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Why the Avengers are Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Part 2
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Posted:  20 Apr 2013 04:26   Last Edited By: Tim

Through the years many of Marvel's heroes have joined the ranks of the Avengers, and the list continues to grow. Traditionally characters like Hawkeye, Ant-Man, Vision, Black Panther, Hercules, and Wonder Man are some of the more prominent members of the group aside from Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man. But in the past decade or so, things have changed.

    After the "Avengers Disassembled" storyline, the New Avengers were formed with eastablsihed characters such as Luke Cage, Wolverine, Spider-Man and the Thing headlining the team. Since then, plenty more have followed in their footsteps. Iron Fist, Captain Britain, Doctor Strange, Storm and Daredevil are all Avengers now. Three of the original members of the Fantastic Four plus several X-Men are counted as Avengers as well.

    If all or even most of Earth's heroes are Avengers, does that make being part of the team seem less important? To me it does. The Avengers aren't really a team anymore. They're more like an organization. Personally I prefer it when they stick to tradition. I'll always see Wolverine as an X-Man, and I'll always see Spider-Man as a solo act. If Marvel wants to make even more money off those characters by putting them together, they should create a new team.

    In the late 1980s, Spider-Man joined the team for a very brief stint but was "fired" by Captain America after they both agreed that Spidey worked better by himself and not as a team-player. In a classic Captain America annual from the 1980s, Cap angirly told Wolverine that he could never be an Avenger. But both of those ideas have since been dismissed in favor of increased sales.

    Spider-Man and Wolverine have both been on the team for several years now, but neither have done for the group what the classic lineup was able to do. This is because popular heroes were chosen in the place of characters that best fitted the tradition of the Avengers. Wolverine may be an Avenger, but people don't remember him for that. He's remembered for what he's accomplished by himself or with the X-Men. Characters like Hawkeye however are remembered as Avengers.

     Clint Barton, also known as Hawkeye, is the perfect example of an Avenger who's had his share of exciting adventures both on his own and with the team. The Avengers changed his life, and he has gone through considerable character developement since his creation. When Hawkeye joined "Cap's Kooky Quartet" he would constantly pick fights with his teammates Cap and Quicksilver, and possessed an attitude that made him frustrating to be around.


But what kept him from being completely unlikable, was the humor and wit he brought to the story in a way not too different from Spider-Man. He was also a ton of fun to read as he always had his own way of dealing with certain situations, in ways that other heroes wouldn't dare try.


    As time passed by, Hawkeye developed a tremedous amount of respect for his leader Captain America, even though he wouldn't admit it. He also gained a sense of responsbility and belonging when it came to being an Avenger.  And as Hawkeye's backstory surrounding his brother and his mentor unfolded, Hawkeye became a character you could root for.

    Hawkeye's relationship with his mentor the Swordsman was explored on more than a few occassions. Swordsman was a circus perfomer who found two orphan boys, Clint and his brother, Barney. Swordsman trained Hawkeye and attempted to sway his pupil into being his partner in crime. When Hawkeye refused, he was beaten and left for dead. He repeatedly clashed with Swordsman during the Silver Age.

    When the lives of the Avengers were on the line, Hawkeye made a shocking decision to use Hank Pym's "Pym Particles" to become the new Goliath. He saved the day and took Pym's place as the Marvel Universe's resident giant. The issues that followed put a lot of focus on Clint's character. We finally got to learn his real name "Clint Barton", and we got to witness the return of his brother Barney, who died tragically in the same issue. Plus Clint was able to beat Swordsman in a classic one-on-one showdown.


    As Goliath, Clint had a major role in the "Kree-Skrull War" event, and also saw action against the Zodiac, Akron, and the Lethal Legion. He went back to being Hawkeye, joined up with the Defenders, time-traveled back to the Old West, and had a few adventures with western hero Two-Gun Kid.

    During the Silver Age, Clint's problems with women was explored a lot in the pages of the Avengers. He had to deal with the pain of being left by his girlfriend Black Widow, and then fell for his teammate Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch, who never returned his affections. His anguish grew when he realized that Wanda chose the Vision (an adroid) over him. Feeling rejected, he tried to forget about Wanda and attempted to win Widow back but failed and ended up in a fight with her boyfriend, Daredevil. All of these problems were what led him to temporatily quitting the Avengers and joining the Defenders. Clint was quite arrogant and though he seemed to see himself as a ladies' man, he didn't have much luck with women.


    Hawkeye had his first miniseries in th 1980s which shows Hawkeye fight the villain Crossfire, alongside former SHIELD agent Mockingbird. At the conclusion of the miniseries, the two were married. Soon after that Hawkeye was chosen to lead an Avengers team of his own, the West Coast Avengers. Hawkeye proved to be an effective leader, although he was sometimes known to make reckless decisions. This shift really showed how much Hawkeye had grown as a character. Hawkeye's ability to lead has also been recognized in modern comics, such as when he was chosen to lead the Secret Avengers in 2011.

    Hawkeye's marriage crumbled when his team battled the Phantom Rider. The Rider raped Mockingbird, and after the fight was over he was going to fall to his death. Mockingbird allowed him to die. Like Cap, and perhaps partly due to the influence Cap had on him, Hawkeye had a strict rule about no-killing and was devastated by her decision. He couldn't forgive her for this, which caused the team to split in two.

    The years ahead of Hawkeye were filled with adventure but also tragedy. While he was working on fixing his marriage, Mockingbird was killed. During the "Avengers Disassembled" storyline, Hawkeye sacrificed himself to save his friends from an evil created by the chaotic powers of a mentally unstable Scarlet Witch.

    Hawkeye didn't stay dead of course, and was brought back by the same person who got him killed: the Scarlet Witch. He fought crime as the black-clad swordsman Ronin for a while before finally going back to bows and arrows again. During "Secret Invasion", Mockingbird's death was retconned. It was revealed that she actually didn't die, but was replaced by a Skrull and it was the Skrull that was killed all those years ago. Hawkeye was able to reunite with his wife Mockingbird before being dealt another blow when he found out that Mockingbird wasn't really his wife anymore: she signed the divorce papers before she was abducted.

    Hawkeye recovered from all of his setbacks and is still an integral part of the Avengers. He's more active in the Marvel Universe than he's ever been, now that he even has his own award-winning ongoing series. He's also starred in "Secret Avengers", "Avengers Academy", "Avengers Assemble", "Captain America and Hawkeye" and guest-starred in several other titles all in the past two years. One could easily argue that Hawkeye is just as important to the Avengers as Captain America, Iron Man, or Thor.
Posted:  20 Apr 2013 16:20   Last Edited By: Tim
Spider-Man and Wolverine have both been on the team for several years now, but neither have done for the group what the classic lineup was able to do.

I agree with your comments. Wolverine especially just doesn't belong in a group like the Avengers. He's a rebel, and the Avengers is a not that kind of group. It's more of the establishment. Guys like Wolverine don't fit in.

When I was a kid I wanted Spider-man to be an Avenger on one hand, but sometimes it's best that the reader doesn't get what they want. It's like you want to see it happen, but if it does, something tells you it just isn't right.

I remember reading the Hawkeye mini series as a kid. Great mini series.

Hawkeye was able to reunite with his wife Mockingbird before being dealt another blow when he found out that Mockingbird wasn't really his wife anymore: she signed the divorce papers before she was abducted.

I didn't know all that happened to Mockingbird and Hawkeye over the years. Sad stuff.

I found out Hawkeye's early adventures including his mini series are collected in this book.

Avengers: Hawkeye (Marvel Premiere Classic)

Introducing The Ace Archer of the Avengers in some of his sharpest adventures! His beginnings as a malfeasant marksman! His solo stand against X-Men adversary Deathbird! Plus: double-costumed debuts for Hawkeye's future bride Bobbi Morse, a.k.a. Agent 19, and the couple's whirlwind romance in Hawkeye's first mini-series! Guest-starring the Black Widow, Spider-Man, and more! Collects Hawkeye #1-4, Tales of Suspense #57, Marvel Super Action #1, Avengers #189, and Marvel Team-Up #95.

More Hawkeye books
Posted:  20 Apr 2013 16:50   Last Edited By: Rick Jones
I've got that book, Tim. I'd definetely suggest you pick it up.
Posted:  20 Apr 2013 20:39
Another thing I forgot to mention. I love the comic page you posted with it, where Hawkeye tricks the Gamesman.
Posted:  20 Apr 2013 21:08
I loved that one too, which was why I had to post it. I got that from Avengers Annual #16. That's the one where the combined forces of the Avengers and the West Coast Avengers had a series of several one-on-one battles with a group of deceased heroes and villains brought back as zombies. It's a fun read if you like a lot of action.

Posted:  20 Apr 2013 21:54
That sounds like an awesome story. I didn't know Green Goblin died. I mean it seems vaguely familiar, but if he died as it appears from that cover, I wonder how he came back?
Posted:  20 Apr 2013 22:39   Last Edited By: Rick Jones
Tim I don't think he came back until the 2000s, but he died way back in the early 70s in the same way that he died in the movie. This was right after he killed Gwen Stacy.

Posted:  20 Apr 2013 22:42
Oh, yeah, ok, now I remember. Then his son became the Goblin for a while off and on, and then came the Hobgoblin and so forth.
Posted:  20 Apr 2013 22:43
I really really want that Spider-man comic, by the way. Not paying hundreds of dollars for it though.
Posted:  22 Apr 2013 15:09   Last Edited By: Tim
I looked up Spider-man 122 for fun at Mycomicshop.com and a CGC 9.6 grade issue costs 889 dollars.
Posted:  23 Apr 2013 04:57
Great insight about the recent roster:
The Avengers aren't really a team anymore. They're more like an organization.

Hmmmm...don't remember Hawkeye as a Defender.

Hawkeye has been with the Avengers for so long (issue 16) that I consider him almost a founding member. Heck, Cap didn't join till issue 4, so Hawkeye was only a year behind.


I remember when West Coast Avengers came out in the 1980s and was pleased as it featured another of my all-time favorites, Wonder Man (though I prefer the red leather jacket version).


Enjoying this series Rick!
Posted:  23 Apr 2013 06:10   Last Edited By: Rick Jones
If it's the Spidey-Goblin final showdown you want, Tim, you may have to just settle for the movie.

Stay tuned Jerod I'll be getting around to Wonder Man.

Yeah, Hawkeye was a Defender during the Avengers-Defenders War in the 70s. He was actually there at the same time that his old foe the Swordsman was in the Avengers.

Posted:  23 Apr 2013 14:13
That Defenders #10 looks cool. I got to start getting more of the old Defenders comics. I think the oldest one I have is #2 but I'm missing a lot of issues after that.

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