Though originally conceived as a
mere sidekick/love interest for JSA Chairman Hawkman, Hawkgirl
grew to be a mighty warrior through decades of battles. According to Wikipedia:
"Shiera Sanders first appeared in Flash Comics
#1 as a civilian supporting character in the Hawkman feature. Archaeologist
Carter Hall has a dream that he is an ancient Egyptian prince, Khufu,
who has a lover, Princess Chay-Ara. The next day, Carter meets a woman
named Shiera who looks exactly like the woman in his dream. Carter dons
the identity of Hawkman and Shiera becomes Carter's girlfriend.
first appears in costume in All Star Comics #5 during Hawkman's solo segment of
the Justice Society of America story. Shiera dons a spare set of Nth metal wings
developed by Hawkman, and masquerades as Hawkman in order to trick some criminals.
Shiera continues to wear the costume and wings in later stories, eventually adopting
the identity of Hawkgirl."
Comics No. 91 /Feb. 1945
Cover Art by Dennis Neville
owes her powers to a belt of Nth metal, a substance native to the planet
Thanagar (once home of another pair of Hawk-heroes, Katar Hol and Hawkwoman).
The metal is psycho-reactive, responding to its bearer's thoughts and in its base
form has a number of electromagnetic/gravitational properties. To the Hawks, it
grants the power of flight, superhuman strength, super-acute vision, and an enhanced
she displays advanced hand-to-hand combat skills. Like Hawkman, she retains the
knowledge of several lifetimes worth of fighting. Her preferred weapons are a
spear or mace, but she has also been depicted using swords, axes, warhammers,
shields, and other melee weapons."
addition, the nth metal knife which murdered Hawkgirl in her original incarnation
as Chay-Ara had an unusual effect upon her soul and that of her lover Khufu (Hawkman).
The pair are locked in a seemingly endless cycle of death and rebirth throughout
the centuries. While not a superhuman power per se, this propensity for reincarnation
has allowed Hawkgirl to cheat death and return to active duty in her current incarnation."