MCP: The Avenging Archer – Hawkeye

My history with Hawkeye has been somewhat tumultuous. At one point he was the best thing ever. Next, he was so sucky it sucked. Next, loved him. Next, man, he irritated me on so many levels. Of course, such is potentially a concern with any fictional character, depending on who’s doing the writing.

In the comics, Hawkeye has always been something of a cocky hothead, but he’s swiveled from being a leader, someone who can see the potential in someone and who wants to push you to be the best you can be, to being little more than an arrogant asshat who seems to be making it his mission in life to be th ebiggest jerk he can be. I’m looking at you, Force Works era Hawkeye.

Despite starting his career as a villain (an evil carnie, nonetheless), Clint Barton has grown and evolved over the years, but I think my favorite iteration was from the Matt Fraction run from 2012-2015, which above all else humanized Hawkeye. There’s an arc in there where all he’s trying to do is help out the tenants in his building as a slumlord tries to evict them. Like, it’s a multiple issue story, and it’s just excellent reading. We get to see Clint as more than just a dink with a bow, and they do a wonderful job of portraying Clint’s hearing difficulties.

I think this arc went a long way toward informing the character we got in the MCU, where Clint may strictly speaking be the most underpowered Avenger in the movies, but his humanity is also somehow part of what binds the team together.

It’s worth bearing in mind that Hawkeye may lack super strength, flight, and all that jazz, but he’s more than just an exceptionally accurate bowman. He’s often been depicted in the comics training with Captain America himself, and is exceptionally fit, a world class gymnast/acrobat and hand-to-hand combatant.

Given that he doesn’t have a lot of the powers that most of the other Avengers have, I’d posit there’s an argument to be made for Clint being one of top five most capable members on the Avengers roster, simply because he doesn’t have any abilities to rely on. He’s not invulnerable, so he has to know how to take a punch, how to dodge. He’s not super fast or strong, so he has to be an expert in an array of martial techniques just to be able to stand his own.

On the tabletop, Clint comes in at Threat 3, and  has one the more sparse cards in the game, but htis is largely due to it being all about the bow.

His basic attack is a range 5, 5 dice Arrow Shot. The usual free basic strike. It’s not a huge amount of power, -but- with Hawkeye switching out arrows from his quiver  you get to choose if it’s a physical or energy attack, tailoring your assault to your target’s weakess. On top of that, any Wild results let you incflict Bleeck, Shock, Slow or Poison on the target as well.

For 2 power you can use Hawkeye’s Hook Shot, allowing you to reposition Clint anywhere within range 3 of his current location. To be extra tricky, move him behind a building and then use Trick Shot for 1 more power, to ignore LOS and any cover your opponent may be lurking behind. Note that Trick Shot isn’t an attack in itself, but rather it enhances the next basic Arrow Shot you take, so you still get to choos physical or energy, and potentially inflict a special condition on the target.

Clint’s final ability is Fast Draw. If someone targets Clint from more than range 3 distance, he can spend two power to make an Arrow Shot as a reaction. Note that the trigger is being targeted, so if you have the power to feed the Fast Draw you can potentially mess up the attacker before they even get to roll the attack.

While Clint and Natasha may remember Budapest very differently, there’s no saying you can’t put them through their paces together – especially since they come in a two-pack of models. Swing by  your preferred FLGS or online retailer and load your quiver.