Hawkeye: “Avengers, Defenders, Thunderbolts, I make any team better.” – Marvel vs. Capcom 3
An army of robots are attacking New York. The Avengers are fighting the metallic horde, but a few slip past and charge towards a group of children. An arrow impales a robot’s head, destroying it. The kids look up and see a purple clad archer mowing down the remaining bots. They cheer as Hawkeye bows and resumes fighting.
Hawkeye is the underestimated Avenger. He doesn’t have superpowers, but he’s a force to be reckoned with when he has some arrows. So who is he? Why is he bringing arrows to a gun fight? How did he join the Justice League despite being a Marvel character?! Let’s find out.
Carny Kid: Hawkeye’s Backstory
Hawkeye: “The city is flying. We’re fighting an army of robots. And I have a bow and arrow. None of this makes sense. But I’m going back out there ’cause it’s my job.” – Avengers: Age of Ultron
Hawkeye debuted in Tales of Suspense #57 in 1964. He was created by Stan Lee and Don Heck, not to be confused with his evil clone, Don Hell.
Clint Barton had a rough childhood. His parents died in a car accident and his adoptive parents were abusive. Clint eventually ran away and joined a traveling circus that was in town. A pair of performers took him under their wing and trained him in acrobatics and archery. He didn’t know the pair were supervillains called The Swordsman and Trick Shot.
The villains fled the circus after Clint caught them embezzling. He became the star of the circus, earning the moniker Hawkeye for his skill at archery. A jealous Hawkeye decided to become a superhero when he saw people leaving his show to watch one of Iron Man’s fights.
Avenging Archer: Hawkeye’s History
Natasha Romanoff: “This is just like Budapest all over again.”
Clint Barton: “You and I remember Budapest very differently!” – The Avengers
In his first outing as a powerless superhero, Hawkeye stopped a jewelry store robbery, but the cops believed he was the robber. Branded a criminal, he went on the run. He soon became entangled in Black Widow’s scheme to assassinate Iron Man. Black Widow’s handlers shot her when the attempt failed. Hawkeye rushed Widow to a hospital and convinced her to defect.
He later met with Iron Man and explained that he was stopping the robbery because he wanted to fight crime too. Iron Man decided to give him a shot and invited Hawkeye to join The Avengers. He became their most steadfast member and saved the world countless times.
During the crossover JLA/Avengers, Hawkeye and The Flash saved the Marvel and DC universes after all the other heroes had been defeated. Inspired by his exploits, the Justice League inducted Hawkeye into their ranks, making him the only superhero to be part of both teams.
Hawkeye most recently appeared in Civil War II where he murdered Bruce Banner. At his trial, he revealed Banner had asked Clint to euthanize him if he started becoming the Hulk again. He was acquitted for reasons that make no sense.
Trick Shots: Hawkeye’s Powers and Personality
Iron Man: “Can you help us get out of the city?”
Hawkeye II: “Yeah, right. Help the guy who created Ultron? Who got my dad killed? What do you think my father would have done, Stark?!”
Iron Man: “Clint? He would have punched me in the face. Then he would have helped me.”
Hawkeye II: (stunned) “Wow. you really did know my dad.” – Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow (2008)
Hawkeye is a really good archer. He can nock an arrow, aim, and fire faster than most people can pull a gun’s trigger. And even that doesn’t describe his prowess.
He also uses trick arrows, including explosive and net arrows to tear gas and Adamantium arrows. He even has a localized nuclear arrow for people like Thor. Let me repeat that, he has a miniature nuke on an arrow! Do not screw with this guy.
Hawkeye was trained in swordsmanship by The Swordsman and hand to hand combat by Captain America. He has a talent for improvising weapons from random objects. He once escaped a prison by tearing out his fingernails and flicking them into his guard’s jugulars. Pause here as you stop cringing and clutching your fingers.
Hawkeye is brash, cocky, and more than a little crazy, which explains the whole fingernail thing. He is also a hero who is loyal to his allies. He keeps the other Avengers grounded despite the crazy situations they encounter.
The Actors who played Hawkeye
The most famous version of Hawkeye starred in M*A*S*H* and won actor Alan Alda five Emmys. Sadly, that’s not the one we’re talking about.
This Hawkeye first appeared in The Marvel Super Heroes where he was voiced by character actors Chris Wiggins and Paul Soles. He frequently appeared in Iron Man with General Hospital’s John Reilly voicing him. Chris Cox voiced him in The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Finally, Troy Baker voiced him in Ultimate Spider-Man.
Hawkeye appeared in the direct-to-DVD movie Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore, with Troy Baker reprising his role. Baker was replaced by Matthew Mercer for the sequel; Avengers Confidential: Black Widow and Punisher.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the only name you need to know is Jeremy Renner. Two-time Oscar nominee Renner cameoed in Thor before his major appearance in The Avengers. He has since appeared in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, and is scheduled to show up in Avengers: Infinity War. With all these Avengers movies under his belt, you’d think Hawkeye would be the subject of his own movie, but there aren’t even rumors about one.
Didya Get All That?
A sharp shooting superheroic show-off.