Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Top Eleven: Enemies That Would Make A Great Rogues Gallery For Hawkeye

Hawkeye is, quite simply, the best.  There's no better superhero than the guy running around with thunder gods, advanced suits of armor, and super-soldier serums, and is not only able to keep up with them all, but has on multiple instances saved the world when they could not.

Women love him, men want to be him.  Green Arrow wishes he was that cool.

But man...the guy has no respectable villains to help him hold his own title.

There's his brother, there's the guy who trained him at the circus, there's a juggler, there's the ghost of a guy his then-wife let die back in the wild west, there's...erm...  he fought Taskmaster a couple of times, that's pretty good, but...yeah, there really isn't much else.  When most of your personal foes are circus performers, that's not a good sign.

Now, granted, that's not really a big deal in how his stories have been told lately.  Taking him out of the costume and showing how he deals with every day issues (and occasionally fights the sweatpant mafia and their overuse of the word "bro") is a great concept, and one that did pretty well.  I'm also looking forward to the upcoming series which, while different, seems still willing to stick with the "a day in the lift outside of being an Avenger."

So let's dig through Marvel's history and see if we can't rustle him up some characters to face that would make for a great rogue's gallery.  Now, I know what you're saying, "is it really his own rogues gallery if they're just characters poached from somewhere else?"

Sure it is.  The Kingpin used to be a Spider-Man villain before he became Daredevil's arch-nemesis.  Sabretooth fought Iron Fist before he met Wolverine, lots of characters started out in one book then moved to another to be truly effective.

So let's start digging.  Luckily, there's a lot of characters who never get any use that would be effective.

First, the ones who didn't make the cut.  There's three of them.

1)  Lodestone

Why would you design the plate ABOVE your chest to look like Madonna's bra?
I was sorely tempted to put her on the list, if only because I love characters with control over magnetism.  They're so rare when they aren't directly related to Magneto that I wish Marvel would encourage a few more to be used on a regular basis.  However, that costume is ridiculous, and while I think there's potential (she can fling around cars like nobody's business), I want to see her do something other than lose to Darkhawk back when Darkhawk wasn't being written well.

2)  Scarlet Beetle

Yeah, I wanted to bring this character back, but I think my #10 choice is better.

3)  Blowtorch Brand

A redneck who was flame-retardant and carried around a blowtorch.  ...okay, no, I can't keep a straight face while typing this.  He just sucks.

So let's get to the real characters.

11)  Jackdaw/Blackbird

Can you believe this girl actually started out as a Hulk villain?  It's true.  She didn't last very long, then later tried to beat up Captain America as part of the brilliantly insane Superia Strategem, working as one of the lead enemy's lieutenants.  However, she gets dropped by Cap with almost no effort (to be fair, it is Cap), and hasn't done anything since.

However, once we get a primary arch-nemesis up against Hawkeye, it never hurts to have somebody who can fly keep your enemy on their toes.  Keeping the fight in three dimensions instead of just two is tough on anybody (which is probably why most Star Trek battles simply had two ships facing each other and shooting repeatedly, or veering left or right like cars).

Pull this character out of obscurity, increase her ability to dodge things in mid-air (or make that costume a lot more durable) and you've got a good lieutenant for our primary villain.

10)  Swarm

A Nazi scientist made of bees.

How this guy hasn't shown up in a Marvel movie boggles my mind.

Swarm is a great threat, because, well, bees are really friggin' scary, and the idea of facing something that you can't easily hit is a great challenge for most super-heroes.  He can attack from the vents in an office complex, he can spy on you with a few drones following you around, and he's a NAZI.  Cap shouldn't get to keep all the Nazis for himself.

9)  Scorcher

This guy never gets a fair shot.  He appeared in Untold Tales of Spider-Man, then just pretty much showed up in the background of big crowd.  A guy in armor who has two flame throwers built into his hands should be a much bigger challenge.  Against Hawkeye, I think he might get his chance to shine.

8)  Speed Demon

Yes, this is my third character in a row whose name starts with S.

One of the few speedsters that Marvel has, Speed Demon has never really gotten his chance to shine, either.  He's either a total joke (see: Superior Foes of Spider-Man) or he starts to get treated as a really dangerous threat who gets dropped really quickly.  Hawkeye usually gets to fight against speedsters whenever the Avengers battle other super teams, so why not let one become a regular challenge to him?

Plus, that's a sweet costume.

7)  Viper/Madame Hydra

Considering Hawkeye once stated that if he could hook up with any female villain it'd be this one (as he slyly told She-Hulk "Must be all that green."), I could see Hawkeye inadvertently making an enemy of Viper as he broke up a Hydra event.  Considering how personal she makes things (she came up with an elaborate plan that hinged on "marrying Wolverine" once, and it worked).

She also likes to mess with the women in a hero's life, and considering the number Hawkeye has (including one former girlfriend with a direct tie to Viper), that's one more hook for her to dig into him.

6)  Bullseye

Why yes, I do look for any opportunity to post this page.
I don't think Hawkeye and Bullseye have had any kind of conversation yet about the fact that Bullseye was running around in Hawkeye's costume during the whole "Dark Avengers" phase that Marvel did.  A guy whose "I never miss" comes from practicing most of each day against a guy who (I think it hasn't been retconned yet) has a mutant power allowing him to "never miss."

This needs to happen.

5)  Imus Champion

Imus Champion is an interesting case.  The man's huge, possibly taller than Andre the Giant was (I can't find his exact height online), cursed with a sickness that was steadily killing him, and was a standard Kingpin-lite character, a businessman who wanted to do evil things.  He decided to master as many skills as he could before his death, which included being taught by "the world's best archer," Hawkeye, on how to shoot arrows.

Later, he tried to use bombs to blow up the San Andreas fault line, because that's something villains do.

He also later managed to hold his own against both the Avengers and the Squadron Supreme by utilizing a multitude of mystical and technological artifacts he used his wealth to gather.  Later on he fought the Black Widow, but he was extremely sick at that point and it was in Black Widow's own series, so of course he lost.

But I just love that kind of character.  He's a huge physical threat, but he doesn't like to just go around punching heroes.  He gathers tools from across the world, weapons used by other villains, and he studies them and figures out how to best use them against specific heroes.  He's a planner, and if he started making waves again I'd expect Hawkeye would want to be involved in taking him down.

4)  Deathbird

Now with 200% more 90's animation style and sparkles!
So, once upon a time Hawkeye quit the Avengers because their well-oiled machine got broken by a really massive tool by the name of Henry Peter Gyrich.  Hawkeye decided to do some private "for hire" work, which lead to him fighting Ms. Marvel and X-Men foe Deathbird, a woman who, by all rights, he should be outclassed by.  She's fought against teams of X-Men and once with against the forces of the Phalanx (the fact she could survive that long against them says a lot to her combat skills).  She became Empress of the Shi'Ar empire (long story) after kicking her sister out of office (longer story)...but yeah, she's not really doing much these days.

But there is one bit of history that could easily be stewing in the back of her mind if she ever winds up on Earth again.

3)  Mysterio

Now with 200% more 90's animation styl- ah, nevermind.
I love this guy.

No seriously, it's just he keeps fighting people who have a super-power designed to stop him.

Mysterio is, quite possibly, one of the best tech-based illusionists any comic book company has.  In various appearances he's been able to stymie both Iron Man and Doctor Strange (at once!), regularly messes around with Spider-Man, almost drove Daredevil out of his head, and in one alternate world managed to trick Wolverine into slaughtering the rest of the X-Men by fooling all of his senses into thinking he was being attacked by an army of villains.

I want to see him fight someone without any kind of enhanced senses, though.  I want to see him fight a guy who has to think completely outside the box in order to fight him.  A guy who's going to stumble and fall a few times on his way to trying to take out a guy with a fishbowl for a head.

It'd be great.

2)  Joystick

I've mentioned her before.  One as "the living embodiment of Barney Stinson's "challenge accepted.""

That hasn't changed.  This is a woman who, when she was teamed up with the Thunderbolts, didn't want to go into the UN Headquarters when it was under attack when Songbird ordered her to.  The building was crumbling, it was being held up by a teammate whose superpower was "get really huge," and her response to "go save everybody inside" was "why should I?"

I love this character so much.

I just want her used more often.

So now we need our mastermind supervillain.

1)  Moses Magnum

First off, that's an awesome name.

Secondly, we have a guy who is not only a huge arms dealer across the world, handling everything from laser cannons to satellite, not only a man with incredible seismic powers able to create shockwaves and earthquakes at will, not only a man who originally got his super powers from X-Men foe Apocalypse...

...well, actually, that's enough, really.

The fact this guy isn't regularly fighting huge teams of supervillains is mind-boggling when you consider how much attention Norman Osborn gets.  Norman Osborn can't single-handedly battle the Avengers and give them a good fight.

So, why would such a powerhouse be a great threat for Hawkeye?  Well, because he'd be a really huge threat against Hawkeye.  I'd picture him being a more long-term villain for the archer, someone he'd be able to be a pretty huge pest against (see: Daredevil against Kingpin) but would be able to focus more on stopping individual plans of Magnum's while he gathered information leading to a bigger challenge, a culmination of the story.

Moses Magnum would be the kind of guy able to hire anybody from Joystick to Mysterio to even Swarm to work for him to try to get a profit and get ahead.  Plus, having Hawkeye get stuck between two huge corporate entities trying to destroy him as well as each other (the other one headed by Imus Champion) would work great.

There's my list, and Marvel, if you want me to write that book, I'll put out the first twelve issues for free.  Seriously.

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