WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Old Man Hawkeye #7 by Ethan Sacks and Ibraim Roberson, in stores Wednesday.
When Mark Millar and Steve McNiven introduced readers to their Old Man Logan universe a 10 years ago, they plunged us into a dark future where almost all of the world's superheroes -- the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and everyone else -- had been horrifically killed. The only thing we knew was that this massacre was executed decades prior to the start of the series, and that it was coordinated by the Red Skull, who had somehow managed to get all of the super-villains to strike at the same time in a bid to overwhelm Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
The Skull's plan was a success: the villains won. We knew that Wolverine had been tricked into killing the X-Men by Mysterio, but we didn't know much about the rest of the events of that fateful night. Now, in the prequel series Old Man Hawkeye, which takes place before the events of Old Man Logan, we flash back 45 years into the past to witness the catalytic event that would lead to the Old Man Logan/Hawkeye universe.
Thanks to the preview of Old Man Hawkeye #7, we find out how this entire mess started. While the first five pages of the book don't reveal the whole story yet, we do see which Avenger was the first to fall at the hands of the super-villains. In response to the Skull's coordinated attack, we learn that Hawkeye and Black Widow are leading their own team into battle, just like Captain Marvel, Black Panther and Captain America are doing all over the country.
Clint and Natasha's team counts Thor, War Machine, the Thunderbolts, Falcon and the Maximoff twins, but it isn't long before their quinjet falls under attack by Magneto. The flyers on the team all manage to rescue one of their own, and it's James "Rhodey" Rhodes who flies to Clint's rescue. But then something terrible happens to Rhodey: The reactor in his War Machine suit overloads, to the point that energy blasts out from the inside, burning him alive.
War Machine crashes to the ground, dead, and the rest of the heroes don't even have time to mourn him. We don't know who or what is responsible for Rhodey's death and, whatever that is, it's coming for them next.
Old Man Hawkeye, by Sacks and Roberson, hits store shelves this Wednseday, July 18.
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