There is a tremendous amount of energy swirling around the first trailer for Marvel’s Hawkeye. This excitement seems obvious to some but maybe a little baffling to others. Why should we care about the guy with the arrows? Jeremy Renner was never Chris Evans or Chris Hemsworth, and fans didn’t bother to find other hot Jeremys to wage war over.
Well, Renner has very little to do with the joy rupturing across the internet regarding the advertisement for the upcoming Disney+ series. It’s the content that matters and it’s how Disney uses one of their most beloved source materials to inject thrills where there weren’t any before. And this weaponizing of the comic books is very different from their current approach in the What If…? Series.
The Comic Book Inspiration for the Hawkeye TV Series
Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye comic book from 2012 is one of the most beloved Marvel storylines of the last ten years. Scratch that, the last twenty years. Scratch that, ever. The initial set-up is preciously street level. Clint Barton (a.k.a. Hawkeye, a.k.a. Hawkguy) decides to step up and help his neighbors when their landlord raises the rent catastrophically.
From there, he partners with his Young Avengers copycat Kate Bishop and the two of them tumble into a dark underworld populated by annoyingly unrelenting goons and mobsters with supervillain connections.
In the Hawkeye trailer, Hailee Steinfeld‘s Kate Bishop is front and center. Her comic book counterpart is far droller than the fangirl we see here, pushing Clint into a more mentor role. She’s taken on his Ronin persona from Avengers: Endgame and she’s attracting the attention of the enemies he made when he was trapped in his darkest, most rageful moment.
Meet the Tracksuit Draculas
Throughout the Hawkeye trailer, we see various bald goons wrapped in tracksuits. These bumbling pests are straight out of Fraction and Aja’s series and they’re the Tracksuit Draculas, Eastern European mobsters brought in to push Clint and his friends from the neighborhood. Their egos are as strong as their numbers and they delight in mocking their enemies by punctuating their sentences with “Bro.”
While we do not hear a single “Bro” uttered in the trailer, we do see the word painted across the van that Kate Bishop explodes with Clint’s not-deadliest arrow. These punks sparked plenty of discourse online this week and it’s clear that if “Bro” is not rattled incessantly during the show, fans will cry betrayal.
Lucky, the Pizza Dog
Even more critical to Fraction and Aja’s Hawkeye comics is Lucky, the Pizza Dog. This little pupper begins the series as a guard dog for the Tracksuit Draculas, but during Clint’s first rumble with them, the pooch jumps sides, defending Hawkeye from his masters. From this point forward in the series, Lucky is just another Avenger sidekick, so beloved that he even got his own solo adventure in Hawkeye #11.
Lucky symbolizes the resilience required in the superhero game. To make it in Marvel Comics, you have to learn to take a beating. Lucky has suffered so much, but he keeps getting back up and fighting the good fight. The same can be said for Clint Barton.
The Hawkeye trailer goes out of its way to show Clint’s punishment as a thank you for his heroism. When he says goodbye to his daughter, we spot a hearing aid in his ear. This also comes from the Fraction and Aja run in the comics, and it shows how there are physical consequences to putting yourself in harm’s way.
A Beaten and Bloody Hawkeye
Captain America and Thor don’t have to worry about physical punishment and they take a beating and keep on ticking. Hawkeye doesn’t have that luxury. And what we see in the trailer for the Hawkeye series is how brutal it can be for Clint Barton to jump from rooftops and throw himself into a gang war.
Jeremy Renner is selling those punches and falls. His Hawkeye can barely take it anymore, collapsing into chairs and slapping icepacks on his broken face. These cuts and gashes are critical to the appeal of Fraction and Aja’s comic. How do you differentiate Clint Barton from Steve Rogers? You lean into the pain that Clint experiences every time he’s lucky enough to walk away from a fight.
Let us know in the comments how you feel about the new Hawkeye trailer.