WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE CONCLUSION OF WIDOWMAKER
By Kevin Mahadeo
How does one deal with their entire life changing right before their eyes and slowly going dark as their sight diminishes? How do you cope when the thing being lost defines you both as a person and as a hero? Clint Barton faces these questions and more in the upcoming four-issue limited series HAWKEYE: BLIND SPOT by writer Jim McCann and artist Paco Diaz.
|HAWKEYE: BLIND SPOT #1 cover by Mike Perkins|
"It's a story that I've wanted to tell ever since that I found out I was going to be able to write the character of Hawkeye," reveals McCann. "I've laid seeds to this since NEW AVENGERS: THE REUNION actually. You don't have to read all of that at all, but it is going to be a payoff for all the fans who stuck through all of this. This is my definitive take on Hawkeye and will set him up for what's to come. This is the first chapter in a new direction for him."
In the fourth and final chapter of WIDOWMAKER, in stores now, Hawkeye suffered a heavy blow to the head while battling alongside The Black Widow and his ex-wife Mockingbird. Although the hero shrugged off the injury when questioned by his former flame, McCann reveals that in reality, dire consequences stem from the attack moving into next week's first issue of BLIND SPOT.
"I really, really wanted to get into the mind of Clint Barton, to push the character to see what was in his core,” explains the write. “To do that, I needed to strip away things and see how the character dealt with it.
"You'll see how much he's lost over the course of his life. That's a running theme through this series: not just loss of sight, but loss of family. All of those things that have been taken from him, [but] what has he gained through all of it? And [I wanted to] also push him beyond that and see what happens when you take away the very last thing, and the most important thing, to a character like him. He doesn't have super powers. He's not going to get a radar sense like Daredevil to help him with archery. To a guy who has lost his relationship, lost his life, lost his family—he's been orphaned, his brother has died, mentors have betrayed him or died. It's taking the character and really stripping him down and pushing him to the farthest possible limit he can go."
|HAWKEYE: BLIND SPOT #2 cover by Mike Perkins|
Clint's impending blindness affects more than just his own self-image. McCann points out that Hawkeye often tends to lash out and push people away when faced with an emotional challenge. In the case of his new ailment, his initial reaction falls in step with these past patterns. As such, during the course of the title, the writer plans to explore a number of the archer’s relationships from throughout the Marvel Universe and how this new status quo changes them.
"This is going to be about his relationship with the Avengers and with his foes; you're going to see a big impact on his relationship with [CENSORED]," teases McCann. "It's like the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. While we won't spend an issue on each one, you're going to see him go through those emotions. More importantly, he is also fighting for his life. This is about a guy fighting for his life and also trying to grasp how much his life is changing."
However, the writer clarifies that other forces drive the plot beyond Hawkeye's internal, emotional battle. A few enemies old and new strike right when Clint cannot see them coming, in more ways than one.
"The blindness isn't completely the antagonist in this because that would be boring. It'd just be him and an eye chart every issue. I'm not introducing a villain called Eye Chart, although that would be fun," jokes McCann. "There are big bads, and yes that's plural. Baron Zemo plays a pretty large role and [Hawkeye] has a long history with Zemo. Zemo has an interesting role in the Marvel Universe right now, as established by Ed Brubaker in recent issues of CAPTAIN AMERICA. I was really excited to get to use him for this."
McCann also acknowledges that while fans have seen instances of Hawkeye being blind before in previous comic titles, such as in Mark Millar's "Old Man Logan" or THE LAST AVENGERS STORY, those examples usually show Hawkeye in the future, already blind and adequately dealing with the problem. BLIND SPOT, in a way, bridges the gap between the Hawkeye of the present and the one of the—potential—future.
|HAWKEYE: BLIND SPOT #3 cover by Mike Perkins|
"He was still shooting arrows and kicking ass [in those stories]," he says. "I wanted to do a story of, 'How did he get there and what were those early days like?' Some people may say that we've seen a blind Hawkeye before, but we've seen a blind, competent, secure, still ass-kicking Hawkeye. We haven't seen anything like this before."
With this being possibly McCann's final story with Hawkeye, the writer says he wanted to leave a lasting imprint on Clint as the two part ways. He compares his plans for BLIND SPOT to another limited series that had previously established and defined the character for years to come:
"I consider Mark Gruenwald's [1983 limited series] to be the definitive Hawkeye story. I'm not going to have the hubris to say this is better, but that series was a major turning point in Hawkeye's life and this is trying to do that again. This is going to shape the character, define him and lay the groundwork on where to go from here."
HAWKEYE: BLIND SPOT #1 comes to stores on February 16