Who the Clix? is a series of articles featuring information on comic book characters that have been made into figures for the popular tabletop game Heroclix. These articles are meant to help Heroclix players learn more about the characters behind their favorite pieces.
He’s just got that 90s hero feel to him. Even his name feels 90s. Just say it out loud: Darkhawk
Appearances in Heroclix: Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers
First Appearance: Darkhawk #1 (Mar. 1991)
Team Affiliations: New Warriors, Secret Defenders, West Coast Avengers
Powers: Energy blasts; Energy shield; Stargate creation; Teleportation; FTL flight; Night vision; Claw cable; Accelerated healing factor; Superhuman strength, speed, reflexes, stamina, agility, senses; Adaptive metamorphosis; Size alteration; Weapon formation
Created by: Tom DeFalco and Mike Manley
Christopher Powell is the son of a policeman from Queens, New York. As a teenager, he follows his father to an abandoned amusement park. While there, two pivotal moments in his life happen: he watches his father accept a bribe from a crime boss and he discovers a mysterious amulet. Using the amulet, he is able to switch physical places with an android from “Null Space” and control the machine with his mind. The young hero swears to use this amulet to fight crime.
One of his first adventures involves battling the Hobgoblin alongside Spider-Man. He then goes on to battle such foes as Savage Steel and Portal before teaming up with Captain America to battle the U-Foes. He is soon battling more villains alongside the likes of the Punisher, Night Thrasher, Nova and Moon Knight. He soon begins working with the New Warriors and West Coast Avengers.
Powell learns more about the origins of the amulet, including that the android body is repaired on a starship in Null Space. This same starship is where his body goes when they switch places. He learns that five Darkhawk amulets were commissioned by the alien crime lord Dargin Bokk. The scientists that create the amulets eventually use them to attack Bokk in a bid for their freedom. Bokk destroys two of the scientists while the other two broadcast their minds to Earth and merge with human scientists. Once on Earth, they create a sixth amulet, which is the one Chris finds. While Chris believes this with all his heart, later events cast doubt on this version of events.
At one point, Chris’ mind is downloaded into the Darkhawk body, leading to two beings believing they are the true Chris. The Darkhawk body eventually upgrades itself via the spaceship and is able to take a new form on Earth, allowing Chris to become Darkhawk without teleporting to Null Space.
Powell is among the heroes secretly recruited by Rick Jones to form the Loners and track down the Runaways in Los Angeles. During his time, Powell begins having trouble controlling Darkhawk and even battles his teammate Turbo. After this, he admits to having a nervous breakdown and swears to never become Darkhawk again. This promise doesn’t last long when the Loners are attacked by Ultron. Powell is able to collect himself enough to deliver the final blow to Ultron, saving the day.
During the Superhuman Civil War, the Loners become a superhero support group. Soon enough, Darkhawk registers with the US government and is assigned as Security Chief for Project PEGASUS. During the Skrull secret invasion, he teams up with Nova to battle the Skrulls.
Around the time of the War of Kings, Talon travels to Earth and confronts Darkhawk at his family home. An explosion occurs that critically injures Chris’ mother. Talon tells Chris that they are both a member of the Fraternity of Raptors, an order created as the curators of history and custodians of the future. He explains that he and Chris are the last member of this ancient order and the human’s anger issues are a direct result of the amulet not being designed to work with human biology. Talon offers to help Chris learn how to better control the amulet and his rage and after some soul searching, Chris agrees.
The pair travel to the Negative Zone where they eventually encounter some of Annihilus’ forces. During the battle, Talon demonstrates a ruthlessness that shocks Darkhawk. As the two get to know each other, Talon speaks poorly of the Nova Corps and goads Chris into being just as brutal in battle. Chris eventually connects to the Datasong of the Null Source and learns the true history of the Raptors as mercenary thugs that engage in kidnappings and assassinations. Before he can act on this, Talon attacks him and purges his mind from the armor, which manifests a new persona that calls itself Razor.
Together, Talon and Razor recover the Cosmic Control Rod before Talon gives the gestating Annihilus a subconscious suggestion. While the two Raptors journey to Blastaar, offering him the Cosmic Control Rod in exchange for help in the War of the Kings, Chris’ mind struggles to break free of the cage it is inside of in Razor’s body. A vision of his father tells him that everything he knows about the armor is wrong and this motivates him to break free only for him to appear on a great tree covered in amulets. Gargoyles then appear and urge him to return to the amulet he had just broken free of. While he struggles to do this, he comes across a Skrull on the tree that seems to be the host body for Talon. The two speak and the Skrull posits that humans are still young enough as a species to break free of the Raptor’s control. He claims that Chris’ anger issues are merely growing pains in him asserting control over the amulet. With this insight, Chris is able to take control of his armor once more but not before Razor helps Talon kill Lilandra, would be Majestrix of the Shi’ar Empire.
Darkhawk tracks down and confronts Talon, managing to help the Skrull reassert control of his body. Talon is quicker to fight back, however, and the Skrull charges Chris with destroying the other Raptor amulets to prevent the resurrection of the Fraternity before killing himself.
Most of the galaxy is unaware that any of this is happening and so the Shi’ar place a bounty on Darkhawk’s head. Nova is determined to prove his friend’s innocence and tracks Darkhawk to the planet Shard, which is being pulled into a space rift known as the Fault. Nova swears to help Darkhawk clear his name just as a new Raptor, Gyre, awakens. All three are on Shard as it is pulled into the Fault.
Darkhawk awakens and finds himself saved alongside Nova. A convoluted series of events follows that sees Darkhawk, Nova, and Sphinx teaming up with past versions of Reed Richards, Black Bolt and Namorita to battle a younger version of Sphinx and Gyre.
Darkhawk returns to Earth to help Nova battle the evil Quasar from the Cancerverse, the universe on the other side of the Fault. This Quasar is ruthless and hurts Darkhawk so much that he becomes trapped in his non-functioning armor. He remains in Project PEGASUS’ care while Nova leaves to warn the other heroes of the danger of the Fault.
Darkhawk later appears, healthy, alongside young superheroes in Murderworld. Arcade has captured them all and expects them to fight to the death for his amusement. Chris is temporarily separated from his amulet, allowing Chase Stein to become the new Darkhawk in his stead. While initially believed dead, Chris is later discovered alive and reunited with his amulet before being taken away to parts unknown.
It turns out that Chris has returned to Queens, joined the NYPD and become engaged to a woman named Miranda, that knows his secret identity. His amulet remains damaged and will not allow him to become Darkhawk but he continues to receive visions of the Tree of Shadows in Null Space. He is sent to the same Amusement Park where he first became Darkhawk to investigate a disturbance and is confronted by two fellow officers who are dirty. When he refuses to also become dirty, they attack him.
Before much can happen, two Shi’ar members of the Fraternity appear and attack the group. One takes Chris’ amulet and transforms into a very damaged Razor. Razor asserts itself, defeats the other Shi’ar and grabs Chris. Razor teleports the pair to the Datasong to an area it refers to as The Perch, where all of its memories with Chris are stored.
Razor explains to Chris that his compassion and dedication to justice have imprinted on the it. As such, it now calls itself Darkhawk and wants to rejoin with him to stop the return of the Fraternity of Raptors. Chris agrees and the two merge to become a far more powerful version of Darkhawk than before. He returns to Earth and encounters Death’s Head, trying to strike a bargain for the mercenary’s spaceship before the mercenary can claim the bounty on Darkhawk’s armor.
Chris tells Miranda goodbye before he leaves, which provides enough time for Raptors to locate Death’s Head and ambush the pair. They are taken to a secret Shi’ar outpost where Gyre, who has escaped Null Space, appears as their leader. He explains that Chris’ amulet is special and the key to unleashing the Dark Starhawk, which is strong enough to hunt the Phoenix Force. Gyre explains that the ritual requires two sacrifices. One that is willing and one that is forced. Gyre punches through Chris’ chest and rips out his amulet, offering it as tribute to the willing: Robbie Rider, younger brother of Richard Rider. Rider is possessed by the Dark Starhawk and the Raptors leave, traveling to Earth for unknown reasons.
Left for dead, Powell still clings to life. He drags himself across the ground and finds Razor’s android body. Razor tells him the origin of the Tree of Shadows, the creation of the Gardner, and that the first Raptor was an ancestor to the Shi’ar/Skrulls. With Razor’s prodding, Chris is able to manifest a new Darkhawk body and recover from his injuries.
Darkhawk is able to catch up with the Raptors and gains the aid of Nova Prime and Death’s Head. During the battle, Dark Starhawk destroys Gyre, asserting its dominance and promising to bring order to the universe. Death’s Head is able to cause the Raptor’s ship’s core to explode, killing all the Raptors except for Dark Starhawk. The blast still stuns him, allowing Chris the opportunity to reclaim his amulet. Desperate, Dark Starhawk strikes his Nega-Bands together and disappears in a flash of light.
Nova Prime is angered by the loss of his brother and warns his friend Chris to stay on Earth or face prosecution.