When I decided to start Random Comic Recall with the first article, I had a clear vision. That Justice League of America #34 always stuck out to me.
Coming into writing my second one, I had a couple ideas tossed around. I won’t say much about the books I was considering, as I am sure you will see them within a few months and it will be much more satisfying when they appear. That being said, as I opened my comic box, I came across this book. I think I must have gotten it inside a comic grab bag. I have no true recollection of it until now but that’s okay. It is an Avengers title, so it is only fitting; if the first column was Justice League, let’s go Avengers. As you can see from the cover, this was too good to pass up.
First of all, glance up top. This book is not to be passed up. It is A BOOK-LENGTH THRILLER! I almost passed on this thriller until it was confirmed to be BOOK-LENGTH. Close call, Marvel. Close call.
After we see it is the Avengers Spotlight, we see just why Hawkeye is flailing behind a blast on the cover.
HAWKEYE – GETS SHOT!
NOT A HOAX!
NOT AN IMPOSTER!
It is seriously like they knew the questions and doubts in my head and confronted them all in one text block.
Then the artwork? I love it. I know some people don’t like reading comics from pre-2000s because the artwork looks dated. Not this.
That gunman is timeless. He is the timeless face of a threat; Neon headband? Check. Cloth feather–like earrings? Yup. Cutoff khaki vest? You got it. Skulls and cross bones tattoo? I almost missed it. Thank goodness I did not.
Right down to the multi-colored rings on his fingers (and I bet he has some on his toes), that man is a threat and he shot Hawkeye.
Let’s get to cracking this open.
This issue is from March 1990. A few short months after we had just seen the Justice League on KooeyKooeyKooey. I don’t know where they wound up, we are focusing on Random Comics (until I find the need to do a whole arc/mini series) and the Avengers have some big shoes to fill.
And they did.
That is Fabio. Mission accomplished.
A game ad for Iron Sword for the Nintendo Entertainment System, I learn that with Fabio, I can become “the ultimate warrior in the ultimate war”. They are lucky they got to use Fabio or I’d be complaining that in 1990, you are promising me to be the Ultimate Warrior and not giving me facepaint.
We start of with a BANG.
But take a closer look at the full-shot. Bless the ’90s.
Front and center in this Marvel book is a dude in a Batman shirt. Right next to a really muscular black man in a mesh shirt. We got diversity without even seeing ethnic Stan Lee in the front.
This is Mann’s Chinese Theater on a Friday night, says the text box. The audience saw Lethal Bat 2. Thank goodness, that isn’t a Batman shirt. But Lethal Bat makes me dream of some hybrid Batman-Lethal Weapon with like 2000s crazy Mel Gibson in the lead. He would totally own Christian Bale’s SWEAR TO ME yelling, although there would probably be a few anti-Semitic words sprinkled in too. God love him (just not Jewish God).
Clint is telling his girlfriend, who is seemingly in a swimsuit, he is tired of the plot being resolved with guns. Clearly Clint is not from America. I would venture he is the dubious one being discussed.
Oh, wait! Clint! That’s Hawkeye!
Yep, he doesn’t want guns in movies because it reminds him of work and that explains his girlfriend is actually his wife, Bobbi Barton, aka Mockingbird, and she is perfectly okay going in public in a swimsuit and boots.
As he wishes he saw Marvel’s clever hint at Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (they call it Honey, I Imploded the Kids!) Clint almost walks into the street. Now, we are told here that the drivers in LA are not as courteous as New York. Weird enough, but what would you say, Clint?
Perverse driving customs really intrigue me because I hate wearing pants.
We can’t focus on those thoughts too long because by the time we get to the end of the page, we witness a gang drive by.
First of all. Super mad. Mesh shirt guy gets shot so bad his hat goes flying, the bow on it flailing. Awful. So much for a spinoff. Gone with a simple PAP-PCHOW.
We clearly know this is a gang because all of the gunmen are wearing matching neckties as headbands. Timeless artwork.
Clint immediately tries to figure things out and gets a much needed explanation.
Maybe I am just not familiar enough with how the world was in the early 1990s but I am proud Hawkeye has gone so far in superheroing without knowing what a drive by shooting is. I just wonder what other self-explanatory terms can be taught next.
These next panels are amazing and I realize I am going high on the picture count early on. But come on. As they observe the bodies, they try to figure out what to do. Step one was seeing if they could identify the car. Once they knew they could, what was step two?
If you said put on masks, you got it.
Mockingbird feels Hawkeye’s tone is harsher than normal and he tells her that it may be because random killings, “tend to TORK me off”. His words, not mine.
Hawkeye is in a frenzy and as Mockingbird wants him to be calm, I get an ad for Dungeons & Dragons – start your training with Set #1: Basic Rules of Dungeons & Dragons.
Things start getting good as Hawkeye, steering his hovercraft, starts shooting bows down on the freeway toward the pink convertible full of killers. Right as I can feel the sweat beading on my brow, I am faced with an ad for HydLide, a “Role Playing Action Adventure with a PASSWORD FEATURE AND 2 SPEED LEVELS”.
Furious Hawkeye shoots down an Incendiary Arrow and the car blows up as the killers go jumping into what looks like the woods. Hawkeye holds the thugs at arrow point but one gets away. He thinks to himself in the blaze that if Hawkeye wants war, he’s got it, man.
As with these books, something that intense can only be followed up with an ad for DOUBLE DRAGON. It’s the #1 Arcade Smash!
We cut “some hours later” to the Avengers Compound. Hawkeye contemplates the day shirtless in pajama pants and slippers still trying to understand with all he has seen as the Avengers, how something as awful as a drive by can happen. Bobbi tries to comfort him, Clint sees it as patronizing. Yeah, woman, who told you to talk? Bobbi drags him to bed but not until after he lets her know that he is going to the police station in the morning.
12 pages in and you can learn about the Wholder, a display frame for your comic books or your diplomas. One in the same to me.
Next thing we see, Hawkeye is in full costume, yelling at one of the gang members in the police station questioning area. The thug won’t talk, so Hawkeye does what everyone would do. Rip his best sleeveless shirt.
The punk doesn’t say much outside of Hawkeye wouldn’t do that on the streets and that he owes him a shirt. Keep it real.
We get a sweet joke as the officer assisting Hawkeye asks how he liked, “Prince Charming,” before revealing that is his street name. I hope the necktie headband gang all have fairytale nicknames. You just don’t mess with Rumpelstiltskin and Humpty Dumpty. You know the leader is totally sleeping with Mother Goose too. Thug Life.
The detective assures Hawkeye he probably just got in the middle of a gang dispute but Marvel’s favorite archer lets him know that he has met androids with more humanity than these gang members. Bet even those androids would know that is a burn. Hawkeye gets warned to be careful, that these guys don’t announce themselves like super villains do. Hawkeye dismissively boards his hovercraft.
We jump over to the Lotus Realtors building in Beverly Hills. One of the gang members is getting scolded by what looks like a prostitute. She is very concerned the Avengers are now interested in her affairs and is not happy. Probably can’t afford what would happen if Hulk smashed one of her ladies… With that being said, she tells the gang it is obvious, they must kill Hawkeye.
We jump to the Avengers compound and there is an alert of Unauthorized Activity abound.
The gang, who are now identified as the STONE PERFS have left a dead body for the Avengers. I hate when you just get a wrapped up dead body on a random occasion because then by the time the holidays come, every other present feels like a letdown.
Hawkeye takes off and asked what he is going to do, he lets them know: AVENGE.
Next page, Hawkeye in Downtown LA shaking down people. First he asks a stereotype who reacts with DIOS! I PRAY YOU DO NOT FIND THEM! Seeing this frame is shaded, we cannot tell if the person being questioned is holding a Virgin Mary statue.
He tries to ask some lady but she tells him she has to watch her kids, so go find them yourself!
Hawkeye clearly displays his street smarts with his next inquiry.
You need results? Talk to the homeless drunk.
Hawkeye sees someone running in the street with one of those neckties tied to a non-neck spot of their body. It was a trap.
A passerby spots Hawkeye and calls 911. Did they not realize this was a hero in costume who got gunned down? I mean, look what happened when he meddled? But are we going to get a “Very Special Issue” on this caller? Probably not. We will just see if they make it to the next page.
We will never know, as the next page has a hospital waiting room full of costumes. They all squabble, including Iron Man and Captain America.
The doctor informs us he is alive and though he lost massive amounts of blood, his heart and brain are not damaged. The doctor then lets us know that if it weren’t for the boy who called it in, Hawkeye would be dead. Glad to hear phone kid made it out okay but kind of sad he is closer to getting a spinoff than mesh shirt guy from the beginning (RIP).
We get an ad letting us know about the GIGANTIC Los Angeles Comic Convention as well as the GIGANTIC San Francisco Convention. They have some other ones mentioned, so if you happen to be at the Albany Mariott on February 10, 1990, keep your eyes open.
As Hawkeye wakes up, Mockingbird reciprocates the spousal abuse by calling him, “bull-headed and dumb,” as she had earlier promised in the waiting room. As he awakes from his coma confused, she then decides to tell him to shut up and kisses him. A weakened Clint Barton asks for Mockingbird to arrange a meeting with Tony Stark before he passes out again.
We get another ad for Comic Con in New York City but this time, they must have made an error because it is telling people to go to the Convention a year earlier in 1989.
We jump to a panel taking place “THREE WEEKS LATER”. Barton has presented Stark some designs of a new costume, made with lighter armor than the Iron Man armor. Playful banter ensues as Tony wants to toy with the design and Clint threatens to replace him with Calvin Klein. Jokes. As Tony leaves, Clint confesses to Mockingbird he wants to go on a gang hunting spree.
We are back in LA three more weeks later and we see a gang member with some crazy facial hair rapping on a street corner to himself while smoking. He gets distracted; I’m guessing it is Hawkeye.
The darted thug finally finds himself in a precarious position where Hawkeye coerces the address out of the gang member.
Our next page includes our letter from Stan Lee and a profile on editor Marie Javins.
As we get back, the officer from earlier in the story is arresting the snitch, just after he fills in Hawkeye on where to go.
We get ANOTHER ad right away, with prices from Mile High Comics. Call them up and see if you can still get Micronauts issue 17 for 50 cents. I wonder if they still can be reached at 303-455-2659.
We see the gang hideout, full of substance consumption and whoring when there is an explosion. My first thought would be a divine power smiting these bad decisions but it turns out it is NEW LOOK HAWKEYE.
Hey, look! He conveniently got the whole gang in one net, literally wrapping things up nicely.
We get fan letters where fans included their full address to hear back from other fans. Did you ever make a friend this way, when you were located at 9825 SW Rodeo Place in Beaverton, Oregon 97005, Patrick Hamilton?
Ad for Blood and Guts – Castlevania – The Adventure and Motocross Maniacs, both for the Gameboy.
Back cover is that SkyShark game again that we saw advertised in last column.
A more conclusive ending this time for sure. I just know for an award nominated actor, Jeremy Renner didn’t give us as much of a roller coaster ride as this Hawkeye!
We will see you later with another Random Comic Recall.