Though they’ve only aired two episodes so far the Hawkeye series which aired this weekend on Disney+ is already a tremendous love letter to its source material. Over the course of the dozen or so years, the MCU has been around Hawkeye has been kind of a running joke among the other Avengers. He has no powers to speak of and tends to be the most reserved. This doesn’t make him the most interesting subject for a TV series.
This is why the series smartly chose to focus on Hawkeye’s comic book protégé Kate Bishop. Like most of the female counterparts of the core Avengers, she’s not just the female equivalent of the character. Kate Bishop, in the comics at least, is a fully formed person with her own life and motivations. She had a life before Hawkeye came on the scene and that life will continue once he’s gone. The same can be said for the upcoming She-Hulk series. These are far from one-dimensional characters.
WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD! From the opening moments of the show, it’s clear the showrunners want to tie Bishop to The Avengers and they give her fantastic motivation. By making her a young child in the middle of the Battle of New York she not only has the need to protect her family but she’s seen firsthand what these heroes can do. It is no wonder the event changes the course of her life.
Grown-up Kate Bishop is played by Hailee Steinfeld and she’s a perfect fit for her comic book counterpart. Thankfully the show knows what the best Hawkeye stories are and draws heavily from them. If you haven’t already go out and read the “Hawkeye: My Life As A Weapon” series by David Aja. It’s one of the best graphic novels of the last decade with Hawkeye and Kate Bishop from and center. The show pulls some of the best elements from that run and makes them canon.
Unfortunately, not all of it works. With the need for a villain (any villain), the show has chosen to give Kate a new stepfather and instantly paints him as an evil mastermind. With so many villains out there to pull from this seems like low-hanging fruit. Her stepfather, played by Tony Dalton, feels like he’s going to evilly twirl his mustache and hatch a plan against our heroes at any moment. My instincts tell me this is just a red herring, but time will tell.
With only the first two episodes out it would be unfair to judge the series as a whole. There’s a lot of potential and if nothing else this will set Kate Bishop up to be in more series (like the Young Avengers) and really let her grow.