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Season 3 of Avengers Assemble Review

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Last year I did a post called “Avengers Assemble Season Three – How Is It So Far?” That post covered the first eight episodes of the third season. Reading it, you will find that I was most pleased with what I had seen at the time.

Now that the “Ultron Revolution” has run its course and “Secret Wars” – hopefully no relation to the lousy 2015 comic book event – are in our viewing future, you might be asking yourselves: what did I think of the rest of season three?

Let’s find out.

Since I wrote individual posts on the episodes “Inhumans Among Us” and “Captain Marvel,” these stories will not be discussed at length herein. If you wish to know what this writer thought of those episodes, use the search engine to find the posts about “Inhumans Among Us” and “Captain Marvel,” readers.

“The Inhuman Condition” was much better than its predecessor, “Inhumans Among Us,” in my book. There was no angst, no fuss, no muss, just cooperation between the Avengers and Black Bolt. Lockjaw giving Cap a few licks was good, too, since it showed that even a dog can recognize how great Steve is. It was wonderful to watch Hawkeye being his usual confident self instead of a doofus. It was also nice to hear Tony actually ask for help for a change, and watching Thor smash Ultron is always fun. Ah, I love the sound of Mjolnir hitting maniacal robots in the morning, don’t you?

Now “The Kids Are Alright” I had some problems with, and there are friends of mine who have issues with it as well. One, for instance, hated that Khan interrupted Cap when he gave the kids a tour of the Tower. Another friend considers Khan to be nothing more than an annoyance during the episode’s run, since she has no purpose in the narrative of the show. She did not demonstrate any depth of character, either; she is just a fangirl who got lucky and ended up with superpowers.

Image result for avengers assemble ultron revolution The Kids Are Alright

What is this author’s opinion? I am no fan of Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel. To me, she is no more entertaining than her namesake. Also, Khan was not allowed by the writers to make any mistakes in combat during this show. She and Inferno had been using their powers for all of, what, a week? And yet she is a better fighter than he is? I am sorry but no, no, no, and no. Rookies do not do that well on the job in their first weeks; it does not happen unless they are extremely talented and/or lucky. Luck I will admit Khan has, but as for talent, it does not take much to imitate Mr. Fantastic – who should at least be mentioned in this series, by the way!

I thought that Inferno got short shrift here, too, being portrayed as the cocky kid who runs into a situation without thinking. I can handle a callow youth or a hothead, but the fact is that these often unwelcome traits do not necessarily add up to stupidity, which is the direction the Marvel writers appeared to be heading with the character in “The Kids Are All Right.” Inferno can do much better, but it does not seem that the writers want him to do better. They ought to bring Dante into “Secret Wars” as part of the Earth-bound Avengers just to give him a better showing than the one he got in season three.

On the bright side, Cap and Hawkeye did well in this show. Cap was his usual charming and encouraging self while Hawkeye got to prove (again) that although he may not be a super genius, this does not mean he is stupid. The sad thing is that they are the only saving graces in an otherwise politically correct, namby-pamby, wishy-washy, feel-good episode. You can tell I was not “feeling the love” from this show, can’t you, readers?

In contrast, I thought that “The Conqueror” and “Into the Future” were much better installments in the series. Bringing Kang into the story sets up a primary villain for season four, and no one can say that Kang is a fifth rate villain. He is no Dr. Doom (despite his mysterious relation to him), nor is he Magneto, but he probably ranks third behind those two masterminds of evil. Having Tony tweak him and get him angry was a good trick for the first episode, and showing Cap best him in the Jurassic period was the highlight of “Into the Future.”

My one problem with “Into the Future” is that none of the male rebels, aside from Thor, got a speaking part. Layla was a good character, and the hint that the red-headed girl who had tried to improve Tony’s Omega suit could be his great-great-great-great-great granddaughter was nice. The nod to Kate Bishop also did not go unnoticed by yours truly. In fact, the whole idea of a rebellion against Kang’s rule was genius, in my opinion. I wish someone had thought of it years ago!   (For all I know they did, but if so, I never heard about it.)

But the fact remains that some of the guys in Thor’s rebellion should have been allowed to say at least one word. Having Thor as their leader and letting him give the speeches was good; along with the rebellion twist, it made a lot of sense. He is Asgardian and immortal – practically speaking, anyway. Of course he would live into the thirtieth century, where he would start a rebellion against Kang’s tyranny, and of course he would end up bald as Odin. But at least ONE of the male rebels in Thor’s band should have been allowed to talk instead of being used as scenery filler.

This is a minor quibble with an otherwise excellent episode, but it is an important one to make. Marvel is trying to feminize its franchise, from Iron Man to Thor to Hawkeye and beyond. I am tired of it. The company already has great female leads; they do not need a bunch of milksop fems strutting across the screen, attempting to be something they are not. If they want to add new characters to help tell new stories, that is fine. But trying to replace the originals with newbies like Khan does not work; to the best of my knowledge, it never has. And when they try to make all their heroes female, the writers make matters worse. Remember, I like Steve Rogers, Clint Barton, Tony Stark, Thor Odinson, Bruce Banner, Bucky Barnes, Sam Wilson, Vision, Quicksilver, and many of the other male leads in Marvel because they are male. And I am not the only one. I wish that Marvel would get this fact through its thick, corporate head already and let me save my breath on this issue.

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Now we will go back to business. In “Seeing Double” we watch as Natasha faces off against Black Widow wannabe Yelena Belova. I have read about the character but never seen her, and this episode is a very impressive introduction for her. It fleshed out Natasha’s character in the bargain, and the hint that maybe she did not throw away the thumb drive said to contain her real memories was an unexpected twist. Making the Hulk into a large, green version of the Winter Soldier was something that I did not see coming. My only disappointment is that we never got to see Bucky here or during season three.

Then we have “A Friend in Need,” where Vision is introduced to the team. It was a nice installment, from Thor’s taking him to Asgard and teaching him about friendship to Vision’s nearly permanent sacrifice to save his friends. The three-way training session with Cap, Widow, and Hawkeye was a good bonus point, as was Vision playing video games with Hulk and Thor at the end. Very cute scene!

After this we had “Panther’s Rage,” an episode that presented T’Challa/Black Panther, Wakanda, and the Dora Milaje in an interesting way. Hawkeye’s flirting with Aneka was somewhat irritating, but their resultant friendship had a much better vibe to it. Cap and Thor’s ability to understand Panther and their subsequent friendships with him were believable and fun as well. And watching the pack of them kick Klaue’s fanny was great, as usual. But I am kind of getting tired of T’Challa always showing up on the Avengers’ doorstep angry. How about a little variety next time, Marvel writers?

“Ant-Man Makes It Big” was a fun episode in which Marvel proved that, despite many changes over the years, they still like to poke fun at themselves from time to time. Thor teaching a snobby actor the reality of life was a plus, as was Hawkeye’s easy acceptance of Scott and his new job. Having Widow angry at Scott for leaving the Avengers was an interesting and compelling development. It is nice to see that they have completely separated her from their original Amazonian stereotype and allowed her to be the character she always has been.

After this came “House of Zemo.” This show is one of my favorites and it had many good points, one of these being the redemption of Cap’s father after the debacle where Marvel tried to make the First Avenger a secret operative of HYDRA in the comics last year. In search of a photo he can use to draw a picture of his father, Cap leaves Avengers Tower on his birthday (July 4th), in order to clear his head and jog his memory. Hawkeye, who actually had a lousy father in the comics and apparently in Assemble as well, still palpably empathizes with Cap’s desire to remember and draw his father’s face. The rapport between the two is handled with an artist’s touch here and makes this episode an adventure worth remembering. 😉

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There was one thing about “House of Zemo,” however, that felt off to me: Helmut Zemo’s “redemption” at the end of the show. It felt forced and tacked on. I agree that he can reform; that is not what bothered me. It is that the writers brought about his change of heart too fast to be believable and satisfactory. They jammed it into an otherwise moving story, as though they thought no one would like an episode where Hawkeye, the fatherless, anchorless Avenger, helped the most grounded member of the team reconnect with his own father.

Maybe they were right, but I doubt it seriously. Of course, perhaps they thought Helmut Zemo could make the leap with ease, since in this series he is in fact a very old man, but he looks and acts young thanks to taking his father’s variant of the Super Soldier Serum. It still feels cheap to me, though, and that is why I make such a fuss about it.

The episodes “U-Foes,” “Building the Perfect Weapon,” and “World War Hulk” were great installments. The U-Foes, I think, would make viable fifth-rate villains in season four, but I do not like Widow’s taking offense when Red Hulk labeled everyone on the team “men” at the end of “World War Hulk.” No, she is not a man, but his use of the term is normal and hardly material for an affront, unless he is addressing a room full of women. This he definitely did not do within the show. I would think any female Avenger would ignore this unimportant phrase and deal with the bigger issue – the fact that Red Hulk thought he was the team’s leader. Who died and made him king?

Another thing which irritated me in these shows was how Cap acquiesced to Hulk wearing the inhibitor collar. His unabashed appreciation of Red Hulk’s military analysis of situations was equally bothersome. Just because Ross was once a U.S. general with a modicum of talent, it does not make him a great guy. I found it irksome that the writers thought Cap should appreciate Red’s ability to tactically assess a base –especially since he showed that this skill did not stretch nearly far enough. Cap is better than that, people. Stop treating him like a cookie-cutter tin soldier. He is no such thing!

One of the things I did enjoy here is that Hulk got to stay on Earth, instead of being tossed off-world and ending up in a gladiatorial arena. Another beautiful touch to the “World War Hulk” episode was the hint of romance between Big Green and Black Widow. Though they have done it before, in this Hulk-centered episode, it had more than its usual impact for viewers.

The romance the writers have developed between Natasha and Hulk in Avengers Assemble is something I have come to like quite a bit. It fits the narrative and it gives me hope that, should the writers bring Mockingbird and/or Sharon Carter on the scene, they will be able to handle a Romance Reel with them and their guys as well as they have managed Natasha and the Hulk’s duet. It also lets me hope that when Cap and Tony meet Peggy Carter in season four, the writers will be able to portray that romance with the same adroit touch they have used for Natasha and Hulk.

The “Civil War” story arc was truly impressive. For one thing, it was really, really, REALLY nice not to have Tony and Cap trying to kill each other here. The pluses continued to mount when the Mighty Avengers were formed as the antagonistic team, with Princess Sparkle Fists (a.k.a. Captain Marvel) at the head of the group. My only regret is that the writers did not hand her off to the Hulk during the battle. At least he would have actually hit her.

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The moment when Hawkeye convinced Songbird to leave the Mighty Avengers for the Avengers was superb. I had hoped to see Songbird before season three’s conclusion as part of the Avengers or as the leader of the Thunderbolts. The writers surpassed my wildest dreams in this regard for her, and they outdid themselves on Hawkeye’s characterization in this moment. His general deportment throughout the “Civil War” conflict was perfect. I am really happy with the fact that they have stopped using him as the team pratfall in every episode. 😀

Ant-Man and Falcon fighting while flying was a great nod to the film franchise, as was Vision’s accidentally injuring Cap with Mjolnir. It was also highly satisfying to watch Little Miss Stretch pull one of Iron Man’s moves from Age of Ultron, hitting Hulk when he was not expecting it. Rookie though he is, even Inferno would have known better than to do that.

But the most surprising moment in the season finale came when Ultron hacked Tony’s suit and arc reactor, thereby taking control of both his mind and body. It was the biggest shock of the event. I did not see that coming, which was the entire point. The Marvel writers truly pulled a rabbit out of their hat when they did it. I only hope the team can purge Ultron from Tony’s system during season four’s “Secret Wars.” Otherwise, I am not going to be a happy camper.

To sum up, there are only a few things I have left to say, and they are about the next season of Avengers Assemble. Season three broke new ground for the team by bringing in new players such as Songbird and the Thunderbolts, along with Inferno, Vision, and Black Panther.

The additions of villains such as Yalena Belova, Kang the Conqueror, the U-Foes, Egghead, and others expanded Assemble’s villain cadre nicely. Not every season has to revolve around Ultron, Thanos, and Red Skull, after all. And the Avengers do not have to fight Dracula or MODOK every day, either. It is nice to see old enemies with new schemes fighting our heroes. They should get to fight some B, C, and D rated villains like Egghead every now and then. Save a city instead of the planet – piece of cake. Although I do miss watching the team as they tangle with Dr. Doom and Magneto. Doom has disappeared from Assemble and since Marvel is not interested in mixing mutants into its Avengers cartoons anymore, any chance to see how the team would slap down the Master of Magnetism has evaporated. Rats. I would have liked to view that.

The upgraded characterizations of our favorite heroes righted the problems I noted in posts about the first and second seasons of the show. They were overdue, but better late than never. These changes have made Assemble much stronger as a series than when it began. I hope that, when it comes time to replace Assemble, I will not have to lecture the writers again on the issues which I pointed out in those prior posts. I will not, however, be holding my breath on that hope.

With regard to the original seven Avengers on the team, I would like to ask the Marvel writers to keep up the good work. Leave the stereotypes in the trash, where they belong, and run the characters according to the tried and true formula which you know actually works.

Secondly, I would like to ask the writers to please, please drop Jane Foster/“Thorette” from the line-up for season four!! She will be a DISASTER, people! Do not shoot yourselves in the foot here!

Three, let Inferno grow and learn from the Avengers. And while I applaud the addition of Black Panther, Songbird, Vision, and soon the Wasp to the series, do not stop there. We want Mockingbird, Spectrum, War Machine, the Winter Soldier, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Iron Fist, Power Man, and many of the other heroes from the comics to at least get a mention in season four. If we are going to have more than the four seasons, then by all means, add them to the cast list. Just because they are not part of the films and live action TV shows, this should not prevent the writers from adding them to the cartoon series. And Scarlet Witch is, in fact, part of the film franchise. So why have she and Quicksilver been left out of Assemble?!?!? It makes no sense to leave the twins out, Marvel writers!

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Last but most important, I wish to remind the writers that we watch the Avengers because we like good stories with great characters, not because we are looking for a lecture on social justice or the latest cause celeb. If we want any of that junk, we will turn on the news or go to a tabloid stand. Since we are coming to you, it means we want to get away from those things for a little while.

Just tell us some good stories, okay? That is all any of us want out of fiction writers. Good stories, well told, with enduring characters. All right?

Avengers – ASSEMBLE!!!

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Death and the Roster for Avengers: Infinity War

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Okay, everybody, LISTEN UP!!!!

I have something VERY IMPORTANT TO SAY!!!!

Avengers: Infinity War is coming out in 2018, and people are engaged in trying to determine which heroes will appear in the film.  They are also batting around which heroes will live and which will die.

Once again, these people are calling Hawkeye/Clint Barton the “most disposable” member of the Avengers.  They believe he can be killed off easily and no one will care.

NEWSFLASH:  Hawkeye is NOT easily dropped.  He is an EXTREMELY IMPORTANT character, and it would behoove these people to SHOW HIM SOME RESPECT!!!   AND, YES, SOME PEOPLE DO CARE!!!

Why does everybody hate Hawkeye?!  Why do so many people want him dead?  Is it because he uses a bow and trick arrows in battle?  So do Green Arrow/Oliver Queen and his sidekicks, yet I do not hear anyone calling for THEIR heads to be delivered to audiences on a platter!!!!  There should be no double standard in this matter.  If you want Hawkeye dead because he uses a bow and arrow, then you should want Green Arrow and his sidekicks dead as well.

Just why is there so much rage against Hawkeye?!?!?  Is it because he is a husband and father in the films?  That is something to CELEBRATE, people!!!  It is HIGH TIME a superhero got to have a good home life!!!  Or do you want the Fantastic Four’s family life destroyed too, hmmm?

Tit for tat, butter for fat.  What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.  If you want Hawkeye dead, you may as well drive a knife through the entire Avengers franchise.  Because whether you like him or not, Hawkeye is an integral part of the Avengers team and franchise, so he is not going anywhere.  Not if we can help it!!!

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So, haters, HANDS OFF OF HAWKEYE!!!!!!! 

People are also raffling off Cap for death in Infinity War and its sequel.  Interestingly, Nick Fury is being floated for the chopping block, too, as is Vision.  What is the reason that they want these characters dead?

Some people hate Cap because he is CAPTAIN AMERICA.  This means he represents the best of America.  So it is not too surprising that some people would want him dead.  Others say he is colorless and meaningless and the Avengers are better off without an old fogey like him.

NEWSFLASH:  CAPTAIN AMERICA IS THE HEART OF THE AVENGERS.  Kill him, and you kill the team.  The Avengers would never have lasted as long as they have without Captain America.  It is a fact.  Marvel and these fatheads calling for his death are kidding themselves – and us – if they think they can survive without Steve Rogers running the Avengers, or if they think they can water him down and make him “more modern” and less of a symbol for America.  IT AIN’T GONNA WORK!!!

As for Nick Fury dying, NEWSFLASH:  the guy is as hard to kill as a cockroach.  He will not die until the end of the world, if then.  You may think you killed him, but sooner or later he will pop up to growl at you again.  That is the way he is.

And some very cruel “fans” want Vision’s head cut off so Thanos can steal the Mind Stone, which is stuck to his forehead, from him.  NEWSFLASH:  why would Thanos go to that trouble when he could just psychically or magnetically pull the Stone from Vision’s forehead into the Infinity Gauntlet?  YOU ARE NOT THINKING, PEOPLE!!!  YOU ARE BEING BLOODTHIRSTY BARBARIANS!!!

People are also suggesting that Thor may die in Infinity War.  This seems highly unlikely to me.  But in the interest of maintaining the momentum of this post: NEWSFLASH, Thor cannot die when Chris Hemsworth has voluntarily pledged to keep making films until he is old enough to play Odin himself on film and videotape.

So assorted Knobs, Idiots, Jerks, Doofi, Scum-Sucking Pigs, Toads, Rocks, Stones, Senseless Things, and Monumental Dorks, listen and listen well….

Hawkeye

HANDS OFF OF OUR HAWKEYE!!!!

Kitchen

HANDS OFF OF OUR CAPTAIN AMERICA!!!!

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 HANDS OFF OF OUR THOR!!!!

Wanda vs. Vision 2

HANDS OFF OF OUR VISION!!!!

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HANDS OFF OF NICK FURY!!!!!

Or I will start calling for Carol Danvers to die ignominiously yesterday.  We seriously DO NOT need this trophy wife character, and I wish Marvel would DITCH HER ALREADY!!!!

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How do you like them apples, you sorry excuses for Marvel fans?

Captain America: Civil War – Clint Barton/Hawkeye

As anyone who has followed this blog knows, I am a huge Hawkeye fan. In the comics, the cartoons, and the movies, I always look forward to seeing him. Captain America/Steve Rogers is also one of my favorite characters, something I have said before as well.

So to FINALLY have my two favorite characters in a Captain America film is UNBELIEVABLY GREAT!!!!!!!!!! 😀 What makes it even better is that Renner and the Russos at last deliver a truly vintage Hawkeye performance. Clint’s snappy patter, skills, and determination are all taken directly from the comics in this movie.

Clint’s part in Civil War is far more limited than I was hoping for. Now, I am not looking a gift horse in the mouth here, people! I am thrilled he got to show up in the movie at all! It is just that my enjoyment factor would have been higher if he had been in the movie longer.

But, yeah, you probably noticed that by now.

Anyway, on to the film! Some people are saying that Clint’s main reason for joining Team Cap was the debt he owes Wanda. Because her brother saved his life, he feels he is indebted to her. He also basically inaugurated her Avenging career in Sokovia, and so he is at least partly responsible for her growth into her role on the team.

True, true, and true…except for the part where these people say these are Clint’s only reasons for siding with Cap. Renner did not help much, saying before the film came out that, “Cap was the first guy who called.”

(*Author slaps forehead and growls in irritation at the general population’s inability to speak or write well.*)

No, Cap did not call Clint first. Tony did – through Natasha. She asked Hawkeye if he would sign the Accords and Clint said, essentially, “No.” Then Cap phoned a couple of days later, whereupon Clint left home, busted Wanda out of the Compound, picked up Ant-Man, and arrived in Germany within hours of the phone ringing.

What was that about Cap calling first again…? I think I missed it.

For those who say that Hawkeye was truly retired at the start of this movie, I have this to answer in response: Clint Barton, Hawkeye, hang up his bow for good? Don’t make me laugh! Being a hero is his job. And when his job needs doing, he will do it.

This is why he refuses to sign the Accords. Steve and Clint are both cut from the same cloth. Did you notice that, in Age of Ultron, Clint has two very large American flags on his property? One is hanging from the side of his house; the other is tacked up in the barn. And oh, yeah, there is a third, somewhat smaller U.S. flag pinned up over the tractor in the barn, too.

Clint seems awfully patriotic. Steve Rogers is, too, or he would not be Captain America. They both recognize the danger in the Accords, which the U.N. wants to force on them and the U.S. They both know that a government or governing body of any type is almost always run by people with agendas. And agendas are dangerous, because the people who have them often place more value on their schemes than on doing what is right.

Clint had to know that to decline signing the Accords while claiming retirement was a holding action at best. He also had to know that the location of his family’s house is now blown. Sooner or later, it will be discovered. If the writers have not had him move, he could be in serious trouble. (Which means that the writers will be in serious trouble with ME!)

If he is half as smart as I know he is, then Clint should have moved his family not long after returning to the farm at the end of Age of Ultron. He would not tell any of the other Avengers about doing this – Tony, Rhodey, Natasha, and Vision have signed the Accords. And Tony has now blabbed about the Barton family on film and video tape. What a typical, unfiltered, big mouth reaction. (*Author rolls eyes.*)

The one Avenger he might tell, if he has moved his family, is Cap. But he would only do that in private, when they were sure no one was listening. Natasha would be able to figure it out, eventually. They have worked together for years and therefore think alike on such matters. Heck, they have probably helped each other come up with contingency plans for this sort of problem!

The point here is that Hawkeye joined Cap’s team because, to borrow and paraphrase Emily VanCamp’s description of her character and Evans’, “They have similar moral compasses.” Clint and Steve both know the difference between right and wrong. When told to move by the world, they will both “plant [themselves] like a tree, look them [those who are telling them what is wrong is right] in the eye, and say, ‘No, YOU move.’”

Natasha knows this. It is why she is alive, as well as Cooper, Lila, and Nathaniel Barton’s “aunt.” She knows Clint’s claim of retirement is baloney and code for, “The U.N. can go bark at the moon. I am not signing away my freedom.” It is this certainty on the part of her two friends which leads her to question the Accords and her own decision to sign them.

This is going to sound like a fan rant, but follow me through please, readers. I loved it when Clint fired three arrows at Iron Man, only for them to get shot down. The basis for this scene is taken straight from the comics. Like many villains, Tony mistakenly believes Clint has finally missed his target…

Clint just smiles smugly and retorts, “Made you look.”

When Hawkeye shoots at you but does not hit you, then he was not aiming for you in the first place. Tony does not know him as well as he thinks he does if he had to learn that fact the hard way. Anyone who has known Clint for any period of time knows that this archer does not miss, whether he is using arrows, bullets, assorted bits of junk, or his own fists. Whatever the tool, Hawkeye’s aim is always true.

Speaking of the internecine fight at the airport, Wanda was right – Clint was pulling his punches with Natasha. He is physically bigger and stronger than she is. Their dance should not have gone the way it was heading. We all remember their duel on the Helicarrier in The Avengers. While I am sure Hawkeye was pulling his punches as best he could in that fight, the thing is that he was holding back even more in Civil War.

Black Widow was not.

It is understandable that Clint would hold back in a fight with Natasha. They are very close friends, almost as close as Steve and Bucky still are. On some level, I think Hawkeye never stopped believing in Natasha after she signed the Accords. He knew she doubted the rightness of what she had done, that she was worried she had made a mistake. He had faith that she would realize she had made the wrong choice and would reverse that decision sooner or later. In the end, he was right. And so he is glad he pulled his punches.

And that Wanda pulled Natasha’s.

Nevertheless, Clint takes Wanda’s admonition on not pulling his punches to heart for the rest of the battle. For Exhibit B to prove that he joined Team Red, White, and Blue out of loyalty to Steve and the belief that Cap was in the right, who held Panther off while Steve and Bucky ran for the quinjet?

Clint did. And while he is not as strong as Panther, Hawkeye put up a great fight. He knew he would not be able to beat T’Challa, or even stalemate him. Not for long, at least. But he was going to go down fighting – hence: “I don’t think we’ve been introduced. I’m Clint.”

The new King of Wakanda is not in the mood for witty banter, let alone name-trading, as he demonstrates with his pithy, angry, “I don’t care!” Clint knows that. But if he cannot get his digs in one way, he will do so by other means. T’Challa can be stronger than Clint all he wants, but he will never outdo the archer in the gallows humor department. Hawkeye will see to that!

To backtrack a bit, our first look at Hawkeye in the film is when he goes to pick up Wanda from the Avengers’ Compound. Wanda senses someone enter the room and, preparing for the possibility that the intruder means her harm, uses her power to grab a butcher knife from the kitchen counter and throw it at the potential cat-burglar.

She must have figured out who her “intruder” was before she hit him, because she stops the blade in the nick of time. Hawkeye stares at the knife as it hovers just in front of his forehead, briefly surprised. Then he smiles faintly. “Guess I should’ve knocked,” he says, calmly pushing the knife away with two fingers.

Wanda lets it drop to the floor and races over to him with a gasp. “Oh, my gosh, what are you doing here?” she asks, horrified. She came that close to killing a friend, and after her inability to fully contain Crossbones’ funeral pyre/revenge plot in Lagos, this near miss is no laughing matter to her.

But Clint brushes it off, apparently unconcerned. It was his fault, as he admitted. Someone sneaking into the room after an explosion draws out the Vision – what was Wanda supposed to think? She was prepared, which was a good thing. If it had not been him, she would have needed to defend herself. As it is, he is still breathing and in one piece, so no harm, no foul. Leaving a temporary Vision-catcher set up to keep the android out of their hair, he grabs Wanda and tries to bolt.

That is when Vision returns. Using his wit and fast mouth, Hawkeye waits until Vision is stuck in the electrical field generated by the arrows he planted for the purpose of holding the android in place. Satisfied that the field will keep Vision trapped for the necessary time to initiate an escape, he goes to leave.

Wanda does not follow him.

This scene was fantastic because it shows Clint’s teacher side. He understood how overwhelmed Wanda was when Novi Grad began to fly, and he understands her hesitation now. Like everyone else, she does not wish to make the same mistake twice – or a worse error. But her fear is crippling her. Never one to lose confidence in himself for more than five seconds, Clint once again restores Wanda’s self-assurance in two or three sentences.

Enough time for Vision to break free of his trap and make a fight out of what otherwise would have been a relatively easy extraction.

This following scene probably harkens back to the original comics from the early sixties, where Hawkeye and Vision had a “debate” over who held Wanda’s affections. However, in Civil War, though the fight is again over the Scarlet Witch, Clint has no romantic inclinations toward her at all. His attachment to her here is entirely different.

She is a kid he convinced to be a heroine, and she is being held under house arrest because she did her best and people died anyway. She did what she could to save as many people as she could, and the media have been tearing her to pieces ever since. She does not deserve that treatment, but the political hacks and media harpies are quite happy to ignore her youth and inexperience so they can further their agendas.

Clint, however, will not ignore these factors. He knows her. He cares about her. In some way, she has to make him think of his own daughter. If it was Lila in Wanda’s situation, Clint would want someone to watch out for her and take care of her. Wanda has no family anymore, and since the rest of the Avengers have either acquiesced to her imprisonment or are not able to get her out themselves, he will stand up for her because they cannot or will not.

Vision, who seems to be as smitten with Wanda in the films as he was in the comics, wants to protect her. Lulled by false rationalism and logic, Vision has decided that he and Wanda are too dangerous to be liked or understood by the public. But in keeping her “housebound,” Vision is not helping Wanda. He is only aiding in the crippling of her belief in herself. He cannot, however, see that…

But Clint can. When Vision breaks out of the trap, Hawkeye knows the android will not let Wanda go without a fight. And while he is not a super genius, it does not take a 190 point IQ (or whatever Tony has), to know that Vision far surpasses him in strength and power. There is no way any of the Avengers, other than Wanda and perhaps Thor or the Hulk, could hope to at least hold their own with the Vision.

So Hawkeye does not put all his chips on beating Vision. He knows he cannot do that. He also knows that Wanda is aware she is being imprisoned, does not like it in the least, and that she wants to help Cap as much as he does. So he fights and, as he knew, is put out of action by Vision. But so what if he cannot beat Vision?

Wanda can.

And she does, showing that Clint’s faith in her is not misplaced. Though they both like Vision and consider him a friend, the stakes are too high to waste time talking. Even if they had the time, Vision will not be swayed easily. So Wanda throws him down a hole to cool off…

Clint takes a moment to look down it, too, probably thinking, Boy, am I glad that’s not ME down there. But if Wanda wanted to defeat or incapacitate him, this is not the way she would do it. (The butcher knife would be more effective and less tiring.) And he knows it. Wanda’s demonstration of her abilities in that moment would have scared most people out of their skins –

It did not scare Clint because he does not see just her powers. He sees Wanda Maximoff, a sweet young girl working at learning how, when, and where to do the right thing with her amazing abilities. She will make mistakes as she learns, just like everybody else, but he has nothing to fear from her. He knows that.

And now, she knows it, too. This crisis of self-assurance over with, wrapped up, and taken care of, Clint tells her they need to make a pick up on the way to meet Steve. This leads us to the meeting in the parking garage outside the German airport, where Clint tells Cap he is “doing [him] a favor” and that he “owe[s] a debt.”

This is where people – including me – got a little confused. Remember when I said there was no way Hawkeye would hang up his bow for good? He loves his family more than words can say, but he still has a job to do out there. As he said when Vision returned from investigating his distraction, he “retired” for “like, five minutes” and the world went to hell in a hand basket. Message received: retirement is not going to work for him.

Some will say this is overconfidence or hubris, and while it carries a bit of the former, Clint told Wanda in Sokovia that saving the world was his job. Hawkeye is a fighter; he always has been. Like Steve, he has been standing up to bullies his whole life. In the original comics, those bullies usually held an authority position over him while he was growing up.

We do not know as much of his MCU back story as I wish we did, but it would not surprise this author if it was very similar to his “mainstream” universe history. Because, in the MCU, as in the original Marvel “mainstream” universe, Clint has no more patience for tyrants – big or small – than Steve Rogers does.

So even when he is happily married and playing with his children, Clint’s hands will occasionally itch to be holding a bow and an arrow, sighting an enemy and taking him down. Targets are great, but they are for practice. Hawkeye’s skills are not meant for the target range alone. He has to be out, just like Steve, actively making a difference. He is not made to sit on his hands. He has to be doing his job, at least some of the time.

He is lucky Laura understands that and supports him when he does it; Pepper should spend some time with her. Maybe then she will stay with Tony instead of marching off in a huff because he is still making suits and Avenging.

This is why Clint says Cap is doing him a favor. A year out of action is long enough for his hands to start getting very itchy for a good fight.

As for the debt, that goes without saying. Hawkeye is indebted to the Scarlet Witch for her brother’s sacrifice, and he is a man who pays his debts. The weight of that obligation is equally balanced, however, by his respect for Wanda and Steve, as well as the knowledge that tyranny is rearing its ugly head again. Despotism casts a long shadow, and Clint does not want that touching the lives of his wife and children. If he was unworried about it, he would not be living off the grid as he is.

Now we go to the last time we see the World’s Greatest Marksman in Civil War. When Tony goes to get information from Falcon in the Raft, Clint is the first one to “greet” the great “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.” Hawkeye is one of those “guys with none of that” who Steve once said were “worth ten of [Tony].”

Clint did not receive the codename Hawkeye simply for his keen eyesight and unerring accuracy. The man sees with his head and his heart as well as with his eyes. Although he may not always possess the vocabulary to express what he knows, the fact is that he knows this: “There’s right and there’s wrong. You gotta do one or the other. You do the one, and you’re living. You do the other, and you may be walking around, but you’re as dead as a beaver hat.” (John Wayne in The Alamo.)

One can accuse Hawkeye of many things, but being “dead as a beaver hat” is not one of them.

Tony tries to wriggle out of the lecture, but Clint will not let him. His own imprisonment, and that of Scott and Sam, is bad enough. They are fighting the good fight and the government, angry that they have remained out of their control for so long, has thrown them in jail ‘til they either sing “Kumbaya” or rot. Fine. That bites, but it was to be expected, and Clint can take a beating when he has to without giving in to his captors.

No, the worst thing about his imprisonment, the part which stings most, is that Wanda is not imprisoned with the men. His family is safe. He made sure of that before he left, I would think, probably guessing that Tony would open his big mouth and mention them when they met face-to-face at last.

But since the fracas at the airport, Clint and the others have no idea where Wanda is or what has happened to her. She is not imprisoned on their level; she is a girl and they are all guys.

That, however, is only half of the equation. The other half is that Wanda is the single enhanced member of Steve’s team besides Cap and Bucky. Ross, the guards at the Raft, and their collective bosses in the U.N., are all terrified of her power. They see her abilities. They do not see the person who uses them.

Steve does, Clint does, and Sam does. Doubtless, Bucky can see past her powers to the girl wielding them. Even Scott Lang sees her as a person. Remember when he is geeking out over meeting Cap? He turns to Wanda after a few seconds, points at Steve, and says, “Wow, Captain America… I know you, too. You’re great!”

No one on Team Cap sees a dangerous weapon when they look at Wanda. Tony, however, needs his eyes checked.

If you add this fear of Clint’s to Tony’s betrayal of the Avengers’ agreed upon leader (Cap), and the fact that he has been incarcerated as a criminal for doing his job, you have a recipe for a big bowl of righteous fury. Clint is quite happy to throw the whole soup of his displeasure in Tony’s face. Cap was right: Tony tore the Avengers apart when he signed the Accords. He has betrayed himself, Steve, Clint, Sam, Vision, Rhodey, Natasha, and – worst of all – Wanda.

The betrayal of Wanda is the worst because, of the Avengers, she is the weakest. Not physically or in terms of power quotients. No, Wanda is weak because she is inexperienced and needs guidance from people she can trust, people who care about her and will protect her. She is a child who needs teaching and attention – not house-arrest, fear, and jeers.

Tony called her a “Walking Weapon of Mass Destruction.” He held her under house arrest in the Compound. Now, the government has taken her and locked her up, adding a straight jacket for extra insurance. (I hear it is not impossible for people to get out of those things. The fact that Wanda did not free herself says a lot about her – and a lot about the people who put it on her in the first place.)

Tony has the good sense to be ashamed for the first half of Clint’s reprimand. Clint knows it will not last, and he makes sure to give Tony both barrels as fast as possible, reloading just as quickly. Tony does not like it, further endangering his friendship with Clint by throwing the matter of his family in the other man’s face and asking why he did not sign the Accords for their sake. The mention of his family in a bugged and camera-filled cell, when they are a secret he revealed to Tony with the utmost confidence as a close friend, makes Clint really mad.

Still, despite it all, there is evidence to support the fact that Clint is not willing to abandon Tony to his mistakes. He warns Tony to “watch his back” with Ross, since the Secretary of State, “might just break it!”

Clint’s warning, following on the heels of Natasha’s similar angry remonstrance at the Avengers’ Compound, has some effect on Tony. He does not tell Ross what Sam confides in him. Later, when Steve goes to break their mutual friends out of the Raft, Tony does nothing to help Ross. He puts the other man on hold, as he had promised.

So Clint is mad at Tony – and he is right to be angry at him. But he has not given up on him, just as Cap has not. That says volumes right there.

While the final scene where we see Steve stepping out of the shadows as Sam smiles at him is charming and applause-worthy, I kind of wish we could have seen Clint and the others’ reactions to Steve’s arrival as well. I love picturing the four trading quips as Steve unlocks the cell doors, then going down (or up) to the level where Wanda is being held so they can break her out. Alas, it can only be imagined. Unless Marvel makes a comic book about their escape, we have no other recourse.

Most likely, Clint will not stay in Wakanda as an ex-patriot. Neither, I think, will Steve. The two will perhaps make trips to visit the country so that they can keep tabs on Bucky’s progress or walk about more freely, but neither of them could stand to be away from the U.S. for very long. And Clint still has a family to take care of, so he would have more reason to go back than anyone else but Scott Lang.

No, I think Clint will return to his family, as Scott will go back to San Francisco to be with Cassie. Steve, Sam, and Wanda may stay in Wakanda for a little while longer, but they will return to U.S. soil as well. Wakanda is a nice country, but America – that is home. And there is no place like home.

The three can easily go off the grid together and visit Clint from time to time when they come back. Because Natasha disobeyed the Accords, there is a chance that she will hook up with them, or that they will find and “recruit” her. From now on, Team Cap will be the “Secret Avengers.” They will do their job without the “oversight” which Tony, Rhodey, and Vision must put up with. This will give them ample time to get stronger and more prepared for Infinity War, Part 1 & 2.

It will also give Tony time to reevaluate his choices, allow Vision a chance to do more calculations, and who knows? Perhaps Rhodey will wake up to reality by the next Avengers’ film.

We can but hope. Until then –

Let’s do this, Secret Avengers!

The Mithril Guardian

Top Ten Smack-Downs Marvel Should Do

Many people have their own preferred Marvel battles, either one-on-one fights or team vs. team battles.  There are very few of these generic battle types that I am especially partial to, but there are several battles in particular that I would enjoy seeing Marvel write up, preferably for a TV screen.

So, without further ado, here they are!

Superman_vs_Thor

(1)  Thor vs. Superman

It may be that this incident has already occurred – I don’t know for certain – but it would be interesting to see just how long the Man of Steel would last against Marvel’s Thunderer.  Some might say I have it in for old Clark Kent/Superman.  All I have to say is, “You say that your character is the best and strongest guy around?  Okay.  Then let’s see your champion beat…him.”

And, yes, I DO have it in for ol’ Superman.  Sorry…no, actually, I’m not.

Hawkeye's New SuitGreen Arrow

(2)  Hawkeye vs. Green Arrow

This is an old fight in some ways; Marvel and DC crossed their respective universes and had their two greatest archers meet during the crossover.  Still, as far as I can tell, the only fighting the two really did was a lot of bickering.

Personally, I would like to see the two duke it out, either competing on a target range or actually fighting against each other.  My money would be on Hawkeye all the way.  When listing his credentials beside Green Arrow’s, one can see the odds are in his favor.  If Marvel and DC would be willing to put these archers in single combat, I would enjoy watching them try to see which one is really the champion of comic-book marksmanship.

Hulk-Vs-Superman6

(3)  Hulk vs. Superman

Now people will say I am trying to get Superman killed.  I admit that I want to see him drubbed, but dead?  I’m not that heartless.  Besides, DC already killed him once.  Maybe they’ve killed him again in recent years; I don’t know for sure.  I don’t keep up with DC comics.  To kill Superman again, however, would be DC’s prerogative.  However, I highly recommend they avoid killing him another time.  It’s pretty sad when a writer is so desperate to sell a story or series of stories that he murders the character(s) several times over.  It’s an unimaginative way to make money; readers soon lose their interest in such stories.  I know I did, and quickly.

Still, I would enjoy seeing how long the perfect, powerful Superman would last against the rage-empowered muscle of the Hulk.  That would be more fun than RAW any day of the week – and twice on Sundays!

Black WidowMystique

(4)  Black Widow vs. Mystique

If there is one Marvel villainess I loathe above the rest, it is Mystique.  This is primarily due to her treatment of Rogue and Nightcrawler, X-Men for whom I developed a soft spot when I first began watching the 1990’s TV series.  That TV show, and subsequent TV series, only further raised my ire against the character.  I would truly enjoy watching her take a beating from one of Marvel’s heroines.

As for choosing Widow to be that heroine, it just makes sense.  Both are assassins, both are well versed in hand-to-hand combat, and deception is their game.  I would be rooting for Black Widow the whole way.  “Paste Mystique!”  “Make pancake batter out of her!”

I despise Mystique.  ‘Nuff said.

Black Widow Madame_Hydra_Viper

(5)  Black Widow vs. Viper

Viper I do not hate as much as Mystique.  On the list of Marvel villainesses I detest, she probably ranks a solid eighth.

However, this all around femme fatale deserves a smack down.  As noted above, the best one to accomplish this beating is Black Widow.  It takes a femme fatale to pulp a femme fatale.  Go Black Widow!!!

Thor vs. Juggernaut

(6)  Thor vs. Juggernaut

I’m pretty sure the Hulk and Juggernaut already went toe to toe, with Juggernaut the loser.  That is no real surprise, considering the Hulk’s strength.  And Big Jug has probably already fought Thor.  Still, that would be a punch-out to watch.

I know that Juggernaut has turned over a new leaf in the comics, but that still leaves the TV screen to host such a brawl.  So, if these two titans could ‘play’ on the tube for five minutes – in cartoon or live action format, I don’t care – that would be fun.

theIncredibleHulkVStheBlob

(7)  Hulk vs. Blob

Every now and again, when Blob is introduced in a new cartoon series, he refers to himself as “immovable.”  Well I, for one, am fed up with that title of his and would like to see what would happen when “The Immovable” meets the “Strongest There Is.”

This battle may have occurred in the comics, but I have yet to see it on film and videotape.  At a guess, I would say that Blob would be very immovable after the Hulk had finished with him.  Oooh, what a fight that would be!

Hawkeye's New SuitDomino

(8)  Hawkeye vs. Domino

Some would say that this isn’t a fair match.  After all, Domino’s mutant power is her probability manipulation, which allows her to hit targets no one else has a prayer of hitting.  Hawkeye is a normal man whose skills are his only ‘power.’

Quite frankly, I think Domino cheats.  She needs her mutant powers to do what Hawkeye has learned to do through years of practice.   Her powers only work when she’s in motion.  Hawkeye would need to catch her unawares to take her down, but he could accomplish it, I think.

So which of them would win – the one with years of practice and natural talent or the one with mutant powers?  For the record, my money is yet again solidly on Hawkeye.

SifThe Enchantress

(9)  Sif vs. Amora the Enchantress

Originally I thought that having the Scarlet Witch face off with the Enchantress would be a satisfying good girl/bad girl smack down.  Thinking it over, though, I realized that Wanda hasn’t got the power quotient or skill to go up against Amora, even with the power boost the Scarlet Witch has received in recent years.

Sif, on the other hand, is Asgardian.  That makes her just as strong as The Enchantress, albeit not a sorceress.  Plus, she and Amora both have a thing for Thor, so letting them duke it out while arguing over which of them likes Thor better would be a good way for Sif to blow off some steam.  Can you say, “Catfight”?  Me-OW!!

CAPVSSUPERMAN

(10) Cap vs. Superman

I can hear the Cap fans now: “Are you CRAZY?!!!?!”  “He’ll kill Cap!”  “Cap would never stand a chance against Superman!”

Now honestly, what kind of Marvel fan would I be if I wanted Cap to lose to Superman?  (And why are you bunch so pessimistic about his prospects?  He’s beaten guys nastier and more powerful than Superman.  Have a little faith, why don’t you?)  As a matter of fact, Steve Rogers is one of my favorite Marvel characters.  And I think he’s far, far better than Superman, who looks about as impressive as a block of wood when someone stands him next to Cap.

However, I was not going to suggest a battle of muscle between Marvel and DC’s respective titans.  I was going to suggest a battle of personalities, of wits, of character, as it were.  It could be anything from Cap and Superman reading the newspaper across from each other to the two of them playing chess.  If I were to write such a scene, I would show Cap and Superman having a conversation during this “idle” moment, in the duration of which Cap would philosophically paste Superman.  Then they would go back to their separate universes and work on saving humanity.  Again.

Now THIS is the smack down I want to see most!  GO CAPTAIN AMERICA!!!

Later,

The Mithril Guardian

http://spinoff.comicbookresources.com/2014/01/25/five-animated-team-up-films-marvel-has-to-make/

The Avengers: Hawk’s Strike

Hawkeye

Hi, DiNozzo!

Yes. I am going back to The Avengers. What about it? I’m a Marvel fan. I have been one for years. I don’t think I’m going to stop just yet.

But I’m no seer. I’m just a consumer. If Marvel’s stories really tank, then they will definitely lose my business.

I digress. Do you know what one of my favorite scenes in the film is? It’s at the very beginning of the movie, when Fury asks Hawkeye whether or not the archer has noticed any suspicious activity around the Cube before it began “behaving.”

Hawkeye essentially says no and adds, “If there was any tampering, sir, it wasn’t at this end.”

Fury looks at him, his expression saying, ‘You’re not supposed to know that.’ Out loud he asks, “At this end?”

Hawkeye glances at Fury, realizes the boss is upset with him, but plunges on all the same. “Yeah. The Cube is supposed to be a door through space, right? Well, doors open from both sides.” As he is saying this, Hawkeye continues to shoot glances at Fury that seem to say innocently, ‘What? I’m not stupid; I have ears as well as eyes. I was paying attention.’

And that is exactly the point of this scene. Hawkeye was paying attention when no one thought he would be. In the ‘mainstream’ Marvel comics and cartoon shows, Hawkeye is better known for his smart mouth than for actually being smart. This behavior has been the tipping point in his favor during a battle many times. His opponents often assume, to their detriment, that because Hawkeye is running his mouth off he is not paying attention.

As we see here, this is not the case at all. Hawkeye is smart enough to realize that if the Cube really is the inter-dimensional doorway Selvig and the other scientists keep saying it is, and if he saw no one tweak it from this end, then the problem is not at this end. The problem is on the other side of the ‘door’ the Cube forms.

Of course, this does not solve the problem. If anything it makes the situation worse, as everyone at the base discovers when Loki arrives, almost as Hawkeye himself predicted.

There is soon more proof of Hawkeye’s being “smarter than your average bear” in the scene where he warns Loki that the portal is going to collapse and bury the facility.

Eh..? What, you think that was Loki watching the portal getting ready to explode through Hawkeye’s eyes (pardon the pun)?

I doubt it. While Hawkeye appears to be little more than a robot under Loki’s control, this does not necessarily make him a pure extension of Loki’s will. That would require Loki having somehow developed telepathy after leaving Asgard, and we know this was not the case. Loki controlled Hawkeye, Selvig, and others via his “glow stick of destiny.” Whatever Tesseract energy that shaft had in it, the mind control did not work along the same lines that telepathic mind control would.

Come on, DiNozzo! I have been a Marvel fan for years; you don’t think I would not know proper telepathic mind control when I saw it, do you? Telepathic mind control would have been far more invasive, personal, and much harder to shake. Loki would not have needed the scepter to make people “his personal flying monkeys” if he were telepathic. He would not have needed to even touch the person he wanted to control. Telepathy, according to the Marvel Universe, very rarely requires any kind of physical contact to be effective. Yet Loki had to tap everybody with his magic spear to get them under his spell.

In a nutshell, this means that Loki was not simultaneously watching the portal through Hawkeye’s eyes while giving Fury his “glad tidings”; he was not using Hawkeye as a viewer screen/computer monitor. He was using the archer as a programmed automaton.

You really should watch more sci-fi, DiNozzo. Stargate: Atlantis would give you a pretty good idea of what I mean about telepathy being more invasive (and thus harder to fight off – or, occasionally, accomplish) and it would do so from the second episode on in. I do not know precisely how one might explain the manner in which Loki controlled Hawkeye, but it certainly was not through telepathy. Argh, now look at what you’ve made me do! I’m jumping down rabbit holes trying to explain things to you that you should be able to figure out yourself! ARRRGH!

My point is, in this scene, even while under Loki’s ‘spell’ Hawkeye recognized that the portal was destabilizing and getting ready to collapse. Watching it, I could tell it was doing something abnormal and important, but Fury and Loki’s exchange was distracting. I was not sure what it was doing – although I had a pretty good idea it was about ready to blow up. But Hawkeye knew it was going to blow up. Not something many people who know his history might expect from him in such a situation.

DiNozzo, Hawkeye barely made it out of high school in the original comics! The only thing he got a ‘master’s’ degree in was shooting; he’s known in the comics as a grandmaster marksman. (Thanks for the new rabbit hole, by the way!!!)

Anyway, after Hawkeye, and then Selvig, warns Loki that the portal is going to collapse and bury them “like the Pharaohs of old,” Loki has Hawkeye shoot Fury to get him out of his hair. In my post ‘The Best Villain of 2012,’ I pointed out that this proves Loki’s direct contempt for humanity and the men he ‘commands’ given that he never attempted to learn whether or not Fury was wearing some sort of protection.

Thinking about it now, though, I wonder if Hawkeye did not shoot Fury in the chest on purpose. While Loki certainly would not know Fury was wearing body armor, Hawkeye should have at least been able to guess he was. If he was the compliant machine Loki believed him to be, why did he not just put a round through Fury’s head and have done with it? Loki wanted Fury completely out of the way….

And yet Hawkeye shot Fury in the chest, leaving him to direct the counterattack against Loki. What ‘robot’ would do that?

Yes, Tony, it is possible that Loki had him aim at Fury’s chest and that it was not a form of resistance on Hawkeye’s part. But that brings me to the next strange thing Hawkeye does before escaping the facility under Loki’s control.

This strange event begins in the next scene, where Hawkeye, Selvig, another SHIELD agent, and Loki take a SHIELD vehicle as a getaway car. Maria Hill is present when they come in and – of course – asks who Loki is. Hawkeye deflects her question, but the game is up when Fury radios Hill and tells her Hawkeye has been compromised.

Overhearing this, Hawkeye turns and fires at Hill, lightning fast. He misses her, and she gets to cover. The two exchange more shots, Hawkeye again missing Hill each time. A car chase then ensues, where Hill and Hawkeye continue to shoot at each other. Again, Hawkeye misses Hill. The closest he came to hitting her in the chase was when he put a bullet through the windshield, less than a foot from where Hill was sitting behind the wheel. He then breaks his vehicle free of Hill’s and hits the gas, escaping the collapsing base while her vehicle is pinned beneath the rubble.

Why do I keep emphasizing the fact that he missed? Because, DiNozzo, as Hawkeye himself is fond of reminding anyone within earshot (both in the comics and on television) he never misses. Not once, except for the story arc Blindspot in the comics a few years back, has Hawkeye everEVER – missed his target in a battle. NOT. ONCE.

With this fact in mind, we are then left to wonder: why did Hawkeye continually miss shooting Agent Maria Hill?

The crass answer is that it was in the script; if Hawkeye had killed Hill, then she would have had no part in the rest of the film (oh, boo hoo). I would stipulate, however, that since Hawkeye does not miss any of his opponents when he is fighting the Chitauri with the rest of the Avengers and is known in the comics to never miss, it would seem he intentionally avoided killing Hill.

And if he deliberately sidestepped shooting her, then can his shooting Fury in the chest be truly attributed to Loki’s ignorance of modern body armor? The more I think about it, the less likely that theory appears. It appears much more likely that Hawkeye did not kill his superiors on purpose. The man puts too much pride in his precise shooting to change his firing style so abruptly, shooting at everything in front of him in the hopes of striking his target, like any hired thug. Hawkeye could hit a target dead center in his sleep – he would not need to use up half of his pistol’s magazine trying to take out Maria Hill.

There is another point I think may be made about Hawkeye’s skills as well. When Hawkeye is leaving the Helicarrier to rejoin the newly freed Loki, Widow catches up to him and the two “master assassins” begin a lethal dance of survival. The first thing Widow does is disarm Hawkeye of his bow. Upon losing his primary weapon, Hawkeye draws a knife and prepares to get into even closer combat with his partner.

Now, one of the things Hawkeye is known for in the comics is his stunning accuracy, not only with his bow, but with pistols, rifles, knives, shuriken (throwing stars), and practically anything else he can lay his hands on. He can even turn baseballs, tin plates, coins, sticks, and any bits of junk lying around nearby into effective weapons, often using a rebound/interaction effect to accomplish this. In the comics, he is one of the few people in the Marvel Universe capable of handling Cap’s shield the same way Steve Rogers does; ricocheting the shield off of stationary objects or indestructible super villains and having it return to him. Few other Marvel characters have the skill to toss Cap’s shield the way that Cap does, even the majority of those whom the First Avenger has personally trained to fight, one of whom was Hawkeye.

In light of this fact about Hawkeye’s ability to hit a target with whatever he can grab, why didn’t he simply throw the knife at Widow and kill her?

Again, there is the crass answer: it was in the script. The writer (Joss Whedon) wanted Hawkeye and Widow to get into a typical Hollywood assassin duel. I will admit that this is possible, but I think it is somewhat unlikely. Whedon kept a lot of details in the film that came from the comics, new and old. I do not see any plausible reason for him to throw this killer ‘dance routine’ into the film simply to add excitement. Everything in the film relates to something else that has gone before in the comics; I doubt Whedon would simply slip this battle into the film for the less-than-substantial “let’s have an assassin duel” adrenaline-pumping time-filler other directors appear to favor.

A second answer would be a pragmatic one: if Widow somehow dodged the thrown blade, Hawkeye would have had to resort to unarmed combat, a field in which Widow is extremely proficient (she shows this to the audience when she finally frees Hawkeye of Loki’s control by slamming his head into a steel railing). This is a perfectly reasonable answer to why Hawkeye did not throw the knife.

A third answer, I think, is that Hawkeye did not want to hurt Widow and so forced her into hand-to-hand combat, knowing – or hoping – he would lose such a battle. This fits in with the theory I mentioned above, the one concerning Hawkeye’s reluctance to kill his SHIELD commanders. Here he did not want to kill his SHIELD partner, Widow, so he forced her to fight the way she fights best – in close quarters.

Huh..? What does this tell us about Hawkeye as a character? It tells us a great deal, DiNozzo, mainly that he was not under such strict control as Loki believed. For more about Hawkeye’s personality, you would have to remember what Widow says about him in her interview with Loki, and later on Hawkeye’s actions when he joins the Avengers in fighting the Chitauri.

During her discussion with Loki, Widow says that Hawkeye decided not to kill her, as he had been ordered to do, before she worked for SHIELD. Were he “no more virtuous” than Widow describes herself as being at that time, he simply would have killed her out of hand. But something made him pause and reconsider his orders.

As I said in ‘Widow’s Sting,’ we do not know what made him decide to break with his orders. And it does not appear likely that anyone in Hollywood will be interested enough in the character to fill us in. While Whedon says he has written Hawkeye into the sequel to The Avengers, it is impossible to tell whether the archer will get any more time in the limelight or any more character development in the upcoming film than he received in the first movie.

I reiterate from ‘Widow’s Sting,’ however, that Whedon may surprise me. I also reiterate that I would greatly enjoy helping to give both Hawkeye and Black Widow their dues in the theater, as I enjoy both characters. But, as I also said then, no one asked me.

However, this is beside the point. Hawkeye’s decision to spare Widow, and even to recruit her into SHIELD, points out two things about his character. First, he has a keen sense of right and wrong, a sense which far outweighs his loyalty to SHIELD. Were it the other way around, he simply would have killed Widow and asked any questions he had later.

Secondly, his recruitment of Widow demonstrates, as I said, where his loyalty to SHIELD stands. Despite working hard for the agency, Hawkeye has no automatic devotion to SHIELD, something Maria Hill appears to have in spades. Personally, I would hypothesize that going against his orders meant Hawkeye risked more than simply getting expelled from SHIELD. If Fury or Hawkeye’s other superiors suspected that the archer had been “emotionally compromised” and become romantically involved with Black Widow when he suggested recruiting her, they might then have jumped to the conclusion that he had chosen to become a double agent. In that case, Hawkeye could have been ‘burned’ by SHIELD, at which time he would have been put on their hit list. This, as far as we know, did not happen. Which makes me think that, in the end, Hawkeye was almost as lucky as Widow.

Bringing about Widow’s defection is the first act of Hawkeye’s we know of which reveals his unwavering moral compass, or nobility of character, if you will. But this is reinforced in the movie on three occasions later on.

The first time Hawkeye’s morality is fully highlighted is by the horrified remorse he shows when he finally shakes free of Loki’s mind control aboard the Helicarrier. For a while after coming around, Hawkeye looks to be fighting serious nausea over the idea that he has probably killed people on his own side, some of whom were likely his fellow agents.

He seems to conquer that sickness only when he realizes Widow is strangely interested in “wading into a war.” Although still scarred by his recent actions, Hawkeye’s concern for Widow outweighs his personal pain as he recognizes that Loki has somehow wounded her emotionally. So Hawkeye pushes aside his problems and tries to help her as she has helped him, by gently coaxing his best friend into telling him what is bothering her.

Finally, in the battle with the Chitauri, Hawkeye is shown helping civilians trapped in a bus to get out of the line of fire, before he joins Widow in shooting down the invading aliens. While this is not a spectacular action on his part, rescuing the people trapped in the bus emphasizes Hawkeye’s sense of right and demonstrates where his priorities lie. This is the instance where Hawkeye proves he really is “more virtuous” than Black Widow; his main concern is saving lives. The audience learns in this scene that taking lives is the last recourse for him. With Widow, it was originally her first act.

Widow knows this, and this is why she fights so hard to get Hawkeye back. He is what she was not, what she can never be. She owes him a huge, monumental debt. There is no way to repay that debt; it is humanly impossible – something I never got around to stating in my post ‘Widow’s Sting,’ unfortunately.

So Widow does the next best thing. She stays by Hawkeye’s side to make sure he never becomes like her. This is why she fights beside him. This is why she is in his medical bay, waiting for him to wake up. She knows what it is like to be used but she also knows that, for her best friend, this may just be what pushes him over the edge into the dark abyss he helped her escape. We’ve just spent several ones and zeroes going over why Hawkeye behaves the way he does; he has a moral center which he will not step outside of.

And in The Avengers, Loki tried to force him out of it.

It takes a minute, but Widow does help Hawkeye regain his moral balance. And, like her, Hawkeye decides he wants back at Loki. Not because he has been awake for three days and nights without a shave or a moment’s rest, but because Loki has used him to do what Hawkeye would never consent to doing if asked, threatened, or pressured. Loki has made Hawkeye behave like a soulless monster, albeit briefly.

Hawkeye is no monster, and he is not soulless. Anyone who makes him into such a creature, even momentarily, is going to pay. Big time.

These are my opinions on the Hawkeye of Marvel’s The Avengers. You can take them or leave them, Tony, as you wish.

What’s that? Am I looking forward to seeing Hawkeye in the second Avengers movie? Well, yeah. Duh. I am looking forward to seeing all of the Avengers again. My hopes just are not very high for Hawkeye’s part in the next movie being very relevant – and don’t get me started on my worries about Whedon having Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch in the film. Or that the villain in the next movie is going to be the crazy, evil android Ultron (I am rather fed up with that guy). These three characters worry me somewhat about the sequel. See my posts ‘The Art of Probability Manipulation’ and ‘Age of Despair’ to learn why.

I do, however, have my fingers crossed that the sequel will be great. I really hope Whedon manages to surprise me with Avengers: Age of Ultron, the way he surprised me with Marvel’s The Avengers.

I could do with a nice surprise. So could the Avengers. But we will have to wait and see what happens. Bummer. I despise waiting.

Whoops, I have to get while the getting is good. See you around, Tony!

Later,

Mithril