web stats

CSBG Archive

The Greatest Hawkeye Stories Ever Told!

Every day in May we will reveal the greatest stories ever told starring a particular character or written/drawn by a particular creator (and throughout the month, you’ll get daily chances to vote for NEXT week’s lists). These lists are voted on by YOU, the reader!

Here is the list of characters/creators featured so far (along with the rules on how to vote).

Today’s list is the Greatest Hawkeye Stories Ever Told!

Did I ever tell you that Hawkeye is our own Joe Rice’s most favoritest character ever? It’s true. Don’t let him tell you otherwise.


10. New Avengers Reunion

In this Jim McCann/David Lopez mini-series, we get a sort of 25-years-later sequel to the original Hawkeye mini-series where Hawkeye and Mockingbird got married. Here the pair deal with the fact that Mockingbird has returned from the dead (well, the reveal is that she never was dead to begin with) and the pair have to deal with the changes in their relationship, including one very important question – WHEN was Mockingbird replaced by a Skrull?

9. Tales of Suspense #57 “Hawkeye the Marksman”

Stan Lee and Don Heck introduced Hawkeye to the world in this Iron Man story where Hawkeye handles himself very well against the armor-clad hero. It is fitting that, right from his first appearance, Hawkeye is led by his heart rather than his brains, as he is manipulated by the (then-evil) Black Widow.

8. Avengers #16 “The Old Order Changeth!”

The biggest moment in Hawkeye’s comic book career at this point – he reforms and joins the Avengers, sponsored by his former enemy, Iron Man! Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were the creative team.

7. Avengers Annual #16 “The Day Death Died”

In this Tom DeFalco-written/Bob Hall and Tom Palmer-drawn Annual, with all of the Avengers except Captain America and Hawkeye killed by the forces of the Grandmaster (who has stolen the power of death from, well, Death), Hawkeye has one last gambit to stop the Grandmaster – CHEAT!

6. Solo Avengers #1-5 “The Way of the Arrow”

Another Tom DeFalco tale, this time working with MD Bright, DeFalco reveals the secret origin of Hawkeye and his archery teacher, Trickshot.

5. Avengers #223 “Of Robin Hoods and Roustabouts”

David Michelinie and Greg LaRocque put out this acclaimed one-off issue of Avengers where Hawkeye and the second Ant-Man team-up against the Taskmaster (Ant-Man and Taskmaster were both Michelinie’s babies).

4. Avengers #189 “Wings and Arrows!”

Literally FOUR guys (this was during a period where a lot of Avengers issues had multiple people working on it, mostly editor Roger Stern, plus David Michelinie, Steven Grant and Mark Gruenwald) got together to get us this story where Hawkeye (who was working a security guard at the time) takes on Deathbird – and shockingly WINS! John Byrne did a great job drawing it.

3. West Coast Avengers (first limited series)

In this Roger Stern/Bob Hall mini-series, Hawkeye is given control of his own team of Avengers, and in this series he puts his team together, along with his new bride, Mockingbird.

2. Avengers #174 “Captives of the Collector!”

Sixteen Avengers down at the hands of the Elder the Collector. Only Hawkeye remained, and yet, he manages to pull it off in perhaps his greatest success as a superhero! As Hawkeye says, when it comes to the Avengers, there is power and there is skill – many are ahead of him in the former, but he’s second to none in the latter! Bill Mantlo wrote the issue (based on Jim Shooter’s plot) and Dave Wenzel drew it.

1. Hawkeye (first limited series)

Mark Gruenwald wrote AND drew this mini-series that changed Hawkeye completely, both by introducing the beginnings of a recurring nemesis for Clint and also introducing Hawkeye to his future wife, Mockingbird! The pair meet and marry all within this series (it’s amazing how well their marriage worked, considering that it was designed as a riff on Green Arrow/Black Canary).

That’s the list! I’m sure there is a lot of agreement and disagreement with the list out there! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!

And please vote for the lists that are still up for grabs here!


I didn’t vote on this one, but it looks like the few picks I would have made are all here. Pleasantly surprised to see the Collector issue score that high (it was a great showcase for Hawkeye).

My no. 1 would have been the Hawkeye/Ant-Man team-up. Classic stuff.

Any votes for Hawkeye’s run as leader of the Thunderbolts? The issues where he trained the team, faced down Hercules, and pursued Moonstone were good.

Any votes for Hawkeye’s run as leader of the Thunderbolts? The issues where he trained the team, faced down Hercules, and pursued Moonstone were good.

Yeah, they got a decent amount of support. I don’t recall exactly, but I think that arc might actually be #11 on the list.

I guess because this was labeled Hawkeye instead of Clint Barton, nobody voted for the first time he appeared as Goliath? A good story.

“it’s amazing how well their marriage worked, considering that it was designed as a riff on Green Arrow/Black Canary”

Wasn’t the whole point of taking Bobbi Morse, a SHIELD agent who mostly hung around with Ka-Zar, and making her into a bird-named heroine in a blue, black and white costume a riff on Black Canary?

You recently discussed the Masters of Evil assault on Avengers Mansion. This is a good place to note that THUNDERBOLTS provided an epilogue of sorts. Hercules comes seeking revenge on the Masters of Evil/Thunderbolts for almost killing him. The only thing standing between them and a murderous beat-down is Hawkeye.

Brian Mahoney

May 28, 2010 at 7:16 am

I love the Avengers Annual #16 story! I remember reading it as a kid and trying to figure out what Cap was going to do, and then Hawkeye just cheated. It was great stuff.

It is interesting that Hawkeye and Mockingbird was a riff of Green Arrow/Black Canary and yet I prefer them over the latter any day.

Can’t wait for the ongoing, thought the mini they had was well done.

Who drew the cover to Avengers #223. I’ve seen the pic once or twice before and it’s completely badass.

Ed Hannigan drew it.

Hawkeye is maybe my favorite Avenger — him or Vision, I can’t quite decide between the two — so I was happy to see this topic. My own list was pretty different from the final voting, I think I only had about half of these picked. I’ve never been a big Mockingbird fan so I guess I’m not quite as excited about some of the stories that include her prominently. I’m particularly disappointed at the absence of Avengers #64, one of my favorite issues, where we finally learn Hawkeye’s real name after years of even his own girlfriend referring to him only as Hawkeye even in the privacy of their home.

Here was my list:

1. Avengers #174
2. Avengers #64
3. Avengers #223
4. Avengers Annual #16
5. Avengers #189
6. Captain America #401 (more of a moment for Clint than a whole story, but still great)
7. Hawkeye #1-6 (ongoing)
8. Avengers #65
9. Avengers #109
10. Captain America #317
11. Tales of Suspense #57

I’d also add Captain America #179 as my 12th choice.

Forgot Avengers Spotlight where he gets his armored suit. Never the best comic, but the suit made it a classic.

Didn’t vote on this one because I couldn’t think of enough stories off the top of my head, but looking at this list reminds me how many of these I had read and enjoyed – especially the first Hawkeye mini. By the way, did anyone vote, or even remember for that matter, that little six-page Hawkeye/Two-gun Kid feature from Marvel Tales 100? Had I bothered voting, that’s one I probably would have put in my no. 10 slot, just because it’s so cool and obscure (and beautifully drawn – by Mike Nasser & Terry Austin according to the GCD).

Hawkeye is one of my favorite characters ever. Half of my list made it into the top 10, which is about what I’d expect. I’m glad to see so many people picked Avengers Annual #16. That was one that I thought would be skipped over by most people.

Ed, I have that issue, but it wouldn’t have made my top ten simply because it’s so ridiculous. Specifically, Hawkeye and Two-Gun kid find the villain of the piece when the horses they are riding across the desert on happen to fall through the ceiling of the bad guy’s secret lair. Those old Marvel Team-Up issues where Spider-man just happens to come across some villain while he’s on patrol are coincidental enough, but Hawkeye’s horse falling through the roof of a supervillains lair in the middle of the desert is pushing believability a little too far even for comic books.

Just my take on it, anyway.

For obscure Hawkeye appearances featuring Two-Gun kid, however, I did consider Ghost Rider #27.

Mike Loughlin

May 28, 2010 at 9:26 am

I didn’t vote, and only 2 stories I’ve read appear on the list, but I would have voted for a few of the stories in which Hawkeye leads the Thunderbolts. I’m not a huge fan of the character, but I liked him in that role.

That Avengers Annual #6 is an awesome cover. It screams “Hey kid, this is epic….read it” Something covers don’t do anymore.

I remember that Annual with Hawkeye cheating. I loved it and his rational that he had to do it because Cap wouldn’t. It emphasized the fact that no matter how much he respects Cap, Hawkeye’s his own man and his own kind of leader.

I understand how big a role the team played in his life, but a lot of these seem too “Avenger-y” to me. I’m glad to hear that people liked and voted for him as a T-bolt. I’m not suprised the 1994 mini didn’t make it, but I wonder if there was any love for the 2003 eight issue series? I enjoyed the Nomad-like feel it had. Up until he calculated the position of the sun and fired a flare arrow to unlock an ancient doorway – could’ve done without that.

Also wondering if there were some votes for the Matt Fraction penned issue with the Young Avenger Kate Bishop?

Here’s one that didn’t make the cut, but it’s the first Hawkeye story I ever read.

Hulk #166, featuring the first appearance of Zzzax,Hawkeye plays an important role in beating Zzzax, but gets no credit. More info here:


I read every single one of these except the Dark Reign thing, but there wasn’t anything I felt strongly about to vote for. I like Clint just fine, but he works best as a member of an ensemble cast.

I did like the moment — I think it was in Busiek’s “Morgan Conquest” storyline — where Hawkeye was instrumental in bringing everyone back to reality simply because he cared wayyy more about being an Avenger than anyone else did.

None of Chris Giarrusso’s “Mini Marvels” stories made the cut? Hawkeye appeared in a lot of those.

Yeah, that’s all I got for this conversation. Not like I’m hung up on Goliath or Ronin.

Oh, I just remembered: In a Busiek/Perez story, the Avengers had to deal with Grim Reaper bringing back their comrades from the dead. One of them was Mockingbird. If she wasn’t dead to begin with, who got brought back? A Skrull?

Stephen Moody

May 28, 2010 at 11:23 am

Brian, Did anyone vote for Giant Size Avengers 2, my personal favourite. I’d go so far as to say it’s my favourite issue of the Avengers full stop. Steve Englehart at his best and Dave Cockrums finest hour!
I’d put Avengers 189 a close second.


May 28, 2010 at 12:10 pm

I’ve gotta go with Moody on this one. Once again, Hawkeye is one of the last Avengers standing (along with the Swordsman, who’s just been thrown over by Mantis, and whom Kang doesn’t even think worth killing), and helps save the day. A great issue.

(It’s a bit surprising how often this situation happens. Something similar happens in the Thomas-scripted, Englehart-plotted Limbo issues, and at the climax of JLA/Avengers. Throw in the Collector issue, the cheating-the-Grandmaster Annual, and the Morgan Conquest story, and that’s at least 6 Hawkeye-saves-the-day stories. Hadn’t realized how often the trope has been used. I guess it goes to prove two things: (Real-Earth)writers love Hawkeye, and (Marvel-Earth) if you’ve taken down all the Avengers but one, and the last man standing is Hawkeye, then you’re screwed.

(Actually, it happens twice in JLA/Avengers: at the start of issue 3, in the blended universe, Hawkeye has just saved the universe by taking out Dr. Doom, now imprisoned in the Source Wall, and Black Canary embraces him while a deeply-irked Ollie looks on and complains.)

Where’s the Top Ten Kurt Busiek stories?

I can’t believe I forgot about Mini-Marvels Hawkeye. I love that little guy so much!

The reason these are going to be mostly Avengers stories is that as great as Hawkeye is, he has never really worked outside of the Avengers setting. The first mini is good (but I wouldn’t place it as high as that), but other than that… the later mini with Rover was awful. While he was okay in Thunderbolts, it always seemed out of place to have him there.

But as an Avenger? One of the best ever. Top 3 at least.

I don’t think Mockingbird was intended to be a copy of Black Canary at all. According to Mark Gruenwald, he created her, with some help from Steven Grant, as a villain for Spider-Woman, but then he never got to use her before he left Spider-Woman. Then, a bit later, Steven Grant was looking for somebody new to use in Marvel Team-Up and he considered the idea of reviving Bobbi Morse. And then at some point, he and Mark got the idea of combining her with the unused Mockingbird character. This is all explained on the letter page in Team-Up #95. (This is what you miss when you read the stories in trades.)
Also, before she was combined with Bobbi Morse, Mockingbird was going to be Black. I wonder, if she had remained Black, would Gruenwald have still married her to Hawkeye? (Interracial relationships weren’t unheard of in Marvel back then, but they were very rare. I think Iron Fist had dated Misty Knight, and Devil-Slayer had a Black ex-wife. That’s all I can come up with.)

When I first heard that Bobbi was still alive and had been replaced by a Skrull, that Busiek story with the Gim Reaper resurrecting a zombie version of her was the first thing I thought about. I wonder if anyone is ever going to explain it.

I surprised to find three issues I own on this list (plus, I have parts of that Solo Avengers storyline). I wasn’t sure there’d be any, except maybe for the first limited series.
I didn’t think that Collecter story was very good, although I do admit it was a heroic moment for Hawkeye. Maybe that’s all that matters to the voters of this list. Michelinie’s fill-in story with Ant-Man and the Taskmaster was a little better, but I didn’t expect that to make it, either. (Ant-Man was always fun when Michelinie wrote him.)

Well hell, look at Avengers Annual #16. How many people came back from the dead in that issue who were later revealed not to be dead at all? The Green Goblin, Nighthawk, even Bucky freakin’ Barnes. . .

But the zombie Mockingbird from Avengers #10 & 11 came back with a message for Clint, one that led to the resurrection of Patsy Walker/Hellcat.

I find it hard to believe that a Skrull impersonating Bobbi Morse would keep her disguise in the after-life.

I am thinking that during her time as prisoner on the Skrull world, Bobbi Morse died for a short while and her soul was claimed by Mephisto. But the use of Skrull technology and mysticism brought her back to life. Perhaps by a Skrull looking to disrupt the Secret Invasion plans.

I didn´t remember the Avengers Annual story, but it was pretty good. I agree with people here saying that it’s difficult to make Hawkeye work in a solo series, but I think that has had to do more with the writers than with the character himself. He is fun and cocky, and has one of the longest histories in the Marvel Universe, but he has never had a good nemesis, a good mythology or any interesting supporting characters, besides his wife. His brother is dead, and his mentor, Trickshot, was something of a third rate hero.

Interesting story by Mary Warner on Mockingbird’s origin. I think she is a great character and killing her never made any sense to me. Hope the new book works.

A story that didn’t make it and I voted for, and maybe it’s because it’s more of an Avengers story, it´s the first Red Guardian saga in Avengers: Hawkeye played a major role in that one, when he was in love with the Black Widow. It’s one of my favorite stories from that time.

A large part of the charm of heroes like Hawkeye, Johnny Storm, the Vision, even Wolverine, is how they’re contrasted to other heroes with more conventional personalities. That is why they work so much better in team settings.

Additionally, Hawkeye’s initial motivation to be a hero was to clear his name by proving himself as a member of such a prestigious team as the Avengers, all the while chaffing a bit at authority figures. Later, when his criminal past was all but forgotten, a similar motivation of his was to prove that a guy with trick arrows could be useful alongside thunder gods, supersoldiers, and men in ultra-tech powered armor.

In short, Hawkeye’s motivation is always tied to other heroes, and it’s so special because it has contradictions. He is the rebel that admires the authority figure. He is the cocky adventurer who hides a lot of self-doubt. He is the guy that will try to follow Cap’s example and be a leader, all the while doing things his own way.

As a solo hero, Hawkeye loses all this. I don’t see how a Hawkeye solo comic could last for long, except if they did the Solo Avenger route and had Clint always teaming up with other Avengers.

I seem to be in the majority here, but for my money Fabien Nicieza’s short lived Hawkeye ongoing solo series proved that the character can work solo, from a creative standpoint if not a sales standpoint. I loved the basic, simple premise of that series, which had a slightly melancholy post-Mockingbird’s death Clint traveling the country on his motorcycle helping people like Kane from Kung-Fu.

In the last little arc he was back in costume doing a more straight-ahead superhero tale — somewhat, anyway — but from what i gather that was more of an editorial request as they thought the costume would draw people in more. Which also explains the covers to that series which really didn’t fit the feel of it, as they were costumed superheroey action pin-ups. I think if this had been treated more like the Grell Green Arrow series in terms of marketing and editorial it would have been great and might have caught on better with fans. Very underrated series I was sorry to see end so quickly.

The only time I ever gave a crap about Hawkeye was during the Ultimate version’s introduction; that was badass. That said, even I prefer the Hawkeye/Mockingbird pairing over Green Arrow/Black Canary, mostly because Canary’s far too good for Queen.

For such similar characters, the Green Arrow and Hawkeye lists are pretty remarkable contrasts.

People sure seem to like Hawkeye stories where he is over-matched and/or under-estimated. Then, he unambiguously wins using his smarts and guts. On the other hand, Green Arrow does a lot of failing those closest to him and struggling to redeem himself.

Hawkeye has always been one of my favorite heroes, and I have to agree with this list a lot. Especially in the ANNUAL 16 (who can forget Cap telling Thor to watch out for Hawkeye-“Why” the Thunder God asks-“He cheats.” is Caps simple straightforward reply) and his storyline vs his real mentor Trick Shot in SOLO AVENGERS.
However, one of Hawkeyes greatest moments though, came in WEST COAST AVENGERS-specifically in issue 22 where he, along with most of the team was trapped in Rama-Tuts Egypt. In that storyline between issues 20-24 he had been separated from his wife Mockingbird who had been captured by the Phantom Rider and he had been horribly wounded and due to his wound and having to still lead the team as Chairman and try to fight alongside them as well was pushed to the edge mentally and physically. He basically is near death before he makes a deal with Khonshu-the moon god patron of the Moon Knight. He restores and heals Hawkeye. In issue 22, at one point after having to fight their way through three of Rama-Tuts armies-two robot and one human, they were trying to catch up with the Fantastic Four who were leaving in their time machine. Not to spoil it for anyone, but they just miss catching them, and all the Avengers are despairing, then suddenly Hawkeye lashes out furiously with a great monologue:
“NO! Now you listen to me, all of you! This isn’t the end! We still have my message to the modern FF! We’ll still get home! We’re the Avengers! The West Coast Avengers! And nothing ever beats us, so get that through your heads! We’re not finished!”
In the next issue Iron Man thinks to himself how he’s never been prouder of Clint than he was when he rallied their spirits with that speech, and then its revealed that Hawkeye designed and created the weapons that the Moon Knight would use thousands of years later! Wow! And of course, Hawkeye was proved right and they did get home, just how he said he would. It showed how much he had matured and evolved into a fine leader and one of the best Avengers ever. Great storyline.

I’m shocked theres no Hawkeye Thunderbolts love going on in this list!

Well half my list is up here.

I find these characters to be a bit tricky. They don’t have many good solo stories but they do have great moments in team books.

One that didn’t place was Avengers 202. At the end of that story Hawkeye beats Ultron by knocking him off a catwalk into a vat of Adamantium. The metal cools and traps Ultron. That story sticks in my head I first read it in a novel type book that had four Marvel stories. I wonder which one came first?

I didn’t vote, but I’m a bit surprised that no mention was made of Giant-sized Avengers #3, written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Dave Cockrum (who was at his peak, just prior to drawing the new X-Men). In the story, Hawkeye is trapped by Baron Zemo in some super glue, but Hawk still manages to shoot an arrow with his teeth and feet, an incredible shot which helps save the day. Twas quite awesome.

I’m really shocked there aren’t any Thunderbolts stories here. That’s the book that made me love Clint.

One of the best was Defenders 9, the Summer of ’73 Avengers/Defenders fight: Rematch of Hawkeye vs. Iron Man.

Excellent Story!! Super Sal Buscema Art

Also, Giant Sized Avengers2, where Swordsman and Hawkeye save the Avengers from Kang and Rama Tut.. Only bad part was Swordy getting killed at the end.

16 months later:
A very late post-vote mention for Giant-Sized Avengers 2, “Blast from the Past.” I see it was supported in two of the comments above when this post was new.

Anyway, this is my all time favorite Hawkeye appearance and/or story. Englehart did some nice work wth him here, with Hawkeye playing off his self deprecating remarks and propping up the heartbroken Swordsman (if i remember correctly). The defeat of the Vision-powered robot and rescue of the Vision was excellent, considering his still recent issues with the Vison and Wanda.

Dave Cockrum was a terrific Avengers artist.

I would throw in ‘The Ultimates, vol. 2′, It’s a team book but has some great hawkeye moments, including a badass interrogation scene.

[…] For some more great Hawkeye recommendations, go here. […]

I’d have to put his time with Thunderbolts in there somewhere.

Hindsight, but man, looking at all these responses that a solo Hawkeye book would never work when the #1 comic for 2013 according to CBR is….

Leave a Comment



Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives