WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Old Man Hawkeye #1 by Ethan Sacks and Marco Checchetto, in stores now.
The original Old Man Logan storyline by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven was inventive, gritty and bloody. In a world that was more Mad Max than Marvel Comics, Wolverine was a brutal character in a brutal world. The story became an instant classic, and would eventually in part inspire Hugh Jackman's final Wolverine film, Logan.
But while the character (or a version of him) would eventually make the transition from his own dystopian universe to the regular Marvel Universe, Marvel rarely revisited the reality from which he came. Which is why it was such a surprise (albeit a pleasant one) to learn we'd do exactly that with Old Man Hawkeye.
The new series functions as a prequel of sorts, focusing on a character who proved popular in the original: a blind, elderly Hawkeye. But this story being set before the days where Logan and Hawkeye would embark on their fateful road trip together, Hawkeye still has his sight -- but it's going away fast. And it couldn't come at a worst possible time, because an old nemesis makes his presence known before issue #1 concludes: Bullseye.
The issue starts in the middle of the action, with a bearded Hawkeye escorting Justin Hammer through South Dakota's Tannenbaum Gorge, otherwise known as Bandit Country. Hawkeye's job is to provide security, and his services are more than required when the Madrox Gang attacks their vehicle, looking for an easy score. Still unified but detached from Madrox Prime, this version of the Multiple Man (or is it Men?) is nothing but a gang of criminals. Proving himself to be the most skilled of marksman, Hawkeye takes out eight Madroxes with eight arrows (he does however miss one, who manages to get away).
As Hawkeye embarks on one final mission of revenge before his sight is gone for good, we return to the Gorge, now a crime scene. A sheriff and a police officer swap theories on how the Madrox Gang was killed. It's at this point that a shadowy figure arrives, giving a detailed, scarily accurate account of the events after merely glancing at the carnage. At first, the lawmen respond to this man with veiled hostility, threatening him to leave. That is, until he removes his hat, revealing a much older and greying Bullseye who appears to have gone through quite a hardship that took a portion of his face away.
The look on the faces of the two officers then turns to fear as they address their superior with the proper authority. "Oh God, I'm sorry," the sheriff says. "I didn't recognize you, marshal!" That's right, the cybernetically-enhanced Bullseye is an authoritative lawman, and he's set his lethal sights set on Hawkeye.
Adding Bullseye to the story as a villain actually makes a whole lot of sense, considering the two characters have a long rivalry as two of the Marvel U's premier expert marksmen. Adding another layer to their upcoming clash, they're experiencing issues with their respective sight, meaning that both hero and villain are suffering setbacks -- setbacks that might push them to strive to prove they're still the best of the best.