Here's Why It's Time To Stop Making Fun Of Hawkeye

Of all Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Clint Barton is probably the most maligned - but one only has to look at his comic book background to figure out why Hawkeye is awesome. Those who are more familiar with Barton’s Marvel Comics continuity know he's proven time and again that he’s not just worthy of a spot on the Avengers’ roster - he’s also one of the team's most quintessential and irreplaceable members.

Though Clint Barton is often labeled as one of the worst Avengers, a perusal of Hawkeye’s best comic book storylines will quickly demonstrate that’s just not the case. It’s time to cut the guy a break and stop making fun of Hawkeye.

  • Hawkeye Holds Himself To A Ridiculously High Standard

    When describing Hawkeye’s innate awesomeness, it's probably best to allow Clint Barton to defend himself. In Avenging Spider-Man #4, Barton subjects the web-slinger to a character-defining monologue that is only occasionally interrupted by Peter Parker’s trademark witty retorts.

    Hawkeye describes the outrageously high standard he holds himself to - and why he literally "can’t miss" - and in doing so, perfectly justifies his role on the Avengers:

    I mean, I can't miss... I'm on a team with super-humans. And one god, in case you've forgotten. Even you... well, you climb walls really well. The training is the only thing that makes me special. And if I'm not special, then none of this is worth it. I gave up a lot for this life. I could have been happy with Mockingbir-- Bobbi. We could have had a good, simple life. But I wanted to play with the big boys. And if I miss, it means I'm just another dude with a bow. It means I've been fooling myself this whole time. And that's why I never miss.

  • Clint Barton Has No Superpowers, But He Is Supremely Talented

    As Clint Barton himself is fond of reminding everyone, he’s a guy with no superpowers on a team with mutants, monsters, and literal gods. Yet, to say Hawkeye isn’t a superhero would be wrong. He may not have any super abilities, but his self-developed talents are so far beyond the range of the average person that Barton truly qualifies as a natural marvel.

    Hawkeye is obviously the greatest archer in the Marvel Universe, but he’s also a master marksman in general, and his accuracy with any number of ranged devices - or even thrown items - is rivaled only by Bullseye. He’s also an expert acrobat and extremely proficient in several martial arts.

  • He Has Peak Human Reflexes, Which Isn’t A Superpower - But Might As Well Be

    Hawkeye acquired most of his talents through hard work and frequent practice, but he also possesses a few natural abilities that border on the superhuman. Clint Barton has eyesight that is considered to be in peak human form, meaning he can see better than any other average person in the Marvel Universe.

    In part thanks to his extraordinary eyesight, Hawkeye also possesses peak human reflexes, which allow him at times to react quickly enough to dodge projectiles. These natural abilities allow Barton to compensate when facing off against super-powered opponents. 

  • Hawkeye Literally Runs Away To Join The Circus In His Hard-Luck Origin Story

    Most superhero origin stories are rife with tragedy, but few characters had a tougher upbringing than Clint Barton. After an early childhood full of pain, Clint and his older brother, Barney, are orphaned at a young age and sent to live in several foster homes, where they also experience severe mistreatment. 

    Clint and Barney then live out a hard-knock trope when they run away to join a traveling circus - where they fall under the tutelage of future supervillains Trick Shot and the Swordsman. When young Hawkeye refuses to go along with the wicked ways of his circus-mates, his relationship with them deteriorates, and Clint soon finds himself completely alone in the world.

  • He Started Out As An Iron Man Villain, Despite Their Obvious Power Disparity

    Hawkeye made his debut in Tales of Suspense #57 - Iron Man’s main series at the time - way back in 1964. In the issue, Clint Barton appears as a carnival performer known as “The World’s Greatest Marksman” - and a villain of sorts. 

    Barton initially aims to become a costumed do-gooder just like Iron Man, but he’s mistaken for a rogue - and that brings him into conflict with the Armored Avenger. He’s then roped into some nefarious schemes by the then-villainous Black Widow, leading to further confrontations with Iron Man. This continues until Tony Stark notices Barton's innate goodness and invites him to join Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

  • Hawkeye Stars In One Of The Best Marvel Solo Comics Ever

    The majority of Hawkeye’s adventures come from his time with the Avengers, but he’s also held down a number of solo books over the decades - including one of the greatest runs in the history of Marvel Comics.

    Simply titled Hawkeye, the series, created by Matt Fraction and David Aja, ran from 2012 to 2015 and is considered highly influential. It focuses on Clint Barton’s life away from the Avengers and reinforces his reputation as an everyman superhero, as he moves into a local neighborhood and single-handedly protects its citizens from local crooks. He’s joined in this endeavor by his protegee, Kate Bishop, and his loyal pet, Lucky - AKA Pizza Dog.