In the comics, Clint Barton / Hawkeye is deaf. He is also a father, has a dog and at one point was a villain who faced Iron Man. But the most human of all The Avengers has had a rapid and appreciable evolution that has made him an atypical hero. This man capable of throwing (and hitting) an arrow in any condition, although he would be a poor archer in real life. He is also a flesh and blood hero.
One that has had a complicated journey through comics and that came to the cinema as a symbol of several things at the same time. The character played by actor Jeremy Renner is as enigmatic as his unerring aim. It is one of Marvel’s most interesting attempts to create a powerful figure without resorting to superpowers.
Hawkeye was created by Stan Lee and Don Heck at a time when the publisher was striving to create fallible heroes. He made his first appearance in the comic book world in Tales of Suspense in September 1964. Oddly enough, the character was by then a villain. One that was advertised with great fanfare as a man “with a bow and arrow capable of facing Iron Man.” In fact, he remained a villain for a couple more times until he became an Avenger.
How did Marvel manage to turn this evil archer into a hero? Actually, by then Hawkeye was Black Widow’s counterpart. In the comic, they both admitted to having been tricked by the Soviets and turned into spies. And The Avengers №16, the man with the unforgiving eye became part of the superhero team. Since then, his adventures have been a show of ingenuity and also, Marvel’s ability to reinvent itself.
Hawk Eye is the new Marvel series that you can only see on Disney +
Premiere: November 24
A tragic past, a hero for the future
Clint Barton has an origin story with a certain Dickensian air. As a child, he lost his parents and was sent to an orphanage along with his brother Barney. Soon after, they escaped and joined the Carson Wonderland Traveler Carnival, a kind of traveling circus. It is there where Clint develops all his skills as an archer. The story, which also spends considerable time showing Hawkeye’s ability, made something clear. For Marvel, there was a new type of superhero. One capable of building his own vision of justice and also of the way of doing good.
After his brief stint in the villain land, Barton has become an unclassifiable figure. Not only does he work better alone than in a team, but he is also one of the characters with the Marvels he often experiences. From guilt to rage Barton moves in an interesting chiaroscuro that makes the character a rarity. An uneven space that has allowed Marvel to find a way to redeem the idea of the superhero without formidable powers. Or at least, not of origin.
Hawkeye: from the comic to the series
The Disney + series pays tribute to the character on a broader level than its film version. He also does it to the Hawkeye comic series, published in 2012. The work of Matt Fraction and David Aja focuses on Barton’s dynamic with his reluctant pupil, Kate Bishop. We will likely also see a bit of Jeff Lemire’s All-New Hawkeye (2015), a work that resizes the character. In fact, it is often said that thanks to Lamire’s work, Barton was included in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
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Hawkeye and its context seems to be the beginning of a whole set of new stories for the House of Ideas. Not only the series in which it stars will present Kate Bishop, who in all probability will be part of the future team of young avengers. He is also, in part, responsible for the announcement of Eco, another of the productions on the studio’s calendar. The deaf heroine first appeared in 2005 in Brian Michael Bendis’ New Avengers and we will likely see her in Hawkeye as well, played by Alaqua Cox.
What can we expect from this great little Christmas oddity? Beyond its understated homage to action movies, Hawkeye may be the door to a more realistic side of Marvel. An interesting change of style to analyze and, without a doubt, to see.