Tales of Suspense #57 (written by Stan Lee and penciled by Don Heck in 1964) introduced Clint Barton, a circus performer with a talent for archery who decided to become a villain. Taking on the name Hawkeye, he used an assortment of arrows with trick arrowheads that could explode, spray glue or dozens of other gimmicks. Hawkeye proved so popular that he eventually joined the good guys as one of the Avengers. He was a little-known hero outside of comic books until he made an appearance in 2011's Thor and went on to become a star as one of the team in 2012's Marvel's The Avengers.
On a group with a god of thunder, an armor-clad genius and the strongest man in the universe, Hawkeye doesn't get much credit. Some critics have pointed to him and Black Widow as being useless because they don't have overt superpowers but it's time to clear that up. Hawkeye's body may not have been bitten by a spider or doused with radiation but it does some amazing things. That's why CBR is putting the spotlight on the archer in this article, going over 15 things you might not have known about Hawkeye's body.
15 HE IS DEAF
In 1983, Hawkeye #4, Mark Gruenwald had Hawkeye and Mockingbird captured by Crossfire, who created a machine called the Undertaker that could throw anyone exposed to it into a violent rage. When Crossfire tested it by pitting Hawkeye and Mockingbird against each other, Hawkeye put a sonic arrowhead into his mouth that stopped the machine's effects. It also blew out his eardrums, leaving him partially deaf and forced to wear a hearing aid.
This led to one of the more awesome moments in Marvel's history where a mother wrote them in 2012 that her four-year-old son refused to wear his hearing aid because superheroes didn't wear hearing aids. Marvel wrote back and sent copies of Hawkeye's comics where he was deaf, proving that superheroes could have hearing aids. His hearing was recently restored in "House of M" but Hawkeye was deafened again by the Clown.
14 HE IS SUPER-STRONG
Most people describe Hawkeye as a regular person with no superpowers but he might have powers that just haven't been noticed. At times, Hawkeye has shown incredible strength. Let's start with his bow. The bows of expert human archers can take a strength of 75 pounds to draw which requires a lot of muscle power. Yet in Hawkeye #1 (Mark Gruenwald, Bob Layton), a villain tried to draw Hawkeye's bow and discovered it took 250 pounds of strength to draw. Hawkeye draws it easily.
An even better example of his strength is in 2010's New Avengers #5 (Brian Michael Bendis, Stuart Immonen) where Hawkeye was trapped under an overturned taxi. He didn't need any help but lifted the car off of himself and he did it with one hand. No one even comments on it.
13 HE WAS BLIND
As a marksman, there's nothing more important to Hawkeye than his sight, which is why Widowmaker #4 (Duane Swierczynski, Manuel Garcia) was such a blow. While fighting with the Ronin, Hawkeye was hit on the head and didn't seem to be affected until he discovered his aim was off. Dr. Blake, Tony Stark and Captain America all examined him to discover his vision was failing. Iron Man gave him some technology to slow the progression but they all believed he would eventually go blind.
Even with his fading vision, Hawkeye stayed a hero and fought villains while even pulling off his skilled shots without being able to see. It wasn't until his brother Trickshot gave him a bone marrow transplant that Hawkeye got his sight back but he'd already shown he could be a hero, perfect vision or not. In the alternate universe story, Old Man Logan, Hawkeye is also blind. But it doesn't slow him down much.
12 HE CAN MOVE AT SUPERSPEED
Hawkeye's body is a finely tuned machine at the peak of human perfection, but some of the things he does go beyond human ability. Let's take his speed as an example. Hawkeye has to be quick to fire arrows the way he does but sometimes he's inhumanly fast. For instance, he regularly fires multiple arrows within seconds which involves drawing the arrows from his quiver, notching them in the bow and firing. More than just shooting the arrows quickly, he still hits his targets with pinpoint accuracy.
Without bulletproof skin or armor, Hawkeye also relies on his speed to avoid fire and it's crazy fast. In many comics, he's seen dodging arrows and even bullets with ease. Anyone who can outrun bullets has to be on a speed level above normal humans, even though Hawkeye doesn't get as much credit.
11 HE IS A GENIUS
Hawkeye is known for his body more than his brain, but his mind is no slouch. Clint Barton has a brilliant tactical mind when it comes to making calculations needed to shoot an arrow and hit a target that's far away, and he uses the same skills on his enemies. For instance, in 2004's Hawkeye #5 (Fabian Nicieza, Stefano Raffaele, Werner Maresta), he faced a portal that could only be opened by sunlight hitting a specific spot at 4:44 PM on the 40th day of the 40th year. Hawkeye was able to calculate how to fire a photonic arrow into the air that went off where the sun would be at that exact moment.
Even more impressive, 1978's Avengers #174 (Jim Shooter, Bill Mantlo, David Wenzel) had the Collector (an Elder of the Universe) manage to beat Iron Man, Thor and the Wasp. Only Hawkeye was able to outsmart the Collector, who eventually gave up.
10 HE CAN THROW CAPTAIN AMERICA'S SHIELD
Hawkeye's skill with a bow and arrow also makes him an expert with any weapon that involves precision and long-distance. That even includes Captain America's shield. Cap's shield is made of an indestructible metal and is finely balanced so it can be throw like a disk. Captain America has the mind and skill to throw the shield, have it bounce off surfaces and come back to him. It seems like Hawkeye is one of the few heroes who has the same ability.
In 1986, Captain America #317 (Mark Gruenwald, Paul Neary) had the two heroes teaming up and Cap suggested trading weapons with Hawkeye. It shocked Hawkeye since he knew how closely the shield was guarded by Captain America, but he of course agreed. Ultimately, Hawkeye never ended up throwing it but the fact that Cap felt confident Hawkeye could use it says a lot about Hawkeye's abilities.
9 HE IS A GIFTED MARTIAL ARTIST
When you think of Hawkeye, you probably think of someone with deadly accuracy with a bow and arrow, but he's no slouch without one. Hawkeye is just as deadly with other weapons or his bare hands. Hawkeye has been trained by some of the best martial artists in the world, including Captain America, and has demonstrated it several times throughout his heroic career.
He can (and has) punched and kicked his way through hundreds of bad guys. He takes on everyone from highly trained soldiers to ordinary street thugs to god-like supervillains and doesn't flinch or back down. He's also a master at multiple weapons, from swords to rifles, all the way down to just beating people up with his bow alone. When Hawkeye runs out of arrows, it's no big deal at all!
8 HE CAN THROW ANYTHING
Some people have made a joke about the fact that Hawkeye relies on a bow and arrow. "What happens when he runs out of arrows?" they quip. Well, the answer is that he doesn't even need arrows to be deadly. Much like the supervillain Bullseye, Hawkeye can turn any object into a weapon.
In Hawkeye #1 (Matt Fraction, David Aja), he threw a coin at an oncoming car's windshield, shattering it and forcing the car to veer off the road. In the same issue, Hawkeye threw a playing card across the room and hit his enemy in the throat. He even once took out his enemy, the Clown, with a toothpick. Whether it's big or small, Hawkeye can throw it with his finely tuned muscles and keen eye for ballistics and balance.
7 HE BECAME A GIANT, MAN
For most of his history, Hawkeye has been a highly skilled but human hero with few tools other than his quiver of trick arrows and a flying motorcycle. However, that changed in 1969 with Avengers #63 (Roy Thomas, Gene Colan). In that issue, Hawkeye's bow broke during a fight and his frustration led him to change things up by taking on a new identity. Using Hank Pym's costume and size-changing Pym Particles, Clint Barton took over as the gigantic hero Goliath.
As Goliath, Clint could grow hundreds of feet larger than his normal size, and got stronger and more durable in the process. With his new identity, Clint fought alongside the Avengers for many years until the end of the Kree-Skrull War when he went back to his Hawkeye persona again.
6 HE WAS KILLED AND RESURRECTED
Hawkeye's body has gone through a lot but nothing as bad as his death in 2004's Avengers #502 (Brian Michael Bendis, David Finch). In a pitched battle with Kree warships created by the Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye's quiver was set on fire. Knowing that the fire would set off his explosive arrows, Hawkeye flew into one of the Kree ships and destroyed it in the explosion.
His sacrifice was reversed when the Scarlet Witch changed reality again to the "House of M" alternate reality where mutants were the dominant species. There, Hawkeye had no memory of his death and former life until a mutant restored his mind. When Hawkeye remembered the murder, he shot Wanda in the back and was killed again by one of the Scarlet Witch's children. When everything went back to normal, Hawkeye was brought back to life.
5 HE SEES BETTER AT A DISTANCE
In Marvel's The Avengers, Hawkeye was assigned to watch over scientists experimenting with the Tesseract. Nick Fury found him up above the lab, and Hawkeye explained he sees better from a distance. This was an odd thing to say since most people see better up close. This was probably a reference to his namesake, the hawk.
The eyes of a hawk have more cones on their retinas than humans, letting them see more detail. They also have a deeper curved surface on the back of their eyes that allows them to zoom in like a telephoto lens. This ends up giving hawks better vision, especially at a distance. We don't know for sure if Hawkeye has some sort of mutation that lets him see like a hawk or if it's just a quirk but it's still awesome.
4 HE HAD NO BODY
Not all of Hawkeye's history has been heroic, especially when it comes to alternate universes. Without a doubt, the most humiliating thing Hawkeye's body has had to endure happened in the Marvel Zombies universe. In the Marvel Zombie series, a zombie plague broke out on Earth, infecting everyone, including superheroes and supervillains. With their enhanced powers and ravenous hunger, the Marvel Zombies devoured all life on the planet. That included Hawkeye.
Clint Barton was among the rampaging horde of zombies trying to devour Magneto who had remained uninfected. Hawkeye was decapitated by Magneto with Captain America's shield but that wasn't the end of his story. Forty years later, Hawkeye's severed head was found by Black Panther's grandson. His head was attached to Wasp's armored body but he was killed later by the Hulk. Probably just as well.
3 HE HAD BIRD DNA
While the regular Hawkeye is known for not having any known superpowers, there's another version who's got superpowers to spare. That's in the alternate future of Marvel 2099 where everything is different but also the same. There are versions of the heroes we have today and that included Hawkeye, who made an appearance in the "Secret Wars" event of 2015.
In 2015's Secret Wars 2099 #1 (Peter David, William Sliney), we saw a futuristic version of the Avengers, formed by the mega-corporation Alchemax. Alchemax had taken bird DNA and mixed them with a human to create Max, the 2099's Hawkeye. The Hawkeye of 2099 didn't use a bow and arrow but had claws and wings like a literal hawk. He had a very different body but was just as awesome as the original.
2 HE HAD EYE SURGERY
Hawkeye's greatest asset (besides his highly trained muscles) is his eyesight. That's why the Ultimate universe's Hawkeye took things to a new level. In the Ultimate universe, things were more modern and unique than the regular Marvel universe without decades of backstory to deal with.
In 2002, Ultimates #7 (Mark Millar, Bryan Hitch) introduced the Ultimate's Hawkeye who started out as an Olympic archer instead of a circus performer like the regular Marvel version. From there, Hawkeye became a U.S. government agent working for S.H.I.E.L.D. He had a wife and kids until a traitor among the team led to the death of his family. Hawkeye became almost suicidal and submitted to experimental optic surgery that gave him perfect aim, which he used to avenge the death of his loved ones.
1 HE MIGHT HAVE OTHER HIDDEN POWERS
Most people including regular readers of his comics would say Hawkeye has no powers. The fact that he does amazing things without falling back on superpowers is why we love him. At the same time, he's done some incredible feats of strength and skill which makes us wonder if his body might not have more going on under the hood. A moment in 2009's New Avengers #55 (Brian Michael Bendis, Stuart Immonen) was even more telling.
In the story, a gang led by the Hood has a device that will drain powers from anyone. The Avengers fall to its effects including Luke Cage, Bucky and Spider-Man. The only one who wasn't weakened was Mockingbird because she had no powers. What got readers' attention is that Hawkeye was also knocked out by the power drainer. Does that mean he has superpowers after all? We still wonder.