The wine is a gift from a grateful shopkeeper.
The goblet was found in the tomb along with the Absorbacon.
The poison he mixed himself.
Hawkman—Carter Hall? Katar Hol?—raises the goblet to his lips.
One sip and it will be all over. One drink and his torment will end. He will finally be free of the hold that Shayera has held on his soul since the day Joseph Gardener lost himself forever to the power of a long dead man's memory.
Drink it and be done with it, then.
"You're not real," he mutters to himself. "The Shadow Thief is dead. He never existed. He was just a part of me—another lie created by the Absorbacon."
Wrong. You're the lie. I'm the truth. I'm the real Joseph Gardener.
With an effort, he forces himself to put the goblet down. Giving in now would be surrendering to the Shadow Thief—and he won't do that. Not again. "I'm Joseph Gardener."
He's wearing his wings, but not the helmet. The shadow on the wall should have wings. It should look like some great of prey, a human hawk …
The shadow is thin, bearded. Twisted. And it has eyes the color of blood.
You are nothing, "Hawkman." The Asborbacon took everything that was Joseph Gardener and remade it into a pale shadow of the man Katar Hol had been. Katar Hol had been a king. He had created an empire and brought peace and prosperity to thousands of people who had never known either. He was a legend. You … you are a joke.
"I'm a hero! A hero!" He does not remember grabbing his mace—it almost seems to have leaped into his hands by magic—and slams it into the wall of his apartment.
The Shadow Thief laughs. You're nothing, Hawkman. To the Justice League—to Shayera—you're a pitiful wretch, a delusional madman. You are not a hero. You will never be a hero. The only worthwhile thing you could do for the world is to drink that poison and put an end to the miserable spectacle that is your life.
He needs to be somewhere else. He needs to be something else. He needs to be Hawkman again.
The winged helm settles over his face, and he smiles. The world never noticed Joseph Gardener. But Hawkman—Hawkman is needed in Midway City. Here—here he's a hero.
He goes to the large window and steps out onto the ledge. His wings spread out like living things.
"I know who I am. I'm Hawkman. Hawkman!"
But when he takes to the air, his shadow still has no wings …