Sunday, 7 December 2008

Hawkeye The Marksman!

Tales Of Suspense #57, September 1964.
(By Lee and Heck)

This is it, True Believers! You've waited long enough, and now, finally, today, we meet Hawkeye the Marksman! He's a crack shot with that bow, and I just bet a man with a bow, and arrow, and plenty of sassy attitude can give Iron Man a run for his money! Off we go...

Our tale begins with millionaire industrialist Tony Stark inadvertantly asking faithful secretary Pepper Potts out on a date. All that money, Tony, and you can't score a night out with someone who doesn't rely on you for her pay-check? Shame on you.

Anyway, Tony, multi-billionaire mogul who can, thanks to all that money of his, go pretty much anywhere at the drop of a hat, takes her to ... Coney Island. Verily, Tony, thou art the last of the big spenders.

(In Tony's defence, he's supposed to have been setting Pepper up with his chauffeur, and is only on this date due to his own incompetence, and even a billionaire doesn't want to spend too much money on a date he didn't want in the first place, but still, it seems a bit shabby.)

Tony and Pepper take in a few shows, including this exciting act:

Before Hawkeye can be booed off the stage by the restless crowd, Coney Island suffers one of its occasional disasters, as one of its rides goes wild and falls to bits in mid-spin. Iron Man to the rescue!

Yes, folks, while all others are impressed, Hawkeye is seething with envy over the acclaim that New Yorkers have for Iron Man (this month, at least - they'll turn on him soon enough). He reaches the obvious conclusion that if they dig the guy in power-armour, they're going to go wild for him, if he can just choose the right outfit.

In his nice new clothes, Hawkeye goes out seeking fame and fortune. Unfortunately for him, the writer has it in for him.

So far so good. Nothing establishes street cred like nabbing a ne'r do well in a checked shirt.

Not so good, the bad guy's getting away, but at least he left the loot behind.

Arse. Now, in his place, I'm fairly sure I'd wait for the cops to catch up, explain to them what had happened, and place my faith in the commonsense of the police. Unfortunately, this is the pre-Serpico NYPD, so Hawkeye pretty much knows he's going to jail if he hangs around. So he flees the scene, leaving the cops to return the loot, or pocket it, depending on their mood.

In the coincidence-filled world of Marvel, Hawkeye runs straight into the Black Widow, a Russian spy who's twice taken on Iron Man, lost both times, and is looking for a sucker to set against Shellhead. Roll up, roll up..!

At the Widow's urging, Hawkeye breaks into Stark Enterprises, blows some stuff up, and gains Iron Man's attention.

Yes, the power of Iron Man is nothing compared to the power of Rust! Stark is forced to ditch his armour and dig out a spare set, whilst Hawkeye, rather than pressing his advantage and hunting him down, chooses to steal some of his kit, for later analysis.

Wow, that transition from wannabe hero to wannabe world dominating supervillain was a bit sudden, wasn't it? That Black Widow must have something special going for her. Anyhoo, Iron Man chases down Hawkeye, blows up his car, and ... can barely hold his own against him.

Rust, rope, is there anything your multi-million pound suit can cope with, Tony? Bullets? Tickling sticks? Sharpened fruit?

By some miracle, Iron Man manages to overpower the man with the bow and arrow, but it's not over yet.

Now, that's just mean, Hawkeye. Of course, the questions it raises about his moral turpitude pale in comparison to the question of why, if you have a demolition blast arrow which can destroy Iron Man, you didn't just shoot him with it in the first place, you big dummy?!?

Oh, that's why. Because the demolition arrow just plain doesn't work. More research needed next time, Hawkeye, old man.

So, yes, hilariously, Hawkeye almost kills the Black Widow with the arrow designed by the Black Widow to kill Iron Man. Hawkeye and the Widow escape whilst Shellhead is too stunned to chase them, and, you know, I don't think we've seen the last of either of these villains.