This just in, as reported in USA Today of all places: Hawkeye’s going blind.
Who do we blame for this sad turn of events? You. All you people out there who didn’t buy “Hawkeye & Mockingbird” when I asked you to.
When the book was canceled after seven issues, it was clear that Marvel would resort to its typical drastic measures to get people to pay attention to the character. And since they’d already killed and resurrected him in recent years, they couldn’t go down that path.
So, to catch up: “Hawkeye & Mockingbird” is canceled. The duo next turn up in the “Widowmaker” mini-series, which was originally scheduled as a crossover with the “Black Widow” comic, which had also been canceled (The economy has been brutal for second-string comic characters).
At the end of “Widowmaker,” Hawkeye gets hit in the back of the head by a ninja. In the first issue of the “Hawkeye: Blindspot” mini-series — which came out today — we learn that the blow to his head is slowly driving him blind.
Believe it or not, this is not the first time Clint has lost one of his senses. The first “Hawkeye” mini-series from the 1980s ended with Hawk losing his hearing. This affliction lasted about 10 minutes until Tony Stark could fix him up with a high-tech hearing aid. No one ever touched on Clint’s deafness for story purposes and eventually Franklin Richards cured him — even though I doubt Franklin even knew Clint was hearing impaired — and the whole thing was swept under the rug.
In fact, this isn’t even the first time Hawkeye has been blind. The gimmick was first used in “The Last Avengers Story,” a 2-issue tale published in 1995. Set in the future, many of the team’s heavy hitters are dead or missing and Hawkeye is blind. When Ultron shows up for one last showdown, Clint proves he can still hit the bull’s-eye even when he can’t see.
More recently, blind Hawkeye showed up in “Old Man Logan,” a Wolverine story set in a different dystopian future. In this story Clint and Logan have many adventures while on a cross-country mission in the Spider-Mobile. Once again, blindness isn’t a big drawback for the world’s greatest marksman.
But this is the first time blinding Hawkeye has been done in the present time. Will it last? Probably not. Tony Stark has already fixed Clint up with a special cowl and glasses to counteract the effects. (You know, it would be nice if Stark would use his technological genius to help the deaf and blind among the general population instead of just his friends. But then, Tony Stark has always been a bit of a jerk.)
Plus, it’s unlikely Jeremy Renner is going to want to gouge his eyes out to play Hawkeye for the Avengers movie next year, and Marvel always follows the lead of the movies, so I’d say if Clint isn’t seeing again by the end of this mini-series he will be by next summer.
As for the issue itself, it’s OK. A lot of it is flashbacks to Hawkeye’s past, which I found too loose to make much sense to people unfamiliar with Clint’s back story, and a waste of time to people who’ve already read all the back issues. Hopefully it will pick up the pace now that the history lesson is over.
So, should you buy “Hawkeye: Blindspot?” YES. This is the last Hawkeye comic on the schedule for the forseeable future, so if sales aren’t astounding it may be the last for a long time.
And then what will I have to write about? Shakespeare?