SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for vengers: No Road Home #1 by Mark Waid, Al Ewing, Jim Zub, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, Jesus Aburtov and Cory Petit, on sale now.
Debuting this week, Avengers: No Road Home reunites the creative team behind last year's Avengers: No Surrender for a new weekly Avengers-centric miniseries. And though the story has just begun, thanks to its weekly nature, last month the advance solicitation information for the final issues was released. Of key interest is that the info for the final issue revealed that an Avenger may meet their untimely end in the story's climactic battle.
Upon first glance, it was probably assumed by most that Vision may be the superhero to die in battle, as the cover by Yasmine Putri shows the synthetic Avenger's head splitting. The debut issue adds some fuel to that speculation, confirming that the android's internal systems are steadily degrading as a result of damage sustained during No Surrender, signaling Vision is beyond repair and headed towards his eventual death. With the longtime Avenger spending much of the first issue contemplating his own impending mortality, making a heroic last stand in the finale would provide a logical and fitting sendoff. However, it'd also be overly predictable, especially this early into the story. Instead, a different Avenger may be headed for the grave, one that's more subtly hinted at in the debut issue: Hawkeye.
Clint Barton spends much of the first issue of No Road Home pondering his place among Marvel's premier superteam of heroes and gods (some literal), as a guy whose biggest claim to fame is an uncanny accuracy with trick arrows. Going over relics from superhero days gone by, Clint's impromptu walk down memory lane is interrupted by the returning No Surrender character Voyager, who recruits a nearby Scarlet Witch to help her save the Marvel Universe. Hawkeye himself is not intended to join Voyager's mission against the Queen of the Night, Nyx, but he volunteers since he's got nothing more pressing to do.
As with most unexpected roster additions, this means Hawkeye will undoubtedly play a pivotal role over the course of the ten-issue story, with a strong suggestion that it will somehow involve the resurrected Bruce Banner/Hulk. During Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez's crossover event Civil War II, Clint controversially killed Banner with an arrow to head, later revealing that the Hulk's alter ego had made him promise to kill the scientist should the Hulk ever lose control. Hulk and Banner would be jointly resurrected during No Surrender by the omnipotent being the Challenger, back from the dead but not quite completely alive and living in eternal torment as has been detailed in MArvel's Immortal Hulk series.
Upon confronting Hawkeye during the first issue, Hulk blames Clint not just for his previous death but his current pained state, warning the archer to never cross paths with him alone for fear that he may repay the favor.
While Hulk is unlikely to make good on his implied threat to kill Hawkeye over the course of No Road Home, there is still clearly unresolved animosity between the pair. With the advance solicited covers of the final issues of the miniseries showing Hulk confronting Nyx hand-to-hand, a more probable scenario would have Hawkeye heroically sacrifice his life to save Bruce Banner's in the climax. Such a death would serve as a logical counterpoint to Clint killing Banner in Civil War II and restore their friendship, albeit at the ultimate cost of Clint's own life.
The first issue of Avengers: No Road Home along with advance solicitation information has made it clear that death will befall at least one of the main cast of characters. While Vision is strongly hinted at being the Avenger to meet his demise by the end of the miniseries, it's most likely an overt misdirection to make a different victim's demise more surprising and powerful. And with Bruce Banner's blood still on Clint Barton's hands, along with his persistent doubts about his validity as a superhero, a heroic death might very well be in the cards for the popular archer.
Avengers: No Road Home #1 is written by Mark Waid, Al Ewing and Jim Zub and illustrated by Paco Medina. The issue is on sale now from Marvel Comics.