Clint Barton's parents were killed in an automobile accident, and the youngster was placed in a state orphanage. At 14, Barton ran away to join a traveling carnival, where he was trained by the Swordsman. Barton quickly showed considerable aptitude with archery equipment.
Sometime later, Barton saw Iron Man in action, and decided to emulate the costumed crime-fighter by becoming a super-hero himself. A few missteps along the way briefly led him down the path of crime, including into a confrontation with Iron Man. Eventually, however, Hawkeye returned to the right side, and petitioned Iron Man to join the Avengers.
Hawkeye, perhaps because of being orphaned early in life and then growing up in a carnival in his later years, has always had a rough edge to him. He has no qualms about speaking his mind even though sometimes he tends to put his foot in his mouth doing so. He's not above being a little underhanded if he thinks the end result will be for everyone's benefit. Brash and arrogant are not inaccurate descriptions, and Hawkeye is a little peeved at the fact that, underneath his mask, he looks more than a bit like the straight-laced hero Captain America, a standard he knows he can never quite achieve.
Although most of his career has been spent as Hawkeye, he did briefly abandon his archery equipment and identity to take on the role of a giant-sized super-hero abandoned by fellow Avenger Dr. Henry Pym, using the same method Pym used to both increase and decrease his size.
Over the course of his career, Hawkeye has strived to give other would- be heroes as much of a chance as possible, perhaps because he understands how close he himself came to falling onto the wrong side of the fence forever. He trained and led a group of would-be heroes called the Great Lakes Avengers for a time, and later on took on the leadership of the Thunderbolts, a team of villains masquerading as heroes under the leadership of Baron Zemo. Most of the members of this team decided they liked being heroes more than they liked the idea of conquering the world, and Hawkeye did his best to guide the team on the right path for a time.
A little known fact about Hawkeye is that he is hearing-impaired. He ruined his hearing with a sonic device from one of his own trick arrows during one of his adventures. However, he wears a hearing aid to compensate for the partial loss of hearing. He was briefly married to a super-heroine named Mockingbird, but she died in the line of duty. Hawkeye hooked up with the Thunderbolt named Moonstone for a time, but ultimately, that didn't work out, either.
Hawkeye was apparently killed during the "Avengers Disassembled" storyline, when he used his sky-cycle to bring down a massive alien Kree warship. However, he has turned up in the recent reality-warping "House of M" storyline. How this will play out regarding Hawkeye's future in the Marvel Universe remains unknown as of this writing.
The Marvel Legends HAWKEYE figure was part of the very elusive Series VII, and was one of a handful of figures to recently be re-released to Wal-Mart stores in limited numbers. I was most fortunate to find him and one other Marvel Legends figure from that assortment which I had particularly wanted, The Vision, one morning recently. There are advantages to doing one's grocery shopping at 7:30 AM.
The figure is superb. A good likeness of Hawkeye in his classic uniform. Not even the Famous Covers Hawkeye used the characters classic outfit. Hawkeye is well-articulated, with 38 points of articulation, and he is very well supplied with accessories. Along with his bow, he comes with a good assortment of arrows, as well as his sky-cycle, which is part of the figure's overall display stand.
The comic that comes with Hawkeye, AVENGERS #223, features a cover that shows Hawkeye about to fire an arrow that has diminutive super-hero Ant- Man riding the tip. In a very nice touch, one of the arrows that the Hawkeye figure comes with has a tiny Ant-Man perched on it.
I've heard some complaints from other Marvel Legends collectors that Hawkeye doesn't stand too well, and worse, is unable to properly hold his bow and arrows, as if he as actually about to fire them. In all the history of action figures that have come with archery equipment, whether you're talking about Mego's Green Arrow or Robin Hood, Big Jim's Native American buddy Warpath, or whomever, I have yet to see an action figure that COULD do this, so I don't know what the grief is about. I'm pretty picky about my action figures, but I'd like to think I keep my expectations reasonable. Hawkeye CAN hold his bow. Let's be happy with that, shall we? As for his stance, he IS a little bow-legged, but this is undoubtedly to accommodate his vehicle. I didn't have any trouble standing him.
If I have one complaint, it's with the headsculpt. The face looks like it's caved in on one side near the mouth. Now I've been told that they're not all like this. It's difficult for me to make the comparison, since the only other Hawkeye I've ever seen in person was ten feet away from me behind the counter in a collectibles' shop, and online photos aren't always as accurate as they should be. I'm prepared to accept that I just got a figure whose head wasn't pulled out of the mold properly or some such. Given how scarce Hawkeye has proven to be, I can live with it. That's not to say I don't think Toy Biz couldn't use a little more in the Quality Control department. But then, what toy company couldn't!?
Bottom line? I'm glad I've got Hawkeye. He's a classic character in the Marvel Universe, and this Marvel Legends version of him is excellent. If you can FIND one, I definitely recommend him!