One of my biggest disappointments with the MCU is Hawkeye. It started out promising—back in 2010, Jeremy Renner was one of the new rising stars, hot off The Hurt Locker, and his cameo in Thor seemed to nail the tone of the wise-cracking ace archer, Clint Barton. But then came The Avengers, and it felt like Joss Whedon didn’t really know what to do with Hawkeye (despite years of comics and cartoons figuring it out). And in Age of Ultron, Whedon doubled-down on what is now the worst version of Clint in any medium, the “secret family” version. It’s hard to imagine now, since Renner himself has turned out so problematic and Clint so lame, but circa 2012, even after the movie kinda botched Hawkeye, fans still had a lot of hope, and many people, myself included, held out hope for the “right” Clint to show up in the movies. He never did, though, and even though I remain a fan of the comic book Clint, MCU Hawkeye is my least-favorite character and I would happily chuck him off a cliff.
So now that Hawkeye is getting his own Disney+ series, there is really only one reason to care: Kate Bishop, the GOOD Hawkeye. A snarky teenager dealing with her own drama, Kate becomes Clint’s apprentice and eventually takes on the “Hawkeye” mantle herself. One of the best superhero comics of the 2010s, Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye series, details the rise of Kate Bishop as Hawkeye in her own right. It also features a spectacular version of Clint, a walking human disaster who eats pizza and garbage, makes everything worse, and really loves his dog. The Fraction Hawkeye books are SO good, and they’re mostly self-contained, so if you’ve ever been curious to read a comic but intimidated by continuity, these are a good entry point (the run is available as trade paperbacks, or a digital omnibus).
Fraction’s Hawkeye debuted in 2012, just after The Avengers, and in the years between The Avengers and Age of Ultron, there was high hope THIS was the Hawkeye that would live in the MCU. But since it isn’t, let’s kick him to the curb and focus on Ms. Bishop. Even Jeremy Renner knows Kate Bishop is the whole reason to make a Hawkeye series.
The Hawkeye series is now filming, and images of Hailee Steinfeld on set confirms a long-simmering rumor that she is playing Kate. The images also confirm the presence of Lucky the Pizza Dog, a beloved comic book character. Steinfeld and Renner are sporting bruises and blood, which is par for the course for Fraction’s Hawkeye—Clint is ALWAYS hurt, and Kate is only slightly better. Click here to see those photos.
I am SO MAD we’re getting a take on Fraction’s Hawkeye now, when it is IMPOSSIBLE to like MCU Clint, but I will take Kate Bishop any way I can get her, and I am super into Steinfeld playing her. Sometimes the fan-favorite choice is the right one, and here is a case where the fans clamoring for Steinfeld to play Kate—she was the favorite for years, even before the show was announced—got it right. There is one photo where she’s holding a bow and her ponytail is flying behind her and it looks like David Aja’s art come to life. Super, super into that. Don’t really care about Clint anymore, but I am here for Kate and Lucky being pals on my TV screen.