My Review of Hawkeye

Barton, Bishop, and Pizza

Anna Blake Patrick

If I were to rename the series to a similar title as Spider-Man: Far From Home, I’d probably call it, Hawkeye: Far From Retirement—because will former Avenger Clint Barton ever actually get a break? No, probably not. Merry Christmas.

Content warning: spoilers ahead.

For starters, I think it’s safe to say that Barton is one of the most underrated figures out of not only the original six Avengers, but the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. He began his career as a special agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., known for his expertise with a bow and his recruitment of Black Widow. From there, his whole role as a S.H.I.E.L.D. operative was the least of his concerns. In short, Barton’s been through a lot. Let’s review: The Battle of New York; the HYDRA uprising; a war in Sokovia (“The city is flying, we’re fighting an army of robots, and I have a bow and arrow. None of this makes sense.”); an attempt at retirement; a civil war against his own friends; imprisonment in the middle of the ocean; the loss of his whole family in the Snap; a grief-fueled rampage as the Ronin in the criminal underworld; and the Time Heist, which resulted in severe consequences on the planet Vormir (I’m not over it, either). So it’s about time that Barton finally gets his own series and is recognized as one of the most important heroes in Marvel history. 

Kate Bishop and Clint Barton

Personally, I loved every minute of the six-episode Hawkeye series. There’s a lot to reflect on, but I’ll cover what I think are the most notable bases: 

  • Connections to the comics
  • The future role of Yelena Belova
  • Kate Bishop: the new Hawkeye?

Let’s get started.

Barton and Bishop

Notable Connections to the Comics

Hawkeye’s Near-Deafness: In some of the Marvel comics, Hawkeye is deaf, and many people have been wondering why Barton doesn’t have the same impairment. However, it seems that all those years of Avenging has finally caught up with him, and Barton’s hearing is reduced to partial (and in just one ear). As Kate texts him from across the table at a diner, “Good thing they call you HawkEYE and not HawkEAR”. Barton’s hearing loss is actually monumental for Marvel; according to Jo Berry of Digital Spy, “[N]ot only does Hawkeye include a Deaf character, Maya (played by Deaf actress Alaqua Cox), it also focuses on Hawkeye/Clint Barton’s own hearing issues, making him one of the first hard of hearing (HOH) characters whose symptoms are explored on TV. And our very first HOH superhero.” Another thing to note is that Maya’s character also originated in the comics, under the alias, “Echo,” and her appearance is critical to Barton’s internal reconciliation of his own immorality. The bottom line is that this series is inclusive in its cast and in its characters, and groundbreaking in terms of its portrayal of heroes with auditory impairments.

An Unexpected Villain: One of the greatest surprises in this series was the presence of Kingpin. A supervillain who has appeared numerous times in Marvel history (starting his career in the comic volume, The Amazing Spider-Man #50 in 1967; serving as a primary antagonist in the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse in 2018; regularly instigating crime the Daredevil comics; and appearing in other media), the 6’7”, 450lb. brick wall of a dude has made his reappearance in Hawkeye. I was mostly surprised to find him out of the Spider-Verse and instead tied up with the Russian Tracksuit Mafia, who were after Barton and Bishop because of their affiliation with the Ronin—but this is Marvel. Expect the unexpected.

Yelena Belova in Kate Bishop’s Apartment

Yelena Belova’s Future Role

I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to see a character appear in a series as I was when Natasha Romanoff’s chaotic little sister revealed her identity during the rooftop fight. Ever since Black Widow, Yelena has been one of my absolute favorites in the entire MCU—which is saying a lot, considering how prejudiced I am towards the originals. Even though her sole mission was to terminate Barton, her banter and budding friendship with Kate were two of my favorite elements of the series, and I hope to see their relationship strengthen in the future.

But what does the future look like for Yelena? Although Marvel president Kevin Feige stated that she will not become an Avenger, she will continue to be an important figure in the future of Marvel. I think the reason she won’t take up Natasha’s Avenging role is because, if Yelena is anything, she’s unique—I mean, what younger sister wants to try to follow in the exact footsteps of her older sibling, especially when that path comes with the title of “[one of] Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”? Seems just a little daunting to me.

Instead, I think she’ll carry on Natasha’s legacy as the Black Widow, but in her own way. As a former Red Room operative and assassin, she has all rights to such a title, and in her pre-Snap quest to free all the other Black Widows still under mind control, her determination makes her worthy of any Avengers-level initiative. I have several ideas as to where she’ll go from here, but the one that seems most likely has to do with Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, the woman who instigated Yelena’s pursuit of Barton in the first place (see the ending credits scene from Black Widow). If you’ve seen The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, you’ll know that Val has already recruited a less-than-likable supersoldier, and judging by the odd phone calls several of the more morally-grey characters have received throughout the more recent series, it’s pretty clear that Val’s actions do not come from good intentions. Now, knowing the truth behind Barton’s relationship with her sister, Yelena might be inclined to redirect her focus on Val’s new recruits as they grow in number and in strength. Perhaps she’ll be faced with a choice: Save more Widows? Or defend the world against Val’s newest recruits? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Kate Bishop

Kate Bishop: the New Hawkeye?

It’s likely. At the end of the season finale, Kate gives Barton her ideas about what her superhero name could be, and although most were horrific, they all included the word “hawk”—and Barton hinted that he had the perfect name in mind, which leads me to the conclusion that he means for Kate to take on the mantle of the Hawkeye. I mean, Kate now has experience crafting trick arrows, familiarity in undertaking stealth operatives, and the LARPERs made a fighting outfit for her. Why not put them to good use? And if she does… would this mean that Barton finally gets to go into retirement?? Could it really be true?? (Probably not, but for now, there’s hope.) I think Kate Bishop’s era is just beginning, and the era of the Hawkeye is about to change forever.

Final reflection: All in all, I loved Hawkeye. It may be a short series, but it is complex—not only in terms of events, but in emotion, loss, grief, and connection. Even though it will likely remain a standalone, I’m sure that the events of Hawkeye will play a great role in the upcoming events of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Sources:

https://www.digitalspy.com/tv/ustv/a38413293/hawkeye-groundbreaking-marvel-hard-of-hearing/

https://screenrant.com/hawkeye-kate-bishop-mcu-future-movies-shows/#:~:text=Just%20like%20in%20the%20comics,new%20Hawkeye%20in%20the%20MCU.