"Shadow of the Hawk" is the second episode of the third season of Justice League Unlimited, and the 28th of the overall series. It originally aired on September 17, 2005 (back-to-back with "I Am Legion").
The Justice League are battling a group of criminals in a city and eventually manage to subdue them. As the police come to clean up, a man crosses the police line hoping to talk with Shayera Hol. He introduces himself as Carter Hall, an archaeologist who needs her help on a discovery he made — a Thanagarian blade, apparently on Earth since 6,000 BCE. He offers to talk to her over dinner, and she agrees. As the Justice League depart, Hall also leaves, but his shadow lingers ...
At the Metro Tower, Shayera and Batman run tests on the blade, confirming that it is as old as Hall says and genuinely Thanagarian due to the presence of Nth metal. As John Stewart goes down an elevator, he spots Shayera in a very attractive dress, and Shayera offers to get one for Vixen. Just then, Batman shows up, saying that he's been researching Hall. His name was originally Joseph Gardener, but he legally changed it six months ago. His reputation declined five years ago after claiming that he discovered alien artifacts in Egypt. Additionally, he's been near Shayera before, and was present at several of her public battles. Batman concludes that he's a stalker, and John urges her to take someone with her as backup. Grabbing the Thanagarian blade, she tells them that she can take care of herself. John is upset, not only at her choice, but also that their journey into the future shows that he and Shayera are destined to be together. Batman informs him that if he really believed that, he wouldn't be with Vixen.
The next day, Hall and Shayera are at the tomb where Hall discovered the blade. He warns that there are traps all over the tomb, but knows how to disarm them. Unknown to either of them, Batman is following them. When they reach a chamber with Thanagarian runes, Hall changes into a costume and introduces himself at Katar Hal, alias Hawkman. He claims that he and Shayera are Katar Hol and Chay-Ara Hol, the reincarnated souls of Thanagarian lovers who were stranded in Egypt millennia ago, and were worshiped as gods by the people. But jealous forces overthrew them, destroying the grand society the Thanagarians had set up for the people. Hawkman tells her that he learned all this through an Asbsorbacron, a device that stores ship logs and memories. As he tells her all this, Batman is confronted by a shadowy figure who subdues him. Shayera assumes that the Asbsorbacron malfunctioned and implanted the memories of Hal into Carter, but Hawkman insists on showing her the device. Taking her to another chamber, he shows her the ship that carried the Hols to Earth. Before he can show her the device, they are attacked by a pair of shadowy figures. After they are subdued, the figures merge into a single being.
Waking up, Hawkman finds himself and Shayera captured by Shadow Thief, who has been following Carter for some time. He wants access to the treasure buried with the two Thanagarians, but he can't open it without Hawkman's help. When Shadow Thief threatens to kill Shayera, Hawkman submits, opening the tomb's final chamber. Inside are the Sarcophagus and the treasures. Before he can open the door, Batman attacks, causing Shadow Thief to hit the door and open it without disarming the traps. Robotic statues come to life, and Hawkman and Batman fight them off. During the battle, Shayera manages to free herself and goes after Shadow Thief. He is able to make himself intangible at will, meaning they can't touch him. However, Shayera activates her mace, while Hawkman grabs the torch and Batman activates a flare. Surrounded by light, Shadow Thief flees into the ground, causing it to collapse. Once he and Shayera get Batman out, Hawkman goes back for the Asbsorbacron, but Shayera subdues him.
Outside, Hawkman laments the loss of the Asbsorbacron, but Shayera still insists that he's confused. Batman says that J'onn J'onzz could help him sort through the memories, but Hawkman insists that he and Shayera are the reincarnations of Katar and Chay-Ara Hol. Shayera says that they don't even know each other, and Hawkman replies that her favorite color is teal, she loves oysters even though they give her heartburn, and that she wakes up at the crack of dawn to see the sunrise — all of which are true, much to Shayera's shock. However, Hawkman says he's willing to wait for her, and flies off. When he's gone, Shayera reveals that she knew Batman was following her, pulling the tracer he planted on her mace. Batman insists that it was Hall he didn't trust, and that all he heard was reincarnation and destiny, both of which he dismisses as nonsense. Shayera, however, is not so sure.
Unknown to all others, the Sarcophagus survived the cave in, opening to reveal its twin mummified occupants — still holding hands...
- This is the second time that Shayera's favorite food, Korschian Oysters are mentioned since "Starcrossed".
- John refers to the events of "The Once and Future Thing Part Two: Time, Warped", when he and Batman traveled to the future and met Warhawk.
- The fight against the villain with a black and orange suit presumably took place before the events of "Starcrossed", judging by the fact that Shayera is wearing her old uniform.
- Batman shows Shayera footage of a fight in which Giganta is wearing the same yellow dress she wore in "Ultimatum". That undocumented fight presumably took place after that episode, seeing as Shayera was reinstated after it.
Home video releases
- Justice League Unlimited - Season Two (DVD)
- Justice League - The Complete Series (DVD)
- Justice League Unlimited - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
- A Carbon-14 dating would not yield test results like "over eight thousand years". Since C-14 has a half-life of 5730, the radioactive decay for an object 8000 years old can be calculated within a margin of decades.
- In the elevator scene, Batman holds the doors open. However, in the very next scene, they open as if they were closed beforehand. If this were the case, Batman would have crushed his hand.
- Batman's Batsuit is heavily torn and damaged during the fight against the Shadow Thief yet in the end, his suit is repaired upon exiting the tomb.
- James Remar is uncredited as the voice of Shadow Thief, since the true origins of that character are not revealed until "Ancient History".
- The story Hawkman tells is a melding of the DC comics Golden Age and Silver Age origins of Hawkman and Hawkgirl. In the Golden Age, they are the souls of two lovers from Ancient Egypt who were murdered by the priest Hath-Set with an Nth metal blade and are repeatedly reincarnated as champions of justice. The Silver Age Hawks were Thanagarian law enforcement officers who were stranded on Earth.
- Carter's birth name, Joseph Gardner, is likely a reference to both Gardner Fox and Joe Kubert. Fox is the writer who co-created the Golden Age character, and later he and Kubert (as artist) co-created the Silver Age reinvention. Kubert also drew many of Hawkman's Silver Age adventures and is closely associated with the character.
- The Asbsorbacron is shaped like an Ankh, the Hieroglyph for "life".
|Maria Canals||Shayera Hol|
|Phil LaMarr|| Green Lantern|
|John DiMaggio|| Dreamslayer|
Lord Havok (uncredited)
|James Remar|| Carter Hall/Hawkman|
Shadow Thief (uncredited)