WARNING: This article contains spoilers for West Coast Avengers #1 by Kelly Thompson, Stefano Caselli, Triona Farrell and VC's Joe Caramagna, on sale Wednesday, August 22.
We're on the cusp of a new beginning for Earth's Mightiest Heroes. While the heavy hitters of Iron Man, Captain America and Thor are busy dealing with a Celestial threat in Marvel's core Avengers title, the publisher is gearing up to reintroduce a forgotten name in the long history of the superhero group.
Kelly Thompson and Stefano Caselli are collaborating on a new volume of West Coast Avengers, bringing together an eclectic cast of characters to battle threats on what some consider to be the "best coast," far away from the usual events that typically occur in the New York area.
Leading this Avengers team is Hawkeye, and if your first inclination is to wonder why someone would put Clint Barton in charge, you may want to remember there are two heroes in the Marvel Universe operating with that codename. No, it won't be Clint Barton leading the West Coast Avengers -- it'll be his former partner, Kate Bishop.
Kate is no stranger to working within an Avengers team dynamic, having made her first appearance in the pages of Young Avengers as well as being a part of two separate iterations of the unit. However, West Coast Avengers will mark the first time Kate has stepped into a leadership position, and it has some people questioning whether she has the right amount of experience and age for the role.
A preview of this week's West Coast Avengers #1 begins with Clint being interviewed on camera regarding Kate's ability to lead the team (while also wondering if having two Hawkeyes gets confusing). When the interviewer starts asking if Kate is too young and inexperienced, Clint quickly jumps to her defense.
"Did you even do research for these questions?" Clint responds. He then brings up the number of times Kate has almost gotten herself killed while protecting the innocent, but the person Clint's speaking to off-camera thinks that just means she isn't good at her job as a superhero.
We have to wonder if this is a blatant case of sexism. If the male Hawkeye were named the team leader of the West Coast Avengers over his female counterpart, would the person interviewing him openly question his leadership qualifications? Our guess is the very subject wouldn't even be brought up.
The preview ends with an example from four weeks ago displaying just how Kate Bishop is the perfect leader for the West Coast Avengers. Sure, the task of apprehending a group of rampaging land sharks may seem overwhelming, but Kate Bishop Hawkeye is on the case. She has the trust of Clint and America Chavez, and that's one thing all leaders need in order to rally the troops. Once Quentin Quire, Gwenpool and Kate's boyfriend Johnny enter the picture, she'll earn their trust and respect as well.