Despite his villainous traits, he ultimately found redemption when he sacrificed himself to destroy a Gordanian mothership, despite knowing that his home planet had already fallen and was beyond saving.
Originally, Hro Talak was intended to be Katar Hol, the DC Silver Age Hawkman. However, the creative team feared that fans might reject the idea of Hawkman being a villain. Therefore, they decided to create a new character based on the original one (note how "Hro Talak" is an anagram of "Katar Hol").
Talak may also be based on Fel Andar, a villainous Thanagarian who posed as Hawkman to gain the trust of the Justice League.
Victor Rivers is the voice of Hro Talak. According to the commentary track of "Starcrossed, Part III", he felt uncomfortable doing the scenes where Hro was beating Hawkgirl. Rivers, having been, along with his mother, the victim of an abusive father, is a leading crusader against domestic violence.
- "Hunter's Moon" (Cameo)