For Your Consideration: Marvel’s Hawkeye: Avenging Archer

Robert Greenberger

Robert Greenberger


by Robert Greenberger

Hawkeye: Avenging Archer

Hawkeye: Avenging Archer


For a guy who’s been knocking around since 1964, Hawkeye seems hotter than ever as Jeremy Renner is poised to return as the archer in this spring’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and the character can be counted on to appear in numerous titles across the Marvel line. He’s never been strong enough to pull off an ongoing series until the acclaimed Matt Fraction run (which will end one of these days) but he has appeared in many a memorable miniseries. Marvel is now collecting the most recent spate in Hawkeye: Avenging Archer, an overstuffed assortment of miniseries and short stories.

Marketing guru Jim McCann followed in the footsteps of previous sales guys (Peter David and Bill Roseman) to wind up penning stories for the company and he’s done some very nice work with Clinton Francis Barton. Considering he began as a two-bit costumed criminal who couldn’t hope to truly challenge Iron Man in his debut, Hawkeye has found his grounding as a scrappy hero accustomed to as many highs as lows. McCann got his hands on the character at a particularly interesting point in his career. During the Skrull invasion, it was learned that his ex-wife Bobbi Morse had not died as he and the Avengers believed, but had been in Skrull captivity. Freed once more, she ran off and Clint, in his then-current guise as Ronin, chased after her in New Avengers: The Reunion. Illustrating the four-issue miniseries was the team of David Lopez and Alvaro Lopez, excellent at action and character.

McCann proved adept at the verbal byplay between lovers, friends, and compatriots as Bobbi, a.k.a. Mockingbird (nicely played on TV by Adrienne Palicki) got him to help her stop a new threat from A.I.M.’s Scientist Supreme Monica Rappaccini, in Zaragoza, Spain. The truth is the yellow brigade were merely cannon fodder while the real focus was the differing recollections the couple had of where they were at the time of her abduction and then her harrowing account of her years being tortured by the shape-changing aliens.

Hawkeye & Mockingbird

Hawkeye & Mockingbird


The 2009 miniseries performed well enough that the creative team returned in summer 2010 with the six-pater Hawkeye & Mockingbird. Bobbi is now working for W.C.A. (World Counterterrorism Agency) and is gingerly exploring a new relationship with Hawkeye. Things get complicated when Jamie Slade, a descendant of the 19th century adventurer the Phantom Rider, enters their lives. She is forced to relive her time trapped in the past when Lincoln Slade captured and raped her. Meanwhile, a good-natured Barton goes to visit Bobbi’s mom only to open a familial Pandora’s Box – Bobbi had let her family think her dead the last eight years with no intention of re-entering their lives. Things converge when Jamie goes after Bobbi’s family to exact a measure of revenge for Lincoln’s death and Bobbi is forced to come clean with Mom. Oh yeah, and there’s Crossfire and Dominic Fortune and Captain America just for the fun of it. But the fun ends when Hawkeye is taken by stray Skrulls and the chase brings everyone to Marvel’s favorite vacation spot – the Savage Land.

Widowmaker

Widowmaker


The creators were back for a third tour of duty with Widowmaker, a miniseries that shifts focus from Bobbi and Clint to his earlier lover, Natasha Romanov, the Black Widow. Coming on board for this romp is co-writer Duane Swierczynski as the action introduces yet another person in the Ronin outfit. This time it turns out to be Natasha’s ex-husband Alexei Shostakov and he’s accompanied by the Dark Ocean Society. Add in the Supreme Soviets (Crimson Dynamo; Fantasma; Perun; Sputnik), stir and the action barely slows down. During said action, Hawkeye gets a serious blow on the head although he shakes it off to finish things up.

Hawkeye: Blindspot

Hawkeye: Blindspot


In the aftermath of that story, McCann is back flying solo in Hawkeye: Blindspot. Working with artist Paco Diaz, McCann tells of how Hawkeye goes through a crisis of faith as his vision begins failing him, much as his hearing had been compromised after years of heavy duty action. His villainous brother Barney resurfaces and in a complicated story that involves Baron Zemo and Trickshot, Clint winds up with a bone marrow transfusion that reverses his deteriorating eyesight.

Rounding out the book will be two stories designed to sample the mega events and set up the various miniseries. McCann and the Lopez’s provide both, “Suspicion” from Dark Reign: New Nation and “Big Trouble in Little Chinatown” from Enter the Heroic Age.

Covers will be collected so you will see some lovely work from Jo Chen, Paul Renaud, Jae Lee, Phil Noto, and Mike Perkins. Additional, David Lopez’s design work, culled from the Hawkeye & Mockingbird Sketchbook is included.

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Hawkeye: Avenging Archer

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