Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Hawkeye, The Marksman--Marked For Death!


In Part Two of "Chaos," the main story in the "Avengers Disassembled" series shared with seven other Marvel titles in late 2004, Hawkeye made the observation that the recent deadly attacks on the Avengers amounted to an "extraordinarily bad day" that was only going to get worse.

Now that the Code White emergency call has gone out, and just about every known Avenger has shown up at the nearly-destroyed Avengers Mansion to lend their support, it doesn't take long before Hawkeye's fears prove justified. In the middle of Nick Fury reading all of the Avengers the riot act for contaminating a crime scene, word comes down that the United Nations has severed formal ties with the team:



The U.N. piling onto the Avengers with a virtual stab-in-the-back while they're in the middle of their worst crisis understandably angers some on the team--but anger soon turns to astonishment when a massive Kree invasion attack force arrives and opens fire. A group of attacking ships which, according to the SHIELD helicarrier, isn't even registering on any instruments:




And as the saying goes--all hell breaks loose. Again.



With the SHIELD presence so visible in this story, writer Brian Bendis gives them a decent amount of moments, even with the Avengers keeping him busy enough. While it's clear that Bendis has a good "take" on the Avengers, he demonstrates a real flair for writing government and military personnel. And with those people allowed to stretch their legs in "Chaos," it's obvious he should really consider turning his talents to a Nick Fury/SHIELD series:



Fury and Cap, ah, detain one of the soldiers from a fallen craft for questioning. But the answers the pilot gives, as with all the other events of the day, turn out to be no answers at all:



And then, another confounding move: the Kree launch a furious ground assault in addition to their overwhelming forces in the air, a discrepancy in their attack which Fury notes is neither called for nor sensible. But this is the Avengers' story, after all--and with the forces amassed against them, there's one voice among them who can step up and rally them just as much as Cap:



Hawkeye, of course--who's probably not only seen as a true peer by his fellow Avengers, but doubly inspirational in the sense that what he lacks in powers, he more than makes up for with an Avenger's fighting heart. And in a scene as moving as it is shocking, Bendis and artist Peter Finch send him out fighting to the end:




With Hawkeye's sacrifice, the Avengers and Fury charge into the Kree in a wave of rage and anguish. But just as their heated attack begins, their release valve at the death of their comrade is snatched away from them when the Kree forces suddenly withdraw without explanation. It almost feels like another twist of the knife, seemingly designed to "disassemble" them a piece at a time. A quick analysis of the "metal" of the Kree's fallen craft only adds to the confusion.

But, finally, a figure appears which may provide the Avengers with the answers they desperately seek. And with just a few words from Dr. Strange, Captain America realizes just who may be responsible for all of this "chaos":



In Part Four, we'll finally assemble all the pieces of this mystery, and what appears to be a vendetta against the Avengers. And the revelation will have sweeping consequences not only for the team, but for Marvel Comics itself. Which, I'm sorry to say, was kind of the point.

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