DARKHAWK: Page 8 of 8

Publication Date: 21st Oct 2021
Written By: Monolith.
Image Work: Gremlin.


Darkhawk located the first new amulet on the planet Shard near the Fault, a rift in space opened by the climax of the War of Kings. His mission was complicated by Nova and the Nova Corps arriving to clear up his arrest warrant, and the planet itself being torn apart by creatures from the Cancerverse invading from the Fault. As a result, the Raptor amulet had time to bond with a Kree archaeologist and brought forth Gyre of the Fraternity. Chris and Rich were caught up in the planetary chaos as Shard came apart around them. [Nova (4th series) #31]

Darkhawk and Nova survived only thanks to the intervention of Nova’s old foe, the Sphinx. They were brought to an artificial pocket of reality sustained within the Fault, where the Sphinx intended the rewrite the paradoxical history of his life by seizing a second version of his Ka Stone from his own younger self. Chris and Rich were joined by Reed Richards, Black Bolt and Namorita as the elder Sphinx’s champions against those called by Sphinx the younger. Darkhawk was pitted against Gyre and purged the Raptor, restoring the Kree archaeologist to his senses. Although one Sphinx did claim the two Ka Stones, that paradox could only exist in his pocket reality and his power crumbled when Nova exposed him to real space before his power was ready to compensate. Darkhawk and Nova returned from the Fault and reality remained as it was. [Nova (4th series) #32-35]

Quasar had been sent into the Fault to find what lay on the other side, but a corrupt Quasar doppelganger from the Cancerverse came back in his place. Darkhawk and Nova traveled back to Project: P.E.G.A.S.U.S. and found Dark Quasar opening a Horrorscope portal into the Cancerverse to unleash the power of the Many-Angled Ones. Darkhawk was hit badly by Quasar while fighting the horror he called forth, and his Raptor amulet was fused into his flesh. Darkhawk had to remain behind at P.E.G.A.S.U.S. to heal while Nova led the charge against the Cancerverse, closing the Fault at the apparent cost of his own life. [Nova (4th series) #36]

It is unknown how long it took Darkhawk to recuperate, but the amulet apparently did not remain fused to him for good. Chris was later targeted by Arcade to fight in Murderworld as part of his “comeback tour.” The assassin-for-hire had lost too many times in his games of death against super-heroes, and wanted to reestablish his reputation. Darkhawk and the fifteen other potential victims and murderers were teleported to Arcade’s private island and apprised of the rules. Arcade wanted them to murder each other for the chance of becoming the last survivor and escaping. He killed one of the Avengers Academy students personally, and another soon died trying to escape, making the stakes involved seem very real. [Avengers Arena #1-2]

In his twenties by this point, Darkhawk was older than the teenaged heroes who made up most of the competitors. He felt a duty towards the kids and wanted to make sure they all got home safely. Chris formed an early alliance with Cammi, a young girl who got caught up in the Annihilation Wave space wars with Drax. However, he was unaware that Arcade intended for the older and more level-headed Darkhawk to be taken out early. Chris was added to the mix primarily to get his Raptor amulet in play for the other competitors. Sure enough, Darkhawk was among the next players to fall as his alien armor was affected by the British student Apex’s techno-pathic powers. Chris was believed lost as his amulet passed hands from Chase Stein to Cammi during the thirty days of conflict. [Avengers Arena #3]

Arcade retrieved Chris Powell’s body and kept him in stasis in his underground lair as the game continued. Death Locket and Apex found their way into Arcade’s quarters and released Chris as they tried to take control of Murderworld’s systems. Arcade teleported to safety, though, and remotely convinced Apex to play the game his way. She assumed control of Death Locket with her powers and had Becca ambush and shoot Chris. Apex tried to eliminate the rest of the players and their knowledge of her misdeeds using Arcade’s booby traps and artificial environment hazards. Death Locket asserted control of her systems and killed Apex, ending the competition. Chris was last seen being taken away by rescue services, having been reunited with his amulet. [Avengers Arena #16-18]

Time passed, and the Raptor amulet stopped working for Chris. Months went by and Chris was unable to trigger the change to become Darkhawk, so he moved on with his life. Chris chose to follow in his father’s footsteps and joined the NYPD. He began dating a woman named Miranda Cruz and, after months of dating, proposed to her. The only lingering traces of his life as a super-hero were the amulet and the nightmares. Chris would dream of the Tree of Shadows and frenetic Raptor activity around the Null Source, but was unable to reach it himself. Chris and Miri talked about it, and he decided it may be time to get rid of the amulet altogether, maybe by returning it to his old employers at P.E.G.A.S.U.S. for study.

That night on patrol duty, dispatch sent out a call for possible vandalism at Wonderland. Feeling nostalgic, Officer Powell volunteered to check out the disturbance. He was approached by Sergeant Conrad and other officers on the take, looking to see if Chris had the same inclinations as his father. Chris’ encounter with the corrupt cops was interrupted by a far more serious threat from two of the Fraternity of Raptors. The Shi’ar Canorus and Aceptar were not true Raptors, but part of a growing movement that idolized the Fraternity and had dreams of claiming their power. They hoped to seize Razor’s amulet from Chris and prove they were worthy of its armor while a mere human was not.

The amulet did work for Canorus, but only as it was supposed to – Razor emerged from Null Space as the parasitic host in place of the Shi’ar’s body. He quickly beat Aceptar before turning to Chris Powell, face-to-face for the first time in all these years. Instead of killing each other, though, Chris and Razor communed telepathically. It turned out Razor had been “corrupted” by the human “anomaly” Powell and now saw right vs. wrong the same way Chris did. When the new Fraternity of Raptors first reached out for the Tree of Shadows, Razor rejected their inheritors while the other Raptors rejoiced. He broke free from his crystal cocoon (severing his connection to Chris’ amulet) and became a renegade, opposing the Raptors’ return to power and hunting his own brothers reactivated by the new Fraternity.

Raptor amulets were originally keyed to Shi’ar above all others, so Razor could not ignore Canorus’ summoning with the amulet. Still, without a connection to the Null Source, Razor had been unable to heal himself during his rogue activities, and was beginning to feel his accumulated injuries. He believed the self-restoration function of the amulet would be reactivated if he and Chris merged again, and so Razor asked Chris to renew their partnership, firmly on the side of justice this time. Hearing his own words about right vs. wrong parroted back to him by Razor, Chris couldn’t help but agree. Chris became Darkhawk again, merging with Razor to become a revitalized version of the android body, dedicated to stopping the Fraternity of Raptors, both new and old. [Darkhawk (1st series) #51]

[Note: Interestingly, Razor reflected back on the period of time from Darkhawk (1st series)  #38-50 where Chris Powell’s mind was supposedly split between his human and Darkhawk bodies. According to Razor’s account, he was the mind in the Darkhawk body at this time, albeit programmed by Chris’ anomalous human mind to act just like him. Apparently.]

Chris had to make some changes in his life to adjust to getting back in action as Darkhawk. He rescinded his request for a transfer to the NYPD’s Code: Blue, although Lt. Stone told him he was still welcome to join the special squad once he and Miri got back from vacation. Chris and Miranda went to Project: P.E.G.A.S.U.S. to get his new Raptor body analyzed, and Chris discovered the new parameters he was operating under as Darkhawk. Cut off from the Tree of Shadows, Darkhawk could no longer reconfigure himself or send a body into one of the stasis cocoons on the Perch. Instead, the amulet was capable of storing one “configuration” at a time, physically destroying Chris Powell and rebuilding him as Darkhawk, or vice versa.

As Chris and Miri processed this new information, Rich Rider responded to the transwarp communication P.E.G.A.S.U.S. sent him on Darkhawk’s behalf. Chris wanted a ship to get out into space and confront the Fraternity of Raptors, especially their new leader Talonar, whom Canorus and Aceptar mentioned. Nova refused to help, though, and explained that Talonar was actually his brother Robbie, Chris’ old co-worker from P.E.G.A.S.U.S. who joined the Nova Corps and was lost on a mission, now seeking revenge.

Chris was furious Rich was keeping him out of the fight, but he had no other way to reach space alone. However, a new opportunity presented itself when the freelance peacekeeping agent Death’s Head came to Earth to claim the bounty on Darkhawk’s head for the Raptors. Chris got the idea to let Death’s Head take him to the Raptors, confident that his real Raptor armor could beat any posers Talonar had on hand. [Infinity Countdown: Darkhawk #1]

Death’s Head had zero scruples about setting up his employers, so long as he got paid first. After making time to say good-bye to Miranda, Darkhawk and Death’s Head set off into space to rendezvous with the Fraternity at a Shi’ar outpost world. Unfortunately for Chris, Talonar had lost control of the Fraternity since Death’s Head’s contract was posted. Gyre and the real Raptors had emerged from Null Space to seize control of the Fraternity once more. They shot down Death’s Head’s ship and a half-dozen real Raptors were able to overpower Darkhawk.

Gyre had convinced Robbie Rider that he could become a true Raptor by working with them. He revealed the secret history of the Great Purpose and its connection to Ra’thakon, the Hawk-God, who served as a cosmic force of order in opposition to the chaos that was the Phoenix Force. While the Fraternity of Raptors was created to bring about order on behalf of the Shi’ar Empire, it was order ITSELF they truly served. They yearned to draw upon the power of the Hawk-God, not just his teachings, but as synthetic mechanoids they lacked the souls necessary to unlock that connection. With Talonar and Darkhawk, however, the Raptors could summon the power of the Hawk-God through a linked pair of sacrificial tributes: one willing, and one not. Gyre ripped the amulet out of Darkhawk’s chest, taking with it his human soul, and giving it to Robbie to complete the ritual. In the place of Robbie Rider, Talonar, now stood the Dark Starhawk, cosmic champion of order. The Dark Starhawk and the Fraternity left the planet to bring order to the galaxy, leaving behind what remained of Chris Powell. [Infinity Countdown: Darkhawk #2]

[Note: One thousand years in the future, another sacrifice would be made by Stakar and Aleta of the planet Arcturus, calling upon the Hawk-God and becoming Starhawk of the Guardians of the Galaxy.]

As he lay dying on an alien world, Darkhawk received a vision from the Datasong of Razor. Both Chris and Razor had thought the original Raptor’s mind was lost when they re-merged, but Darkhawk’s trauma brought him back to the surface. Razor interfaced with Chris, showing him the true origin of the Tree of Shadows and Raptor Prime, before the Fraternity tamed Null Space in the name of the Great Purpose. As a creature of instinct and adaptation, Raptor Prime (first to receive power from the amulets) had more in common with the empathetic human than with cold, unchanging mechanoids. Reaching down to the unchecked power of Null Space at his core, Darkhawk restored his gift for change and simply reconfigured from an injured body to a healthy one. Now able to change, grow and empower himself far beyond what the Fraternity were capable of imagining, Darkhawk set off into space with Death’s Head and Razor’s spirit to find Dark Starhawk. [Infinity Countdown: Darkhawk #3]

Darkhawk’s power of wild reconfiguration allowed him to transform into a giant humanoid space vessel, creating weapons and technology on the fly to battle Dark Starhawk and the Raptors. He confronted them in near-Earth space, where Rich Rider also appeared on behalf of the Nova Corps. Rich was conflicted on how to help his brother, while Chris was determined to retrieve his amulet from Dark Starhawk and regain access to his human form locked inside it. Struggling with Nova forced Darkhawk to scale his configuration back down to normal size, fighting Gyre and the Raptors hand-to-hand. Gyre was surprised when Talonar decided he was as much a threat to the Hawk-God’s dreams of cosmic order as the Earth, and eliminated the Raptor leader. Darkhawk and Nova were trying to decide if the Dark Starhawk entity could be reasoned with when Death’s Head detonated a space ship on top of the Raptors. Darkhawk seized the advantage to retrieve his amulet from the Dark Starhawk gestalt, forcing it to revert back to Robbie Rider. Robbie teleported away to make his own plans, and Nova was furious at Darkhawk for risking his brother’s life when he ripped the amulet from him. On shaky ground with Rich, Chris decided to cut his losses and returned to Miranda and Earth [Infinity Countdown: Darkhawk #4]

Now space-worthy under his own power, Darkhawk found himself drawn back into galactic politics more frequently. After the death of Thanos, he attended a meeting held by the Titan’s brother Eros to deal with the aftershocks. This meeting was attacked by the Black Order, and Darkhawk and many of the heroes present fell into a black hole. [Guardians of the Galaxy (5th series) #1] Chris was heavily distorted by the event horizon and re-emerged back into normal space only through the efforts of the Silver Surfer. He had a strange vision where he was physically occupying the Darkhawk armor for the first time, but in the body of a young boy. [Silver Surfer: Black #1, Guardians of the Galaxy (5th series) Annual #1] In fact, Darkhawk and many of the lost heroes had been captured by the Universal Church of Truth and subjected to brainwashing on behalf of the Patriarch. They were freed in the end thanks to the intervention of Peter Quill, Rocket and the Guardians. [Guardians of the Galaxy (5th series) #11-12]

Darkhawk was one of many heroes summoned by Nova to deal with the return of the Cancerverse in the Negative Zone. [Annihilation Scourge -- Omega] Eventually, though, Chris got in over his head with a new threat arising in space. On the verge of something called the Shadow War, Darkhawk was trapped in a spaceship on the brink of destruction. In order to get the message out, he encoded his experiences into the Datasong of his Raptor amulet and cast it through Null Space, hoping to reach someone who could help. [Darkhawk: Heart of the Hawk #1]