Marvel’s Generations one-shots have thus far been nothing more than “Annual” comics with another name. The only one that has stood out from the pack was the Wolverine issue featuring Logan in his prime teaming up with Laura Kinney. Tom Taylor was able to take his Generations issue as an opportunity to explore how these two versions of Wolverine would interact after all they’ve been through. The execution led to an impactful ending that the other issues in the Generations comics have been able to reach. Now it’s Kelly Thompson’s turn as she brings together Clint Barton and Kate Bishop together for their on misadventure. How will things go? Let’s find out with Generations: Hawkeye & Hawkeye #1.
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Stefano Raffaele
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Kate Bishop walks around an island jungle wondering what exactly where she is. Through her search she has been able to figure out the island is filled with the world’s most famous marksmen.
Before she can figure everything out Clint Barton (in his original Hawkeye costume) shows up asking Kate who she is. Kate fumbles a bit and says her codename is “Hawk-Ess.” Clint asks Kate why she doesn’t have a target belt like he and the others. Kate says it fell off as it was faulty.
Kate calls Clint by his real name rather than “Hawkeye,” making Clint more suspicious of who Kate is. Before Kate can get herself out of the discussion Clint suddenly fires an arrow that goes past Kate and hits one of the marksmen on the island, eliminating him before Clint or Kate can get his name.
A bit later Clint and Kate set up camp where Kate makes up a story that she works with Black Widow, who told her all about Clint as Hawkeye.
Clint mention how little protection Kate’s costume provides. Kate then brings up the funny mask Clint wears and convinces Clint to allow her to try it on.
As they talk Clint finds it easy to trust Kate for some reason. Boomerang and another marksman try to sneak up on Clint and Kate but they just end up in the heroes trap and get eliminated from the game.
As they walk through the woods Kate is surprised to hear that Clint came to the island willingly in order to test his skills. Clint says while it started out that way he found out that the competition was filled with villains so he made it his mission to stop all the marksmen before they killed each other.
The pair find a cliff that shows them what looks to be an abandoned temple that the game’s host is at.
Swordsman, Clint’s old mentor, suddenly shows up and tries to convince Clint to work together to get of the island. Clint does not buy Swordsman words and says he and Kate are taking care of things with Kate going down to check out the temple first.
Before Kate heads to the temple she gives Clint a boomerang arrow to use in the future and the word “Domitian” to remember for some reason.
As Kate makes her way inside the temple she reflects on how similar Clint and Swordsman’s relationship is to her and Clint’s. At the same time she is grateful that Clint is not like his mentor and has been not just a teacher but friend to her.
In the forest Clint is keeping an eye out as he believes Swordsman is responsible for the event on the island. Clint comes across Taskmaster and they begin a long fight with one another. Clint is finally able to get the upper hand and stabs Taskmaster’s event belt with one his arrows.
Inside the temple Kate finds a woman watching the event unfold on various screens. Kate shoots an arrow when she notices Crossfire trying to shoot the woman. Kate quickly ties up Crossfire before he can do anything else.
Swordsman and the woman find Kate and reveal that the woman’s name is Eden and that she is Swordsman’s new protege.
Bullseye suddenly shows up and starts throwing all sorts of knives at Kate, Eden and Swordsman, causing the three to hide behind a table.
Clint shows up and says “Domitian” giving Kate the signal to fire four arrows. Those arrows end up hitting Bullseye, who was already fighting Clint. Clint and Kate are able to team-up and take Bullseye out of the event.
Clint yells at Swordsman for creating such a dangerous event just to lure him to an island. Swordsman says he did it to make Clint realize that he belongs to Swordsman. Eden walks away and tells Swordsman that she won’t be part of his schemes anymore. She then uses the tech for the event to teleport Swordsman off the island.
Eden does the same for the other participates on the island and then apologizes to Clint before teleporting away.
As the only one’s on the island left Clint and Kate talk about the craziness of the event. Clint tries to hit on Kate but she is just disgust with the thought of Clint doing that.
As Clint lays down Kate talks about how she has been going through a lot back home lately. She admits that her codename is Hawkeye and that Clint is her mentor in the future. She goes on to say that after seeing how Swordsman acted she is thankful that Clint was a good mentor and friend.
Kate turns to look at Clint and finds out he fell asleep a while ago, much to her disbelief. Kate is then transported back to her own timeline. End of issue.
The Good: Generations: Hawkeye & Hawkeye #1 is able to balance out the fun of these two characters along with an exploration of what makes them tick. Much like the Wolverine issue of Generations before it, the balance between fun and character exploration is what makes the Hawkeye chapter stand out from the pack.
The greatest strength of Kelly Thompson’s Generations: Hawkeye & Hawkeye is that the story is never just about Clint Barton and Kate Bishop. Instead, Thompson makes sure to make the story about both characters and what stage in their careers they are in. Even with Kate being the character that we are inside her head of through Generations: Hawkeye & Hawkeye, Clint is never forgotten in the story.
The setting Thompson puts both characters in is key in either Hawkeye overshadowing the other. The island filled with expert marksmen brought a sense of danger, exactly setting that will test the skills of both Clint and Kate. In having this setting Thompson is able to create a scenario for Clint and Kate to understand each other, and for the latter to gain the former’s trust, before they even start fighting the villains on the island.
The setting was also highlight the stage in his career that Clint is in. This is still a Clint that is early in his Avengers career right after leaving Black Widow, when she was still considered a villain. Clint talking about how he is trying to be a superhero in a situation that calls for everything but that shows how of a chip he has on his shoulders to prove he can be a superhero like the other Avengers.
At the same time, Thompson kept the fun the character had with being a costumed hero of the character. Everything from standing up to his choice of costume and calling Kate out on her own costume and codename was a good way to show that this was a young Clint Barton. It all led to a comedic ending with Clint almost hitting on Kate, who turned him down in disgust before he even had the chance.
Bringing in Swordsman as the main villain of the story provided the story a sense of personal stakes to the situation. Swordsman inclusion is especially important as Thompson shows us where Clint comes from. The presentation of Swordsman gets over how he was never a good mentor for Clint but the only one he had at the time. And for a Generations comic, highlighting the background of the iconic Hawkeye can help newer fans learn about Clint’s origins as Hawkeye.
Swordsman appearance also helped to show Kate that while Clint isn’t always the greatest person in the world he has always been a good mentor and friend to her. Kate being reminded of this as she and Clint worked together to bring down Bullseye, Boomerang and Swordsman showed the trust that these two have with one another. It made the ending with Kate admitting that she is from the future where Clint is her mentor a strong character moment. Clint being asleep for the speech only further showed the status of Clint and Kate’s relationship that has become a weird father-daughter relationship.
Stefano Raffaele delivers solid artwork that was in-line with more classic Marvel. That was fitting for a comic featuring Clint in his old school Hawkeye costume. Raffaele best sequence was the fight between Hawkeye and Taskmaster. The double page spread for gave enough time to show both fighters abilities without it overshadowing the rest of the issue.
The Bad: Though Clint has never been the smartest superhero I don’t remember him so easily decided in the way Kate did. With how much Kate was fumbling her words Clint should’ve questioned Kate more than he did. It just seemed too easy for Kate to convince Clint in how she was a “spy” working with Black Widow. While this wouldn’t of helped the issue’s pacing it did come off as odd how quickly Clint was willing to believe Kate and share camp fire with her.
Overall: Generations: Hawkeye & Hawkeye #1 is easily one of the best comics to come out of the Generations line that Marvel is releasing. Kelly Thompson is taps into what makes Clint Barton and Kate Bishop fun characters and delivers a comic that highlights both characters’ strengths and weakness. The dynamic between the two is so great that I am now looking forward to seeing Marvel’s two Hawkeyes interact more in the future.