Comics : Dark Reign: Hawkeye #1

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This story is part of an Arc: "Dark Reign"
     Part 1

This review was first published on: 2009.

Background...

Daredevil adversary Bullseye was recruited into the Thunderbolts following the events of the Superhuman Civil War under the supervision of Norman Osborn. When Osborn was appointed as head of S.H.I.E.L.D./H.A.M.M.E.R. Bullseye was promoted to be on his team of Avengers.

Currently he is masquerading as the archer Hawkeye and following Osborn's orders. Despite the easy life, Bullseye's isn't as content as one would expect.

In Detail...

Dark Reign: Hawkeye #1
Jun 2009 : SM Spin-Off App
Summary: Spider-Man (Venom/Gargan) appears
Arc: Part 1 of "Dark Reign"
Editor:  Bill Roseman
Writer:  Andy Diggle
Pencils:  Tom Raney
Inker:  Scott Hanna
Staff Only
Issue
Review
Articles: Green Goblin I (Norman Osborn)

Osborn assembles his Avengers to stop someone in stolen Hulkbuster armor - approximately 25 feet in height - from breaking into the Federal Reserve. Those who answer his call are Wolverine (Daken), Spider-Man (Scorpion/Venom), Ms. Marvel (Moonstone), Ares, Hawkeye (Bullseye), and himself as Iron Patriot.

They arrive near the Federal Reserve in lower Manhattan. Osborn takes point insisting that since "the eyes of the world are on [him]", he must prove that OsCorp weaponry is superior to Stark's weaponry. His efforts result in being knocked into a nearby office building when his energy beams are deflected by the "inferior" StarkTech.

The other Avengers continue to battle the Hulkbuster armor. Bullseye makes his way onto the giant suit of armor and activates the crash-rescue system that causes the head piece to separate. He finds the operator inside and informs him that he's going to kill him. The operator ejects, activating the seat's self-contained propulsion unit.

Osborn comes around in time to order that he be brought in alive for "enhanced interrogation". Bullseye ignores the order and fires an arrow with an explosive tip, killing him. He mumbles under his breath that it's been a week since his last kill. At this point the giant suit topples over and lands on a tour bus, killing 36 people.

Ben Urich arrives and begins an interview with Hawkeye, who can't resist the urge to brag about his kill. Iron Patriot takes over the interview, preventing any further damage. He grandstands for the press stating that this was an act of domestic terrorism instigated by Tony Stark. Urich asks if he has any real proof of this. He continues by stating that it appeared to be a bank robbery gone wrong since no killing took place until the Avengers interfered. Osborn has him removed for reasons of "national security".

Once they return to Avengers Tower, Osborn has a private conversation with Bullseye. He is disappointed with his inability to control his urges. They are the Avengers; they're supposed to save lives, not take them (unless he so orders). Bullseye begins laughing at Osborn for buying into his own lies.

Osborn reminds him that he has finally advanced to a level he has been denied his entire life and will not have it compromised by his actions. Bullseye defiantly tells Osborn that he's not his pet. He's the world's greatest assassin and wants credit for his particular skills. Osborn warns him that if he doesn't learn to control himself, he will soon be relocated from Avengers Tower to an unmarked grave.

Later that night in the meat packing district, we find Bullseye getting some exercise leaping between rooftops. He stumbles upon a kidnapping on the top of a parking garage. He steps in and kills all but one of the would-be kidnappers. This one is impaled through both hands with his arrows, pinning him to the side of their van.

The grateful woman is thankful for his help and admits that her son is a huge fan of the Avengers. She continues by stating that he was very excited when he saw them earlier today. She then makes a verbal misstep that will cost her dearly. She refers to the Iron Patriot as his "boss". When she asks for an autograph for her son, Bullseye complies. He then jams the pen she gave him through her left eye, essentially lobotomizing her.

The one remaining kidnapper pleads with Bullseye not to kill him. As he hears the sound of approaching sirens, he asks if he wants to be dropped of to the police. The man quickly agrees.

Bullseye then starts the van and rigs it to drive off the top of the parking garage. The kidnapper screams all the way to the ground when it explodes upon contact.

It is only then that Bullseye hears the sound of the Channel 6 news helicopter flying overhead. They have witnessed - and recorded - his actions.

In General...

Oh wow. How do you get out of this? An Avenger killing someone in cold blood and it's recorded by a major network. Bullseye has screwed up royally and now we get to see how much power Osborn truly has.

Bullseye's behavior is obviously going to cause some problems for Osborn. He finally receive a clue why he's heading up H.A.M.M.E.R. as well as the Avengers. For ego, pure and simple. I thought that perhaps there would be an ulterior motive, but it's because he thinks he actually deserves this level of respect and power. This is probably as close to altruism as we will ever see from him.

Overall Rating...

3.5 webs. A good set-up for the rest of this limited series. Diggle wrote the Thunderbolts prior to this uses the odd dynmic these two villains have to create an interesting story.

Bullseye could in theory kill Osborn if he keeps pushing his buttons and not letting him kill indiscriminately. But is he really crazy enough to do it? Osborn is crazy enough to think that he can control Bullseye while keeping him on such a tight leash. He may actually have to kill him if he wants to retain the power he has acquired.

Art-side, Raney provides very impressive work. Every character is distinct, the backgrounds are rendered well providing a degree of depth, and the story flows very smoothly from panel to panel.

Footnote...

Osborn convinced Bullseye to join his team of Avengers and masquerade as Hawkeye in Dark Avengers #1