Against all odds, Hawkeye’s popular ongoing series has made him one of Marvel’s most-loved heroes. This surge in prominence came in the wake of Jeremy Renner’s two performances as Clint Barton, meaning the character’s big-screen iteration has yet to receive the same level of exposure or nuance enjoyed by his comic-book counterpart. Fans need more Hawkeye, and they need it now! Plans to have Hawkeye appear in this year’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier did not pan out – but that doesn’t rule the archer out of future Captain America films.
Renner recently told MTV that he’s not itching for a solo Marvel movie. “I’m happy to be the ensemble,” said the two-time Oscar nominee, who will again appear as one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. “I think [Hawkeye’s] a utility guy that can bounce around into other people’s universes a little bit, especially like Cap 3.” Whoah whoah whoah — Captain America 3? Is that where Hawkeye will end up after the Avengers sequel? If that’s the case, then we’ve compiled a list of comics that demonstrate Clint and Cap’s relationship – and some comics that could form the basis of a Marvel Cinematic Universe film!
Death Throws (Captain America #317)
When mercenaries bound together by their – we kid you not – ability to throw stuff really well snatch the villain Crossfire from police custody, Hawkeye and Captain America ditch a party to confront the evil throwers head-on. The two arrived at the agreed-upon abandoned railroad terminal and, before they stepped into the fray, Cap handed Clint his shield. “For all we know,” he told his partner, “there will be a hundred guns shooing at you the moment you step in. Your bow and arrows won’t help one bit.” Clint didn’t take that as a jab, but as a great honor; after all, few people have actually held Steve Rogers’ shield. Barton tossed his bow to Steve, and the two made quick work of Oddball, Bombshell and the rest while using each other’s weapons.
This teamwork was uncharacteristic of the two at the time, as Hawkeye had been Cap’s most vocal opposition during their previous time on the Avengers. That’s something we’ve yet to see on film; Renner and Chris Evans hardly shared the screen at all in 2012’s Avengers. That tension, and then the teamwork demonstrated in this issue, would be great to see.
Bargaining (Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America #3)
When Captain America was assassinated in the aftermath of the superhero civil war, the costumed community looked to a number of individuals to potentially fill the massive void left by Steve’s absence. Iron Man, then director of S.H.I.E.L.D., had a specific idea of who should fill that void: Clint Barton. Stark handed Cap’s old shield to Hawkeye to see what he could do with it; he proved to be just as great a shot with a shield as he was with his bow and arrows, and Stark outfitted the ex-archer with a Captain America uniform. Clint changed his mind, however, after a run-in with another hero calling herself Hawkeye – Kate Bishop. Their interaction forced Clint to admit that Stark was replacing Captain America out of the guilt he felt over Steve’s death. Clint dropped S.H.I.E.L.D. and joined the New Avengers instead.
We’re most likely a ways away from seeing anything close to the death of the MCU’s Steve Rogers, so odds are this tale won’t be adapted anytime soon. However, there are aspects of this issue that we would love to see incorporated into any film starring Hawkeye – mostly just how incredibly worthy Clint Barton is of being called a superhero. If comic-book Clint has a rep that means he could potentially become Captain America, then we want to see Renner’s version give his teammates real reason to respect him in a similar fashion.
Reborn (Captain America: Reborn)
When it was revealed that the bullet that struck Captain America had not actually killed him but had instead dislodged him from time, Steve’s closest allies banded together to track him down. Hawkeye joined up with Black Widow and Falcon to help pull Rogers out of his own past and push him back into the present. Clint also helped the allies fight off the mastermind behind the attack, the Red Skull. While this storyline is contingent on Captain America’s death, thus meaning it could only be adapted should Cap bite it in a future Marvel movie, this storyline is still worth checking out because it depicts Hawkeye interacting with pretty much all of the supporting cast from Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Not only does it feature a larger role for Sharon Carter, but drawing from this storyline would give us more Black Widow/Hawkeye action as well as more of Anthony Mackie’s Falcon – something no one can ever get enough of.
Blindspot (Hawkeye: Blindspot #2)
Hawkeye’s eyesight became impaired following a concussion he suffered in the midst of a battle – one of the downsides of being a regular human and not a super-soldier or Norse god. He was given a special visor that helped correct his vision, but the Avengers removed him from active duty. When trouble sprang up involving his older brother Barney, though, Clint decided to take matters into his own hands. This led to a rooftop altercation between Barton and Steve Rogers, then acting director of S.H.I.E.L.D. The two fought it out, unearthing long buried tensions between the two as they each recalled their early, fight-filled days on the Avengers. In the end, Hawkeye got the better of Cap by hitting him square in the chest with an electrically charged trick arrow.
Part of the fun of these big superhero movies is seeing the good guys fight each other – even if the battles are rarely for keeps. Avengers was packed full of these skirmishes, but we only got to see Clint fight Black Widow. Because we missed out on a Hawkeye vs. Cap fight in Winter Soldier, we really hope we get one in the sequel.
Get Primitive (Captain America & Hawkeye #629-632)
The two put their differences aside (for the most part) and teamed up to rescue a missing group of environmentalists and ended up fighting a bunch of mutated – and ferocious – dinosaur fossils. If two superheroes going up against a bunch of violent quasi-dinosaurs doesn’t grab your attention, then know that Cap himself gets mutated into one of these creatures by the dinosaur-human bad guy Stegron. Yeah, Dino-Cap. This romp may be a bit out there for the MCU – but then again, we would have said the same thing about Groot just a few years ago. Prehistoric foes aside, this story depicts Cap and Clint’s modern working relationship better than any other story on this list. They’re equals and allies, but they still bicker with each other. There’s a competitive camaraderie in this story arc that we would really get a kick out of seeing in a feature.
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