Previously: We’ve been talking of late about Hawkeye the marksman, the Marvel Universe’s resident archer extraordinaire, longtime Avenger and seemingly full-time member of the lonely hearts club. Brother has no luck with the ladies. When we left off last time, Hawkeye was finding his way on an Avengers team increasingly populated with much more powerful teammates, and was beginning to feel outclassed…
As of AVENGERS #49, with founding members Goliath and the Wasp returned and new member Hercules frequently underfoot (although momentarily missing at the time), ol’ Hawkeye was beginning to have serious doubts about his worth as an Avenger.
These feelings would come to a head in AVENGERS #63, in “And In This Corner…Goliath!”, written by Roy Thomas and drawn by Gene Colan.
Returning from Wakanda with their newest recruits the Black Panther and the Vision, Hawkeye finds himself hurtling toward Avengers Mansion when the Panther’s ship loses control just as the craft is coming in for a landing. Hawkeye quickly assesses the situation and leaps to action, preparing to fire a series of electromagnetic arrows at the roof to bring the ship to a halt once it nears the building. Unfortunately, there’s a slight technical malfunction:
The Vision manages to save the day by stopping the ship by hand, thanks to his ability to increase his mass, but Hawkeye takes his failure hard:
Back in the Mansion, Hawkeye and company greet Hank Pym and his wife the Wasp freshly returned from their honeymoon. Pym has a startling announcement, though: his days as Goliath are over. Feeling that his body is unable to handle the strains that come with growing to colossal size (and blaming that strain for his recent schizophrenic episode, which had led to his creating the Yellowjacket identity in the first place), Pym had abandoned his gigantic identity in favor of continuing to operate full-time as Yellowjacket. Unfortunately, it meant that both the new Goliath costume Wasp had designed and Pym’s own brand-new extra-strength growth serum would have to go unused.
Before he can destroy the serum, news hits from Nick Fury that ex-Avenger Black Widow (and Hawkeye’s longtime love interest, if you recall), had gone missing while on a top-secret SHIELD mission, and was last seen in the Caribbean. The Avengers race off to her rescue, leaving Hawkeye behind, declaring him to be too personally involved to be of any use.
Before long, the abandoned Hawkeye receives another phone call, this time from the Widow herself, letting the Avengers know that she’s actually being held captive in New York, at an unknown location that the sharp-eared Hawkeye manages to recognize as Coney Island. Still bruised from his failure in the plane and feeling outclassed, Hawkeye swipes Pym’s unused costume and growth serum and chugs it down:
And in short order, Hawkeye the Marksman is no longer in the picture, replaced by the all-new Goliath:
As it turns out, the Widow had been kidnapped by frequent FF antagonists the Puppet Master and the Mad Thinker and Egghead, Hank Pym’s longtime foe, and when they spot Goliath approaching atop an oncoming subway train, they unleash their own colossal android, prepared by Egghead for the express purpose of defeating Pym in combat. At least, I guess that was the purpose. The precise motivation of the larger fiendish plan is never quite made clear…
The new Goliath has some trouble adjusting to his new abilities, but quickly gets the hang of the whole size-changing thing, putting it to good use in defeating the android and saving the Widow.
So was Hawkeye’s experiment with Pym’s Goliath serum a one-time deal, or a permanent change? Goliath answers the question for Black Panther with a simple gesture:
Hawkeye’s transformation to Goliath also came along with a another rare look back to Hawkeye’s past in AVENGERS #64, as an old acquaintance of his, criminal racketeer Barney Barton, shows up on the Avengers’ doorstep looking for Hawkeye. Barton had been recruited by the aforementioned criminal scientist Egghead, looking for some extra help in his latest scheme, involving an orbiting satellite death-ray, which is about to fire on several American cities. Barton refused, and decided to tip off the Avengers instead, with Hawkeye none too pleased at Barton’s presence:
The Avengers head into space to take out Egghead’s death-ray, with Barney Barton even coming along at his insistence. The Avengers swiftly make mincemeat of Egghead’s robot army, until he uses the materials left over from his alliance with the Puppet Master to completely immobilize the Avengers.
The only one still free, Barney Barton throws himself into the death ray projector, but not without a cost, being critically injured by the explosion.
Now free, Hawkeye makes his way to Barton, and the two have a final conversation (in which we for the first time learn Hawkeye’s real name). As Barton dies, Hawkeye reveals just how he and Barney knew each other:
A solid offering from Roy Thomas and Gene Colan here, with a long-overdue look into Hawkeye’s background. Even more light was shed on Hawkeye’s past in the next issue, with the return of the Swordsman, who’s used by Egghead in a plot to destroy his old foe Hank Pym. Here we learn that Barney and Clint both worked at the carnival back when young Clint was trained in archery by the Swordsman, and that it was Barney who found Clint’s broken body after the Swordsman cut the high wire on which the young archer was standing, after having discovered the Swordsman’s criminal tendencies. When Barney learns that Clint turned down the Swordsman’s offer to split the take from the robbery, he’s disgusted that Clint passed on the easy money, and turned to a full-time life of crime. Disgusted by his brother’s actions, Hawkeye stopped using their surname, which explains why so many years had gone by before revealing his real name.
When the Swordsman eventually infiltrates the Mansion and attacks the Avengers, he and Hawkeye (or, rather, Goliath) meet once more, and the Swordsman uses his high-tech sword to knock Clint out, so as to deliver him to Egghead. Egghead, however, isn’t pleased that Swordsman has brought the wrong Goliath, and turns on the Swordsman, sending him hurtling out the window.
With a makeshift bow and arrow, Goliath manages to save his former mentor, while at the same time capturing Egghead, the man responsible for the death of his brother.
For all his bravado, Clint was never really effective in his role as Goliath, whether it was due to overconfidence, such as here, when he’s schooled by Ultron:
Or here, during the Kree-Skrull War, when he simply forgets to take his growth serum.
Regardless, when you’re on a team with folks like Hercules, the Vision and Thor, even at 15 feet tall you’re not going to be the strongest guy in the room, and soon enough, we’d see Br’er Hawkeye’s inferiority complex creeping back.
But we’ll get to that next time.