Warning: SPOILERS for Avengers: No Road Home #2
Hawkeye's job as a superhero just got harder. In Avengers: No Road Home #2, Clint Barton loses a part of his body that's going to do more than affect his status as Earth's Mightiest Marksman.
Archery isn't the only thing Hawkeye is good at, since Marvel fans know that Hawkeye has other skills and identities he can always fall back on. He has changed size as "Goliath," and foght with swords as "Ronin," but archery is where Clint Barton has found most of his success as a superhero. It's made him an essential member of the Avengers for over 50 years now, in both comics and films. But if fans felt that Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye is under-utilized in the MCU, he might just be a whole lot more useful than the Marvel Comics original.
In Avengers: No Road Home #2, Hawkeye joins a team of Avengers that includes Voyager, Hulk, Hercules, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Rocket Raccoon and Spectrum in a mission to battle the Olympian goddess Nyx, also known as the Queen of the Night. Nyx easily dispatches the most supernatural and magical of the Avengers, forcing Voyager to create a portal and send them away. Hawkeye later regains his sense and wakes up in a hospital bed... leaving a horrified Clint to stares down at his right hand, and realize that it's missing a thumb.
Before Hawkeye has a chance to process the loss, Hulk enters the room with the intention of settling an old score. Hulk still hasn't forgiven Hawkeye for killing him in Civil War II. The comic ends with Hawkeye in dire straits, but all may not be lost for Clint Barton. There's a chance that what's happening to Hawkeye isn't real, especially since his injury was never explained in the first place. It may be worth noting that the cover of Avengers: No Road Home #3 features Nightmare, a prominent Doctor Strange villain who enjoys toying with people's dreams.
However, if it is real, this could have a tremendous impact on Hawkeye's future. Since the Marvel Universe is a world of superheroes, magic, and advanced technology, it's always possible that Hawkeye replaces his lost thumb with a cybernetic one and that his current situation isn't permanent. Another way for this is to go that Hawkeye has no choice but to move on from archery. Hawkeye's Pym Particles serum was mentioned in the previous issue, so he could always hang up his bow and resume his "Goliath" persona again.
Throughout the whole issue, Hawkeye is tortured by the fact that he is horribly outclassed by his fellow Avengers. Hawkeye feels that he always survives his mission with the Avengers due to sheer luck - not a completely new idea, as it's something that's haunted Hawkeye ever since he first joined the Avengers in 1965. Hawkeye has spent his entire superhero career in the shadow of Iron Man and Thor, and despite the fact that his primary asset is a bow and arrow, Hawkeye's importance to the Avengers can't be overstated.
It's hard to say the same of the MCU version of the character, who didn't get the best start in The Avengers, when he spent the majority of the film as a mind-controlled lackey of Loki. It certainly didn't help that he was nowhere to be found in Avengers: Infinity War, the film that included every other MCU Avenger. Hopefully, the fan-favorite archer will get better treatment from the comics. Losing his ability to do what he makes him Earth's Mightiest Marksman would be bad for both Hawkeye and the Avengers as a whole.
Avengers: No Road Home #2 is on sale now from Marvel Comics.