Fans of the Justice League might be surprised that members Green Arrow and Hawkman do not get along at all in DC Comics. Rivalries between superheroes is pretty common. Usually, many heroes find themselves on opposing sides over methods, love interests, or just plain personality differences. However, in the case of Green Arrow and Hawkman, the issue is purely political, making for some one of the most interesting rivalries in history.
Green Arrow first appeared in More Fun Comics #73 in 1941 as millionaire Oliver Queen, who develops extraordinary archery skills while stranded on a desert island. However, his political leanings wouldn’t be more fleshed out until Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams’ iconic Hard-Traveling Heroes arc, which would find Green Arrow traversing America with his best friend, Hal Jordan aka Green Lantern. Since Green Lantern was essentially a space cop, Green Arrow was established as his boisterous, liberal foil as the two encountered many prevalent social issues, including racism, radicalism, the environment, and drug use.
While Green Lantern and Green Arrow had different perspectives, they remained good friends through the series and beyond. However, that’s not necessarily the case with Hawkman. First appearing in Flash Comics #1 in 1940, Hawkman has one of the most complicated histories of any comic book character, frequently bouncing between a reincarnated Egyptian prince, a space cop like Green Lantern, or some combination of the two. While their rivalry startled gently in Justice League of America #100, written by Wolverine creator Len Wein, the two heroes’ political differences quickly came front and center.
However, while Green Arrow was annoyed with Hawkman’s stuffy space cop, their relationship was all the more intensified post-Crisis on Infinite Earth, which retconned Hawkman into a constantly reincarnated Egyptian warrior. As a conservative with literally centuries-old values, Hawkman often found himself in heated debates with Green Arrow, who boisterously espoused upon his strong liberal beliefs at every turn. However, after Green Arrow returned from the dead following a ten-year absence in Kevin Smith’s Quiver, Green Arrow and Hawkman seemed to get along – as a clearly frantic Black Canary found the two rivalries fondly socializing in the Justice Society headquarters. Unfortunately, this quickly soured. Still procsesing the terms of his own recent resurrection, Green Arrow slept with Black Canary, and as he was leaving her he was discovered by Hawkman on his way out. Believing that he was disrespecting his teammate, Hawkman launched himself at Green Arrow, and things quickly degenerated into an all-too-familiar brawl from there.
While the CW series Arrow brought renewed interest in the Emerald Archer, it did so at the cost of much of Oliver Queen’s famously intrusive political views. For example, in Smith’s Quiver, Queen demands to know when Aquaman will open up Atlantis to democratic elections. Such character interactions were summarily discarded following the New 52 reboot, which saw both characters join the Justice League of America with very little disagreement.
However, with Arrow ending last year and DC entering into a new era of no-holds-barred storytelling, there’s never been a better time to revisit Green Arrow and Hawkman’s tense relationship, especially in an era of constantly partisan politics. Perhaps what’s most potentially refreshing about Green Arrow and Hawkman’s constant verbal battles is just how over-the-top both characters are. After all, Green Arrow is a millionaire archer with more than a few similarities to Batman constantly boasting about his liberal views, while Hawkman is ten-thousand year old reincarnated prince who dresses like a hawk and carries a mace. Neither character is entirely realistic representation of a political ideology, which allows for some desperately necessary escapism. Hopefully, Green Arrow and Hawkman will return to their truly partisan bickering sooner rather than later.