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.