Look, never in a million years did I imagine I’d watch a trailer for an Avengers movie, filled with multiple Caps and a Tony and whatever Widow’s latest dye job is, and walk away obsessing over Hawkeye. For one thing, he’s the superhero equivalent of Wonder Bread. Oh, you… shoot arrows really, really well? Cool story, bro — now let’s get back to Carol’s whole flying & plasma fist blast thing. And sure, Avengers: Endgame is clearly taking strides to spice Clint Barton up after sidelining him in the last outing. He’s in his “Ronin” get-up! He’s a revenge-seeking, arrow-less samurai now or something! But that’s not why this morning’s trailer drop for Avengers: Endgame has me thinking about Hawkeye.
It’s because of this shit right here:
For a brief moment, the trailer cuts to a lovely rural setting as Clint teaches a young girl some of his trademark bow skills. Then they high-five, like so:
Now, the obvious answer is that Clint is teaching his daughter to shoot. And taking it a step farther, perhaps this is a flashback to what he was up to during the events of the last Avengers film, just prior to The Snappening. Maybe the reason he’s goes Ronin is because his family, including this girl, got snapped away!
Sure, fine. That’s the obvious explanation. But if you’re like me, or TK, or any number of nerds out there, you took one look at that girl carrying a bow and thought…
IS THAT KATE BISHOP?!
Kate Bishop, a.k.a. the other (better?) Hawkeye, is not related to Clint in any way — at least in the pages of Marvel Comics. She was created in 2005 as a member of the “Young Avengers” lineup, which was basically a bunch of teenagers with abilities closely mirroring long-established Avengers. After proving herself as a tough and capable hero in her own right — and after standing up to Captain America himself — Kate is given Clint’s old bow and arrow and allowed to take his codename with Cap’s full blessing. Because at that time Clint was dead (thanks to the events of the “Avengers Disassembled” storyline). Or maybe he’d already been resurrected but nobody knew yet? I dunno, it’s hard to keep track.
Eventually Clint and Kate are both alive and operating with the name “Hawkeye” — and more importantly, they costar together in Matt Fraction’s award-winning run on the solo series Hawkeye, which finds Clint defending an apartment building in Brooklyn from Russian mobsters with Kate as his partner. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this series is probably one of the best self-contained comics Marvel has ever produced, from the artwork to the dialogue to its vision of what heroes do in their off-time and the way it singlehandedly made Clint actually interesting. But it also shined a spotlight on Kate as an individual hero, and proved she isn’t just funny, smart, and strong — she’s probably the best Hawkeye too.
The Clint we’ve met in the Marvel movies is a pretty far cry from the Hawkeye of the comics. Other than his bow and arrow, there’s not much else to him, frankly. But the great thing about the way Clint has been mostly created whole-cloth as something new, and dull, is that it wouldn’t be hard to find a way to add a character like Kate Bishop to the mix. The comics canon has already been tossed out the window, so maybe Kate IS his daughter, in the movies. Or a niece, or a neighbor. Maybe she’s just a young protégé. Maybe she isn’t named Kate at all! We’re not picky — we’ve long been of the opinion that we just want a worthwhile Hawkeye, and we don’t care which one.
But don’t just show me a girl with a bow and then dick me on this, Marvel. More than the return of Tony, more than the smoldering sexual tension between Carol and Thor, it’s the promise of an all-new, all-different Hawkeye that has caught my attention.
Image sources (in order of posting): Marvel Studios (via YouTube), Marvel Comics