Hawkeye: to kill or not to kill

Hawkeye: to kill or not to kill?


by Phil Perich for the True Believers Blog


I’ll just open with a warning this week, DO NOT read this blog before you read Civil War II #3.  After new Inhuman Ulysses predicts the Hulk will run amok and kill all the heroes, Carol Danvers and Tony Stark gather everyone to confront a seemingly cured Bruce Banner.  When things get tense, Hawkeye shoots Banner in the head with an arrow, killing him.  It’s later revealed at trial that Banner asked Hawkeye to kill him if the situation ever called for it.  While I understand where writer Brian Michael Bendis was trying to go with this story, from Hawkeye believing he was saving his friends, to Bruce Banner not wanting to harm people when he was out of control.  But in my opinion Bendis either isn't familiar with Clint Barton aka Hawkeye’s long history or he just wanted to use the character as a plot device.  I’m not even sure if Bendis likes the character of Hawkeye, seeing as how he killed the character off in his first Avengers arc, Avengers: Disassembled.   


While I usually don’t like to argue or second guess the writers, I think this portrayal goes against all previous history of the character.  Maybe Clint was altered after he was resurrected in the aftermath of the House of M event, or maybe the shapeshifting alien Skrulls are back.  There are several times in his career as Hawkeye where Clint has come out and expressly said killing is never the answer.  Here are a few examples:


Phantom Rider & the West Coast Avengers

When a time travel adventure sent several members of the West Coast Avengers to different points in history, Mockingbird was stranded in the Old West.  As if this wasn't difficult enough, she was drugged by the mystery figure of that time, the Phantom Rider.  He forced Mockingbird to fall in love with him and become his partner.  Eventually Mockingbird broke his mental hold on her and the two fought.  The Rider ended up hanging from a cliff, where Mockingbird left him to fall and die.  Mockingbird’s team leader and husband Hawkeye disagreed with her inaction, even though Mockingbird compared her trauma to a rape.  This was the event that began Hawkeye and Mockingbird’s journey to a divorce.  So first example, Hawkeye was willing to end his marriage over his beliefs that murder is never the answer, even though here the Rider’sdeath only came through Mockingbird leaving the Rider in danger.


Operation: Galactic Storm

Two intergalactic empires go to war, and Earth is just one planet making up the battlefield.  The East and West Coast Avengers take the fight to both sides, hoping to save all involved.  But when the Supreme Intelligence, the leader of the Kree made up of the minds of some of the Kree’s previous leader/warriors betrays his own race and drops a Negabomb, killing most of the Kree race, the Avengers are split down the middle.  It doesn’t matter that the Supreme Intelligence decided that the Kree race was at an evolutionary dead end and wanted to jumpstart evolution. Hawkeye still stood with Captain America’s side that said the Supreme Intelligence should be brought to justice and NOT killed. Here, in the identity of Goliath, Clint stood firm with Captain America against killing a madman who murdered most of an alien race. 


The Fate of Mach One

The Thunderbolts, a group of former super villains seeking redemption, were looking for a way to show the world they were here to serve and protect.  They thought they had found their solution when Hawkeye, world famous Avenger and one of the first to start as a villain and then become a hero, offered to become their leader and help prove to the world that they were heroes. Hawkeye promised to help get the Thunderbolts criminal records erased and give them new lives under one condition.  Mach One, who had formerly been the known as the criminal the Beetle, would have to turn himself in for a murder he committed years before and serve his prison time before he could return to the team.  So even years after the fact, Hawkeye needed to see justice served for the murder of a low level criminal.  


So to sum up my points, Hawkeye over the years has been willing to risk his marriage, friendships, and even his personal safety because he strongly believed that killing was NEVER the answer.  Does this sound like the man we saw in Civil War II #3?  Am I right on or am I dead wrong?  Tell me!




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My cohost Charlie Esser (@CharlieEsser) and I discuss all things Marvel weekly on the All New Marvel Roundup and Superconnectivity podcasts, just 2 of the shows on the Nuff Said Podcast.  I also write another blog, Legends of DC.  You can find all of my podcasts, blogs, and those of others at www.southgatemediagroup.com.  And for one stop shopping of all of my creative endeavors, please visit www.philperich.wordpress.com.


Until next week, remember, those who forgot the past are doomed to get it wrong.  NUFF SAID!!