DC vs. Marvel: Hawkman vs. Thor
For as long as there have been comic books, there has been the feud between DC and Marvel. Both are heavy-hitting comic companies that continue to gain legions of fans every year. The purpose of this column is to take one DC persona and one Marvel persona of equal measure and popularity and pit them against each other to see who come out on top.
Carter Hall’s soul is the reincarnation of Prince Khufu of Egypt. Now an archeologist, Hall has memories of his past life and has thus adopted the motif of the God Horus for his Hawkman persona. His is married to Sheila Carr, the reincarnation of his Egyptian love and identity of Hawkgirl. The two were founding members of the Justice Society of America and had a son together. Following the event known as the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Hawkman and the JSA became trapped in a battle in an ever-repeating Ragnarok. During the events of Zero Hour, Carter died but was brought back to life years later to stop the evil Onimar Synn from enslaving the planet. He joined back up with the JSA and had many adventures, includes some in space. In the DC reboot, Hawkman is dealing with the death of Sheira but returns to his superhero lifestyle to protect New York.
Thor is the Asgardian God of Thunder, son of Odin the All-Father. Thor was raised alongside his adopted brother Loki, who would eventually become his greatest foe. As a child and teenager Thor was responsible for many heroic deeds while learning to have the pure heart needed to wield Mjonir and soon became Asgard’s greatest warrior. Over time Thor made many trips to Earth but it was in our recent modern age that he was sent here by Odin to learn humility and given a human alter ego named Donald Blake, in whose likeness he fell in love with Jane Foster, which complicated his Asgardian romance with Sif. When Thor regained his memories he divided his time between Asgard and Earth and began to work with The Avengers to stop various enemies, including his brother Loki.
Both superheroes have lived many centuries (whether in body or in soul) and both have rich histories of love and battle spanning the years. They are parallel in this and as such, neither outdoes the other.
Since Carter Hall was a priest in his past life, he possesses the power to bless mundane objects (turning water into Holy water, etc.). He can also “cheat death” in a sense because of his soul’s endless reincarnation, which includes the enormous amount of knowledge passed on to him each time. He is also proficient in many types of weaponry from all different time periods.
Because he is a God, Thor is the strongest man in creation and durable enough to withstand blasts from strong forces. This includes superhuman senses, stamina, sustenance, healing abilities and longevity. He also has energy manipulation powers. Like other Asgardians, Thor has a powerful Life-force that keeps him alive and strong. He also has the “gift of forgetfulness” that he uses to take away memories from humans when needed.
Both Hawkman and Thor possess enormous amounts of power but Thor’s Life-force gives him the edge over Carter Hall.
Hawkman served as a founder and chair of the Justice Society of America. He is currently a member of the Justice League and a former member of the All-Star Squadron. He sometimes also works with Hawkgirl separately on missions.
As an Asgardian, Thor often works with his kinsmen to defeat foes, usually Loki or The Enchantress. He is also a main member of The Avengers and a former member of the God Squad, Queen’s Vengeance, and Godpack.
Both Hawkman and Thor are major joiners with long resumes of affiliations, and this round is also a tie.
Hawkman wears Nth metal armor which can be stored beneath his skin and manifest itself whenever needed. This armor allows him to fly through the use of anti-gravity belt and boots and his wings control navigation and guidance during flight. The metal itself also increases Carter’s strength, vision, temperature regulation, and healing ability and has electromagnetic properties. He is also super durable with it, withstanding blows from powerful foes. His weaponry is extensive but Hawkman prefers to use a mace and flail.
Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, is one of the most famous weapons in comic-book history. Made from Uru metal, it is durable and magical. It’s strong enough to break mountains and cannot be wielded by anyone unworthy (few others besides Thor himself can even pick it up). Mjolnir can obey Thor’s commands, control the weather, and even grant Thor temporary flight, as well as multiple other powers. Thor also wears Meginjord, a magical belt that enhances his abilities.
Thor has an impressive hammer but Hawkman has wings and nearly indestructible armor to go along with his weapons. Both heroes have an impression array of weaponry but when conjuring images of Hawkman, you always picture him with his armor, helmet and wings. He is never parted from them in the readers’ eyes’ and for that, he wins this round.
Hawkman has appeared in many forms of media. In the 1979 Legends of the Superheroes TV Special he was played by Bill Nuckols. More recently, he has shown up in the TV series Smallville for a handful of episodes (played by Michael Shanks). Carter Hall also shows up in various animation pieces such as the 1967 The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure, various Superfriend speciels, the more recent TV show Justice League and Justice League Unlimited as well as The Batman, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Young Justice, and Mad. He is also in the direct-to-video DC Super Friends and various other animated movies. While Hawkman has been a constant presence in the DC world, he has yet to get his very own starring feature.
Thor is one of Marvel’s most popular characters and the mascot for all of Asgard. In the 1960’s Thor was the main part of an animated TV segment. He has had guest appearances in various animated shows recently including Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, and Fantastic Four. He also appeared in the live action TV film The Incredible Hulk Returns. He was featured as a major player in the TV shows The Super Hero Squad and The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as well as the feature-length animated films Ultimate Avengers and Ultimate Avengers 2 and Thor: Tales of Asgard. Thor’s big break came with the 2011 live-action film Thor in which Chris Hemsworth portrays the God (without his human alter-ego) and the very popular The Avengers. Thor has a sequel in the works as well as appearances in multiple video games.
While true blue comic fans know both heroes, it is the recent success of Marvel’s movies, especially The Avengers, that has catapulted Thor into the mainstream spotlight and gives him the win in this category.
Hawkman and Thor are both imposing figures and constant members of The Justice League and The Avengers. They are Gods among men, more powerful than many of their fellow superheroes and both have intricate storylines spanning many years. Most of the categories in this battle put the two neck and neck, either resulting in a tie or one just barely coming out on top. However, there can only be one winner, and Thor’s newly revisited fame and intricate yet compelling storylines with his brother Loki make him the champion of this round of DC vs. Marvel.