You may not realize it but we’re living in the middle of a Hawkeye Renaissance. Although his last semi-solo title was canceled after 6 issues due to low sales, Marvel is not giving up on its resident archer. Over the course of the next year Clint Barton will be featured in 5 different monthly comics.
You’d think he was gonna be in a movie or something.
So here’s your Hawkeye checklist. Some of these titles are out now, some will be coming out in the near future. Check your comic shop or the internet for details.
The Avengers. Marvel publishes about as many Avenger titles as CBS airs CSI shows and the godfather of them all is this one. Hawkeye has been a member in good standing since the book was relaunched several months back.
As you can see, Clint recently hooked up with Jessica Drew, aka Spider-Woman. I suspect this would not have happened had “Hawkeye and Mockingbird” been a success. So all you people who didn’t buy “Hawk and Mock,” this is all your fault. You broke up a once-happy couple and now Clint is chasing after one of his teammates while the world is in flames behind him. The book currently undergoing a roster change so it’s possible Hawkeye will get the boot — but not likely.
Avengers Solo. Back in the ’80s Marvel decided to finally give Hawkeye a solo title — but not really. They stuck him in a “split book” called “Solo Avengers,” later retitled “Avengers Spotlight.” Hawkeye was featured in the first half of the book and the back half of the book featured whatever Avenger wasn’t busy that month. Split books hadn’t been popular since the ’60s, if they even were then, and the book was canceled after 30-some issues.
Marvel brought it back this month as a 5-issue limited series. Once again Hawk is the main attraction with a short back-up feature starring the Avengers Academy gang (see next item). The first issue came out a couple weeks ago so it’s probably still in the shops. Or wait 6 months for the collected paperback edition.
Avengers Academy. Some months back the Avengers opened up a school for super-powered teens who were not mutants (Because mutant teens, as we all know, attend Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters*). The school recently moved to Los Angeles and as of last week’s issue, Hawkeye has joined the staff as a full-time instructor.
It’s hard to figure out how Hawkeye is going to be working full time at the academy on the west coast while he’s on three Avenger teams based on the East Coast but hey, that’s still not half as crazy as everywhere Wolverine has to be every month. “Avengers Academy” 21 is also in stores now.
Secret Avengers. Some months back Steve Rogers (Captain America) put together a covert Avengers team to handle top-secret superhero missions. As of issue 21.1**, which comes out in February, Steve will turn over the leadership of the Secret Avengers to — you guessed it — Clint Barton.
Since Clint will be leading the team this will probably be the book that gives you the most Hawkeye*** for your buck. It’s being written by Rick Remender, who’s writing the best Marvel comic of the moment, “Uncanny X-Force.” So this may be the top pick of the lot.
Avengers Assemble. Did I mention The Avengers will be starring in their own movie next year? Not ones to pass up an opportunity to cash in, Marvel will be launching a book in March to tie into the movie by featuring the characters from the movie in this new title. Yes, they could’ve just put this cast in one of their current Avengers books, but why do that when you can make more money by adding another title?
Now you may be asking, If this is the movie Avengers, where’s Thor? Good question. He should be in the space between Iron Man and Black Widow (if you try hard, you can see his hammer above and to the right of Natasha’s head).
Why was Thor’s image photoshopped out of the promo picture? Another good question. You see, Thor died recently in Marvel’s latest epic and even though everyone knows he will be back in time for the movie, Marvel doesn’t want to look stupid (too late, I know) by featuring him in promo art just weeks after they killed him.
Not Enough Hawkeye For Ya? At the end of the month, Clint will be guest starring in “Ghost Rider.” He will also be appearing in various specials and mini-series that are running in the wake of Marvel’s recent “Fear Itself” epic. And don’t forget Ultimate Hawkeye,**** who appears in “The Ultimates” and who is about to finish up his own mini-series. Just wait for the trade on that last one, that’s what I’m doing.
* Yes, I’m aware it’s now Jean Grey’s School for Gifted Youngsters, but I’m writing to a mainly non-nerd audience and I didn’t want to confuse them.
** Yes, that’s issue 21.1. The point one issues are part of some grand marketing scheme. Best if you don’t ask.
***Yes, that’s a different costume that Hawkeye is sporting in SA and AA. Hawk recently changed his outfit to better line up with the one he’s wearing in the movie. If you don’t like it, blame Jeremy Renner and/or Joss Whedon. You will note it’s very similar to the one Ultimate Hawkeye wears.
****Marvel currently publishes two different lines of comics — the main Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Marvel Universe. They have many of the same characters, but different (for example, in the Marvel line, Nick Fury is a white guy once played by David Hasselhoff; in the Ultimate line, he’s Samuel L. Jackson). In the Ultimate line The Avengers are known as The Ultimates. I’ll have to explain all this in greater detail in May, so let’s wait until then.