I really want to like Blindspot. It’s technically well-written. In other words, there’s nothing that pisses the reader off, such as taking a girl that’s soon to be crippled forever out dancing instead of, you know, healing her. The dialogue is competently scribed. The character history’s all there. The plotting is fine. It should work, but Blindspot lives up to its name.
I was trying to dope out exactly what was missing. At first I thought Mockingbird, Clint Barton’s significant other, was sorely needed as a sounding board and to provide repartee, but then I realized that past writers simply shined a brighter spotlight on Hawkeye.
Peter Gyrich pettily dismisses Hawkeye from the team roster in Avengers #189. In that story, Hawkeye has a heart-to-heart with Cap. We see a photograph of Wanda on his wall in his crummy apartment, and he gets a job as a security chief with Cross Technologies. This career change catalyzes an encounter with Deathbird.
Deathbird is actually a Ms. Marvel villain, but Hawkeye makes an enemy out of her. All of these events happen in a single issue written by Mark Gruenwald, Roger Stern and Steven Grant and illustrated by the incomparable John Byrne, with Dan Green on inks and Bill Sean offering excellent color for the period.
So, what’s missing from Blindspot? The energy of that done-in-one Avengers story. Blindspot is lethargic. Whereas the art in the Avengers spotlight cuts through time and space to present all you need to know, Blindspot expands on a mostly boring encounter.
Deathbird was a serious threat to Ms. Marvel, and she gets her licks in against Hawkeye. She in fact ruins his quiver of arrows, but she underestimates the archer’s resourcefulness. She equates his ability with the bow. Hawkeye in turn awards her blindsight with a hilarious, unwanted kiss. Hawkeye makes personal enemies faster than the Doctor does.
The resurrection of Barney Barton, on the other hand, simply feels forced. Hey, we need a villain that has some history with Hawkeye in order to justify his existence. His brother! Dead. We’ll bring him back! Brilliant! Oh, and can you make him a gayer version of Speedy? Yes. Yes I can.
Zemo’s rationale for attacking Hawkeye over Moonstone baffles me. Moonstone’s alive and crazy over in Thunderbolts. Doesn’t Zemo realize this? Doesn’t he read the newspapers or scan the internet? You could argue that Zemo’s out to avenge his humiliation, but why then the pretense about Moonstone? Bottom line. Deathbird who never met Hawkeye until the fateful encounter in the Cross Warehouse was a far more interesting foe, and Hawkeye’s comeuppance delivery to her was vastly more enjoyable.