Art by Olivier Coipel
Young Clint and Barney Barton ran away from an abusive father at a young age. They found a circus, where they were raised and trained by two of the members, the original Swordsman (Jacques Duquesne) and Trick Shot. Trick Shot taught the boys how to use a bow and arrow, and Swordsman taught them how to fight and steal. When Clint grew older, he witnessed Iron Man in person battling villains. Inspired by this, Clint Barton created his own costume, took his bow and arrows, and became the crime fighting archer, Hawkeye!
Things did not go well for Clint at first. He was immediately perceived as a criminal. He was soon approached by Black Widow to become her partner, and the two would come to blows with Iron Man. Hawkeye and Black Widow even kindled a brief romantic relationship. However, Clint would soon lose his taste for the criminal life.
Iron Man, eager to see Hawkeye redeem himself, sponsored his membership on the Avengers. He joined alongside Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch under the leadership of Captain America. The Avengers quickly became Clint’s home, and the team took on threats as formidable as Kang the Conqueror and Doctor Doom. He would later have a brief romantic relationship with teammate Scarlet Witch.
Hawkeye, with the resources of the Avengers, began to craft trick arrow with as far ranging capabilities as nets, electric shock, and explosives. His strong will and cockiness brought him at crossroads with Captain America on many occasions, but the two grew to respect one another over time.
With Hank Pym off the team for some time and Clint perhaps being self-conscious of being “the guy who shoots arrows,” he began using the Pym Particles to become Goliath and continued his role as an Avenger. After returning to his Hawkeye identity, he began a series of solo stints as a hero. He even joined up with the Defenders. He also acquired a job at Cross Technologies as a security chief. This is where he was given his Sky Cycle. He later came to work with S.H.I.E.L.D as an agent on various occasions.
Hawkeye was among the heroes brought to Battleworld by the Beyonder to take part in his Secret Wars.
He and another Avenger by the name of Mockingbird aka Bobbie Morse were kidnapped by the villain Crossfire. The two were able to defeat him, though the adventure left Clint with permanent hearing damage. Clint and Bobbie fell in love with one another, and the two soon married.
Hawkeye was named a head of the West Coast Avengers by the Vision, and he and Bobbie moved to California. The team went on adventures as varied as time-travelling and galaxy hopping, though the former of these two ended with Bobbi and Clint briefly separating due to Bobbi letting a man fall to his death. However, the two would reunite soon after.
Clint was shattered when Bobbi was killed. He left the Avengers and was charged with leading a group of rebels called the Shadows. This was disastrous, and he quit this group as well.
Hawkeye was among the number of Avengers sucked into the Counter Earth after the battle with Onslaught.
He soon offered to lead the Thunderbolts. The group had been thinned and damaged. Only those who had genuine interest in being actual heroes remained, such as Mach II and Songbird. He would lead the team on many missions, including battling the dangerous Count Nefaria alongside his old teammates in the Avengers.
Hawkeye rejoined the Avengers after some time, and he began a brief flame with the Wasp. Disaster struck when Scarlet Witch’s decaying mental stability reached a fever pitch, and she began to attack her teammates. During one of such strikes, she fabricated a Kree invasion. Hawkeye was killed destroying their battleship.
He was resurrected by Scarlet Witch when she remade the world into the House of M, where mutants ruled and humans were hunted. This was done on the request of her brother Quicksilver. When the Avengers and X-Men united to dismantle this false world, Hawkeye attempted to kill Scarlet Witch, and she killed him once again. After the smoke cleared and the world was restored, Hawkeye found himself alive once more. He felt aimless and lost. He even sook out Scarlet Witch and Doctor Strange in an attempt to figure out his life once again.
After the Super Hero Civil War, Captain America was assassinated. Clint was approached by Iron Man to take up the shield. He was reluctant, and his mind was made up when he met the Young Avengers and their Hawkeye, a young woman by the name of Kate Bishop. He was not going to become Captain America. Instead, Steve’s old comrade Bucky Barnes became the new bearer of the shield.
At this point, Luke Cage was leading an underground New Avengers team to fight against Iron Man’s Initiative. Hawkeye joined this team under the identity of Ronin. He helped them battle the Hood’s gang of criminals, and he was with the team when the New Avengers went to the Savage Lands and discovered a number of heroes kidnapped by the Skrulls. Among them was Mockingbird, Clint’s ex-wife. She had been replaced by a Skrull, and the Bobbi Morse that died was her doppelganger. Clint, Bobbi, and the New Avengers battled the Skrulls to end their Secret Invasion. Despite this, Clint and Bobbi’s relationship was not as it once was.
After the Invasion was crushed, Tony Stark was ousted and replaced by Norman Osborn and his H.A.M.M.E.R organization. He established a Dark Avengers, and among those ranks was Bullseye under the guise or Clint’s former identity, Hawkeye. This infuriated Clint and the rest of the New Avengers. Clint decided that Norman Osborn needed to die. He attempted to make this happen, but he was thwarted and captured. He was later freed, and he helped the New Avengers bring down Norman Osborn at the Siege of Asgard.
The Avengers were put back on top, and Steve Rogers became the new Director of S.H.I.E.LD. Another Avengers team was formed which Clint became a part of as Hawkeye once more. He soon began a relationship with Spider Woman, another member of this Avengers team. He helped them survive the Asgardian God of Fear’s invasion of Earth as well as the Avengers’ war with the X-Men.
He also continued to aid Luke Cage’s New Avengers, as he had become friends with Cage and Mockingbird was among this team’s ranks. When Mockingbird was critically injured by Lady Superia and her Hydra followers, he helped them track down Superia. Bobbi would have died, but she was given Nick Fury’s final injection of the Infinity Formula, which Fury has used to stay young and active since World War II.
Clint Barton ran across his brother, Barney, whom had taken the identity of Trick Shot. He had been hired by Baron Zemo to torment his brother, and the two fought it out.
Barney then joined up with Norman Osborn’s second roster of Dark Avengers. This group battled the Avengers and the New Avengers. Trick Shot was arrested with the rest of the group when Norman was defeated.
Steve Rogers had created a stealth group of Secret Avengers which he had been leading. After some time, he asked Clint to take over as their leader, and Clint accepted. He led this team through many battles, including one against the being called Father whom attempted to create a robotic revolution.
He also began working alongside Kate Bishop, the Hawkeye of the Young Avengers, and the two fought off the Circus of Crime and Madame Masque. The two also joined up with Barney to defeat an Eastern European gang that was attempting to seize the apartment building in which Clint lived.
Hawkeye and Steve Rogers teamed up to stop a mass invasion of symbiote-infested dinosaurs created by the dinosaur/human hybrid Stegron. That’s not necessarily a noteworthy event in Clint’s life. I just thought it was really cool.
When the Avengers restructured and became more of a global team, Hawkeye remained on their ranks. He went with them to space to stop the Builders’ destruction of the universe. He also joined up with a team of Secret Avengers sanctioned by S.H.I.E.L.D
After Secret Wars ended and the Earth was recreated once more, Hawkeye joined up with Robert da Costa, aka Sunspot’s, New Avengers as a S.H.I.E.L.D liaison. However, when S.H.I.E.L.D became hostile towards da Costa and his Avengers Idea Mechanics organization, Hawkeye stuck with his Avenger teammates and battled against S.H.I.E.L.D. He was even arrested for these actions, though he was set free for his service record.
After the discovery of Ulysses and the young Inhuman’s vision that the Hulk would kill the Avengers, the entirety of the super hero community went to visit Dr. Bruce Banner. Hawkeye was nested in some trees far from Banner’s lab. He claimed to see Banner’s eyes flash green, and he fired a gamma-irradiated arrow that killed Bruce Banner. He was arrested, and he claimed that Banner asked him to do this should he ever turn into the Hulk again.
Hawkeye is an over-confidant and stubborn man who is not as great as he thinks he is. However, his determination and capacity for compassion make him even greater than he thinks he is. His machismo and swagger are used to cover up an intense self-awareness that he is a guy with a bow and arrow who fights alongside monsters and gods. This, along with his sense of humor and his willingness to stand his ground against even Captain America, make him among the greatest Avengers of all time.
He has been the heart of the team ever since he joined, and he has shown bravery in the face of inconceivable odds. He has even stood against the team when he thought they were doing wrong. All these qualities and more are what make Hawkeye my third favorite Marvel hero of all time.