Hawkeye Was ALMOST Captain America After Steve Rogers’ Civil War Death

The death of Captain America was one of the biggest losses in Marvel Comics history. Even though it was only temporary, Steve Rogers' death left a gaping void in the Marvel Universe in the wake of Civil War. While Bucky would eventually take up the Captain America mantle, this void was almost filled by another classic Avenger: Clint Barton, the original Hawkeye.

Hawkeye almost claimed the role of Captain America in 2007's Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America #3, by Jeph Loeb, John Romita Jr., Klaus Janson, Morry Hollowell, Richard Starkings and Comicraft. Clint himself had just returned from the dead, at the end of 2005's House of M #8, by Brian Michael Bendis, Oliver Coipel, John Dell, Scott Hanna, Tim Townsend, Frank D'Armata and Chris Eliopoulos.

Arriving in an unfamiliar new world, Clint returned to the ruins of Avengers Mansion, where he was met by Iron Man. After confirming Clint's identity, Tony Stark filled Hawkeye in on Captain America's death. Moreover, Iron Man offered Hawkeye Steve's old job, arguing that people needed Captain America more than ever.

Related: Avengers: Why Wonder Man Turned Against Earth’s Mightiest Heroes

Additionally, Iron Man argued that Clint may have come back from the dead to find his true identity as Captain America. The Armored Avenger even let Clint test out Steve's old shield. Tony later brought Clint along on a mission to apprehend the Yougn Avengers' Patriot and the new Hawkeye, Kate Bishop, for violating the Superhuman Registration Act. Initially, Clint was extremely upset that Kate had taken his name.

Yet, when Clint put on the Captain America uniform and confronted the Young Avengers, he received heavy criticism. Hawkeye and Patriot called out Clint for wearing Steve's uniform and wielding his shield. Kate argued that she took her name to honor Clint Barton, but she would never wear his old uniform.

Without realizing who Clint was at the time, the Young Avengers argued that they were inspired by their heroes, but they weren't pretending to be them, unlike Clint. This argument was very compelling, getting Clint to let the Young Avengers go and give up the Captain America identity as soon as he donned it.

Clint was right to listen to the Young Avengers, since they made some good points. It's one thing to take up the Captain America mantle in Steve Rogers' honor, but wearing the exact same uniform is in poor taste. In this way, it would seem as if Clint was trying to imitate Steve, rather than be his own hero.

Related: Marvel Assembles All Five New Captain Americas on One Cover

When Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson each became Captain America, they had their own distinct uniforms, which distinguished themselves from Steve Rogers while honoring his legacy. These two may have wielded Steve's shield, but each of them had Steve's blessing and never pretended to be the original Captain America. Going forward, Clint still did a lot to honor Captain America without imitating him directly.

For example, in a flashback in 2007's New Avengers #30, by Brian Michael Bendis, Leinil Yu, Dave McCaig, Richard Starkings and Albert Deschesne, Clint joined the New Avengers as Ronin. Not only did this further Clint's personal journey by giving him a new identity, it also allowed Clint to honor Steve Rogers by joining his anti-registration Avengers.

If Clint had become Captain America, on the other hand, he would be going directly against Steve Rogers' wishes by joining Iron Man's pro-registration forces. It was bad enough that Iron Man tarnished Thor's name, creating a clone that murdered Goliath.

If Stark had made Clint into his own pro-registration Captain America, he would truly be dishonoring Steve's legacy. Ultimately, Clint honored Steve Rogers in his own way, while continuing on his own path as a hero.

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Nabeel Gaber (586 Articles Published)

Nabeel Gaber is a longtime follower of comic books, cartoons and anything sci-fi. He's based in Houston, Texas, keeping up to date with all of the latest comics, movies and television series. Nabeel is a graduate of Trinity University, working now as a freelance comic book features writer. In his spare time, Nabeel enjoys running, improv comedy, and, above all else, reading comics. Feel free to follow Nabeel on Twitter at @book_column and check out his blog, thecomicbookcolumn.com!

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