|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (March 2011)|
Originally, the name Shadowhawk was to be used for the Marvel character Starhawk while he had darkness powers, but Tom DeFalco convinced Valentino to use the name for a new character instead.
Fictional character biography
|Publisher||Image Comics under ShadowLine|
|First appearance||Youngblood #2 (Official debut) (May/June 1992)|
|Created by||Jim Valentino|
|Alter ego||Paul Johnstone|
Derived from his armor:
Paul Johnstone grew up as a troubled youth in Harlem, New York City. He avoided a life of crime due in part to the encouragement of a man named Richard Woodroe, who was originally assigned as a caseworker to Paul when he was caught stealing, and eventually married his mother, becoming his stepfather.
Eventually Paul became a lawyer and, beyond that, a district attorney. While his life was going so well, his half brother Hojo had taken his success in college, moved to Wall Street and developed a coke and crack addiction. Using Hojo, some gangsters tried to leverage Paul into letting their men off, but Paul refused. Soon after he ended up the target of an assault intended to serve as an example to others who got in the way of these mobsters. This incident culminated in his attackers injecting him with HIV-infected blood.
After the encounter, Johnstone was left uncertain regarding whether he had been infected or not. The attack had been made public and word of his possible infection spread through Johnstone's workplace, making it a very inhospitable environment to be in. Tensions between Johnstone and one of his co-workers led to an altercation between the two which landed Johnstone out of a job and in jail.
After he was released, Paul received medical confirmation that he was HIV positive and he descended into depression. While walking the streets to clear his head, Paul was threatened by a group of young gang members. He went berserk and attacked them, leading to his brutal mugging and return to the hospital. During this time he resolved that he would use the rest of his time to dispense justice to the individuals who preyed on innocent victims. One of his friends, a cop named Christina Reid (who had been kicked off the force that day for use of excessive force), was also in the hospital and came to visit him. She informed Paul that she and a man named Carlton Sun had been developing an exo-skeleton suit of armor that could help aid him in accomplishing this task.
Johnstone decided to don the suit, christening himself "ShadowHawk" after his favorite superhero (a name that would eventually lure out the psychotic and racist villain Hawk's Shadow, who believed he was the one entitled to bear the mantle of ShadowHawk), and was taught how to fight effectively with the help of Christine, promising to "take back the night." Johnstone also kept the pills needed to slow his reaction to his HIV infection in small pouches on his belt so he could take them as needed.
Early on, ShadowHawk's actions against criminals were brutal. He would catch violent criminals in the act and break their spines, leaving them to be discovered by police with no indication that he had attacked them other than hearsay from the criminals. This led to ShadowHawk garnering a reputation as an urban legend as well as being hunted by both criminals and law enforcement alike.
Later in his career (and as his lifespan shortened due to the progression of HIV to AIDS), Johnstone eventually grew to be less violent. He would also spend a majority of his remaining time searching either for a cure to his infection or another way to extend his life. This led to encounters with the likes of Supreme (in which a battle would ensue, leading to the discovery of ShadowHawk's true identity to the world), the WildC.A.T.s. (who offered a possible solution involving a robotic body to transplant Johnstone's consciousness into - which would ultimately fail to work)  and Youngblood's Chapel (another hero also infected with HIV). One of his few regrets was that he never got to join a super-group, as in his search for a cure, he had realized how useful and fun fighting in a group was.
In his final act as ShadowHawk, Johnstone would rescue his mother from being attacked by Hawk's Shadow. The aftermath of the fight would leave Johnstone in a weakened state and unable to elude the pursuit of the police. He was remanded into custody and transported to a hospital where AIDS eventually took its toll and ended his life.
The New ShadowHawk
In the wake of Paul Johnstone's death, it was revealed that ShadowHawk is in fact a "Spirit of Justice" and the spirit has inhabited at least four people in the past. Three of the revealed ShadowHawks were human, the last one being a robot. After the Spirit of Justice leaves the robot it becomes "Justice", without human feelings and starts to kill people. The saga of the robot ShadowHawk was told in a crossover story called "ShadowHunt," which ran through five Image titles in April 1996. At the end of New Man #4,the robot was destroyed.
|Publisher||Image Comics under Shadowline|
|First appearance||New Man #4|
|Alter ego||Edward "Eddie" J. Collins|
|Team affiliations||The Pact|
|Abilities||Donning the helmet, the costume morphed around his body, increasing his strength, his agility and his stamina.|
After the robot is destroyed, Eddie Collins, a young high school student, makes his debut as the new ShadowHawk. Having just moved to New York with his recently widowed father James, an electrician, Eddie was walking down a street when the helmet literally fell into his hands. The helmet - called "Nommo" - contains the spirits of all people who were, at one time, inhabited by ShadowHawk, the Spirit of Justice. Eddie Collins tried to meditate with the Nommo on, meeting the spirit of Paul Johnstone, who tells Eddie that he is a reincarnation of a first dynasty Egyptian shaman, how he was the prior ShadowHawk and that Eddie is destined to start anew.
At first Eddie's father orders him to stop, thinking it would kill him. But Eddie is faster, stronger and more agile now and finds new responsibility to the people of New York City. After saving some hostages, Eddie meets Captain Nieves and starts working with him.
Jim Valentino's ShadowHawk
Blacklight, a 1960's "Hippie Hero" wakes up from a 30-year coma and learns his wife Dayglo was killed 10 years ago by a villain called Firepower. He is falsely told by a mysterious man that Shadowhawk is the son of Firepower. Blacklight later attacks Shadowhawk and is accidentally killed by him. After killing Blacklight, ShadowHawk faces a mercenary named ZAP. After ZAP is defeated, police propose that Eddie Collins go through the Police Academy to learn the difference between superhero and vigilante. Eddie is attacked by the man who hired ZAP and lied to Blacklight, named Nocturn.
Out on patrol, Nocturn, who knows Eddie Collins is ShadowHawk, attacks him. After a brutal fight, Hawk's Shadow comes out of the shadows to face his "returned" arch-enemy. After being beaten nearly to death, Shadowhawk faces Hawk's Shadow, who wants the helmet that gives Shadowhawk his powers. In the end, Paul Johnstone usurps Eddie's body and beats Hawk's Shadow to near death, but Eddie stops him before the kill.
A man-beast named Komodo kills Eddie's best friend, Steven "Skeeve" Evans and defeats Shadowhawk. The helmet, the source of ShadowHawk's power, is taken by Hawk's Shadow, who steps in and kills Komodo. He is soon confronted by his father, the Silver Age ShadowHawk. With the help of the new Blacklight, and Astroman, Eddie goes after Hatfield (Hawk's Shadow) and wins, taking back the helmet.
After hearing the stories of past Shadowhawks, Eddie Collins makes the decision that now he is going to be ShadowHawk on his terms and receives a new costume.
Steven Evans' younger brother blames Shadowhawk for his brothers death and seeks revenge, while Hawk's Shadow's brain is placed in Komodo's body.
Silver Age ShadowHawk
|Silver Age ShadowHawk|
|First appearance||Shadowhawk Special December 1994|
|Created by||Jim Valentino|
|Alter ego||Luke Hatfield Sr|
|Abilities||No powers, but an excellent hand-to-hand fighter, with access to high-tech equipment.|
The Silver Age ShadowHawk is a parody of the Jack Schiff-era Batman comics. He works out of the Shadowcave which is in the basement of his house, has a Shadowcar and a Shadowdog. His wife and son are his crimefighting partners, Lady ShadowHawkette and Squirrel. Squirrel went on to become Hawk's Shadow (see above).
The Shadowhawk Special featured two Silver Age ShadowHawk stories. In "The Hyena's Revenge" ShadowHawk and Squirrel hunt the Hyena, a villain based on the Joker. The second was "The Phantom Gorillas from Dimension-Z!" The Silver Age ShadowHawk also appeared with the Silver Age Knight Watchman in Big Bang Comics #2.
The story "Rising" in issue 11 of Jim Valentino's ShadowHawk described Hatfield Sr and his family's final fight against the Hyena and the death of Lady ShadowHawkette.
Image Comics announced a new Shadowhawk ongoing series following the events of Image United. The series featured Paul Johnstone, the original Shadowhawk, as wearing the helmet once again 15 years after his death. The story was written by Dan Wickline, and the art by Tone Rodriguez and Jim Valentino. The series also featured covers by Erik Larsen and Frank Bravo. Variant covers for ShadowHawk: Resurrection took homage from older issues of ShadowHawk titles and other notable covers throughout comic history. Notably, ShadowHawk: Resurrection Issue 3 featured a variant that was styled after the glow-in-the-dark cover for ShadowHawk (1st Series) issue 3, while issue 5 featured a variant cover that paid homage to the "Death of Supergirl" cover of "Crisis on Infinite Earths" issue #7.
Two action figures of Shadowhawk have been released in the past by McFarlane Toys.
- Kirkman, Robert (Nov 16, 2009). "Kirkman Talks Image United". Time. Retrieved 18 November 2014.
- Shadowhawk #13
- The New ShadowHawk #1 (June 1995) - #7 (March 1996)
- Chapel v.II #7, Youngblood v.2 #7, Team Youngblood #22
- Shadowhawk One-Shot #1: "Great Responsibility" (July 2006)
- Jim Valentino's ShadowHawk #1: Shadows and Light
- Jim Valentino's ShadowHawk #2: Zapped
- Jim Valentino's ShadowHawk #3: "Here Comes the Night"
- Jim Valentino's ShadowHawk #4: "Back in the Shadows Again"
- Jim Valentino's ShadowHawk #5 to 6: Dead Man Walking/Suffer Not a Corpse to Live
- Jim Valentino's ShadowHawk #7 to 8: My World on fire
- Jim Valentino's ShadowHawk #9 to 12: Rising
- Jim Valentino's ShadowHawk #13: Past Lives
- Jim Valentino's ShadowHawk #14 to 15: On the rebound
- ShadowHawks of the Past
- Indie Spotlight 1: Shadowhawk
- ShadowHawk page at valentinocomics.com
- The Museum of Black Superheroes - Shadowhawk
- "Valentino & his creations emerge from the shadows again" By Patrick Luce
- WeirdSpace Encyclopedia entry on Paul Johnstone
- WeirdSpace Encyclopedia entry on Eddie Collins