Marvel’s newest Disney+ TV series, Hawkeye, has already introduced audiences to a whole slew of new on-screen appearances by well-known villains from the comics. Based on Matt Fraction and David Aja’s highly influential and critically acclaimed Hawkeye comics, the everyman’s Avenger is slowly catching up in live action to the character’s rich comics history.
However, Clint Barton aside, the supporting characters (and new main character with Kate Bishop) are truly the stars of Hawkeye. From shadowy crime bosses to the bumbling Tracksuit Mafia, there are many enemies and villains that have crossed paths with Hawkeye. Looking back at the comics, who have been some of Hawkeye’s most significant adversaries?
In the comics, Clint Barton owes much of his training to Jacques Duquesne, AKA Swordsman. When Clint and his brother Barney escaped to the circus, Jacques became Clint’s mentor. However, they had a falling out when it came to morals and Jacques taught Clint a hard lesson about trusting anyone too blindly. Over the years, Swordsman would continue to cause trouble for Clint as they both struggled to find a place among the Avengers and overcome their difficult pasts.
Alongside Swordsman, Clint received extensive archery training from the original Trickshot, Buck Chisholm. This Trickshot also turned on Clint after a mission gone wrong — Clint accidentally shot his brother Barney and refused to continue working with Chisholm, leading to animosity between the two archers. Barney was believed to be dead.
Later, Chisholm developed cancer but was approached by Baron Zemo with the promise of treatment if he trained a resurrected Barney. Barney eventually dumped a dying Chisholm at Avengers Tower and took over the title of Trickshot. As Trickshot, Barney terrorized Hawkeye and joined the Dark Avengers.
Speaking of the Dark Avengers, Hawkeye has also faced Norman Osborn, whose cunning genius led to the creation of the Dark Avengers. After Osborn successfully led the Thunderbolts in defending Washington, D.C., during the Secret Invasion of Skrull shapeshifters, Osborn was regarded by the public as a hero. He used this newfound popularity to assemble a team of secretly evil Avengers knockoffs.
Using Iron Man’s suit and repulsor technology as well as some design inspiration from Captain America’s suit, Osborn made himself Iron Patriot, and he recruited Bullseye as Hawkeye, Venom as Spider-Man, Moonstone as Ms. Marvel, Daken as his father Wolverine, and Noh-Varr (AKA Marvel Boy) as Captain Marvel, as well as Ares and Sentry. Later, Osborn even brought in Trickshot as a new Hawkeye. During this whole evil masquerade, the real Hawkeye was infuriated at Osborn for using the Avengers’ names and notoriety to gain power, and he started a public campaign against the super-villain.
Kingpin and the Tracksuit Mafia
When it comes to having a hand in every corner of the criminal underworld, nobody does it better than Wilson Fisk, AKA Kingpin. This larger-than-life crime lord has even been leader of the Hand, a notorious organization of ninja necromancers. Though he is primarily known as an archenemy of Daredevil and Spider-Man, Kingpin has also antagonized Hawkeye as well as his adoptive daughter Echo.
Kingpin also helped in orchestrating the longstanding rivalry between Hawkeye and the Tracksuit Mafia, sometimes known as the Tracksuit Draculas. This sprawling network of Eastern-European bros in tracksuits has fought with Hawkeye over everything from real estate to damaged egos. While they’re easily tricked or manipulated, their numbers and relentless thirst for vengeance make them tough to keep down for long.
Kazi / Clown
A single tear rolls down the whitened face of a clown, but there is no laughter here. Kazi, short for Kazimierz Kazimierczak, is an enigmatic villain for hire. His motives, though obviously sinister, are not always clear and his background is even further obscured in shadow.
What is known for certain is that Clown will kill in an instant and not even care to ask questions later. Yet, on the other hand, he has been shown to be charming when talking with Kate Bishop. In the MCU’s Hawkeye, it is heavily hinted, through dissatisfaction with upper management and lingering closeups, that Kazi of the Tracksuit Mafia could be clowning around on his own pretty soon.
Some people look up to super heroes as children but other people, like Parker Robbins, identify with the villain. After witnessing a fight between Electro and Daredevil, Robbins decided he wanted to live a life of crime. Despite the worst of intentions, Robbins bungled his first attempted theft but managed to get involved with a cloak and boots that belonged to the demon Dormammu (a dangerous enemy of Doctor Strange).
Endowed with demonic magic, The Hood has sought to be a criminal overlord similar to Kingpin but with varying success. During Civil War, he organized a crime network to take advantage of all the heroes being distracted fighting each other. Over the years he has lost and re-gained his magic from various artifacts and infernal sources, and he has even gotten close to Kate Bishop’s nemesis, Madame Masque. Hawkeye and the New Avengers fought against The Hood and the super-villain even employed Bullseye to pose as Ronin, Hawkeye’s occasional alias, to corrupt the archer’s public image.
Originally a CIA agent alongside Marc Spector (AKA Moon Knight), William Cross left the CIA to engage in more profitable criminal activity. In an enemy ambush, he lost his left eye and ear plus 85% of his hearing, yet Cross was undeterred. Instead, he replaced the damage with cybernetics and decided to eliminate super-powered heroes with brainwashing technology.
As Crossfire, the villain believed he could take down Hawkeye the easiest out of all the Avengers and he did manage to capture Clint and Bobbi Morse, AKA Mockingbird. Though Hawkeye and Mockingbird were able to escape (and elope shortly after), Clint suffered permanent hearing damage. From then on, Crossfire and Hawkeye would become recurring adversaries, with Crossfire even placing a bounty on Hawkeye’s arm.
All of the Avengers
Even his own team has problems with Clint! Though he has earned his place as a valued member of the Avengers, Hawkeye has always had some trouble fitting in with his fellow heroes. Initially, Hawkeye was sent as a double agent to infiltrate the Avengers and destroy Iron Man. He also famously clashes with Captain America over and over again, because both are strong-willed and stubborn, believing they know what’s best for the team.
Hawkeye was also at odds with Quicksilver because of a crush on Scarlet Witch, and Hawkeye even quit the team for a while when Vision and Wanda got married. Speaking of trouble with love, Clint has often drawn the ire of Jessica Drew AKA Spider-Woman as well as his ex-wife Mockingbird with his general ineptitude at healthy relationships.
The Avengers as a team have gone up against formidable enemies such as Thanos, Ultron, and Taskmaster, saving the universe with super powers and space magic. Clint Barton, however, is often portrayed as the type of hero that people can identify with because he’s just like them, more or less — no super powers but a deep desire to do the right thing. He’s not always the most dynamic hero on the scene, but that’s where his enemies come in.
The villains (and reluctant allies and tense partnerships and unclear enemies) of Hawkeye have always enriched Clint Barton’s journey as a hero. Who are your favorite Hawkeye villains? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!