When teenager Christopher Powell finds a mysterious amulet, he transforms into the shadowy avian android known as Darkhawk, and commits his life to stopping career criminals. He joins the New Warriors and the Avengers and goes up against some of the biggest and baddest criminal elements of them all!
Alien Amulets and Androids
When the extraterrestrial crime lord Dargin Bokk, AKA Evilhawk, seeks the means to create an army of expendable agents, he plans to sell them to the highest bidder. He gathers six of the most knowledgeable scientists in the known universe to work on his project. Through coercion, he recruits: Mondu, inventor of technology that could transfer a humanoid’s consciousness into a storage facility; Mandeja, inventor of teleportation technology that could replace one being with another; Byron, human inventor of androids with built-in weapons; Graczia, inventor of telepathic devices; Kig, who had mastered a techno-virus; and Ocsh, discoverer of a dimension dubbed “Null Space.”
Sent to Null Space aboard Bokk’s vessel to begin their work, the scientists fashion powerful android bodies, which a humanoid mind could inhabit without risking their real self, exchanging places via an amulet. Though the scientists rebel against Bokk before their work could wreak havoc on the universe, and inhabit the androids to overthrow Bokk’s crew. During the fight, Bokk damages Mandeja’s android, forcing her to return to her real body to initiate repairs; he then murders Mandeja and claims her amulet. Bokk continues to attack the scientists and the resulting battle causes massive damage to the ship, nearly scuttling it. Almost everyone aboard is slain, including the bodies kept in stasis. As Bokk flees the vessel, Ocsh attempts to return to his normal form, but is killed in transit; his consciousness merging with the vessel, and he finds his mind was in complete control of the ship, his amulet held within the ship’s circuitry. While Ocsh tries to save the vessel, Byron and Mondu rig equipment to transfer their consciousnesses to Earth, Byron’s homeworld.
On Earth, scientists Ned Dobbs and John Trane perform an experiment on extrasensory perception. As such, their bodies are taken over by Byron (in Trane) and Mondu (in Dobbs), and the energies unleashed in the transfer give Mondu/Dobbs’ face a hawk-shaped scar. The two men create a new amulet in the hopes of creating an android body to investigate the remains of the Null Space vessel, but the strain of two minds in a single body wore upon them. They attempt to warn the Fantastic Four of the threat posed by Bokk, but are dismissed as drunken lunatics. The two men take to wandering about the Wonderland amusement park in New York, Mondu/Dobbs known as “Predecessor” and Byron/Trane as “St. Johnny.” They keep the amulet in the park, barely able to remember its significance, but give their android form the name “Darkhawk” after Predecessor’s scar.
From Teenager to Android Warrior
As a teenager, Chris Powell idolizes his district attorney mother Grace, and policeman father, Michael. Unknown to Chris, his father is a member of the Cabal, a clandestine group of former and current police officers, who turn to vigilantism to wage war on crime. The Cabal finances a powerful suit of armor—which Stane International builds and names it Savage Steel—by taking bribes from crime lords such as Philippe Bazin. When Michael realizes that the Cabal intends to execute criminals, he prepares to turn the rest of the Cabal over to the police. When Michael goes to collect his last payoff from Bazin at Wonderland, Chris spies on him, who assumes that his father is a criminal. Detected by Bazin’s men, Chris stumbles across the amulet, which transforms him into the android warrior. Chris defeats Bazin’s men, and decides to use the amulet to wage war against men like Bazin. He considers the alias “Edge-Man,” but when he overhears St. Johnny refer to “Darkhawk,” he chooses that codename instead.
By concentrating on the amulet he carries, Chris Powell can exchange places with his android Darkhawk form from Null Space. While active as Darkhawk, Chris’ own body is kept in stasis within Null Space as his consciousness inhabits Darkhawk. When Chris reverses the exchange, any damage done to the Darkhawk body is automatically repaired.
The Darkhawk form possesses superhuman strength and durability, can survive in space for extended periods, and possesses a claw-cable on his right hand that can be propelled as a grappling hook, and retractable glider wings that enable him to glide on wind currents for short distances. The amulet located on Darkhawk’s chest can generate energy blasts (formerly called “Darkforce blasts,” but unrelated to the Darkforce dimension) and personal force shields. Darkhawk’s helmet has telescopic and infrared vision. The face under the helmet is reportedly horrific, and has been employed to startle opponents in battle.
Darkhawk’s second (usually inactive) android body has increased powers including formation of larger force shields (often shaped like a giant hawk), projection of the amulet’s energy as a tractor beam, sustained flight, energy blasts from the helmet’s eyes, a stealth mode that renders it invisible to sensors, and various weapons which can be teleported from the Null Space vessel. Instead of the claw-cable it has a single claw on each wrist.
In Chris’ early endeavors to stop the corrupt, he first fights crime lord Philippe Bazin. Darkhawk repeatedly fights Bazin and his minion Andrea, AKA Lodestone, but Bazin is ultimately rendered comatose after a gunfight with Chris’ father. Bazin’s children Broderick and Allegra also torment the Powell family, but both are eventually defeated.
Darkhawk battles well-known criminals, such as the U-Foes, the Secret Empire, Eddie Brock, AKA Venom, and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. He also participates in the catastrophic events surrounding the Infinity Gauntlet, Adam Warlock, AKA Magus’ creation of evil doppelgängers of Earth’s heroes, and the Goddess’ attempt to purify the universe. He even encounters and destroys Ultron.
He also battles the extraterrestrial crime lord Dargin Bokk, AKA Evilhawk, who Chris thought was the alien crime lord that started the creation of the androids in combination with the amulets. Chris comes to find out that Evilhawk ends up being a configuration of his Darkhawk armor that runs amok when Chris loses control of it.
In addition to working with Super Heroes like Spider-Man, Darkhawk befriends the New Warriors and eventually joins their ranks, becoming a reservist after aiding them against the Folding Circle. He also becomes known within the Super Hero community, teaming-up with the heroic Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America, the protector of Hell’s Kitchen Matt Murdock, AKA Daredevil, the embodiment of the Spirit of Vengeance, Daniel Ketch, AKA Ghost Rider, lunar legionnaire Marc Spector, Moon Knight, and crimefighter Rick Sheridan, AKA Sleepwalker.