EXCLUSIVE: Thompson Talks Bishop & Barton's Hawkeye Family Reunion

Fighting alongside an older Marvel hero and sharing their codename can be both an inspiring and disappointing experience, especially if your mentor figure is as flawed as Clint Barton, AKA the original Hawkeye. For a time, Kate Bishop worked side by side with Clint and saw first hand his inspiring qualities, as well as his more infuriating ones. Last year, the younger Hawkeye decided to strike out on her own, complete with an all-new series by writer Kelly Thompson and artist Leonardo Romero, which follows Kate's exploits as a Los Angeles based superhero and private detective.

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That doesn't mean she hasn't thought about Clint, though. In fact, in the recent Generations: Hawkeye & Hawkeye one-shot by Thompson and artist Stefano Raffaele, she came face to face with a younger version of him and was inspired by her mentor all over again. In December's Hawkeye #13 Thompson and Romero kick off a new Marvel Legacy arc, titled “Family Reunion” that will reunite Kate and Clint in present day Los Angeless. Thompson spoke with CBR exclusively about the arc, the issues leading up to it, how Clint views Kate, and the cases that will bring them together.

CBR: So Kelly, the big news is Clint Barton is coming to the pages of Hawkeye with December's #13! But before he gets there, Kate will have a big showdown with Madame Masque and a team-up with the All-New Wolverine. What can you tell us about these two issues? How do they set the stage for Kate's reunion with Clint?

Yes! Clint! And in fact, Clint is actually going to show up in Hawkeye 12, so we’re really hitting the ground running with that new arc. But first, Hawkeye 11 wraps up our current arc and like any good detective case it brings to a close some elements of Kate’s story and also introduces some new threads, which Kate decides – in part thanks to her Generations story with Clint – that she could really use his help with. So we’ll be exploring those threads, with Clint’s help in the “Family Reunion” arc.

Hawkeye #12 is sort of an interlude - that brings the excellent Michael Walsh back on art duties - as Wolverine and Gabby are following a lead in Los Angeles that happens to overlap with a lead Kate is following. Hi-jinx and much slicing, dicing, and shooting follows. And yes, to answer the burning question on everyone’s minds, Lucky and Jonathan the Wolverine WILL meet.

In your recent Generations one-shot we found out a lot of what Clint meant to Kate as she teamed up with a younger version of him and came to appreciate how he handled a villainous father figure, but what's your sense of what Kate means to Clint?

Hawkeye #13 cover art by Julian Totino Tedesco

I think Kate is Clint’s greatest hope in the world. I think he sees Kate and it gives him hope for a better world. She’s a Hawkeye that hasn’t “messed everything up” yet. And she’s the one thing he’s absolutely certain he hasn’t screwed up. My personal take on Fraction/Aja/Wu/Hollingsworth’s excellent Hawkeye run is that there are two very different takes on Kate within that book. In the Clint-focused stories, we see an almost flawless Kate; she’s better than Clint in every way, and I think that’s because it’s how Clint sees Kate, not because it’s necessarily true. In the Kate-focused LA stories Clint is absent and so we get more of Kate’s view of herself, which is, quite naturally I think, more flawed and scattered and still figuring things out. Because Kate is our lead, our stories trend a bit more toward those latter stories, but it’s exciting to see them together again and to see what does and doesn’t change as a result of Clint’s presence.

Clint Barton has been through a lot in the past few months, especially in the pages of Secret Empire where he helped lead a resistance against Hydra and one of his first and greatest loves was murdered. So what can you tell us about the emotional shape Clint is in when he arrives in Los Angeles in Hawkeye #13? What does that mean for his initial dynamic with Kate?

Clint is Clint! While he may be on the ropes emotionally, and our arc has him very literally on the run, Clint is a survivor. It’s one of my favorite qualities that Clint and Kate share – and something that’s become quintessential to the Hawkeye name, I think: The ability to stay standing no matter what gets thrown at you. Kate and Clint are often far less technically powerful than their teammates and enemies, and yet they never give up, and they survive, they persevere, they remain heroes, against all odds. So expect Clint to do what it takes to get the job done, regardless of what he’s been through.

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