Monday, May 4, 2009
My friend and I have this common fondness for archer superheroes. We both are fans of Hawkeye and Green Arrow. I don't know where his love of these characters came from, but I think I've pinpointed mine.
I used to use a bow to hunt. Due to that, I had to do a lot of target practice with the weapon. There is something methodical and primitive about pulling back the string, aiming, holding steady and then letting go. I never killed anything with the bow, and I have long since given up hunting, but that bloodlust remains.
These archer characters have something a lot of other heroes lack: realism. Superman could never happen. Wolverine is a myth. But Hawkeye and Green Arrow are (essentially) guys with bows fighting crime. Granted, they do some amazing things, and well know most of those trick arrows would never fly straight, but at their core these are just guys in suits with a weapon that is by all standards fairly archaic. (How many armies use bows and arrows these days? None. They all died.) Going into a fight against Ultron with only a bow and superhuman aim takes guts. That is why these characters appeal to me.
Hawkeye, in my opinion, was at his best leading the West Coast Avengers. For some reason I thought he always worked better as a team player, even though he always felt like an outsider there. I think of Green Arrow in the exact opposite way. In a team he tends to get overshadowed by just about everyone else. His solo series from Kevin Smith, who later left it, was pretty damn good despite some art that took a little getting used to.
I never cared too much about characters with big guns. I am more attracted to the ones who seem more honest, more real. Daredevil, Batman, Hawkeye, Green Arrow, Silver Surfer (that one is a joke). Their characters, when written properly, give the story something a Cyclops story can never have. A feeling of realistic urgency. Yes, comic books are largely about escape, but an escape based in reality is a far more therapeutic escape than one based in fantasy. And that works for me any day.