Agent of S.T.Y.L.E. - HAWKEYE's Avenging Attire
His first uniform, designed by artist Don Heck, following a similar mode. It’s an exaggerated/circus-style idea of what a medieval archer looks like, complete with monographed cowl.
Very quickly, a couple of minor touches were made and this became what we now know as the classic outfit. Hawkeye’s chest guard and straps become a matching purple rather than clashing light blues and yellows, helping the costume become unified. And the loss of the shoulder guards gives Hawkeye more freedom of movement.
WE GO OFF-COURSE
This is a shame because it’s not only not a Hawkeye suit, it’s not a very good uniform at all. He’s wearing 15% of a shirt underneath a studded bra, with the addition of a weight-belt. I understand these things can convey a sense of strength, but that’s ALL this outfit conveys. Hawkeye’s still the same acrobatic jokester he was before, so superhuman strength shouldn’t become his only defining trait. You’re now limiting the character, not enhancing him.
This costume is too generic. That could be Hawkeye as “Goliath,” sure. It could also be the villain Piledriver of the Wrecking crew. Or it could be “El Gringo Giganto,” a new luchador in Mexico. Ok, I made that last one up, but you see what I’m getting at here, yes?
Worst of all, this is all basically a circus interpretation of what a gaudy Native American archer might dress like, which makes this look offensive in another way altogether. This uniform doesn’t say “I save the world alongside Captain America and Thor!” It says “Cirque de Soleil is in town and tickets are selling fast!”
Fortunately, this outfit didn’t last too long and Clint went back to the classic.
Very cool design. It maintains the medieval archer appeal but enhances the superhero look just a little bit by adding gloves and sleeves. The fact that he’s now wearing black instead of blue makes the purple stand out more.
This outfit is actually more practical than his old ones. The gloves can definitely help prevent injury when pulling that taught string several times in every battle. And a right-handed archer can appreciate covering his left arm with chain mail to prevent the bowstring from hitting the arm when it’s released.Eventually, Hawkeye modified this further, cutting the sleeves short but keeping the arm guard. He also went back to truly being blue and purple rather than a mostly black costume with blue coloring as highlights.
This look works just as well, so at this point I think it’s just a matter of preference concerning whether you have the sleeves there or not. Same for the color combination. I prefer the previous one, but that’s just me.
I GOTTA WEAR SHADES
In large part, the 1990s were a terrible time for Hawkeye fashion. So much so, I had to ask him about it face to face.
HAWKEYE: C’mon, Sizzler! It’s 1990 now. And what did the 90s teach us?
AK: That extra pouches are a must for super heroes?
HAWKEYE: Sure. And they also taught us about shades. Shades are cool!
AK: You realize nearly anyone who wears sunglasses at night looks like a tool. And the fact that your shades are shaped to resemble your old mask, that’s just weird. In fact, this whole suit is weird, why are you wearing armor?
HAWKEYE: Tony Stark designed it for me. I got shot up by a street gang, so I decided to get some armor to prevent that from happening again.
AK: Why didn’t you just start wearing Kevlar? Or cool scale mail like Captain America?
HAWKEYE: Cap’s not THAT cool.
AK: This armor is too bulky. You even have armor around your neck! It all just makes you look heavy and kills any notion that you’re an acrobat.
HAWKEYE: Aw, you’re just jealous of Br’er Hawkeye. Look, my shades are infra-red so I can shoot in the dark!
ME: I don’t care! And dude, what is with all the H’s? An H on the mask, I understand, but now you have another H on your shirt and another one on the back of your quiver? Really? You needed to put three H’s on your costume? You’re that concerned we will forget your name?
HAWKEYE: Hey, you gotta love the gauntlets, at least.
ME: No. No, I don’t. How are you supposed to be able to delicately and accurately fire arrows in the heat of battle with metal gauntlets that thick?
HAWKEYE: . . .
ME: Yeah, I thought so. No wonder you went back to your classic look after wearing this for a few months.
ME: Wha. . . Why is there a quiver on your leg?
HAWKEYE: Well, in the 90′s, everyone added a belt or pouch to their thigh, so I figured, hey, I’ll add a quiver!
ME: The arrows are so exposed, it looks too easy for an enemy to just grab them or snap them in half. And with all the acrobatics you do, I think you’d break those things yourself half the time.
HAWKEYE: Okay, maybe you’ll like the next look!
HAWKEYE: But look! I brought back the awkward shoulder pads and added a belt to the leg. AND the little arrows on my chest imply an H!
ME: Those are not arrows, they look like boomerangs. This is a bad suit.
HAWKEYE: Well at least the mask looks less like Wolverine!
ME: Fine, fine, I’ll give you that. But the rest has to go.
AK: You were just telling me how good it was to resemble Wolverine less and now you’re wearing a costume that looks even more like Wolverine than you ever have before? I mean, you’re now wearing the same colors as Wolverine’s classic tan costume! What the Hell, man?!
HAWKEYE: . . . We needed a sales boost and Iron Man said maybe if I dressed like Wolverine then we could trick X-Men fans into picking up the book. So he gave me this costume and new bow.
AK: Are you sure Tony wasn’t messing with you? He does that. I mean, you noticed that your Heroes Reborn bow doesn’t even have a string, right?
HAWKEYE: . . . OH MY GOD, THAT JERK!
AK: Yeah, go talk to him. But change clothes, first.
And now let’s bid good-bye to Hawkeye and continue our program.
At the time, the Thunderbolts were former super-villains hoping to now be formidable heroes. Hawkeye, having been an unwitting criminal for several weeks himself once, sympathized and thought he could share his experience. He event went so far as to get himself a Thunderbolts belt buckle and a slightly different, darker uniform with long sleeve again.
And then, in the story Avengers Disassembled, Hawkeye died in battle, helping to fight off a Kree invasion that may or may not have been a complete illusion (that part is still being debated). The Avengers disbanded soon afterward and would not reform until months later. But before this happened, another version of Hawkeye appeared in the Ultimate Marvel Comics line.
In the Ultimate reality, Clint Barton was not a circus performer who began a vigilante and was then mistaken as a criminal for several weeks. Instead, he was an expert marksman and archer who was serving a charge for murder (the details of which haven’t been explained) when Nick Fury, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., showed up and offered him a clean legal record in exchange for becoming a black ops agent. Barton agreed and joined S.H.I.E.L.D. under the name “Hawkeye.”
When we first met Ultimate Hawkeye, he was still largely serving as a black ops agent and he was dressed just fine for the part. A black jumpsuit that looks practical. Later on, as he began working more openly with the Ultimates, they started adding red coloring to the suit. This was all right, but it’s still very much not a superhero costume by any means. It also didn’t quite make sense for one of the only non-superhuman members of the team to have less body armor than some of the others, leaving his arms fully exposed. In the Marvel Universe where reality’s a bit more exaggerated, Hawkeye gets away with it. Here, in the world of the Ultimates where so many other elements are forced into becoming more “realistic,” it stands out.
The mask would have made sense for a black ops agent, but by this time Hawkeye had fought alongside the Ultimates already and had been maskless, so there seemed little need for a secret identity. The H design on the shirt is all right and the lenses could be said to serve a purpose, but the bull’s-eye stitched onto the center of his mask makes no sense to me. What person who regularly engages in combat also thinks it’s a good idea to literally have a bull’s-eye on your forehead?
The Ultimate Hawkeye look would inspire designs used in the movie The Avengers and would later bleed black into the mainstream Marvel Universe as well. We’ll get to that.
Impressed with the Young Avengers, she decided to join them, arming herself with a mish-mash of items belonging to different Avengers, including Hawkeye’s long-time love interest, S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Mockingbird. This original makeshift “Hawkingbird” look was soon dropped and Kate later got herself a more serious super hero outfit. Impressed with her abilities, Captain America gave her Clint Barton’s old bow and arrows and so she became the new Hawkeye.
The weapons she carries and the arm guard definitely let us know she’s an archer and the color scheme reminds us of Clint. But the exposed midriff is a bit strange. Sure, pretty women, and certainly teenagers, may enjoy showing off their stomach. But Kate learned how to fight because she was once attacked and swore she wouldn’t be a victim again. I can accept the scarf being decorative but the scarf AND the exposed stomach, with that backstory, doesn’t make much sense to me.
The sunglasses are stylish, but are they supposed to hide her identity? I’ve worn sunglasses around my friends on many occasions and they have always been able to tell it was really me unless serious degrees of alcohol were involved. If the glasses have a technical purpose, like a heads-up display, then okay.Not too long after Kate began her career in earnest, the former Avenger known as the Scarlet Witch, using her insanely increased power (it’s a long story), wound up bringing Clint Barton back from the dead. Clint felt he needed to figure some things out and knew there was a new Hawkeye. So he borrowed the identity of “Ronin,” which had been used previously by the woman Echo.
This fit Clint being in a darker place in life at the time and he certainly had the martial arts skills to go along with the suit. Clint’s darkening attitude increased when the villain Norman Osborn, after gaining political power, formed his own “Dark Avengers” team and had the assassin Bullseye masquerade as Hawkeye.
Later on, the Dark Avengers went away and Kate Bishop, along with the other Young Avengers, wasn’t as active anymore. At this time, Clint went back to his Hawkeye outfit and name. Kate and the other Young Avengers reunited for another adventure featured in the pages of Avengers: The Children’s Crusade. But this led to Kate experiencing a sense of failure and not all of her teammates made it out alive. As a result, she decided to retire completely from her costumed identity. Months later, she was told that she and the other YAers were now recognized as having been official Avengers.
The arm guard was now chain mail, extending to his shirt. The quiver was now held into place by more of a harness rather than a single strap. This definitely meant that Hawkeye would have to worry less about the quiver sliding around out of place while he did his acrobatic maneuvers or ran for cover from a super-villain shooting off energy blasts.
I’m fine with the lack of a mask. Hawkeye’s identity has been public for years. But the sunglasses can seem a bit much in some cases. At least with the red lenses that Ultimate Hawkeye wore, there was an immediately implication to the reader that they had a purpose beyond looking look. The purple chevron is a nice nod to the old costume colors, but it might be effective if it were an arrowhead shape instead. Right now, this suit is simply too generic. There isn’t even a cool Avengers belt buckle or badge to let you know that this guy walks among superheroes and hasn’t just raided a sporting goods store.
Not a bad suit, I just think it needs an extra touch or two to stand out.
And that brings us to a close, readers. We hope you enjoyed this look at the fashion evolution of Clint Barton. Be sure to look for him in the new Marvel Studios film The Avengers. Until next time, this is Alan Kistler, Agent of S.T.Y.L.E., signing off!