Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Hawkeye Limited Series #1 (September 1983)

Cover: Mark Gruenwald, Brett Breeding
Writer: Mark Gruenwald
Pencils: Mark Gruenwald
Inks: Brett Breeding
Colors: Bob Sharen
Letters: Joe Rosen
Editor: Dennis O’Neil
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.60
Cover Date: September 1983
Release Date:  May 1983
Synopsis: In his time away from the Avengers, Hawkeye is employed as head of security at Cross Technological Enterprises, a technology conglomerate that competes with Stark International.  The issue opens with Hawkeye putting his security team through the paces of an assault drill while showing off his exceptional marksmanship, a dizzying array of trick arrows and his new flying rocket sled. The 11 year-old me loved every bit of this!

We meet Hawkeye’s new love interest, Shelia Danning, who is head of public relations at CTE.  Hawkeye reminisces about his past relationships with the Black Widow and Scarlet Witch and his lack of luck with love over the years, thinking that things are finally going his way.  While the couple settles in for a romantic evening in Clint Barton’s new apartment, Hawkeye shares his origin story with Shelia.   I’m not sure how much of this was already known, but it was definitely new to me at the time and a great synopsis of his back story.

After getting a security alert later that evening, Hawkeye heads back to CTE where he surprises an intruder in a vacant warehouse.  The intruder turns out to be Mockingbird, a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent turned hero, who was last seen in Marvel Team-Up #95 (July 1980).  As the two heroes spar, Mockingbird tries to convince Hawkeye that CTE is up to something sinister, but the CTE security crew shows up and takes Mockingbird into custody before they can talk any further.

Returning to his apartment, Hawkeye can’t shake the suspicion that Mockingbird may have been right, so against his better judgment and the temptation to spend the night with Shelia, Hawkeye returns to CTE to investigate.  No sooner does he start scouting around the warehouse than his security detail shows up and attacks the surprised bowman.  Hawkeye shoots out the lights in the warehouse and is confident that he can win the fight, but he surrenders when the security team reveal that they have Shelia as a hostage.

Hawkeye is tossed into a containment pit with Mockingbird. And, adding insult to injury, Shelia reveals her role in the plot and dishes out an absolutely scathing bit of character assassination.  “I could sooner love a dog than a cornball Romeo with delusions of adequacy like you.” Ouch! Initially incredulous, Hawkeye sinks to his knees in despair as the villains start to pump toxic sludge into the containment tank.  Mockingbird manages to roust Hawkeye from his self-pity and he summons his rocket sled to the rescue in the nick of time.

Hawkeye easily defeats the CTE security team and flies to Shelia’s apartment where he confronts her.  Shelia tells him that he’s fired and that CTE won’t rest until they get their revenge, but the hero can’t bring himself to harm his former lover.  The issue ends with Hawkeye and Mockingbird facing an uncertain future that feels all too real because it’s not just the hero/villain dynamic, it’s unemployment and heartbreak. To be continued next issue!

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics

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