The Manhawks are very large hawk -like alien beings that possess human level intelligence and who are devoted to stealing valuables from inhabited worlds. They can communicate telepathically, can survive unprotected in outer space and can fly at great speeds over interstellar distances through hyperpace.
When robbing inhabited worlds, the Manhawks wear masks over their heads. the masks are designed to resemble the faces of the dominant life form of the planet they are robbing. The eye-slits of each mask are equipped to shoot rays of energy, apparently at the mental command of the Manhawk wearing it. Usually this energy takes the form of a highly destructive laser beam. However, the Manhawks can also project eye beams that shift their target into another dimension for a short period. This enables them to shift a building into another dimension and loot it without interference. The masks can also emit a glow that causes people to fall unconscious.
The Manhawks originated on an un-named planet that was in the same solar system as Aptilia, the homeworld of the Lizarkons, a race of intelligent reptiles. For centuries the Manhawks and the Lizarkons waged war on one another. Finally, the Lizarkons shattered the Manhawks' planet and relatively few Manhawks escaped.
The Manhawks wandered through space looting inhabited worlds. Eventually the Lizarkons learned that their lives were somehow dependent on energies within the Manhawks bodies. With the Manhawks gone, the Lizarkons found they were dying out. The remaining Lizarkons went into suspended animation, except for one who searched for the Manhawks.
The Manhawks began robbing the planet Thanagar, where theft was unknown. Thanagarian Katar Hol, later known as Hawkman, led other Thanagarians in capturing the Manhawks. Some Thanagarians began looting - copying the Manhawks and Thanagar then developed its police force.
Years later, other Manhawks came to earth, but were defeated by Hawkman and Hawkgirl. Still later, radiation caused by a machine on the planet Rann gave the Manhawks on Thanagar temporary super strength and psionic powers, which they used to take over Thanagar. When their powers began to fade, the Manhawks leader, Falthis Farr, led them to Rann to steal the machine. Hawkman lured the Manhawks into pursuing him to earth, where a side effect of the radiation placed them in suspended animation.
One of the Manhawks went to Aptilia, where the last Lizarkon almost used the Manhawk's power to reive the evil Lizarkons from suspended animation. When Hyathis became ruler of Thanagar she made a pact with the Manhawks. Hyathis was soon deposed from power and the Manhawks scattered.
During the Brightest Day even, Hawkman and Hawkwoman encounter Manhawks in the mysterious Hawkworld, a boarder world that links Earth and Thanagar.
For females see She-Hawks.