Or – “More Colons Than Your Average Proctologist…”


One of the only missteps of the whole Dark Reign crossover, for me, has been the characterization of Clint Barton, the hero now known as Ronin.  As Hawkeye, he was willing to leave his beloved wife over the implication that she even ALLOWED someone to die, much less committed murder, and now he’s willing to kill Norman Osborn to prove a point?  It’s an odd change of characterization for me, which makes the whole thing questionable.  What’s the Marvel equivalent of a Tom Welling Prime punch? 

A Brian Michael Bendis script.  Bah-dump-bum!



Previously, on Dark Reign – The List – Avengers:  Yeah, it’s clear that Tony Stark pretty much ruined everything.  In his rush to save everyone from themselves, the erstwhile “futurist” made SHIELD useless, made the entire government dependent upon his technology, made his OWN BRAIN the central repository of the necessary information to keep the world safe, and even caused Peter Parker to reveal his identity, inadvertently leading to the events known as “Brand New Day.”  His biggest mistake, though, came when he choked hard during the Secret Invasion, allowing Stormin’ Norman Osborn to take over his place as lynchpin of superhuman operations (a post which, frankly, SHOULD NOT exist.)  After taking control, Normie has solidified his power base, disassembled SHIELD, waged war with Scott Summers, made Tony a hunted man, and essentially only made Iron Man’s control-freak nature look good by providing the worst-case scenario.  Now, Norman has finally decided to take the steps that he’s been working on for so long, completing his control of the Marvel Universe, and once and for all taking down the superhumans who so offend his sensibilities.  This oughtta go well.

With the situation in San Francisco (see the recent Utopia crossover) out of control, Norman Osborn has called Ares into his office to make a plan, or more precisely a list.  “A list of things in this world that need to be different than they are.”  It’s a very strong moment for both men, actually, as Ares shows his true leanings (never trust a super-villain or an evil gawd of war, and for the love of Pete Parker, never trust a guy who’s both) and Norman makes some smart plans.  Back at Avengers Apartment, Clint Barton watches a news broadcast on the Utopia situation, and the official designation of Scott Summers and company as engaging in treasonous behaviors.  He reiterates that he is going to KILL the former Green Goblin, and his team makes all the reasoned arguments against it.  Clint commits the worst kind of straw man argument, asking his teammates if they’d go back in time and kill baby Adolf before World War II.  “I did,” replies Captain America, and when his teammates don’t understand, he explains.  “I, uh…  I killed Hitler.”  HA!  I really love that bit, so much that I want to marry it.  Ms. Marvel and Spider-Woman want to figure out a way to go help their friends, but Ronin is no longer interested in working the losing side.

In a very sweet scene, his newly rekindled love Mockingbird tells him that she believe in HIM, but not his cause, and reminds him that he has a lot to lose.  “Especially after I went to all the trouble of not being dead anymore…”  Aww…  They spend some super-happy-grownup-fun-time together, and Hawkeye/Ronin waits until she’s asleep to sneak out into the night.  He climbs Avengers Tower, cuts his way in, and IMMEDIATELY THROWS MAC GARGAN OUT THE WINDOW.  Venom crashes to the street below, as Ronin confronts the new man calling himself Hawkeye, and SHOOTS HIM IN THE CHEST FIVE TIMES.  Holy crap…  He follows this with a kick in the family jewels and an arrow through the throat for Daken before confronting the former Moonstone.  “Hey, Karla.  I’m going to kill your boss.  Wanna help?”  She attacks him (for the sake of appearances) but a security forcefield protects him at the last second.  Ronin barges into Norman’s quarters, and shoots him repeatedly, but it doesn’t do anything.  “You do know I have Nick Fury’s job…  That means all Nick Fury’s toys,” says Norman through his forcefield, and a quick shot (only one punch?) from Ares takes the former Hawkeye out.  “Clint Barton,” intones the Marvel U’s top cop through a mouthful of smug, “You’re under arrest.”

I gotta say, this issue is intense in ways that I didn’t expect.  Hawkeye’s lethal attitude (however out of character it may be) at least doesn’t pull any punches, taking a chance of killing both Bullseye and Venom during the attack.  I’m bothered by a couple of things, though, including the stupidity of attacking a man who employes both Ares and the Sentry, as well as the fact that forcefields were used as plot points both for and against Ronin.  If you stop to analyze what’s actually going on here, it kind of falls apart, and makes Clint Barton look quite a bit stupider than I’m comfortable with him being.  Norman Osborn is well used here, but his ubiquitousness is starting to lead to overexposure for me, and as engaging as Clint’s whole “Die Hard” schtick is, it still falls apart at the end.  Overall, though, this issue balances itself out, with some very lovely art from Marko Djurdjevic, and cute dialogue almost (but not quite) covering up a fundamental lack of brains in the plot.  The preview of “Daredevil: The List” at the end bugs me for a number of reasons, not the least of which is Bullseye/Hawkeye walking around after taking a series of high-caliber bullets in the chest.  Dark Reign: The List: Avengers #1 earns a right-down-the-middle 2.5 out of 5 stars, balancing excellent character work with half-baked plannning to kick off this pseudo-crossover with a series of bangs.


The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. Navarre
    September 13, 2009 at 10:26 pm — Reply

    It all sounds like an intense, yet fun, issue. But I too have a problem with the way Clint is being characterized.

    It seems heavy-handed; the idea to take a lone Avenger and show his daring raid against all odds. And, to do so, they had to select the person they thought most likely to be fit the scenario.

    But they are pushing square pegs into round holes and the truth is that the idea didn’t fit anyone. If it’s out of character it shouldn’t be used unless events can be shown that justify the change.

    I don’t feel this has been done. The idea simply doesn’t fit the characters. Therefore, it should all have gone down a little differently than it has.

    But I still think Steve Rogers will save everything. Go, True Captain America!

  2. ykw
    September 13, 2009 at 11:46 pm — Reply

    “Clint commits the worst kind of straw man argument, asking his teammates if they’d go back in time and kill baby Adolf before World War II. ‘I did,’ replies Captain America, and when his teammates don’t understand, he explains. ‘I, uh… I killed Hitler.’ HA! I really love that bit, so much that I want to marry it.”

    You, um, do realize he’s, y’know, making that up? He went into the drink months before Hitler was killed — killed by his Invaders teammate, the soon-to-be-revived Jim Hammond.

    (And, no, it doesn’t count if he later offed a Hitler clone or Hitler robot or some iteration of the Hate-Monger. “I killed Hitler” means “I killed the =real= Hitler”.)

  3. shamon from the bx soundview
    September 14, 2009 at 4:05 am — Reply

    Great and really crazy clint was really going to kill him and it looked like he was or did take cap shield.

  4. Crash
    September 14, 2009 at 6:02 am — Reply

    I’m actually a fan of this “New” Clint Barton and his willingness to shoot Norman. Ya gotta remember this isn’t the Clint Barton from the 90’s Avengers. This is Clint Barton AFTER he got killed by the scarlet witch, then resurrected into a horrible alternate reality where he tried to kill Wolverine, only to be given his memories back and shown that not only is he supposed to be dead but he was killed by one of his close friends, Steve Rogers is dead, and Tony Stark is head honcho of the Super Hero world.
    This I think was shown fairly simply by him not donning his Hawkeye outfit and turning down the role of Captain America and instead becoming the new Ronin. It shows that he isn’t Hawkeye anymore, he’s changed and he’s different.

    • Gaumer
      September 14, 2009 at 9:49 am — Reply

      I agree with you Crash.

      Let’s not also forget that he has finally had some good luck with the return of his old lady. But he cant enjoy any of this time. He is forced to stay underground. He just wants to get his freak on without worrying about Wolverine or Bucky walking in.

      cue: Lets get it on

  5. Navarre
    September 14, 2009 at 7:11 am — Reply

    That’s a good point, Crash. I’ll accept that.

    Maybe it’s the extreme divergence from the former character that doesn’t seem to fit. As mentioned in the review, Hawkeye was formerly so adamant against killing another out of revenge that he would leave his wife. Now, he is committing those same acts.

    A different person, one who believed in capital punishment or could make an argument for murder under the “right” circumstances, would be someone I could see making this change in moral perspective. But with Clint it rings rather false, despite the events of his life.

    Traumatic circumstances definitely change a person. They can become much different than they were before. But it takes an awful lot for us to alter our deepest moral codes.

    It may very well be that Clint’s new attitude is explained by the events you describe. Under that premise, it is somewhat believable.

    But it irrevocably alters the person we knew as Clint Barton. It changes him into a different kind of “hero”…a kind that has become all too prevalent but makes me miss heroes like Steve Rogers all the more.

  6. Brother129
    September 14, 2009 at 12:23 pm — Reply

    For the record, I usually dig Bendis and he has made the whole Avengers concept more interesting than it has been in a long time. That being said, as I read the above comments which make Clint Barton’s behavior plausible, I realize we’re making excuses for lazy writing. It the extended time it usually takes for BMB to tell a story, you would think we could get some more exposition.


    Has anyone else besides me notice that Clint played “pattycake” with Echo before she disappeared in Secret Invasion? I find it highly annoying that neither he or the other Avengers have made mention of it.

    I blame this too on lazy writing as well.

  7. September 14, 2009 at 9:30 pm — Reply

    You, um, do realize he’s, y’know, making that up? He went into the drink months before Hitler was killed — killed by his Invaders teammate, the soon-to-be-revived Jim Hammond.

    Bucky was almost immediately revived by the Russians and transformed into the Winter Soldier, as I recall. If he blowed up real good in April 1944, there’s no reason that he couldn’t have been in Berlin in 1945… Either way, the bit’s still awesome.

  8. Navarre
    September 14, 2009 at 10:22 pm — Reply

    I heard Joe Wilson of South Carolina was in the room and yelled “You Lie!” at Bucky.

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