Today’s article is about Hawkeye Season One on Disney+. If you haven’t seen Hawkeye, this review does contain SPOILERS. Don’t continue reading if you don’t want the show to be spoiled.
I’ll start by saying that I don’t really have much knowledge of Hawkeye from the comics. The only Hawkeye I’ve read is from the Wastelanders universe, which is home to the Old Man Logan storyline. That was portrayed on screen in the movie Logan, and it’s too bad we never had the chance for a Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine/Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye team-up on-screen to battle the evil spawn of Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk.
I also haven’t read any Kate Bishop.
My knowledge of each is almost fully contained in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Therefore, this article will be more about where I think each character is headed, along with a review of each new character introduced.
First, I’ll say that I enjoyed the Christmas theme of the show, especially as it was slowly released between the time of Thanksgiving and Christmas. The growing mentor/mentee relationship between Hawkeye and Kate Bishop added a level of humor and feel-good to the show, removing it from the cold spy aspect of Clint Barton’s skillset.
What I look for in these shows, aside from a good self-contained story, is how everything fits within the MCU. Seeing all of the existing tie-ins are fun, but the better part is how this story grows the overall world that we are all following.
Hawkeye delivered more of a tease with the future. The big reveal was the Kingpin, played by Vincent D’Onofrio, who returns to this character from Daredevil in the Netflix universe. I’m a bit lost as to whether that universe is canon as part of this main universe, or if it’s a branch reality with the same characters played by the same people — just like J. Jonah Jameson is played by the same actor in multiple Spider-Man universes. The recent emergence of Matt Murdock in Spider-Man: No Way Home, played by Charlie Cox, the same actor from Daredevil on Netflix, leaves this question up in the air.
This version of Kingpin definitely acted different than the Netflix version. Granted, time has passed and a lot of shit has gone down in the MCU world. In the Netflix show, Kingpin had risen to power by taking advantage of the fallout of The Battle of New York (when the Chitauri aliens attacked in the first Avengers movie). The Battle of New York could be a Nexus event, at which point multiple realities would branch out from that point in time. If the Netflix universe is not a branch reality, and is the same universe as the MCU, then this Kingpin would have had to deal with the fallout of many things, including The Blip. That could have changed him. I think it’s a different version, played by the same actor. I think that with the way the series ended — with Kingpin getting shot off screen — we’re going to see a story from the comics put on screen, which featured a blind Kingpin who was actually shot by Echo.
Marvel is expanding so quickly with their shows and movies. It’s hard to keep up, even as a super-geek like myself. I was uncertain about the show Echo when it was announced, but after watching her debut in Hawkeye, I’m really looking forward to that show. I hope Kingpin returns in that, and maybe even Matt Murdock/Daredevil making his first extended appearance. Echo is another character that I hadn’t followed at all in the comics.
I liked that they brought back Yelena, aka the new Black Widow. Her dynamic with Kate made me want to see them team up more often, and I loved her choices of outfits. In the Black Widow movie, Yelena had just escaped the mind control of the Black Widow program, and made a big deal about buying a vest with a lot of pockets as the first real decision she made for herself. She’s gone to a bigger extreme in Hawkeye with her decisions, showing she’s embracing her freedom and independence, while still operating with her Widow skillset.
The co-star of the show is Kate Bishop, who is being set up as the new Hawkeye in the MCU. With the relationship between her and Yelena, Marvel has the Hawkeye-Black Widow dynamic for a Young Avengers team. The show sets up Bishop being saved as a child by Hawkeye in the Battle of New York. She then spent her whole life training to basically be him. Her mom’s dealings with the Kingpin put her and Hawkeye on the same path, and she gradually wins him over as a partner in fighting crime — and I’m pretty sure all of this is in direct violation of the Sokovia accords, but honestly who would even respect that at this point with Flag Smashers currently running wild in Europe, a celestial head emerging from Earth frozen in stone in the southern seas, and most of the living Avengers not even being residents of this planet? Who is going to tell Hawkeye and Kate Bishop that they don’t have the authority to shoot arrows in Rockefeller Center at a group called The Tracksuit Mafia?
Then, there’s Hawkeye himself. He’s been dragged as one of the worst Avengers from the beginning of the MCU, largely because he doesn’t really have any powers. His actual power, as was displayed over time, is his ability to strategize, instantly identify all assets and threats in a room, and of course flawless accuracy with his marksmanship. Hawkeye is a superhero because of his brain and how he maximizes his skills, and that was on full display in this show.
In the Wastelanders universe, Hawkeye is a survivor, even though everyone counts him out. That universe is formed when all of the villains unite and take out all of the superheroes. Barron Zemo (who is in the MCU, most recently in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier) unites the villains, but deems that Hawkeye isn’t a threat. Hawkeye makes his way through the wasteland ruled by villains, regretting the people he’s lost and being tormented by his worst memories as he’s now without his sight. In this show, he lost his hearing, but the rest of the feel was very similar to the wasteland aftermath of that comic book series. Again, having not read much of his comics, this could be a general Hawkeye characteristic that was nailed in the show.
The interesting thing is that Hawkeye is the only active original Avenger. Iron Man and Black Widow are dead. Captain America is old, and rumored by the regular people in the MCU to be living on the moon. Hulk had his arm crippled by the Infinity Gauntlet. Thor is off-planet, and wasn’t in the best mental state when we last saw him. That leaves Hawkeye, and there’s an agency gunning for him.
In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Julia Louis Dreyfus was introduced as “Val”, who appears to be assembling a Dark Avengers looking team. In the after-credits of Black Widow, she approached Yelena about targeting Hawkeye. Here is my guess on what is to come: Her organization seems to be set to present the world with the next Avengers team, likely sponsored by some government agency to defend Earth against all of the rising threats, and likely targeting remaining Avengers like Hawkeye.
Hawkeye now becomes an interesting link for two future Avengers teams. The potential future Dark Avengers are gunning for him, and the potential future Young Avengers will be partially led by his newest ally. It would be cool to see Marvel have competing Avengers teams going forward, and this would be a great way to bring two of them together.
Some random thoughts on the show:
**I loved the Pym tech arrows.
**Speaking of Ant Man, he was in the musical about the Battle of New York, though as Hawkeye mentions, he wasn’t there. But, he was. He was there from the future, when he time traveled back with Captain America, Hulk, and Iron Man. I wonder if this was a way of saying that he was spotted during this battle, as the other three could just pass for their present-day selves.
**Kate’s mom’s fiancé, Jack, is actually an Avenger in the comics. The Swordsman is one of the worst rated Avengers characters. However, he kind of grew on me in this season. He’s not much different than Kate, focusing on becoming an expert with a specific weapon, and using strategy as his superpower. At the start of the show, he annoyed me. By the end, he was one of my favorite characters.
**Hawkeye’s wife is revealed at the end of the show to be Agent 19. That’s a character called Mockingbird, who was played by another character in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Just like Daredevil and the Netflix shows, I’m not sure if AoS is still considered part of this universe. That, too, stems from The Battle of New York, and could be a branch reality if that battle is a Nexus event (again, meaning it exists in all universes). It’s possible that Mockingbird could be played by two different people, similar to Spider-Man/Peter Parker being played by multiple actors. This would be a callback to the comics, where Hawkeye and Mockingbird had a relationship, but also establishes Hawkeye’s wife as a former agent.
What did you think of the show? Leave your thoughts in the comments, especially if you’ve read more Hawkeye than me.
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