On Saturday evening, Marvel gave Hawkeye a new arc, with Kate Bishop, the Guardian of Kansas, taking over from Clint Barton, the Avenger known for his secret identity as Hawkeye. Hawkeye #1 is a standalone, longer story that introduces Kate Bishop, a “gritty, mysterious adventurer” who may be Luke Cage in a skirt, apparently.
But Kate Bishop is someone else in this issue — she was and is Anne Marie Fleming from Kansas — but writers Chip Zdarsky and Nick Spencer use the term “gritty” too much, which in the comics world that bakes it into the syllables so they become words like “grizzly,” “brutal,” and “brooding.” It’s jarring. To be fair, I’m not saying this couldn’t be a creative choice (and I like Spencer) — of course it could be. But at least on my DVRs, it showed up as “The Scarlet Women of Kansas” and “Hawkeye and the Midwifery Knight.” Maybe I’m missing something or a rumor, but Kate Bishop sounds different from the twin women in her family, who were wives and had children who were around her age and to whom she is linked. By using these terms, the writers gloss over how Kate’s brother and sister have been immortal and yet more or less interchangeable, but also the fact that they can show no sign of romance or romance alone. Who is the writer working from? Is the writer trying to be all about female friendship and sidekicks as was once the goal of the women in the Marvel Universe? Does a relationship exist between these women in any way?