How many times has Hawkgirl died? Let me count some of the ways… Warning: it is complicated.
In Flash Comics #1 (1940), at the very beginning of “The Hawkman” saga, Shiera, an Egyptian Princess, is stabbed to death by the villain Hath-Set. Thus, launches the cyclical reincarnations of both Shiera and Carter and over the course of seventy years, Hawkgirl has been killed off many times. The theme throughout the Hawkman/Hawkgirl saga is one of Romance, Tragic Love, and Reincarnation.
Here are the ones that I easily recall:
Zero Hour: Crisis Time #3 (September 1994)
In Zero Hour, the crisis series that ran for five issues in 1994. an super-villain named Extant has done something to mess with reality and time.
This takes place after the Justice Society of America has returned from the Asgard dimension.
In issue #3 of Zero Hour, the members of the JSA were on their way to another dimension, when the Hawks and Waverider disappeared. Those three wind up in the Timestream where they witness various versions of themselves streaming towards a convergence.
Then next we see Hawkgirl I (Shiera Hall), Hawkman I (Carter Hall), Hawkman III (Katar Hol), and a Hawk avatar being converted into one.
The Hawk avatar in this group bears a strong resemblance to the “Hawkman” seen in Dark Nights: Metal #4.
So, back in Zero Hour, after the four Hawks were converted into one Hawk(man), he was revealed to be “not just Katar Hol anymore, he’s—“. As Waverider is cut off mid-sentence, we were never told what he was except that he is the Thanagarian cop, Katar Hol.
The Legend Of Hawkman #3 (2000)
The Legend of Hawkman is considered to be main continuity. The story is pre-Silver Age, taking place before the Thanagarian Hawks came to Earth in 1961. In this brief, three-issue, mini-series, Hawkgirl nearly dies after being severely slashed in her abdomen. In a tearful scene, Shayera learns that she has been given a hysterectomy.
In the end, the Trinity restores Shayera’s ability to have children again.
52 #4 (2006)
In the non-continuity(?) weekly-series 52 #4/#5 (2006), Hawkgirl is badly injured in a Zeta Beam Transfer gone bad after Halo tampered with the beam.
Now 25-feet tall and in convulsions, she is last seen being wheeled into a hospital on a flat-bed truck. To Halo’s credit, she had good intentions tampering with the beam as she was attempting to rescue “the heroes”.
The most recent kill-offs occurred in 2009 and 2011.
Blackest Night #1 (2009)
In the first issue of Blackest Night, we see Carter Hall and Kendra Saunders in Stonechat Museum. In one panel, we see the couple walking through a room that contains wax models representing three of their past lives.
Carter is still upset over the death of Ray Palmer’s wife, Jean Loring. The subject transitions to the topic of Carter’s continued love for Shiera/Kendra. Kendra continues to ask that Carter give her some space.
Then moments before she is killed, Kendra professes that she loves Carter.
Suddenly couple is attacked by reanimated corpses of Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man, and his wife Sue. Kendra dies.
Blackest Night #8 (May 2010)
In the final issue of Blackest Night, while the Lanterns are doing battle with Nekron, Black Hand is busy vomiting out White Rings. Each of the rings calls out the name of a superhero. As their name is called, the hero comes back to life. In one panel, we hear the White Rings call out the names “Carter Hall of Earth” and “Kendra Saunders of Earth”!
And then… She lives!
This is followed by a rather dramatic moment when “Kendra” replies to Carter that she is “Kendra, Chay-ara, Cinnamon…”. These are names of Shiera’s past lives. Now she is both Shiera and Kendra. This explains something that I was missing. (see my post Metal #4: Where is Hawkgirl, where I express my confusion)
When Shiera says “I remember our time with the Justice Society and Justice League”, I believe that she is referring to events that are documented in JLA (1997), JSA (1999), Justice Society of America (2007), Justice League of America (2006), and Hawkman (2002) and not the Silver Age. For an alternate view, which I disagree with, please see Putting Hawkman Back Together Again by Tim Board (Hawkworld Facebook /Twitter)
She tells Carter that most of all she remembers him and that she misses him and (obviously) loves him. How romantic! Note, the red hair and green eyes: she is Shiera Hall
Brightest Day #1 (2011)
Occasionally either Hawkgirl or Hawkman will tell us of how and when they were killed at the end of one of their many past lives. In the first issue of the 24-issue series from 2011/12, Shiera reveals that she and Hawkman were rulers on Bali back in the 12th century and how Rangda, the demon Queen forced Shiera and Carter to kill themselves with their own weapons.
She also tells of how she was Lady Celia and he was a knight named Brian Kent living in 1584.
Carter worries that their time together again will soon over once again.
Brightest Day #18 (April 2011)
In Brightest Day #18 (April 2011), in the story “Easy Come, Easy Go”, both Hawkgirl and Hawkman are restored to life. In this issue, a resurrected Shiera Hall goes into battle against her the mother, Queen Shrike, Queen of the Nth City that floats above Hawkworld. Shiera’s mother is also known as Khea Taramka. She has been around since the Egyptian-era and she is the one who supposedly placed the curse on Chayera and Khufu after they were murdered by Hath-Set.
After managing to overpower her mother, thus releasing the Predator entity, Shiera returns with Carter to the Stonechat Museum in St. Roch. They are both happy to be alive again. In a bedroom, they are tearing off their clothes, preparing to make love, when another person is suddenly in the room with them. That someone is Deadman. Shiera asks him why he is there, and he says that he does not know. He is pointing a white-lantern ring at them.
Operating the ring, Deadman transforms the couple into a pair of air elementals or spirits.
Brightest Day #24 (June 2011)
In issue #24 of Brightest Day, Swamp Things says “The infusion of the elemental powers that strengthen my life force and helped guide me, is no longer required.”
Then we see Hawkman, Aquaman, J’on J’onz the Martian Manhunter, and Firestorm having been released from Swamp Thing. But where is Hawkgirl?
She is not inside Swamp Thing as Carter thinks. Carter is told that Shiera remains in an air elemental and that she is all around him. Carter does not take the news of Shiera’s loss very well and in typical Hawkman fashion he wreaks and destroys everything in the room including the walls.
Justice League Unlimited – Season 2, Episodes 2 and 11
The previous examples are from main canon/continuity, but there are some non-canonical examples that come to mind. For example, in episode Season 2, Episode 2 of Justice League Unlimited, the Hath-Set murder of Carter and Shiera are played-out with the Thanagarian Hawkgirl experiencing the terror of the event. In one scene, Shayera appears to have her heart ripped out by a Shadow Thief. Then in season 2, Episode 11 – “Ancient History” – Carter Hall returns and Shayera must come face-to-face with her past “destiny”. As Shayera, Carter Hall, and Jon Stewart are tied up and forced to watch an Absorbacon presentation in which the three are in ancient Egypt and Shayera and Jon are murdered by Hath-Set after Carter, enraged over Shayera’s infidelity, wished that Shayera and Jon were dead.
I told you, it was complicated.