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The Past Was Close Behind: What’s Hawkeye Think About Wolverine as an Avenger?

This feature spotlights moments, exchanges, etc. from older comics that take on a brand new light when read in concert with later comic books. Here is the archive of previous installments.

Today we take a look at some choice comments Hawkeye had about Wolverine’s chances of being an Avenger…

In 1999’s Thunderbolts #22, Hawkeye (Clint Barton) has shown up to take control of the Thunderbolts, the team of former supervillains trying to make their way as heroes. One of the first things he insists on is to have Mach-5 (formerly known as the Beetle) turn himself in because he murdered a guy. Hawkeye explains his reasoning…




Less than a decade later, though, not only was Wolverine an Avenger, he was on an Avengers team WITH Clint Barton (during Clint’s time as Ronin)…


Even more amusingly, a couple of years after they became teammates, Clint and his Avengers friends had a bit of a conflict over Clint’s desire to kill Norman Osborn (quite likely, Hawkeye’s philosophy on life changed a bit after he was killed during Avengers Disassembled and brought back to life during House of M)…


This is a lot like the last Past Was Close Behind, when Captain America ALSO said that Wolverine would never be an Avenger. Never say never, Cap!


Thought I was having Deja-vu there. Forgot the prior example was Cap…

Thems were different times…remember back when most Marvel heroes didn’t kill? Remember when X-Men didn’t kill? Or when Cyclops didn’t kill?

Remember when we had Avengers?

Hawkeye was right.

Ironically, this Hawkeye scene happens before Warbird kills the Master of the World over in Busiek’s Avengers run. That’s something the Avengers themselves clear Warbird on, showing that the Avengers themselves understood that sometimes lethal force is justified. It is also worth noting that Hawkeye and Wolverine become part of the same team during “The Initative” and the “Dark Reign” days, a period of time where a significant number of heroes like Hawkeye and Wolverine are on the run.

I think Wolverine’s tenure as an Avenger is an interesting study regardless. Cap himself is shown to be uncomfortable with it early in the Bendis run (and he has an open split with Wolverine in AvX). His actions are mentioned as a catalyst for “Civil War”. Wolverine’s status as an Avenger also helps up the stakes should X-Force be exposed during Remender’s run.

In return though, being an Avenger softened Wolverine enough that he became a viable “Professor X” substitute in the x books.

Yes, but you’re comparing stories set in the actual Marvel universe to those set on Earth-Bendis. Marvel desperately needs a new “Heroes Return” to wipe away the miserable mediocrity of the last ten years.

^Yeah exactly. All points of comparison are thrown out the window once Bendis arrived. He just did whatever he wanted to do and switched characters’ personalities around obliviously.

I’ve always thought that it should have been Marvel, not DC, which should have had the reboot.

While a lot of the random and inexplicable personality swapping can be attributed to Bendis (and Millar), don’t underestimate the effect movie Wolverine had upon comics Wolverine. As Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine became extremely popular and the story arc the movies unfolded for his character, the comics piggybacked upon softer, more lovable Wolverine of the movies and changed his personality to be more in line with the movies’ portrayal of Logan.

Moonstone also mentions Paladin, who would go on to be a Thunderbolt during Dark Reign.

It really bothers me how kill happy Hawkeye became under Bendis’ run. Like, one time he straight up screamed that he is going to murder every Skrull. I think it was Fraction that said Hawkeye not killing is just as important as his bows and arrows.

Where was this side of Hawkeye when he killed Egghead?

@Mark Black: The killing of Egghead was not intended. Hawkeye meant to stop Egghead, who was ready to kill either Hank Pym or Hawkeye (been a while since I read the story). He shot at Egghead’s gun to stop him from using it, and the gun backfired. It was an act of self-defense with an unfortunate outcome.

Additionally, Hawkeye was shown to be bothered by Egghead’s death in the following issue, even undergoing an Avengers tribunal regarding the acceptability of his actions.

@Radiodad – yes, of course, but Hawkeye was aghast at the time that he’d even have to face an Avengers court of inquiry because of it. His stance in the above panels seems pretty firm (as was his stance in WCA) and unflinching, regardless of the situation.

I love Hawkeye I just think I really hate his no-killing stance characterization, considering he’s a guy with more than a little bit of grey in his past.

But fair point – it was an act of self-defense.

Actually dr. Traveler Remender HAS opened that can of worms from his version of uncanny x force let just say that the Avengers were NOT happy about it. I think that even he wrote a “black ops” book, Remender respects the “Avengers don’t kill” rule as shown through wasp.

That last scan is an example of how writers don’t coordinate things. The Utopia crossover had Norman losing to the X-Men but that issue made it seem like Norman defeated the X-Men.

I believe it was more a case of Bendis showing how the media can spin things. We, the reader, know that the X-Men getting Utopia was a victory but the Avengers don’t know that since they weren’t there and all they have to go on is the media portrayal of the situation, which is dictated by Osborn, so they depict Utopia as a victory for Osborn.

@thetanosseed: haven’t read all if Rememder’s run yet, but that wouldn’t surprise me. Hickman has been slowly rolling back things like Wolverine’s and Spider-man’s membership on the Avengers and I’d always suspected Brubaker excluded Wolverine from the Secret Avengers line up due to similar misgivings.

I think that adding Wolverine and Spider-Man to the Avengers was an interesting experiment that ran a bit too long.

&Michael and Brian: I could be remembering this really wrong, but I thought that was actually how Utopia ended, namely the Xmen won but Osborn was able to walk away with a PR victory.

I personally don’t see any reason why spider man can’t be on the team. I understand wolverine… But come on spider man?

Spider-Man not being Avengers material wasn’t an ethical thing. It’s just that for the first 40 years of his existence, everybody, including himself, considered him too much of a screw-up to be a reliable member of any team. The same bad luck that made Peter keep messing up his personal and professional life also thwarted any attempt to join a team. This was pretty central to his character. Then in the 2000s Marvel threw all that out the window and had Spider-Man join every team–at pretty much the same time that they made a big deal about “returning to the roots of the character” by erasing his marriage, because he was supposed to be the hard-luck kid who never got the girl. It didn’t matter that having him on even one of these teams, let alone three at once, made way, way much less sense for Peter Parker than being in a long-term romantic relationship.

@Omar Karindu while Hawkeye was bothered by Egghead’s charges, he thought the tribunal was corny and unnecessary.

Er Egghead’s death

Killing off Hawkeye during Disassembled was pointless and stupid, even in the grand scheme of things. It served no purpose other than to remove Clint to make room for others on the New Avengers’ roster. That said, his “Norman Osborn needs to die” routine was the worst thing ever done to Clint – including his tenures as Goliath and Ronin. I can understand his hatred and frustration of Norman ruining the Avengers name/legacy, but not at the expense of morals of the Avengers. He threw away his marriage not because Bobbi killed someone, but because he felt that even just letting her rapist fall to his death was unacceptable for an Avenger.

You keep this up, Brian, and Chad Nevett might start cutting himself. If he isn’t already.

I thought that at the time that Hawkeye castigated Bobbie for the Phantom Rider’s death, he wasn’t aware of the rape, simply that she should stood by and did nothing to stop him from dying.

I miss this Hawkeye who had principles. (And a more interesting look too..)

interesting for hawkeye to tell the thunberbolts that there would be no killers on the team when the avengers have some too like monking bird killing the phantom rider . not to mention seems a trend popped up in marvel books over the avevengers not wanting wolverine to play with their team because he has killed over the years. yet he became one any way.

I never had a huge issue with Wolverine on the team until we entered the post Siege era. From Breakout to Civil War I saw his inclusion as Cap being just out voted. Iron Man was the real one pushing for his inclusion after all. Post Civil War out to Siege the New Avengers line up represented the “Rebellion” first against Stark and then Osborn. And Wolverine fit there.

After Siege I thought Wolverine worked as part of Cage’s squad, but putting him on Cap’s varsity team didn’t work at all. No way a Cap selected Avengers team built from the ground up includes Wolverine. Just no way.

Just shows key difference of Bendis vs Busiek as Busiek is a student of Marvel history, connects to the past constantly, uses it well and pays attention to characters while Bendis just picks and chooses (see his “Hank was slapping Wasp around every other issue” comment) to fix characters to fit his stories not vice versa. Yet another reason “Astro City” packs more pure super-hero storytelling in a single issue than most entire Bendis story arcs.

@Mark Black: you must be talking about Avengers #230, but that is not at all how I remember the issue. Hawkeye was not stymied by the trial, but he respected it just fine.

All we know for sure about the Hawkeye/Bobbi split is that the Ghost Rider’s ghost gave him his side of the story before Bobbi spoke. We didn’t hear the conversation but the spook obviously put it in the worst possible light (probably worse than the reality).

I have to admit, I’ve always found it odd when superheroes whose gimmick is specifically about the use of lethal weaponry have a strict no-killing policy. Not saying I have a *problem* with it, just that it feels a little strange.

NOTHING is worse than Clint Barton as Goliath. That is the worst thing ever.

@Luis Dantas – re-read the issue.
Hawkeye is surprised that they need to hold an inquiry. He also thinks to himself that the Wasp is by the book and that not even that “ol’cornball Cap” could it better. Saying he respects the proceedings might be a bit off. He’s not outraged by it, but he certainly didn’t think it was necessary.

@Mr. Speck – It’s kind of weird to wrap your head around it, but it makes sense when you consider that Lethal Weapon + No code against killing = piles and piles of corpses.

A good illustration is the first season of the TV show “Arrow,” in which Oliver “Don’t Call me Green Arrow” Queen hasn’t developed his code against killing yet, and the result is that he kills like 13 people per episode.

The only reason every single arrow that leaves Hawkeye’s bow doesn’t end up lodged in someone’s heart or eye socket is that he doesn’t want it to. At least you can run from Wolverine.

Wolverine is only “softer” in Wolvie & the X-Men and Avengers.
In his other twenty books, he’s everything from cold blooded killer to near feral beast.
He could be in Avengers, but not on Caps’ covert team. And at the same time be on Cyclops’ hit squad.

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@buttler- great illustration about the dichotomy of returning Spider-Man to his hardluck roots while putting him on multiple Avengers teams (and FF there for awhile too). If Wolverine is on a bunch of teams, pre-“& the X-Men,” well, what else has he got to do? His profession seems to be “superhero*.” So he has the time. How does Peter do it around family, and dating, and you know, jobs and stuff? And do the Avengers not offer a stipend anymore? How relatable and down to earth is a Spider-man who’s rich, beyotch! (Used to be like a grand a week…and that has to have gone up for inflation).

*Remember when heroes had jobs? OK, the X-Men lived off of Xavier’s teat, and the FF funded themselves, but even guys like Cap worked as an artist or something. Heck, even Thor was a doctor (or other things) for some time. And he was a god.

It’s funny how little they were willing to talk about Xavier’s teat, one of the most disturbing secondary mutations ever,

So having a third nipple makes me a superhero? Cool.

And of course Punisher and Paladin later became Thunderbolts, albeit after the team had left Hawkeye’s oversight…

@Mark Black
“Hawkeye is surprised that they need to hold an inquiry. He also thinks to himself that the Wasp is by the book and that not even that “ol’cornball Cap” could it better. Saying he respects the proceedings might be a bit off. He’s not outraged by it, but he certainly didn’t think it was necessary.”

Worth pointing out that Hawkeye’s first point of defence in the enquiry is to submit the Court findings that had already exonerated him. It’s not that he thinks he shouldn’t be held accountable, it’s more that he probably felt he has already had been made accountable and this is an unnecessary rerun of the same thing.

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