“At least I got help.”
Tracksuit Dracula: Ahh, bro. Bro, bro, bro. Cause lots trouble, bro. Of all cars to steal, bro. And, bro, if you got it scratched, bro? He kill you even more than alrea
Clint: Aw, man.
Kate: Hey, look, it’s a metaphor for your love-life.
Clint: Get out of my damn car, ass.
Kate: How’s it gonna feel deep down in your man-bits when I drive this car better than you ever dreamed possible? ‘Cause I’m about to.
Clint: Don’t dangle your prepositions like that, girly-girl. And gimme an arrow out that quiver.
— From Hawkeye vol. 4 #3 by Matt Fraction, art by David Aja
Tools of the trade by David Aja
Six weeks later:
Clint: I can walk.
Orderly: No you can’t. You slip and fall, you sue us, everybody loses.
God. This guy. He don’t stop talking the whole time. I can see sunshine on the glass and every time the doors slide open I catch a whiff of life on the other side. New York in August. S’just perfect. Underneath that baked summer scent of hot garbage, wet pennies, and pee you can kinda smell some fresh air. Already sweating. Everything’s perfect. And for my next trick— S’a little juvenile, I admit—but I’ve wanted to do that for months. Now I’m going home and I’m gonna sleep like the dead.
Orderly: What happened? Hey! Hey!! That’s a two-hunner dollar wheelchair y’just kicked inta traffic—!
Oh, right. Pretty sure the Avengers HMO will cover that. I could say it just rolled into traffic? That it got away from me or—no, he saw me kick it. I get caught lying and they’ll cancel the insurance—
Yeah, we’re done here.
Clint: Sorry about the chair. Bill me. Taxi!
— From Hawkeye vol. 4 #1 by Matt Fraction, art by David Aja. October 2012.
Clint Barton: — No, I mean, I have money now. Like — Like money.
Tony Stark: … Where did you you get money?
Clint Barton: … Places?
- From Hawkeye vol. 4 #6 by Matt Fraction and David Aja. February 2013.
Doctor: Got yourself pretty banged up there, Mr. Barton… shattered pelvis… three broken ribs… sprained your neck, cracked your fibia… left clavicle, right ulna… and your spleen nearly ruptured.
Clint: Pssh. Thought you said I was hurt, doc… Paleolithic. I looked it up.
Clint: Feels like I got hit by a truck.
Maria Hill: Shot in the chest point blank. Vest or not, that’s gonna bruise.
Nick Fury: Cracked a few ribs. Bruised your liver.
Kate: You hit your head pretty hard, too.
Clint: But we won, right? Everything turned out okay?
A lot of the fun of Hawkeye is that it is a series told in short stories—one or two issues at a time, and you get a complete beginning-middle-end. However, that doesn’t mean that the different parts aren’t connected, even though they can stand on their own. Because issue five is the end of the first implied arc, this seems like as good a time as any to see what’s been building over the first few months of this book.
So here we have the first scene of the first issue, and the last scene of issue five. Clint’s been getting banged up since the book began—and long before that; his love affair with leg casts is well-documented—but that isn’t just to prove how human he is, how vulnerable. Really, all of Clint’s injuries, from the bandage across his nose in issue one to his bloody footprints in issue five, are showing us how far he is willing to go. He jumps off a building in issue one to make a shot—and we don’t even know what that shot was for. That’s not important. What is important is that Clint was willing to risk spraining his neck and breaking his leg to make it.
By issue five we’ve learned some things—there’s definitely a reason that the first hospital scene is Clint alone with an anonymous doctor, and the second is Clint aboard the hellicarrier surrounded by people who know him. We know the precise stakes of his injuries in the second scene—he was protecting other people, namely Kate and the unnamed Navy Seals.
There’s also a sense that Clint fumbles into his injuries, that perhaps he doesn’t have to get this beat up this often, but he does it anyway because he can’t do anything by halves. To come back to issue one’s refrain of “it’s not like I have superpowers,” these moments of vulnerability, of almost gleeful humanity, underscore that point and at the same time dismiss it. Yes, Clint doesn’t have superpowers. But he can get the hell beaten out of him on an almost daily basis and keep going, keep protecting who he needs to protect and doing what he needs to do.
From Hawkeye Volume 4 #01 (Matt Fraction & David Aja) and #05 (Matt Fraction & Javier Pulido) 2012
Alex Maleev, “The Ballad of Clint Barton and Wanda Maximoff.”
Hawkeye: That’s right, pretty lady. You can breathe easy — You got a real live Avenger here to rescue you.
- From A+X #3 by James Asmus and Billy Tan. February 2013.
Clint: I dunno, I wanted to help. Just seemed like the right thing to do.
Kate: You’re okay, Barton. Anybody ever tell you that?
— From Hawkeye vol. 4 #5 by Matt Fraction, art by Javier Pulido. February 2013.
Clint Barton’s life choices, entirely summed up in two panels.
Hawkeye: You’re gonna die in a wedding dress in New Jersey, you know that?
Kate Bishop: Bridesmaid-to-be dress. The wedding isn’t until —
Hawkeye: Yeah, I don’t care.
Kate Bishop: The not-wedding is at the Stable. What could a storm do to a five-star hotel?
Hawkeye: It’s New Jersey. There are La Quinta Inns outside of state pens that are nicer.
Kate Bishop: Oh yeah, Mr Brooklyn? This where you and Jay-Z tell me Brooklyn is the greatest place on earth?
Hawkeye: Okay, one, I don’t know who that is, and two, shut up, Brooklyn is great, New Jersey is a punch line, and you are a kid and you don’t know what you’re talking about.
Kate Bishop: How do you live in Brooklyn and not know who Jay-Z is?
Hawkeye: I know who Jay-Z is; I was just pretending, for effect.
Kate Bishop: Well, not for anything, but all you need t know about New Jersey can be summed up by the greatest name in rock’n’roll, Mr. Bruce —
Kate Bishop: …Excuse me?
Hawkeye: The greatest Bruce in rock is Bruce Kulick, guitar player for Kiss 1984-1996, from Brooklyn. Case closed.
Kate Bishop: Get out.
Hawkeye: It’s my apartment.
Kate Bishop: Get out.
Hawkeye: It’s my apartment building.
Leave the dog with Simone, okay? She knows how to feed him.
Pizza dog: Wurf?
- from Hawkeye vol. 4 #7 by Matt Fraction and Jesse Hamm. March 2013.
David Aja cover gallery
Clint: —Dammit—dammit— Ggrrah
Thief: Go go go!
Clint: Get back here—get back! Ah, hell.
There goes my cash, all my cards, my I.D.’s, my Avengers I.D. card—my passport and the Amex Black are still safe. God this is a disaster.
— From Hawkeye vol. 4 #4 by Matt Fraction, art by Javier Pulido. January 2013.